(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.
If your school has a gun problem, give the teachers drugs. If your school has a drug problem, give the teachers drugs.
Just reading the comments of all the delusional, unstable and angry gun owners on this forum should make the case for gun control self evident.
I've always owned guns and have a license to carry a concealed firearm, but the NRA doesn't speak for me. The United States needs reasonable gun control laws to stop this senseless violence. Start with assault rifles and extended magazines. Ban them outright!
Yes we should leave our schools wide open so anyone can just walk right in. Great idea everyone. High fives all around! Yay!
They are idiots...what more would you expect from fools who avocate AK47's as a hunter's right? morons.
Very disappointed in the NRA. Truly, a missed opportunity to unite.
Bloomberg called the statement "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country." What crisis? This is just an incident. If people driving and talking on cell phones don't kill people,people kill people. Then don't let them have cell phones or cars! Adam Lanza used a gun and did something bad. Timothy Mcveigh used a truck full of explosives and did something bad. People that are bad like to do bad things and they will find a way to do that. They were both unstable nut cases. So instead of punishing everyone that is normal and owns a gun, weed out the nut cases and get rid of them instead.
Classic corporate welfare, don't slow down my business instead have the taxpayer expend vast resources to counteract the damage I create on the way to making my millions. Oh, and by the way, don't tax me either. Puts the GOP in another idealogical vise. Do I support the NRA and sign up for vast new federal spending and infrastructure? or do I find a way to the same goal by impinging on a business?
Sad day for america many people listen to this nutshell that promote more american killing, i don't see any difference between him and terrorist, he is a mass murderer. just in 2011 we have lost over ten thousand peoples (when USA will weak up and Ban Gun . (period)
Wow, funny how the responses to their statement are filled with total hyperbole over what was said. I thought it was just the conservatives in this country that did that. OH WHOOPS. Glad I'm not affiliated with either of these two parties, enjoy your civil war tool bags.
Yes of course their comments are disturbing when you disagree with them and are so brain washed you can't see both sides.
@adampeart, you are one of the reasons people should also have a license to breed!
Is tongue in check, I hope, but you are missing the whole point. Nobody needs high power rifles unless you are in the military or police force.
If the police had not arrived as soon as they did at the school theybsouldhave probably been the next target of this monster and they would have lost the fight against an AR 15!
Just had an idea. Take the guns from these low lifes and armed our police departments with better bigger guns against the criminals who are better armed.
The NRA just shot themselves in the foot. Instead offering a solution they want to arm people that are emotionally educators and make them feel very uncomfortable. NRA is sad... very sad.
The thing with guns it is an all or nothing proposition. As long as people who will kill to control and terrorize can get their hands on guns people that use guns to defend themselves has to be the balance. Until the day we all put down our guns that is the reality and that is going to take a huge change in consciousness for us to realize that all life is precious and that the thank you for the gift of life is to take care of life. At that point we will all be free to walk the Earth and marvel at its beauty and mathematical perfection. Image that!
Seriously? Are you all fools? We put armed guards in banks because of a threat that is real. Americans.....THE THREAT TO YOUR CHILDREN IS REAL! Are we going to disarm every lunatic? Is that the goal? Be serious about the odds of success for that. I mean really serious. Lol listen to all of you. In hindsight which of the loved ones of the parents would be crying against armed personnel to protect that school. Learn from their pain or risk suffering it yourself.
Years ago the nra was a sportsman organization. I the 1970s it became the lobbying awrm of the weapons industry. The nra is making the case that we all need to be armed so that weapons dealers can keep selling weapons of mass destruction to civilians. That is not the America we should live in. This is not Syria.
News Flash: NRA announces national program to put armed people everywhere. Says spokesman, "By arming people everywhere, everywhere will be safe." Ho Ho! Now back to you, Nancy, with more news about those dancing penguins!
You folks sound surprised by the NRA's comments today. Why should you be? The NRA is a lobbyist group represented by weapons manufacturers and right wing extremists. The sole economic market for the NRA is America, especially since no one will buy their crap overseas, and the NRA will not be happy until they have turned America into an Iran, Syria, or Somalia. A nice and safe America is bad business for the NRA.
Apparently people have forgotten that the NRA is a political lobby group that primarily represents the interests of civilian gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Of COURSE they're going to say and do ANYTHING that will encourage the purchasing of more guns! DUH!!!
The NRA threw everyone under the bus today that has eroded this country spiritually and morally. Congress, Hollywood, liberals, people who despite calling themselves "intelligent" ignore the facts that were presented today. Ok, if you think guns have no place in schools, then they do not have a place in Banks, Airports, Sports events, The police office, The CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret service, the military, gangs, thugs, robbers or any other place in this country. PERIOD.
The remarks of the NRA earlier today are completely insane and shows they are out of touch with reality. So, those of us in America who believe these types of weapons and high volume clips need to be band from ownership by the general public, who by the way, FAR out number all those who belong to the NRA or have these types of weapons in their possession, need to INSIST that Congress move to amend the gun laws "immediately" and if they refuse then they're out the door. It's time for the political maneuvering to stop and governing to start!
I know, why not just issue every newborn with a gun and when they start kindergarten they can put it in their little backpacks and if a bad guy comes in they all pull out their guns and blow him away.
More guns in schools! Idiots.
And if the armed person in a school kills a child can he be sued for murder?? How about an armed guard in every store, every bus station, on every corner, in every movie theater-bullets spraying everywhere and how does that make us safer???
Why do the rights of these gun nutters to own a dozen assault rifles and tens of thousands of rounds of ammo supersede the rights of 20 little kids to not be ripped apart by bullets?
What is at the end of this road that the NRA seems to want to pave? All I can see is a repeat of the "Wild West" of the 19th century.... This is just disgusting to me.