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. The Thinker

    I was really surprised by how many people DID NOT think that speech was the most ridiculous thing they've ever heard. By my estimation, 75% of the NRA members should be burning their cards right now. We'll see.

    December 21, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Jack R.

    I have owned guns all my life , have a CWP, hunt and enjoy the outdoors . But not Once in my years of being a gun owner Did I or think I needed a Weapon like these Military Class weapons ! Nobody needs them and It's time they are Laws Passed to stop them being So Handy to get. I live in Va. and have read all the reportsa about how weapons here are bought and used else where in Crime, that needs to be stopped also. Dern Shame to see Sportsmen being used for and By the NRA for their Political reasons. They don't Represent Me and 80 % of the People that owm Firearms. Get the Laws passed and get these things Off the Streets, that's from a Gun Owner...

    December 21, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. James Ra

    Yet another article from CNN with an anti-gun slant. Had anyone else recomended putting armed security in place at schools without it, heads would nod in approval. Why is this a bad idea? Don't we want children to feel safe, enable community interaction with law enforcement, possibly limit and prevent crime? Don't we have armed law enforcement present in every day life? Why the hell is this any different?

    December 21, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. RaymondT

    what is so hard to understand here? We put armed guards to protect our president, our courts, our sport venues etc Is our schools that not important to you so we don't need to protect them the same way or even better??? Have the gun-free zones in school have worked so far?

    December 21, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Karl

    It's considered common sense to have armed security personnel at airports and at large public events, but it's shameful to have armed security to protect our schools? This sounds like a blind hatred of guns rather than an argument against the NRA's idea. Any time our representatives are so excited to limit freedoms or restrict liberty, everyone should push back.

    December 21, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. TJ

    So my question is if you have an armed guard in these schools who's to say the gunman who evidently knew the school as he was a former student and would know the employees.....why wouldnt he first take out the armed security? I mean whatever you do is going to be the wrong thing whether your a democrat or a republican.

    December 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Don

    Let's keep it simple. Possession of an assault-style weapon should be illegal without a permit, background check, appropriate training and an effective way to secure the weapon when it is stored. If that would save even one child's life, I'd be willing to sign up for that process for my AR-15. I think it's incredibly selfish to place the lives of others below our desire to own our guns. If we can't be that responsible then maybe we aren't mature enough to own a gun in the first place.

    December 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Stryder

    The NRA is absolutely insane and completely out of touch with the way Americans truly feel. Armed guards in our schools? Are you kidding me? The last thing... the VERY LAST thing we need more of now, are more guns. That is NOT a proper solution. I am all for championing gun rights as I own guns and have been around them all my life. But enough is enough!!! We already have enough of a police state here in the US. Our children don't need to go to school in fear that something may happen. Armed guards is utter insanity. The NRA is officially out of line and off their rocker.

    December 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Name freckles

    I am all for armed police officers at my kids schools. I don't see the problem with that statement. Perfectly logical to me! Please let's get to it so my children our safe. Don't fool yourself into thinking the sons and daughters of congress don't have that peace of mind. Why shouldn't our children be safe.

    December 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. Braeden

    What's ironic is everyone acts so appalled by these comments yet in "gun free" countries like Italy, Germany, and France, armed guards stand outside of every school no matter what. Even students have to flash their ID to get in the school. Yet, it's mentioned in America and we act appalled because of our political divisions and hatred of everything that isn't our own idea.

    December 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. shep

    The NRA is fostering the equivalent a paranoia driven nuclear arms race. Deterrence based on more bullets, high tech targeting and individual bunkers in the form of kevlar vests and backpacks

    December 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Dom

    I think the NRA should have included in the statement that it agreed limiting the size of gun clips to eight rounds is reasonable and that there needs to be more work done to improve background checks.

    I think we should require the same type of testing and registration we require for automobile drivers for gun owners. So for me it isn't about making the guns illegal it is about controlling who has them and making them validate they are still metally stable enough to own them each year. Part of the testing is validating who has access to the gun and if it is stored properly. The police should be allowed to confiscate the gun if the answers to the test are not appropriate or if the gun owner doesn't renew thier gun license each year. So leave all the guns legal – just require a license and if you don't pass the required tests or even take the tests then the gun is confiscated until you do.

    I do agree with the NRA about the idea of putting security guards at schools. I think it would be a great deterent for mass shootings at schools but we need to recognize this isn't about schools it is about mass shootings.

    December 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. D L

    I support the NRA's idea... I work in education and I am a concealed carry permit holder. Let me protect myself and those around me. In my state we have a certified firearms instructor that is offering to train educators for free!

    December 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Andy

    I'm a Canadian, so my reaction to this is a little different; I feel quite safe in my city, because pretty much no one owns a gun. Is that wrong?

    December 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. James Ra

    Yet another article from CNN with an anti-gun slant. CNN, what is your malfunction? Had anyone else recomended putting armed security in place at schools without it, heads would nod in approval. Why is this a bad idea? Don't we want children to feel safe, enable community interaction with law enforcement, possibly limit and prevent crime? Don't we have armed law enforcement present in every day life? Why the is this any different?

    December 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Flynn

    Wow, what a one-sided editorial, posing as a news story. So, we should become a nation of sheep? Baaaa humbug!

    December 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Girl Next Door

    Oh my goodness our schools already have an ARMED deputy at every school and have since Columbine. My child has never even paid any attention to him and if anything he is a buddy to the children there. I don't look at him as meaning we live in a violent America and neither does my child. QUIT putting words in OUR mouths. WE the PEOPLE can speak quite well on our own. I LOVE that there is an armed officer at my daughters school. I do NOT think we should FORCE a teacher or principle to carry a gun but if they feel they want to and can protect my child should a 2nd defense measure be needed then so be it as long as they are ceritifed and take a mental evaluation.

    December 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Jeremt

    Really? Not ONE mention that Barbara Boxer proposed using National Guard troops as school security? Not one?

    December 21, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. S.T.R.A.T.E.G.Y.

    Strategy. That is all they care about. Protecting their ass- ets and rights. Go extreme to. Strtch the limits that will be imposed.

    December 21, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Dom

    Isn't it crazy all the money this country spends fighting drugs but we allow guns to be traded freely. Just saying – guns kill faster than drugs and when you mix the two you can expect very bad results.

    December 21, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    Why only the right to bear arms?.........why NOT the right to bear WMDS...nuclear bombs, RPGs, Helicopter gunships, armored trucks?....WMDS are arms too, right?

    The NRA Wayne LaPierre & the rest of these idiotic card-carrying members can arm themselves with WMDS or some nuclear weapons so they can feel alot more secure in the homes...hey, why NOT let your kids & babies play with your guns & armo....guns dont kill people, right?

    IDIOTS!!!! The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    December 21, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. veggieconquistadora

    We have actually had a loaded gun brought into my school this year (no injuries, as security found the student and confiscated it after hearing the rumors), but guess what? When we asked our kids about safety concerns, they expressed that they absolutely did NOT want armed guards/security/officers because they were afraid of the weapons being taken from them while they were breaking up fights. Instead, they requested more thorough student and adult checks going through the metal detectors. I have to agree.

    December 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. John 1

    Give Wayne LaPierre a mustache and he sure looks and sound like a dictator from WW2

    December 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. bob vu

    If anyone wants to fire an assault weapon, etc..feel free to enlist in the army. I'm sure you can fire as many rounds you like in Afganistan. This way, you can serve your country too.

    December 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. PatSJ

    I watched the news conference and was appalled. That is their solution – armed guards at all schools? And then what, armed guards at all theaters and shopping malls and senior proms and golf tournaments?

    December 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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