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. Jack Alex

    I just became a NRA life member

    December 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Dan Crawford

    The concept of an armed person in our schools is not new-school liaison officers have been around since the 1950's, and are accepted and successful anywhere they are used. They are used as a resource-not only to investigate crimes in schools, but child abuse cases, and to teach safety classes. However, they are expensive, and often the first cut in a budget crisis. Perhaps this safety crisis trumps the budget crisis.....bucks for liaison officers and getting the mental cases entered into the national firearms data base seems a lot better use of our funds than most of what we spend our federal money on.....the whole thing could be paid for with the money we send in foreign aid to countries that hate us.

    December 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Fox

    They just don't get it!!!

    December 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Total Cereal

    More guns = fewer deaths.

    Or

    Zero guns = zero gun deaths.

    Which is absolutely, certifiably true?

    December 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Evan

    Wait, arming teachers and giving "everybody guns" is NOT what the guy said. He asked for trained, armed security personnel to be in the schools. We're talking about having armed police officers on site. I may not agree with everything else he said, or most of what the big "pro-gun" crowd state, but I'm on board with this as PART of the solution.
    1) Armed, trained security onsite.
    2) Ban on ASSAULT weapons.
    3) Tighter regulation for licensing of guns, including regular pyschological evaluations
    4) Implement RFID style trigger locks on all commercially sold firearms.
    5) Remove loopholes that exist for purchasing guns without normal checks.

    December 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. enuftrashtalk

    Right, the only way to stop a mentally ill person with an assault rifle, or a Glock, or both, is to make every school an armed fortress. Oh, and while your at it, don't forget every day care center and maternity ward. I'm sure the idea will go over big with Nuns at Catholic schools who will be asked to arm themselves.

    Perhaps courts should look into the ability of NRA officials to carry arms. They are looking a little "unbalanced" themselves.

    December 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. HS

    I dont exactly think it is a bad thing really. Anyone disturbed and psycho will find a gun no matter what laws are in place. Who are the ones who obey the laws of this land? law abiding citizens that is who not a psycho bent on killing but had their been an armed guard there he would not have been able to take his time like he did in Newton...I mean look at why he killed himself because he heard the sirens coming. He understood the barrel of a gun though. Do bank robbers take their time robbing a bank or are they rushed because they know that police are coming with guns?

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Rogue351

    The NRA does not care about your rights, your saftey, or your children. Do Not be fooled !! The NRA only concern is MONEY. How will new laws may decrease the sale of firearms in the USA which will directly impact the NRA bottom line. How many times are we as a nation willing to stand by and watch family after family be destroyed over guns and gun laws. It is true guns do not kill people. People with guns kill greater numbers of people. I am tired of the NRA making money off of the lives of Americans and then turning around and in this case hidding behind the consitution. If that is what the founding father actually had in mind then I am not sure their wisdom is all that sound.

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Guy

    First of all, I listened to Mr. LaPierre's remarks and at no time did he suggest arming teachers. He suggested guarding our schools like we guard our banks, airports, court houses, etc. Given the logic of many of the other posters, it seems we should not have armed security around the White House or Capitol building as this is offensive and dangerous. Also, if good guys with guns can easily become bad guys with guns, then we should disarm all law enforcement officers to preclude one of them from going rogue. Where is Alice and the White Rabbit – at MSNBC and CNN.

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Tzion

    What I find disturbing is that a vast majority of democrats are against protecting our children. Instead of coming up with measures to protect children in our countries schools, they are focusing on their own personal target of blame. Any time there is a major gun shooting covered they blame the guns and call for reforms. Instead they should be looking into ways to stopping shootings at schools all together. This could quite easily be done by having security personnel located at those schools that decide they need such protection.

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Ryan Jackson

    So what's the solution then? Continue to have gun-free zones that are obviously a target and will continue to be no matter what laws are passed? It's time we as Americans put fear into the criminals minds, not the other way around. I want that person who is hell bent on shooting up a place to have those second thoughts about running into an armed civilian.

