(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.
Isn't the fundemantal problem related to illegal guns and not those legally owned? The Newtown shooter stole the weapons he used. His mother failed to secure those weapons from a child of her that she knew had issues, so she is partly to blame. However how many weapon related crimes are related to legal versus illegal possession? Current gun laws are flawed in that some weapons will be accessed by those who are not legally allowed to own them. More gun laws will have a minimal effect on this issue – thugs & felons will still be able to gain access to guns because there are simply so many available illigally – just like drugs. This is an issue unique to the USA, so comparison to other countries is somewhat irrelevant. Banning rifles isn't going to change squat as long as illegal possession continues.
We can pass as many laws as we want, but until we start punishing criminals its useless. My neighbors house was rushed by the SWAT team for selling meth and herione and they were hauled off to jail. Next day they are home. Yes I know innocent until proven guilty but when the evidence shows your quilty get in court and get these criminals off the street.
An understatement if I ever saw one. Disturbing is the least of the adjectives I'd use to describe the NRA comments.
NRA...they are simply out of their minds. They are a joke, and those pathetic souls on that podium proved exactly that today.
I keep hearing that it's crazy to have more guns in schools. What's crazy is that two people had only their bare hands with which to challenge this lunatic. Yeah, let's make sure that the next time this happens, after some revolting gun ban, when another lunatic enters a [gun free] school zone with an illegal gun, and commits an illegal act, all the heroes who rush forward with their bare hands to challenge him, with shool children crying and throwing their pencils and erasers as distraction, can die valiantly knowing memorials will be held in their name, without the shame of having used a gun to actually save lives. Instead of actually making a difference, the body count can rise while some other heroes (i,e, the police, only 5-15 minutes away), who get to carry guns, come on scene and eventually shoot the lunatic or otherwise end it. Great.
How many "good guys with guns" were present in Gun-Friendly Arizona when Rep. Giffords was shot IN THE FACE? Many! How many armed gunmen took down the shooter? Zero! He was subdued by unarmed civilians, one of whom had already been shot. MORE GUNS didn't do squat in the face of a determined shooter.
Wayne & NRA were hoping for the Mayan Apocalypse in hopes of avoiding making a statement... when that didn't happen, they instead went for their knee-jerk "Plan B"... MORE GUNS!!!
TO ALL OF YOU AGAINST NRA'S PROPOSAL: Not one single person on the liberal side has made one argument that would have saved Newtown's lives. 1) Ban assault guns: First off the killer had multiple guns that were not assault guns. 2) Have a mental test before obtaining a gun: The killer got his guns from his mothers stash that was legally purchased. A mental test will not stop the "troubled" from getting there guns from their family members as did this killer. No one has even proposed or will ever stop people from legally getting a gun in which a metal person lives in the HOUSEHOLD. It will never happen. This is what happened in NEWTOWN. He obtained the gun from his mother. No law will stop that. But you know what will??? A guard at a school.
Yes, and once that guard was shot dead, then what? One more corpse for the NRA to ponificate over?
The NRA again spoke as though we don't have an intelligent bone in our bodies. I believe in the right to protect yourself, and that means owning a gun if necessary. What I don't believe in is the NRA's proposal to arm teachers and principals. They are there to teach our children, why should they have to carry a gun to protect them? The NRA has 4 million members, there are over 314 million people in the US. I am tired ofNRA lobbiest and their agendas. I am tired of politicians and their single-minded efforts to bring down our country. We the People stood for something at one time, now it's organizations like the NRA who believe that more guns in the hands of crackpots should run the country with semi-automatic weapons aimed at our children. Enough already enough.
Its gonna take a school shooting at one of these NRA knuckle heads CEO kids school for them to come to reality. Lose one of their kids add see if the still want to push more guns. By the way, didnt Columbine have a armed guard at the school as people were still getting killed.
I sorry but I didn't see the NRA at that school. What did you say they did again.
"Guns don't kill people... people kill people."
Perhaps the government should make nuclear weapons readily available for anyone. Then, if someone uses a nuclear weapon to perform a mass killing, the NRA can still claim that it was the fault of the person who used the weapon.
"More people die from automobile accidents than from guns."
