December 21st, 2012
01:42 PM ET
1 year ago

NRA comments draw swift opposition in reactions

(CNN) – In the hours after the much-anticipated remarks Friday morning by the National Rifle Association responding to last week's deadly shooting at a Connecticut school, political figures weighed in, largely disagreeing with the organization's comments.

NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre spoke to reporters without taking questions and pointed to the no-weapons policies at schools that put children's lives at risk, calling for armed officers at every school.

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Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele called the NRA's remarks "very haunting and very disturbing."

"I don't even know where to begin," Steele said on MSNBC after the NRA's statement. "As a supporter of the Second Amendment and a supporter of the NRA, even though I'm not a member of the NRA, I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now that are talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms. I do not believe that's where the American people want to go."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters in Newark Friday morning he doesn't agree that placing armed guards in schools would effectively deter violence, according to a Bergen Record report.

"In general I don't think that the solution to safety in schools is putting an armed guard because for it to be really effective in my view, from a law enforcement perspective, you have to have an armed guard at every classroom," he said. "Because if you just have an armed guard at the front door then what if this guy had gone around to the side door? There's many doors in and out of schools."

Christie said his comments were not specific to the NRA's proposal as he had not yet seen the statement.

Outspoken gun-control advocate New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the statement "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country."

"Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe," he said. "Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics."

Democratic congressman and senator-elect Chris Murphy, whose congressional district includes Newtown, tweeted a sharp reaction from Connecticut after the group's comments: "Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone deaf statement I've ever seen."

At a House Democratic press conference on Capitol Hill after the NRA's statement, leader Nancy Pelosi read Murphy's tweet, adding the NRA's proposal of armed officers in schools "just doesn't make sense." House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he doesn't believe the NRA's views are representative of the organization's members, and Rep. Joseph Crowley from New York called the group's proposal "irrational."

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New York, whose husband was one of six killed and her son seriously injured in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shooting, said she was "saddened by what I saw today."

"The NRA's leadership had an opportunity to help unite the nation behind efforts to reduce gun violence and avert massacres like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School but it instead showed a disconnect between it and the majority of the American people," she said in a statement.

In statements following LaPierre's comments, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, called LaPierre's comments "reckless." And Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, said in assigning blame to others, LaPierre "showed himself to be completely out of touch by ignoring the proliferation of weapons of war on our streets."

Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and husband to former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was seriously injured in a shooting in Tuscon last year, expressed disappointment in the NRA's remarks in a post to his Facebook page.

"The NRA could have chosen to be a voice for the vast majority of its own members who want common sense, reasonable safeguards on deadly firearms, but instead it chose to defend extreme pro-gun positions that aren't even popular among the law abiding gun owners it represents," Kelly said.

Twenty children and six adults died after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, sparking grief, shock and calls for a renewed look at U.S. gun laws.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an administration effort to develop recommendations no later than January for preventing another tragedy like last week's school shooting.

Until Friday, the NRA refrained from commenting in the week following the shooting out of respect for the families and victims of the tragedy, according to LaPierre and the organization. The NRA called on former U.S. congressman Asa Hutchinson to lead the proposed National Model School Shield Program.


Filed under: 2012 • Gun rights • NRA
soundoff (904 Responses)
  1. TX Dan

    The Second Amendment is viewed as a way for the people to prevent government tyranny and the solution of the NRA is to have more armed government employees. I support the right to own weapons but even I have to shake my head in disbelief at this proposal. If this is the best the NRA could do it would be better for them to remain silent.

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Hey Bloomberg, how did the NRA create the problem of crazy people in this country?"

    Nobody said they did. We're saying the NRA perpetuates the problem of crazy people WITH GUNS running around the country.

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. rl

    Let's see. Who accepts the blame for the first time a child is caught in the crossfire, or is shot by the guard thinking he/she was the shooter? A "trained" police officer and a military soldier, and so forth make mistakes, and kill the innocient. Who will accept the blame. Sure they get the psycho but at the expense of a child who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and children will do so. Which parents are willing to accept that excuse? There is much more, but my final thought is who is going to pay for the legal actions when it happens.

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Hector Rodriguez

    The NRA says we need more guns to protect us from people with guns. It will work better if we don't have any guns!~

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. jim

    Wow...I'm a gun owner for the last 35 years and I can't beleive the comments coming fromthe NRA. I guess they want a country that has armed men at every corner. Why is it such a sin to change some of ther laws for some of the guns and ammo being purchased? I do not want guns taken away, but we need to be realistic. The purpose of these weapons are to kill mass amounts of people good or bad. I just think the NRA is only worried about $$.

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Ron Smith

    People who hate guns and are looking for someone to blame wont like anything the NRA has to say. I have said along time ago you cant stop a criminal who is willing to die for his cause. He is 100% right. When someone breaks in I want a good person with a gun to come help. I am all for trained people there to deter. We need more good people with guns.

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. sottanisse

    Seriously, these NRA "leaders" are insane. Point fingers, blame others, and promote MORE guns? The vacuum between their ears becomes ever expansive...

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Bill

    I AM a school teacher and retired Navy veteran. Rather than attempt to have a logical discussion with people holding on to illogical views of the cause(s) of the tragedy, I will just say that as of today, count me as NRA member 4,000,001! I can now proudly say, I AM THE NRA!

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Jim Toth

    some day- maybe in 100 years or maybe in 1000 years, these dinosaurs will all be extinct

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Brian

    Even if I thought this was a good idea, which I don't .... Let's do some stereotypes .... NRA members are generally Republicans , Republicans are usually anti-tax (see Grover Norquist) ...so who may I ask is paying for a cop in every school in already stretched thin departments or municipalities ?

