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. JohnS

    LaPierre would have been wiser remaining silent following this tragedy. As a HS teacher, it didn't take long to learn that most of the Sheriff's Dept. deputies serving as School Resource Officers had a constant fear of having their weapon grabbed by an impulsive student. One shared that he kept it unloaded in his holster, after was wrestled away while breaking up a fight. Also, given the financial constraints in our school system, would the NRA be willing to sacrifice some of it millions in campaign contributions to pay for and train these armed guards?

    December 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Ray

    As a concealed carry permit holder, firearms owner, parent and concerned american i will volunteer to serve as a guard at my local school...

    December 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. MaryM

    NRAs Wayne LaPierre response to the shooting in Newtowns elementory school is exactly what the gun manufactures told him to say if the NRA want to continue to receive the millions and millions of dollars that the Gun manufacturers pay the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Jeff K from PA

    Watched Wayne LaPierre of the NRA now. His response was pathetic. The NRA’s position is to put more armed guard in schools. I’m a gun owner. Shotguns, rifles, pistols. I don’t own an assault rifle. If the NRA really believes armed guards are the answer then let it be funded it by crippling taxes on the gun industry. How about a $10,000 tax on every gun capable of shooting more than 6 shots before reloading?

    In my opinion this is the NRA’s Waterloo and they are rapidly drowning under the rising tide of the public’s exhaustion with the NRA’s unwillingness to provide real meaningful contributions to solving the problem. I had hoped for better, but expected what I just watched.

    Every amendment in the Bill of Rights is subject to limitations. Why not the 2nd? What is it about ‘A well regulated militia’ does the NRA understand? Can banning 30 shot clips be considered part of being well regulated?

    NRA spiraling into irrelevance except for the true believers.

    Every time I receive an application to join I throw it in the trash because of this. Now I’m going to start taping them to bricks and sending them pack postage paid. Maybe they will get the message.

    December 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. PatSJ

    The NRA response was to 1) claim they were the victims because they "were being attacked" after Newtown, 2) blame "the media" for equating assault rifles/machine guns/military weapons (which I haven't seen any of, but the NRA says its all over the place), and 3) offer as a solution that all schools have armed guards. Maybe the 4 million "Mothers and Fathers" of the NRA should offer to pay for that?

    December 21, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Frank

    What about day care centers? How about churches? How about playgrounds? Pools? How much will it cost to have armed officers at all of these places? - it would cost billions. And I assume these armed officers will need semi-automatic weapons so that they can match those of the nutty NRA right who constantly threaten are children. What a sham and bastion of cowardice the NRA has turned into.

    December 21, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Snooze

    Arming teachers is an absolutely stupid idea. Teachers don't become teachers so they can pack a gun. What happens if an event occurs and a teacher shoots the wrong person in confusion. What happens when police arrive at a situation and see an armed person? Do they know if the person is a teacher or a suspect? Having police officers in the schools makes sense. They are trained and know best how to protect students in schools. In my old district each high has two officers in every high school, one at each middle school but I'm not sure about the elementary schools. After this tragic event in Newtown I will bet our district will make sure the elementary schools are covered as well.

    December 21, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. DT

    Our kids are sitting ducks out there. I don't like having additional government expenses to regulate firearms, but something has to be done. On one hand, I think fast food is more dangerous to kids than the low probability of a maniac shooting up my kid's school. On the other hand, they have a point about having someone ready to fire at one of these guys.

    I am just disturbed that we are willing to throw the spotlight on a threat that is not even on the top 10 reasons why any of us will likely die. Heart disease and cancer have been the top killers for DECADES. Why are we not outraged that we could have probably cured cancer instead of fighting boogey men.... er i mean terrorists.

    December 21, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. dr smith

    If we could make these armed gaurds blend with faculty concealing their weapons and trained to show a smile to the kids with kevlar under their shirt I could go for that... Im sure plenty of American men and women would be proud to work this job and would lay their lives on the line for the children...

    December 21, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Someone U. Dunno

    The one thing that I believe should be done is have soon-to-be gun owners sit through a mandatory class depicting the proper safety, local carrying/operating laws, and storage/security of guns. In the case of the Sandy Hook shooter, the weapons belonged to his mother. Had he not have had access to the guns due to proper storage/security of the guns, this probably wouldn't have happened. Leaving weapons out in the open within the home is asking for an accident/incident to occur.