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Joe

    LaPierre must be a sociopath to say this one week after such a tragic massacre. Such a shame.

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Ohreally

    There was am armed guard at Columbine and we see how well that worked.

    December 21, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. sqeptiq

    Wayne LaPierre is NOT evil; he's CRAZY!

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. worldbeat99

    Oh great. The NRA has found a way to sell even more guns. For the new armed guard program they want in every school. Why did I think that NRA was going to actually show some common sense and help regulate automatic rifles?

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. LINDA OPERLE

    Not the Mothers fault for having these guns in a home with a mentally disturbed child but rather the schools for not having the teachers armed so there could have been a Big gunfight so possibly 40 kids not 20 dead. The NRA needs to be taken on for what they are proponents of violence & murder. We are stripped before getting on a plane and yet here is our own country we are arming citizens to wage outright war.

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Bob

    Face facts and understand that no laws will deter criminals, we should without a doubt have armed guards in every school

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -dave

    The NRA did not say ANYTHING about arming teachers or principals; they said trained armed professionals just like at banks, government buildings, train stations and airports!!!!! People in this country live in some dream world. No one can argue that had there been a trained armed professional at that school that A. this horrific unimaginable tragedy may not have even happen or B. that the lose of life would have likely been much lower. No lose of life is acceptable but the reality is it likely would have been much lower.
    *****************************
    Actually, Dave, you're right, they did nto say that. They were pushing for "volunteers", but it raises the question as to how they should be trained, and who should conduct this training. Who will pay for it? Are conservatives willing to accept increases in their local school taxes to make sure these sentries are properly trained for their role? Doubtful. The recommendations that Asa Hutchinson will present will be designed solely to put the NRA in the best possible light, not offering any meaningful solutions. Maybe Ted Nugent could serve on it, and finally make the contribution to our country he avoided over 4 decades ago when he skipped out of service in Vietnam.

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. George

    @ (the dolt) adampeart:

    That's why barriers and pool gates were created – to protect children from SWIMMING POOLS!! Now where are the barriers to protect our children from nuts buying assault weapons?? GET A BRAIN, PLEASE!!!!

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Frankie

    I come from a military and hunting family and grew up with guns my whole life. In fact, my brothers probably own well over 20+ guns each, six brothers by the way. So I am in no way against guns, but having said that the only persons who need the military style guns are military. I know that this will not stop anyone from getting these guns if they so choose, but to do nothing is not the answer. If banning the sale of these guns or ammo would save even one child, it would be worth it. Many say it is the right to stand up to tyranny of the government. Sure that made sense when our government had the same type of weapons as everyone else, but now they have drones, missiles, nuclear so that argument is not really a good one. I say we need to get as much of these military style weapons/ammo out of the hands of those who do not need them.

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. GIUK

    The NRA is more dangerous to the US than any mass shooter.

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Billw

    whenever the GOP speaks, or the NRA makes some stupid remark, I feel like I fell down a rabbit hole. This country is off the tracks and quickly turning psychotic, teenage lawmakers, cowardly congress. Everthing out of Washington is nothing but doublespeak..Orwell lives

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Bennie

    That NRA guy is freaking crazy... MORE GUNS? Seriously?! What next – teachers and principals with automatic weapons, hand grenades, rocket launchers then nukes in schools to protect against the "bad guys"? Where does this end? Why doesn't he just suggest banning schools, so there will be no more school shootings? That is about as sane as the suggestions he provided.

    December 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Jim A

    The NRA misses the point. People can keep their Winchester 30.30 rifles and 6-shot revolvers. What we do not need are semi-automatic assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Viedo games and Hollywood share a blame, but rather than take the high road the NRA once agains shows that the needs of the few (4 million registered members) exceeds the needs of the many (the remaining 310 million Americans).

    December 21, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. LiLa

    Most asinine idea yet.

    December 21, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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