    A typical school is a sprawling building over a decent amount of square mileage. Does anyone think from a logistical point of view that again if we agreed with this idea that it could be accomplished with ONE cop?

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Kevin

    All this would do is make the armed guard the first target. Sorry, but it won't work. There has to be a better, more sensible solution.

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. John Dignan

    I found it it very disturbing that CNN would cut off Wayne LaPierre's speech as soon as the pink hate sign went up-as if he had nothing further to say. Same old liberal media bullcrap. His speech was an amazingly spot-on assessment of what should be done. The NRA is not the enemy. His comment that the NRA is uniquely qualified to help is certainly correct. In fact, I would venture a quess that thousands of NRA members would volunteer their time to protect out school children, just like other school aides and volunteers.

    December 21, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    people with the intent to comint a act of mass shotings do not care about guns laws gun bans and background checks.
    there going to go get what they need and it dont mader where the get it. they will steal it buy it from the black market. and the nra is call for traned people like police and people that goes though traning to have guns at shool. not just let people start have guns at school. come on people don't be naive. listen to what the mans saying. don't go twisting his words

    December 21, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. nat

    Okay so do you people really think that Gun Control will fix the problem. Please remember that there are over 3mil guns just like the one used in this horrible shooting. Please tell me you all don't think that they people that bought these guns will turn them in. People need to wake up and realize that Guns will always be here because they are out there. The only way to protect ourselves is to arm the schools in some form. Trust me when I say that I hate saying that but its the truth. One gaurdsmen at every school will be a good thing. I say we use the National Gaurd to do so. We hire them as reservest. instead of sending them to other countries to protect lets send them to our schools to protect. They all take their jobs very seriously and would feel pretty honered to protect our children I can promise you that. If we can gaurd the president, federal buildings, etc why not or kids. Everyone really needs to think about that. Its makes alot of sense.

    December 21, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Skew

    Didi the NRA say we should arm teachers and principals? Why is it we can have trained, armed guards for our courts, legislative bodies and airports, but as soon as you say let's protect the public and our most valuable resource, our children, people get offended. There are crazy people out there and they will get a gun no matter how much you try to deter them. Our children deserve more protection than the people that are elected to serve. This is what people need to be complaining about. Some deterrent...one or two armed police officers at ever school...would be better than none. How much is our children's safety worth?

    December 21, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. jgolphin

    Gun control is not enough, we need need qualified professionals (not teachers) to help in school security. For all these people bad mouthing and protesting the NRA's efforts to provide just that, please check yourself. I've never heard anyone complain about the armed policemen inside of banks or guards at the airport. Or metal detectors in a convenience store.

    At some point we need to stop drinking the CNN/Fox cool-aide and use some common sense. Our culture of death and violence (through music, movies and videos) MUST end, our lack of gun control in the area of automatic weapons must end, our lack of security personnel in schools must end. this will NOT be a partisan effort. The moment we realize that and work together on all levels the sooner we can feel safer in our communities. I am very proud of both Obama and LaPierre for taking this seriously and spring into action. I hope that they can work together to bring about a real and lasting change!

    December 21, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. loubuc

    NRA-esse: Clearly the solution to all of our gun-related violence is the proliferation of more guns... Makes perfect sense to me – worked in the Cold War too!

    December 21, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. John Redmon

    U liberals r so concerned about gun control but not concerned about killing babies at all.

    December 21, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Big Jilm

    And the NRA is going to cover this cost to employ all of these guards for the Fascist States of America? And suddenly, the Republicans are all about raising taxes to fund this?

    Double-plus-good!

    December 21, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Tom

    There was a private armed police force at Virginia Tech...33 people still died...

    #NRAFAIL should be trending...

    December 21, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Ian

    I got news for you folks. People who live around you are armed. They are all around you. They are armed to the teeth with rifles, shotguns, handguns, and have lots and lots of boolits. They live on the same streets that your kids play on. They sometimes come over. Sometimes you went into their house. They're among you and always have.

    Don't panic if you can. Carry on.

    December 21, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Sha

    How exaclty is having one armed guard at each school going to stop some crazy with a semi-automatic from shooting them before they even have a chance to pull their gun from their holster? Adam Lanza shot his way through a locked door, had there been an armed guard would likely have changed nothing but an increased victim count to 27.

    December 21, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Richard

    The NRA is pretty much saying I'll sell a gun that could potentially kill you and then I'll sell another gun to protect you from the gun I sold that might kill you. That sounds like an awesome business model. This is insane and why exactly do we want to turn into an armed state? How does that make sense? I feel like I'm in a twilight episode. People are crazy.

    December 21, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. bridget

    What I care about is the safety of my children. And what's going to make them safe is placing a trained, armed police officer in the school with bullet proof vest on so if he's stormed he isn't killed instantly so he can protect my children. None of these gun laws would have protected our kids. First off, they were not his guns,they were his mothers, 2nd, high capacity magazines are illegal in CT already. We need metal detectors and armed police officers in every school! This is what it has come to. I don't care if my taxes go up to pay for the extra officers, I care about my kids! People will get guns or if they can't get guns they will bring a knife or make a bomb. Even before the NRA came out with this idea my husband and i said this same thing, schools need armed police officers! Stop the political BS and start using common sense already.
    You cannot put restrictions on crazy.

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. David

    I'm sorry but when did Mr. LaPierre ever say that teachers or students should be armed? He didn't. He said an armed cop or security officer. Why is that we place armed guards around items we treasure but not our children? Ever been to the Louvre? They have armed French soldiers patrolling the outside 24/7 to protect some paintings.

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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