December 21st, 2012
01:42 PM ET
2 years 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. Cannon Angel

    With regards to Mexico's gun laws said by another commentator. Do you know why they're so ineffective? Because the US is importing vast numbers of guns in to Mexico.
    If the US actually adopted intelligent, sensible gun control, that would also serve to reduce the overwhelming horror of gun violence in Mexico as well.

    December 21, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Richard

    Terry. Comments like that are part of the problem. I dont think the vast majority of people think all guns should be outlawed. We just want to have an intellgent discussion on what we can do to prevent these tragedies, or at least make them less likely. We also want to discuss mental health issues and the state of society. Its a discussion about everything. Crying like a little girl about us taking your guns away makes you sound ridiculous. Polls indicate that the majority of people want there to be some common sense restrictions on gun ownership but ultimatekly support the right to own weapons. People like you who want to make this a left or right issue arent helping.

    December 21, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. B3

    The Presidents statement: "to make sure criminals can get their hands on a gun" is a little bit confusing. What legislation prevents them from being criminals ?? Criminals will be Criminals and if they cannot get a gun legally they will get one illegally... Lets face it – the only thing that will stop a criminal from being a criminal are the good guys, with guns or without guns criminals break the law. Criminals intent on killing (Yes, I consider insane individuals who kill, CRIMINALS because they kill) will get guns illegally. I support NRA – but more importantly I support protecting innocent victims from persons who intend to kill them. NRA is right. Only good guys will stop bad guys – sometimes, as in the case of the Newtown, CT incident, the good guys were not able (OR LEGALLY AUTHORIZED) to protect themselves, and lets face it, without an armed individual on site, the police are too far away to stop it.

    December 21, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    More guns aren't the answer. Having people who have them be responsible with their storage and training how to use them is more of what is needed. I don't know how this shooter got a hold of his mother's weapons. It says to me that she didn't secure them well enough.

    December 21, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Joe

    The NRA is Evil, plain and simple. Only cares about themselves.....

    December 21, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. doughnuts

    In the past 50 years, there have been exactly ZERO children killed by fire in schools. There are sprinklers, fire alarms, extinguishers, fireproof and fire-resistant materials in schools, and fire-drill are conducted regularly. No-one calls people paranoid or crazy because we have these things.
    There are storm and disaster plans in place in every school, and no-one thinks this in paranoid.

    Why is there nothing similar in place for school shooting incidents? No bullet-proof glass (Adam Lanza shot his way in). No direct "panic-button" alarms. No "shooter drills" or emergency planning.

    And a security guard without a gun ins't a security guard, he's just another casualty.

    December 21, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. GunOwner

    very weird reaction on a constructive thought

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Chris

    People all over the developed world play violent video games and don't commit mass murder afterwards. Why? Because they don't have access to easily available weapons capable of killing dozens of people in under a minute. There were two cops at Columbine - they were outgunned. Do we really want an America where six-year olds go to schools with guards in body armor and machine guns? That's what we're talking about, because a cop with a service revolver, or a semi-trained teacher with their pistol, are no match for a Kevlar-wearing murderer with an assault rifle.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Lisa

    We didn't take planes away after 9/11...why? Because people didn't die because a plane wanted them to die. They died because other people wanted them to die. Things changed after 9/11. But we still have planes. Things can change now without taking away gun rights. If someone wants to kill someone else, they will find a means to do it. If it's not a gun, it will be something else. I personally do not own a gun, by the way. However, I do believe that common sense goes a long way. If your child is disturbed, it's not the best idea to introduce him to guns or take him to shooting ranges...I can't figure out why people are overlooking people's involvement in these incidents. The guns didn't choose to take people's lives away. A man did. And what would you want to happen if someone approached your child's school and wanted to harm them? Hope that someone shields them with their own life? Or hope and pray that the police get there in time before it's too late? I believe that trained and armed security personnel (who have passed drug tests, other clearances, and a psychological examination) would be the first line of defense for an attack on schools. We have armed guards in banks and other public buildings. Aren't our children more important than money or materials?

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Curt

    @ Shirley " Why is it ok to have armed guards at banks, sporting events etc but not at schools ? " You really don't get it do you? The whole point is that gun violence is out of control in the country. To suggest schools need armed guards is a real sad reflection of what has happened to this country. All the other developed countries allow their citizens to have guns but they have controls and there is not the gun violence that happens in the U.S. And to all those who feel they need guns to protect their families, I"am just wondering are there any stats available stating just how many times in a year this was necessary? Once again sad commentary on the country when so many people think its so dangerous that everyone should arm themselves.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. JW

    I can only tell you that some of the schools in Oklahoma City have their own police department. Colleges in this area also have their own police department. Others have armed security or off duty officers working there. It not only quells disturbances and presents a harder target than the schools who don't have them but it also helps prevent and deter the drug problems that many schools present in America. I think Wayne LaPieire missed an opportunity to include calls for better mental health access and some kind of system where anyone can report mentally disturbed people and there is some kind of action taken to at least check it out.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Sal

    Some of the dumb comments in this post doesn't say much for the smarts of the American people!  GUNS ARE THE PROBLEM

