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. Eric

    In response to dave: There were two armed guards at Columbine and we saw how effective they were....

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. zzz

    After a week's silence and this is the best thing NRA can offer. Give me a break. Even Sarah Palin can do better than that.

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. jamessavik

    Yes of course any disagreement with the party line is disturbing when you are a brain washed zombie that can't think for yourself.

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. JD

    "Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a "way of life"."

    Nice, so now we agree that video games are to blame? How about the movies? The fast food we feed kids? How about the air?

    Given we are all so messed up with video games, movies, food, etc. why give us guns? Who do we trust? Who is the bad guy?

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Ian

    The President is endangering himself and his family by allowing men armed with handguns, submachineguns, fully automatic AR's, and high powered scoped rifles around him. The President should try to keep himself safe just like schoolchildren and not let any guns around him at all. If guns are around you're "inviting" trouble. I think I understand the logic now.

    Like a previous poster said
    "A good guy with a gun can easily become a bad guy with a gun"

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. bobbski

    NRA = No Reasonable Answers.

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Dan

    You can't outlaw bad guys. If teachers had a firearm on campus to protect the school, why would you fear them turning them against the kids? Did you know teachers are not frisked when we come to work? When's the last time a teacher went on a rampage?

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. tp1776

    the NRA leadership and a portion (not all) of gun owners have OCD when it comes to gun rights. In the face of murder, they cling to their guns. That in itself is frightening.

    December 21, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Chuck

    The problem with liberals is that they don't think, they feel. Since Adam Lanza used a gun to kill, it feels right to ban guns. But all they are doing in selling freedom for an illusion of safety. Living in a free society carries with it inherent risk. The only way to remove risk in a free society is to remove freedom.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. cw

    Dave, I can argue that the tragedy may have still happened very simply... There was an armed guard at Columbine; he sure did a good job stopping Harris and Klebold.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. doug

    my question is: when are the voters in this country going to WAKE UP? and take their voting responsibilty serious? in order to ensure NRA Congress men and women and Tea Party extremists (Bohener and Cantor for starters) find themselves in the unemployment lines!!! do not be swayed by their slick, mis-informed re-election propaganda. We have no one to blame but ourselves until these wackos are out of office!

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. SeanNJ

    And then we sit and wait for the day when one of the armed, trained security personnel snaps and commits the same heinous atrocity that they're supposed to prevent.

    Ridiculous idea.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Sidney

    I don't like the NRA but I agree with putting a police officer in every school.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Eric

    The only solution to actually prevent this from happening is arming someone at schools. Germany has had 2 school massacres since 2005 and has very strict gun control. The problem is, most people on here jumping off about how the NRA is responsible and the politicians stating their perspectives probably do not even know this fact. Taking guns away still will not prevent these issues – period. What bothers me is how stupid policitians are – they are the ones that have blood on their hands if they do not follow these recommendations.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Fred

    Mike in San Antonio, I'm absolutely certain your family is in danger...from you.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. bobbski

    NRA= No Reasonable Answers.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Jersey Proud

    I honestly thought the NRA was going to come up with some lip service idea for better background checks or some sort of idea that might make them look less crazy for a little while. I didn't think they would actually pursue these ideas but just say something that would make them look a little better in the public eye. But nope, they went out full crazy. It's not a "grand theft auto" game Wayne...it's a school.

    Any GOPers want to say something besides they are sorry. Mr. Paul Ryan...the Catholic Gun guy....anything? I would imagine pro-life would also include keeping kids alive after they are born. You may not like to hear this but countries with less guns have less kids being killed in them. Advocating for gun control is also being pro-life.

    Disgusting.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Fupped Duck

    How will we pay for these trained people? One at each door? LaPierre, put he Koolaid down.
    This is the beginning of anarchy if we let it happen.
    As an American I choose not to have a gun. That is my right as an American.
    That is what a civilized society with civilized human beings is all about.
    Those who wish to rule by fear (gun toting) can look at repressive countries of the world see themselves.
    Stop the nonsense, put the gun down. You can hunt to eat and for sport, but a gun is not something that has any right to be anywhere you see fit because I don't want your gun near me. Can I have a court order to keep guns 1,000 feet away from me? That would work.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Justin

    Wow what a surprise – The NRA's solution to gun violence in America is........(drum roll please)....MORE GUNS !!!!!

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Doug

    I now believe the truly insane person is Mr. Lapierre. Arm teachers? Why stop there? Why not all clergy, all nurses, all professors and then all students? Is America really a civilized society?

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. rep

    lets ban all cars and trucks look how many people die each yr . lets also ban fatty food that kills people everyday from heart attacks, also ban smoking that kills thousands everyday. no we wont do that coz the gov makes big money on that , how about drunk driving lets blame booze on drunk drivng lets ban that also ,, wake up people!

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "aren't even popular among the law abiding gun owners it represents," Kelly said."

    That's because it doesn't really represent them, Mark. It represents the manufacturers and dealers instead. The NRA is a defense industry lobbyist in civilian clothing.

    December 21, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Raine

    The NRA won't change it's position on ownership on SOME TYPES not ALL types of personally owned weaponry or multi-cartridge ammunition.

    So now we're going to turn our schools, which use to be a safe haven for children, into high security armed guard type prison camps with "on call SWAT teams".....what's to stop anyone from shooting students as they LEAVE the school bldg or shoppers that decide to stop at the Mall or grocery store to purchase a few things?

    20 kids & 6 adults were wiped off the face of the Earth inside what should have been considered a safe environment full of love & learning taught by wonderful teachers & support staff. In a few months this mass murder will fade in to memory as has every other mass murder that's occurred over the last several years. Still no change.....

    Would the NRA change it's views IF this happened in a school where the children of Congressmans, Senators, House of Reps OR the NRA President/VP attend & it was THEIR child or adult loved one who was murdered by a "mentally ill person" who had access to weaponry of this nature in their own home? Just a thought here....

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Chuk

    Of course that's what he wants! This will lead to higher gun sales; anything for a buck.
    Here's a question for you: Who are going to be the proponents of this senseless idea of posting armed guards in every school? Those who are screaming the loudest about "excessive govt spending". When it comes to unlimited military spending and paranoia ideas like these, govt spending is not an issue. But for the country to do sensible things: bridges, education, clean air, research, helping the poor and jobless, they scream of "excessive spending".
    So what happens after we "protect" all schools with armed guards, do we then start "protecting" all work places too? Rubbish.

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Pat in il

    The NRA people are getting way too vigilante and creepy. They are starting to scare me more than anything. Do they want to be our version of the Taliban.....police of everything???

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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