December 21st, 2012
01:42 PM ET
10 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. Gurgyl

    NRA sob is crazy. Push GUN-CONTROL LAW. This nation is everyone's. Not NRA's. NRA is worst than animals.

    December 21, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. adampeart

    If you care for the children BAN SWIMMING POOLS! Someone has to do something about these swimming pools! 350 children under the age of 5 die every year in this country due to swimming pools! It's an epidemic that must be stopped! The government needs to put guards in the backyard of everyone who has a swimming pool at tax payer expense! And don't even try to blame the irresponsibility of the parent, or the actions of individuals because we all know it's the swimming pools that are to blame! There are too many swimming pools on the streets of America, threatening our children everyday! America is insane! There are swimming pools everywhere! And they're not even registered with the state! And can you believe people can get swimming pools without a background check? The swimming pools are permeating our culture and destroying children's and families' lives! The problem with swimming pools is so bad that kids are even finding them in their schools and public recreation facilities! It's easier for kids to get access to swimming pools than it is to get pot! We need a billion dollar federal commission to study swimming pools and genius politicians to find a law that will make sure no one will ever drown again! It's for the children! The proliferation of swimming pools in this country must stop! Now! Save us from the swimming pools Obama and Congress! Please! Think of the kids!(Don't worry about those brown ones in mud huts though, they don't have swimming pools.... you can still drone bomb the crap out of them, we don't mind.)

    December 21, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Nash

    This is shameful. I have nothing against anyone who wants to own a gun, but putting armed police officers in schools will cost money that the NRA will not help pay. Arming some teachers as some states have suggested is dangerous. Teachers are trusting with kids they know. There is no telling what can happen if a teacher's gun is used to kill students or God forbid a teacher go on rampage and kill students. I am for arming school employees if there are laws allowing criminal and civil penalties for those employees if their guns are used in commission of crimes against children or used to kill children. NRA's position to arm people is just another invitation to harm our children.

    December 21, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Data Driven

    Should've stayed quiet, NRA.

    This is all going according to script, isn't it? NRA doubles down on extremity; most of the country reacts with a shudder.

    You should've stayed quiet today, NRA.

    December 21, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Act III: 2013 Tea Bag suicide march to the fiscal cliff

    I will not be happy until I own a personal nuke to protect my home.

    December 21, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. rs

    Sure, rather than their sick addiction to high-powered weaponry, crazy Wayne La Pierre proposes tax payers suck up a multi-billion dollar plan to place armed guards at schools. 33370 schools x 28,900 (median wage for a security guard) x 3 (why not?) guards=$2,893,179,000.
    Mr. La Pierre- are you and the members of the NRA going to pay that for your "rights" and our children's safety?

    December 21, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. California Gary

    The answer for too many guns on the street? More guns. Brilliant!

    December 21, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. John Saseen

    Here's a thought. Instead of taking away the right to own a gun, how about we tax them like we do other high profile items. We pay gross amounts of taxes on cigarettes for health care purposes, and gasoline for road building and maintenance. Therefore instead of taking away guns, I purpose a 20-30% tax on the purchase of all new and used revolvers, a 40-50% tax on the purchase of all new and used semi automatic handguns, a 60-70% tax on the purchase of all new and used assault type rifles, and a 500% tax on all ammunition. Use the money to hire and train security guards for our schools, theatres, shopping malls and other high profile areas that may seem fit to use them.

    December 21, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    The NRA statement leaves Republicans stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can't hire more guards without coming up with the money to pay for them. It has been their talking points and policies for well over a year that we have too many police officers and they have been getting education budgets.

    I say this. If you want your child to attend a school with armed guards, then you need to consider home schooling. Better yet, find a private school that hires mercenaries, one that conducts classes in an armed bunker. I have a right in my pursuit of happiness and peace of mind that my child is not exposed to a powder keg. I'll accept the current risks. There are too many things that could go wrong, and I definitely don't want my taxes to go up just to indulge the infectious superstions of a paranoid delusional minority.

    December 21, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Kelby in Houston, TX

    the solution to this problem is NOT more guns
    A good guy with a gun can easily become a bad guy with a gun

    December 21, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    I can't help but wonder about ALL the mothers out there who have lost children due to gun violence and there was NO personal remarks from the president, no moment of silence, no candlelight vigils, no lowering of the national flag, no nonstop media coverage and no remarks whatsoever from the NRA. Ask those mothers if their childrens deaths hurt ANY less than those massacred last week. To those mothers I say-you're in MY thoughts and prayers.

    December 21, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. sean

    This will be good for gun sales at least...

    December 21, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Shame...shame...shame. On a day of silent reflection in honor of the fallen children, the NRA should have muted its rhetoric and propoganda.

    December 21, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Calidip

    Uhmmm... TSA anyone? Patriot Act? NDAA?

    December 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. ST

    Unbelievable! Arming teachers and principals is not the solution. La Pierre and his fellow republicans should understand this. It is like telling a very, very sick person who needs an operation to take aspirin tablets. It won't help him at all. It will silence the pain for a while BUT he will eventually die.

    December 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. bugugkareng

    who elected the NRA?

    December 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. qubee

    The NRA should really stand for Not Really Accountable. What a sad and pathetic joke on the american public.

    December 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Solesoaky

    If "guns don't kill people, people kill people", then don't let the people have guns that fire a lot of bullets really quickly.

    Easy peasy.

    December 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Joe

    No place is safe now. Obviously that is true, or all these shootings would not be happening. If its too late to get guns off the streets, then the only other way is to protect yourself. All the rest is just political nonsense.

    December 21, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Joe

    To all the small government, Republicans advocating for armed guards in schools, how exactly are you suggesting we pay for this?

    December 21, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Mike in SA

    Ban all guns! (Won't help) Make murder illegal (already done...doesn't work) Outlaw guns just like we outlaw illegal drugs (see how well that works). I fully support the idea of armed guards, but if not that, at the very least, solid doors with dead bolts activated from the inside, panic buttons in all classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, etc. Oh...and no more "Gun Free Zones" might as well just advertise to the criminal where the "soft" target is.

    December 21, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. tigerakabj

    I think the country is beginning to really see post-election that the powers that almost foisted Romney on us are more malevolent than we thought.

    1. Not even the conservative bill that Boehner drew up was conservative enough for the majority of the GOP. It was essentially a vote of no confidence in him. It is clear that the inmates are now running the GOP asylum.
    2. The NRA comments. Enough said.
    3. Of course you've got the usual talk radio headed by Limbaugh that also helped create this.

    Given the demographic time bomb that is going off day by day, it's pretty evident that they will not go quietly into that good night. They had absolutely no regard for the election results and they won't stop just b/c the American people told them "no."

    Look alive people. Forward.

    December 21, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |

    So I supposed the NRA will foot the costs associated with arming school officials? The NRA is yet another good ole boy organization full of rich, white, old men, a handful of white women, and a few token minorities.

    December 21, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. sue

    LaPierre is a very evil man. Like, he's on the same moral level of Mexican druglords.
    No difference whatsoever, only he flaunts his billions openly, they hide in slums.

    I'd rather deal with Don Corleone and the Mafia then deal with guys like LaPierre e the NRA.
    The Mafia is cleaner.

    December 21, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Ace

    Way to politicize everything....That's why I can't watch the boob tube much anymore, if this rhetoric from both sides continues maybe shutting down the computer next

    December 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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