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. Selmers

    I would love to hear one quality, realistic, thoughtful opposition to the NRA's statement... Just ONE.

    December 21, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. DC

    Qtips & Dewaxing kits for Steele and others who didn't listen to what was said. I'm a teacher and he didn't tell us to arm ourselves. Gosh, the leaders of our political parties have some serious comprehension issues. Maybe they need to come back to the classroom for refresher courses.

    The government pays for protection of the 'important' places like airports, courtrooms, federal buldings with armed guards...but NOT the schools???? Hmmm

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "All the ones out there now, including the ones used last Friday, will STILL be out there."

    Not if we confiscate the ones we can locate. And a word of warning: if you think that using your guns to defend your delusional belief that the gov't can't find and take them away is a good idea...think again.

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. bob

    There is nothing the NRA could say that would make the anti-gun crowd happy. We value our 2nd amendment rights and the acts of a madman will only reinforce that. Did the anti-gun people think the NRA was going to suggest making guns illegal ?

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. bro

    there are so many brainless people in the world and the nra is champion

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Big Jilm

    Also, people aren't divided into neat camps of "good guys" and "bad guys" – often most people are in the former group until that moment they decide to snap.

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Yvette

    very sad but not shocked at their response.................

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Richard

    I don't think anyone wants to outlaw all guns, that's paranoid thinking.

    December 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Coyote

    Even a total ban of these military styled weapons won't prevent someone from using one of the ones already out there, or another weapon that wasn't banned.

    The honor system of the poorly named 'gun free' zones isn't working, and it never will as long as we continue to use it.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. SueW

    That didn't take long for the domestic terrorist organization or otherwise called "NRA" and its minions to start their violent attacks on safety in America. How many more innocent children and people need to be killed so you can hide in your basements with guns for an attack never coming. Sickos.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Mike Bronx NY

    Sweet !! as someone nicely posted earlier this morning: If some nut jobs on the highway decide that it's ok to go 100 miles per hour on a 65 miles limit highway, the solution is not to make laws to go after the crazy one, the solution should be to increase the speed limit so that everybody can go 100+ miles per our .... yeah same principle, same result, more nut jobs on the road, more death enablers in the hands of more lunatics.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. BP

    Each side exaggerates. It's ridiculous. I'm not a supporter of getting rid of guns...the criminals will always be able to obtain and use them. Law abiding citizens SHOULD have them. There are not enough officers in any city to protect all of it's citizens from the criminals that will always have guns. This young man was disturbed and did a horrible thing. More gun control is not the answer. Everyone needs to get off of their individual platform and seek real answers. Quit living in a pretend world where only good people exist.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Bryan McKinney

    What these morons liberals don't realize is that every PUBLIC high school has armed guards... Sheriff deputies or police officers. Do all you idiots think this is stupid too?

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. jeffision

    It isn't lost on thinking people that LaPierre is trying to change the focus of the debate away from banning assault weapons and making it harder to obtain other guns. Instead, as the NRA has a history of doing, he'd stirring up and preying on fear. When one considers the relationship between the NRA and gun manufacturers, this smoke and mirrors game reveals itself for what it immoral attempt to protect corporate profit. LaPierre is a disgusting corporate shill.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. John

    You anti gun people are crazy! No law is going to stop a madman. Armed personnel in the schools is the only way to stop these school shootings. When you do away with semi-auto firearms and then another mass shooting takes place, you'll want to take away the shotguns also. Buy the way if the shooter didn't use the rifle , he had a shotgun with buckshot in his car. Anyone who knows about firearms knows that a shotgun with buckshot is much more devastating at close range than a rifle. Arm the schools!!!

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. David

    A policeman was at my child's school today with gun in his holster. He shouted at a parent asking what grade their child was in, when the parent came to pick up their child. The parent was so flustered, he couldn't respond. This is not the America that I want to live in. Please support The Brady campaign to reduce guns in America. Don't be paranoid and say more guns will solve the problem.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Gary

    Ok, so everyone says (most everyone) says we should have armed gaurds at schools! Well is this the same people who said we should reduce the amount of taxes we pay? We have already gutted our schools now you will want gaurds pay to come from the same program! Really people wake up!

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. mark marek

    How about we give all the kids explosive vests so they can take out the shooter immediately? That way we'll save at least a couple lives. The NRA is truly insane.

    December 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Wellywellup

    People seem to forget that the NRA represents the gun manufacturers, their only reason for being is to help sell more guns, not figure out a way to sell less guns. There are over 100,000 schools in America. That would mean a 100,000 more gun sales minimum if we arm every school. They are trying to make a profit from the 20 dead school children. Did anyone expect anything else?

    December 21, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. clarke

    So, I guess American's want the NRA to run the Country and the safety of our Children. I think not, someone gave them the power, now that same someone needs to step up to the plate and take it back. Well don't think this can't happen to anyone of your own children or Grand children. Then what would you do, the same as your doing this moment. Money is more important than lives to the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. jt

    The local law enforcement has been present at my son's school this week – at drop off, pick up times etc. Not overbearing just a visual representation of protection. I am torn as to solutions – and am just as motivated as anyone to get weapons out of the hands of determined killers and I take issue with some of the NRA's comments today – however, I drove away from my son's school this week with a sense of comfort that a police officer was looking out for his school – if that makes me a bad citizen or not respectful toward the victims in Newtown – I'm sorry – but as far as I'm concerned the police are welcome anytime at my son's school

    December 21, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Pattie

    Another sad day for America ..with a response to incomprehensible horror to be more guns. My heartaches for this country and what it is becoming.

    December 21, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. Alex

    Good grief this is such a liberal spin on what was said! Sheesh, CNN you should be embarassed by this article. Quotes out of context, misleading information...the fact is there have been 8000 new members to the NRA in the last 24 hours, gun sales are the highest they've ever been and the country is realizing we've been protecting everything but our children with, and here's the shocker...guns! Lardo Michael Moore has been protected by guns, banks, airports, political leaders, government buildings, celebrities, sports stadiums, blah, blah, on and on.... Wayne LaPierre spoke the truth today.

    December 21, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. What the Heck

    I love how this wingnut tries to drop a quick suggestion about cataloging the mentally ill in a national database... but yet, we can't have the same criteria/standards of who is or isn't mentally ill to weigh against whose legally able to own and possess a firearm?

    Pot calling black kettle, come in kettle!

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Armed American

    Lets face it,There's ALWAYS going to be criminals.The ONLY ones following any new (or old) law for that matter are the
    law abiding citizens.The criminals would LOVE less armed citizens so i'm sure there all for gun control.the ONLY thing stopping them from going door to door with there guns is the possibility of them running into an armed citizen.There certainly not afraid of the police as usually they arrive just in time to investigate the murder that's already happened to an unarmed one.

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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