December 21st, 2012
01:42 PM ET
9 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. lynn

    Every newborn should receive a gun instead of a baby-rattle. That's the insanity we live in. Schools aren't the only dangerous place; political rally's, college campuses, movie theaters, even sitting on your own front porch and a drive-by shooting kills you. You NRA people are as insane as Adam, just not as obvious in your desire to kill.

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Workhard03

    Why is is bad to do the first thing we can do to secure our kids safety....police in the school? Why would you libs fight that????

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Jim A

    What I have read lately from other comments is the logic that automobiles kill more people than guns. Yes they do, but cars are designed for transportation, guns for killing (the fact guns are used for recreational pursuits such as target practice is a secondary outcome from the original intent). And since we are on automobiles, I guess I rationalize that you need a license to drive. You also need a license to fish, you need a special license to fish special species of fish, you need a license to get married, you need a license to hunt, you need a special license to hunt duck, you need a special license to hunt deer during muzzle-loading season, and your pet needs a license (as well as regular vaccinations and immunizations), to name a few. What is wrong with having a license for purchasing any and all weapons specific to that weapon? And just as people took driver’s education, pre-marriage sessions, and hunter safety classes, people need to enroll in safety classes pertinent to that weapon of purchase. And since driver’s licenses expire every few years then perhaps the gun license expires every few years and must get renewed. In the end, what I see is that laws have to protect people from one another. Most laws exist because irresponsible people abused the freedom and privilege of the initial right granted to them. This is the case now: The abuse of guns has risen to such a level that laws must prohibit specific types of guns. All of us pay for the foolishness of others (such as grocery and retail stores whose prices are high to compensate for the loss of products due to shoplifting).

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. xlanlfc

    The NRA doesn't sell guns you nimrod. What sells guns is talk about gun control. More people are buying guns now than ever before. I don't blame them. I bought an AR-15 right before Clinton's Assault Weapon ban. Clinton made me do it.

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    As usual, 306 million people are scared of about 4 million NRA people. Not one person has the guts to take on the NRA, and Wayne Lapier, personally, and say ,..OK, I will give you advance warning (those kids never even got a warning), that you will be shot. Let's see how you can protect yourself even w /a gun ?

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. blf83

    Way past time for the NRA to recognize that they have perverted the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. It is also way past the time that we, as a nation, demand much tighter gun control laws. While it may (technically) true that guns don't kill people, a similar act of irrationality in China on the same day as Newtown. used knives, nit guns. All survived.

    December 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Henry Allen

    The fundamental issue is that America opened the Pandora's Box of gun violence and now has no answers for its killing culture. This is not the land of the free, but a land of fear.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. open400

    It always seems part of the conservative solution is more guns – more guns now in schools, more guns for private citizens, more guns at the our borders, more guns in our cars, more guns on the street for drug dealers and last but not least – more guns for more wars. We are systematically regressing back to a "Wild West " mentaility.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |

    Oh sure!!! ..have an armed guard at every school, as a walking advertisement for the glorification of guns,..young children are very impressionable. What a twisted and revolting way to recruit more kids to be gun owners of the future.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Kmusings

    And who pays for this added security? The school system can't even afford to pay their teachers decent salaries and the NRA now tells them they should pay for better security? That isn't really the best suggestion. If the NRA wants to spend its own money to put security in public schools, great. Otherwise they are wasting their time setting up a training program that no school can afford or they would already have guards in place.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. laeinstein

    The number one issue that should be explored as there are probably thousands of similar situations in our country
    "Should a mother, father, of both if still together, allow easy access to weapons with a known child/adult who is mentally incapacitated. ??????

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Mom of Twins

    As a mother I don't want my children to attend a school patrolled by armed guards. This is not Israel, this is not Syria, this is not Iraq or Iran. This is the United States. I believe in the second a point. My family owns guns...a lot of them. But NOT ONE OF THEM is classified as a assault or semi automatic. We do not own, or will ever own, clips or magazines holding large amounts of ammunition. I have heard the same arguments over and over. Arm the teachers, post security guards, sell more weapons. However, Columbine had an armed guard, He was at lunch. 13 dead. I am sure that Fort Hood had armed guards....13 dead. What saddens me the most is that the REASONABLE gun owners among us truly hoped that maybe the NRA was willing to work on one part of this national epidemic. Instead, they just waited, slinking around in the background, hoping that some of the furor died down before they had to speak. In the meantime 5 more funerals.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Josh

    It is amazing to see words get rearranged in a way that makes an absolute truth look like a evil scheme to make more money. The only common sense I have heard this entire week came from Wayne and the NRA! Did anyone making these comments even watch or better yet LISTEN to the speech?