Since the NRA is claiming that automobiles seem to be more effective at killing people than guns, perhaps we should equip our military with passenger cars rather than M16 rifles.
"If you care for the children BAN SWIMMING POOLS!"
BTW, NRA... I just shot down your two main arguments. I guess since you have nothing left to say that anyone will believe, you are now resorting to banning swimming pools.
Why stop short with armed guards…
Since The armed fortress approach seems to be the NRA’s only answer…
All those surplus M1A1 tanks could be re-deployed, along with a few hundred patriot missile’s…
Mobilize battalions of the nation’s finest to patrol the grounds, and surrounding area
Identification check points, barbed wire, and satellite surveillance would round out the package…
If the mother of shooter wouldn't have been able to buy the AR-15 (AKA – Baby Killer) because of a ban on the baby killer machine gun and the magazine to load the weapon with 30 bullets, we wouldn't be here talking about 20 kids dead, the number might be less. Congress needs to stop taking the money from the special interest groups, and show some honor and integrity to the American people.
So if the NRA is suggesting an armed guard to help defend schools, have they considered that an attacker with an automatic rifle could kill that armed guard rather easily? How about the NRA support what would help that armed guard, a ban on weapons that could overwhelm the armed guard.
Where insanity abounds
i would agree to consent to mr. lapierre's solution on three conditions: 1) he supports legislation that makes all assault weapons banned except for military use immediately, 2) he supports legislation that all armed guards are exceedingly scrutinized prior to their position as a guard in our public schools and universities, and 3) he supports the nra to 100% fund this initiative and agree to third-party oversight. as a parent who sent my one and only 6-year old son off to school today, anything short of this is entirely unacceptable.
I say bring back the Wild West. EVERYONE should carry a pair of guns at their hip, ready for any emergency when they might need it. In fact, instead of football on weekends we could hold gunfights... Yeah that sounds like fun.
In March 1995, LaPierre sent a fundraising letter to 3.5 million NRA members calling federal law enforcement agents “jack-booted government thugs”
President George H.W. Bush resigned his membership in protest as he pointed out that federal law enforcement agents had protected his life during his Presidency.
Thank you Shirley, You hit the nail on the head. Since when has banks and sporting events become more important then OUR children. Maybe if we quit giving all the attention to the IDIOTS! that go on these rampages the headlines, and start reporting on only the lives that are lost, then maybe this type of thing will quit happening.
"Why is it ok to have armed guards at banks, sporting events, etc., but, not schools?"
Answer: plenty of schools have a single armed cop patrolling, but ultimately this would lead to an increase in taxes to pay for one at every school in the country.
additionally, what are the chances of one cop taking down a gunmen in full body armor that initiates a surprise attack? furthermore, i believe a person was actually present at the oregon mall shooting that was carrying a concealed weapon legally – yet they did nothing because they 'couldn't get off a clear shot'.
lastly, do we even need to talk about the trayvon martin case? if a gun wasn't involved, both people would be alive and the truth between zimmerman's actions would come to fruition – instead he killled an unarmed kid.
Wayne...what a complete jerk! WHY would anyone want guns in school? As a retired teacher I can't even imagine such a scenario...with young children around. We do not need ASSAULT rifles...I don't have a problem with the hunting guns.
Why don't they have a federal program to arm school officials like the airline federal flight deck officer program? I'm sure there are plenty of school officials that would participate in such a program. It is a shame we cannot protect our children in schools. The best defense if a great offense. In addition, our society should shun a video game industry that sensationalizes killing as a game or something cool and fun. We can have an armed officer running cars off at the airport picking up our family, but we cannot find the resources to protect our schools? For every sheriff deputy serving parking duty at an airport, there should be one for a school. We're talking about protecting our children. What can be more important?
Here's the problem with the "Columbine" arguments: Columbine happened after the enactment of the Clinton "assault" weapons ban, magazines holding more than 10 illegal, etc – the very same laws that several congressional leaders want to reenact right now. Those laws were not effective then, they won't be effective now. Focus on the underlying cause and not just the instrument chosen by the killer.
Who pays for these guards? The schools? The schools can't even afford to keep teachers on staff or update their text books.