    December 21, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. dailyideology

    Ryan Hartmann, in the several mass shootings in the US alone this year, only 1 has been in a gun-free (school) zone. Yet, you go all the way back to 1950. I seem to remember a University of Texas shooting in which the shooter used a military-style sniper rifle (sound familiar?) in a massive shooting spree. Back then, there was no laws against bringing weapons onto a school campus.

    Mr. Hartmann, you owe it to yourself to learn something about American history before continuing to make irresponsible comments.

    December 21, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. 21k

    strange part of this discussion is that all the hero-wanna-be gun nuts will rail against "big gubbamint" when the talk turns to raising taxes to pay for all the armed guards, who are put in place to prevent members of their own gun nut nation from killing more kids with the guns that they want everyone to carry. by the way, if a wanna-be-hero kills an innocent bystander as they shoot randomly into a crowd, will the victim's family get to perform the lethal injection at the execution?

    December 21, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Common Sense

    In the U.S. a lone gunman kills 20 children in a few minutes with a gun. In China, a man using a knife wounds over 20 children. None die. Guns don't kill. People do.

    December 21, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. jon

    Okay, let me get this straight, you guys don't want protection for your children?

    December 21, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. 1centFree

    Leave it up to the NRA and they will replace Gym 101 with Marksmanship 101. Heck, they'd probably send every newborn home from the hospital with a free 9mm Glock and a box of diapers.

    December 21, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Elmer P.

    I think that every child pre-K and up needs a gun in every pants pocket, plus a spare in the backpack. If they are carrying a lunch pail to school, they need to pack some extra heat with that PBJ sandwich, can't be too careful! All school crossing guards need to be fully armed too. No more holding out a stop sign, that shows weakness. Replace the sign with a rifle and all will stay calm. Finally, PE classes are overrated and don't stop kids from getting fat. Make all the outdoor school playgrounds/tracks/fields shooting ranges and will prove that we are not wusses about school security.

    December 21, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. MVR123

    NRA's comments reflect 'an eye for an eye' approach... I guess you know where its going to end..

    December 21, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Charles

    Pathetic response to 20 dead children. They should be classified as a terrorist organization. More guns is not the answer.

    December 21, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. nancheska

    The more people learn how disturbing the NRA's viewpoints are, the better. Maybe even more people can put pressure on Congress to legislate, and Congress can get outa the NRA's pocket. If what happened last Friday isn't a wakeup call for everyone, nothing will be. Guns+guns don't = safety.

    December 21, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Steve

    Keep these guns under lock and key in a steel cabinet so if someone thinks, " if I'm going to kill myself anyway, I might a well take a bunch of others out too. Oh look, here's what I can use, my moms assult weapon." If people can't keep these guns secure, they should be the ones going to jail. Maybe others will start locking them up.
    I think it's alright to have guns but, keep them in a safe place.

    December 21, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. dr smith

    yes if armed gaurds are required it should be paid for with a value added tax on guns and ammo.

    December 21, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Teknarik

    Ever since 9/11 majority of the filghts in passenger airplanes now have at least one air marshall person sitting in one of hte seats with a loaded gun. Why is he there? That's right, to protect rest of the passengers and crew members from a possible attack. The only thing about school is that its not like a plane, its huge, and if you only arm one person, he or she may not be able to get fast enough to where the attack is taking place. That is why arming several school teachers would be even better idea. They don't have to flash their gun at people all day long to let them know they have it. Like in an ariplane, you never know who maybe an airmarshall there. But yet we continue to fly.

    December 21, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Patrick

    The NRA should be formally charged with bribing and extorting elected officials of the United States government. The courts should disband the organization as they have done with the Klan and other groups who threaten the rights of citizens, and the health and safety of our country.

    December 21, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Nick

    NRA want to turn America from the Land of the Free to the Land of the policed.

    December 21, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. iTALIAN NONNO

    Putting armed guards in schools will only embolden someone who is determined to carry out an attack,..they will look for more sinister ways and weapons,..it's a challenge to them, to defeat the system. I say,.. get the assault rifles off the streets,..increase police presence near schools, and pay for that increased policing, by slapping a heavy tax on every gun and rifle sold.

    December 21, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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