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Nick Rymond

    TO ALL OF YOU AGAINST NRA'S PROPOSAL: Not one single person on the liberal side has made one argument that would have saved Newtown's lives. 1) Ban assault guns: First off the killer had multiple guns that were not assault guns. 2) Have a mental test before obtaining a gun: The killer got his guns from his mothers stash that was legally purchased. A mental test will not stop the "troubled" from getting there guns from their family members as did this killer. No one has even proposed or will ever stop people from legally getting a gun in which a metal person lives in the HOUSEHOLD. It will never happen. This is what happened in NEWTOWN. He obtained the gun from his mother. No law will stop that. But you know what will??? A guard at a school.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC


    Hey Bloomberg, how did the NRA create the problem of crazy people in this country? Sounds like you liberals are avoiding the issues again. Your goal is to outlaw all guns and not deal with the problem of all of these crazy people in this country including yourself
    Crazy liberals? Bloomberg is a Republican. It was apparently a gun owner's crazed son who committed the crime. Had his mother not been killed, what crime, if any, could she have charged with for allowing an unlicensed individual access to her weapons?

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Frankie

    One hundred percent agree with the NRA. I am sure there are many retired police personnel who could volunteer to keep the schools safe during the time our children are there. Taking guns away only keeps guns out of the hands of the law abiding. The bad guys will always find guns. Wake up America!! The mighty dollar has brought us to this level. Control the making of violent movies, video games, and music....five years later, problem solved.

    December 21, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Nick Rymond

    Who is the first person you call when your house is being broken into. A COP WITH A GUN !!!!!!

    December 21, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Alan Kramer

    Terry, where are you getting your crazy info from? No body has mentioned all guns.. You are simply making things up to convince yourself of your own position.. Assault weapons does not equal all guns.. wake the hell up...

    December 21, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Rina

    Wow – the NRA wants to alienate its members, doesn't it? Apparently they've already forgotten about the election in this country and the all-out rejection of extremism. They just don't get it. Instead of being part of the solution, they choose to remain part of the problem. No matter – we WILL have gun control – whether they have input or not.

    December 21, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Paul

    So we instigate another ban, how exactly is that going to help? The AR's and AK's and high capacity mags already owned will still be there. Remember Conneticut had a assault weapon ban in place it did not prevent the tradgedy from happening, nor will a new ban prevent future such events.
    Having an armed responders in the school makes sense, our local school has 3 cops there every day.
    The crazy people go places where they know they will not be bothered by civilians with guns, why else do you think all of these shootings take place at these "gun-free" locations. Sticking armed guards in schools right now is the quickest way to make the schools safer right now!
    Oh and if you noticed, the NRA said they would provided the training required for free.

    December 21, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Sylar75

    Enough of this "laws only hurt law abiding citizens" crap. Do you know why there hasn't been an RPG attack on a school? Because they are hard to get. Because guns are easy to get, criminals can get them easily. Will stricker laws prevent all school shootings? No. Will people find a way to kill if guns didn't exist? Yes. Will making guns harder to get reduce the number of school shootings, movie theater shootings, etc? Yes. Its simple math people. The harder it is for crazy people to get guns, the less they will get them. More guns doesn't equal less gun violence. The wild west (where almost everyone was armed) was infested with gun violence.

    December 21, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Tony

    I pray Yahweh have mercy on you people. I don't obey your PROPAGANDA!

    December 21, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Mark Newsted

    Now we are supposed to blame the schools! What we need is for all of the average Americans to march on Washington DC. We need to be rid of crazy people like this! They are banking on the idea that once this blows over it will be business as usual. I support the right to own guns. Allowing our nation to be turned into a police state so a bunch of spoiled, thoughtless idiots can play commando when they get bored is pathetic. I can honestly say that the President of the NRA is the most Pathetic excuse for a man that I have ever seen!

    December 21, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Big Jilm

    Hello GOPtards. We 'libruls" don't want to ban all guns. Repeat that to yourself 100 times. No one is proposing such.

    Love the false dichotomy that if we don't want to have a billion armed security personnel at schools then that means we want to do "nothing." Riiiight. Aren't there other options? I suppose you think a Rambo at every school will somehow save everyone by shooting evil-doers' bullets out of the air? More likely there would be increased cross-fires and more people dead. I'd rather see teachers with tazers. At least then the killers could be taken alive and made to pay for their crimes.

    December 21, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. ebraiter

    It shows that the NRA are a bunch of crackpots. They prefer to increase the amount of guns in the US – now estimated over 200 million.

    December 21, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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