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Esteban

    America , please don't fall for the rhetoric being spewed non stop by the liberals( bloomberg,feinstein,cnn,msnbc,etc.. )lets let our brains do the thinking and not our emotions. The NRA is the only reason we still have the Freedom to own firearms in this country and believe me the liberals want all firearms banned( Bloomberg and Feinstein are nknown gun banners), and to do this takes time ,incrementally over decades pass a ban here pass a ban there and you know what? No more guns at all! Don't believe this well it's exactly what happened in England over about one hundred years!Our children will not have this precious freedom we love in this country.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Smacky Smooth

    Well, did he not get the information correct during the conference..he stated 26 children killed...really? His wanton disrespect of the facts, making an announcement on the same days as 5 funerals, this is a sad sad day for the NRA. I am going to end my membership immediately.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    badman400

    "Malory Archer
    it must be said

    I'll bet that all of the six adults killed and their families and the families of the kids wish they had a gun and training a week ago. They would now be hailed as heroes instead of being mourned as victims. Those on the left seem to prefer the victim scenarios. Very sad.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If no law enforcement or military were ever killed in the line of duty you might have a point. That they DO get killed/injured in the line of duty invalidates your statements. What's REALLY sad is that you attempt to smear "the left" anytime gun violence takes an innocent life."

    Just because some armed soldiers die trying to defend, does NOT invalidate this perfectly reasonable comment. Some or all may have died anyway. There are no guarantees even if an armed guard is in play, but the odds are much better for the survival of would be victims if there is an armed guard present, versus none. Only a fool would disagree with this point.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Funny how you excluded law enforcement officers from your mindless screed. Cherry picking invalidates YOUR claim as well, but thanks for playing!

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Speakeroftruth

    The blood of the children of Newtom are on the hands of the NRA and its supporters as surely as if they themselves pulled the triggers.

    It is time to STOP appeasing the 4 million NRA members who hold hostage – and systemically murder with their policies – 311 American citizens.

    Gun control does work. It works in every other industrialized country. It works in California, despite the ease of going to states with less responsible laws to bring back guns.

    It is time to adopt a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the NRA and its supporters and to call them and the shameful politicians they've bought on their BS. It is time to hold their feet to the fire of the social contract, which is the defining philosophy upon which the United States was founded.

    There is NO moral ground from which to defend civilian gun ownership of semi-automatic high magazine guns and hollow point/armor piercing bullets. NONE. And if you are so stupid to believe having guns in your home makes you safer, then why does every sane law enforcement officer recommend owning a dog (and own dogs themselves) over a gun as the best deterrent to crime?

    YOU are responsible for the deaths of 300,000 Americans annually. YOU. I hope you are proud of yourselves.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. B3

    The President's statement: "to make sure criminals CANNOT get their hands on a gun" is a but confusing.

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Leo

    Didn't Bloomberg brake federal law when he paid people to straw purchase in Arizona and other states? Why is he not behind bars? Why do laws apply to everyone else except him?

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. nate

    Pay for these armed guards with a tax on ammunition and a registration and license fee on guns. Require every gun owner to carry liabilitly insurance. Follow what has been done with cigarettes – put a tax on possession and use to pay for the social costs

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Drew

    Is what happened tragic? Damn right. I have a 7 year old child and the idea of what happened sickens me. HOWEVER, tighter gun restrictions will not stop bad people doing bad things. Had an armed guard been at the school, it could have lessened the toll or even prevented the tragidy entirly. A bad guy intent on killing as many people as he can is not going to go somewhere where he might be stopped. He is going to go to a "gun free" zone where there is no resistance. Criminals dont care what the laws are. Thats why they are criminals. Taking away the tool of a criminal does not make them less of a criminal, because they will find another tool..
    We need to change our culture. Bring back family values, the idea of caring about other people, compassion, volunteerism in our communities. Only that will fix our country..
    the NRA did not kill anyone.
    the Gun Dealer did not kill anyone.
    the Gun Maker did not kill anyone.
    Some sicko killed someone..

    December 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Rob

    NRA: nuts run amok. They really dropped the ball...it reminds me of Romney dropping the ball when asked about whether he agreed with Rush Limbaugh about Sandra Fluk....missed opportunity to gain some supporters by espousing sanity. Instead, they went the insane route.

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. joet

    I have owned guns most of my life and have hunted for about the same duration (50 years). I served in the military. I have yet to have anyone from the NRA rationallly explain to me the need for "cop killer" bullets (which the manufacturer withdrew) as I had never seen a deer or bear wearing kevlar. I further don't understand the need to own an assualt rifle, but then again, I'm not some ridge runnin' redneck who thinks his gun is an extension of his manhood.
    I would strongly suggest the NRA officials read the Second Amendmant and study the history of the time period in which it was written.
    PS: If the NRA would like to put armed guards in schools, terrific. Which NRA office can my school district send the bill for their wages and benefits.

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. MF

    NRA did not suggest to arm teachers and school personal.

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. dan

    If my son's kindergarten teacher, another teacher, or some security professional was carrying a weapon at his school and that policy was well publicized, I would have more peace of mind... let local school boards/districts decide for themselves and if only the redneck rural conservative whatevers choose to implement that policy then let them, and let their children be safer at least

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. james

    What's odd is today I asked many co-workers what they thought about he idea and they all thought the NRA's offer to put trained capable armed guards in the schools was a wonderful idea. I have no idea what these people's political views are, so I would like to think it's an honest although small sampling of the "majority of americans".

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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