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. Brian

    I'm a liberal and agree that an armed officer COULD be part of the solution along with enforcing current laws and closing the loop holes. New laws may also be needed. It's not a bad thing for both sides to discuss this issue and bring ideas to the table. I don't see any need for name calling on either side.

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Kevin

    " Please go out and buy a gaming console and play some of those games mentioned. After playing it for long periods, its not a game anymore, its a push toward wanting it to be reality. "

    Maybe if you didnt do such a halfass job of being a parent your kids could tell the difference.

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Doodlebug2222

    Response to Shirley whose coment was: "Why is it ok to have armed guards at banks, sporting events, etc., but, not schools?"

    Because these places are recognized as a place with either large amounts of cash or are events where the crowds are predominently adults whose tempers might flare – in addition to the high possibility of crime, such as theft, assualt and etc..

    But schools are full of children, where there should not be any type of need for such things. In addition, the budget would not allow for armed guards. Would the school then need to operate on an even tighter budget or would taxes be implemented to cover this new cost?

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Tim

    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."

    Put police at schools to protect our kids dosent make sense? Why would we protect our kids?

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. KE6522

    It is unimaginable why anyone would be against having armed protection for our children. Our defenseless, precious, babies. This should have been implemented December 15. Why do we delay in protecting our children? Really, no one wants their school to have a guard that can STOP a lunatic from killing their child? Wow.

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. NRyAhoo

    Automatic assault rifles and RPGs for everyone!!!

    December 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. The Truth

    Once again emotion and zero logic is leading the charge. I own a gun and I do NOT agree with a lot the NRA says, but if you look at it logicially he is mostly right.

    If you don't agree the only thing that can stop a bad person with a gun is a good guy with a gun, then what do you propose? If a bad guy is shooting up the building you are in and you are a good guy you are going to grab what to stop him: a flower, a law book, a painting, harsh language, nice language, etc. All those who answer must vow to actually use this if they find themselves in this situation. You most also take full responsibility for the outcome as well.

    He did not say to arm the teachers or administrators, he asked for trained police or dedicated security officers in every school. If you heard or read otherwise you have failed at listening or reading. This murder killed himself at the sight of the first police officer showing up, imagine if one was on the premise it could have ended sooner. Its hard to argue against this, most rampages end when confronted by the first armed responder. The public high school in my area has a dedicated police officer on site every school day and its a nice area.

    I agree the general public should not have assualt rifles and high capacity magazines, there is no need for them. My military training plus a handgun or pump action shotgun is more than enough to defend my home against even a deranged killer with an assualt rifle. But people's emotions and ignorance about guns is leading to knee jerk reactions that in the end will do nothing to prevent this again. A gun is a tool, nothing more. We don't blame knives, axes, chain saws, sewing needles, etc. when someone murders, we blame the person. Until we face that fact that the sole cause of this tragedy is the person, no law or measure will stop another rampage. Take away guns there are still a lot of easily accessible things that can kill people in mass.

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Jim

    The NRA is afraid that eventually there will be a tipping poing, and they will lose all their power. I am not pro or anti gun ownership. But placing armed guards in schools is a recope for disaster. All those kids, all wanting to touch the guns, to hold them, someone will get shot. And it won't be a potential shooter. Also, the majority of these armed guards aren't going to be able to handle a shooter armed with automatic weapons. To think they could is to believe the movies are real.

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. s

    Seems someone should take on this evil Wayne Lapiere, and say, " OK, I will give you adv. warning that I will come to get you. Let's see you defend yourself even w/ a gun and the warning. Those kids did not get even a warning."

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Tuesday

    If I have this right... the NRA is proposing that Americans arm themselves against crazy people with guns. Are we really suppose to think about arming every public space; every day care, every movie theater, every school, every business... completely absurd! Have you traveled or vacation in places in the word where everyone is armed to the teeth? No! They are completely hostile places. How about a sensible conversation about mental health? How about a conversation about a for-profit organization (NRA) taking our elected officials and our nation hostage with their views? I'm very saddened by the events in Newton CT and the lack of real progress make me disappointed.

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. gijames1225

    We have armed guards and policemen and people with concealed carry licenses all over the place. People are only saying this is dumb because it offers a solution that doesn't involve taking away the rights of others.

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Rina

    in reply to Shirley – we have armed guards at banks and sporting events, true. But these are privately owned. We do not have armed guards at the drivers license branch, the road dept. and other public places. Maybe a courthouse,yeah but anywhere else? Besides, nobody is saying take away all guns. We are saying put controls on guns that have no other use than to kill people and can kill waaaaay more people at once than a handgun. Yeah, you could use bombs – we have controls on fertilizer and items to make bombs, you could use poison – again, we have controls on those as well – so, it only makes common sense.

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Luke Fedder

    My high school and middle school had an armed officer on campus. I don't see why this is such a ludicrous idea. Ever been to a bank, stadium, train station, airport? The NRA can certainly be a little nutty but not every thing they say is necassarily out in far right field. I think the people you see decrying this as ludicrous are the same people that have wanted an ouright ban of firearms from the start, equally far outfield people them selves.

    December 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. J Ro

    Reality check: sales of automatic weapons and ammunition have skyrocketed overt he past week, all over the US. The lunatics are armed to the hilt. They are paranoid, delusional and susceptible to the fear peddlers entrenched in our government and media. And they are just itching to pull their triggers.
    I thought LaPierre's outrageous diatrible was the craziest thing I would come across today, Then I started reading the comments praising and agreeing with him.
    And to the moron who thinks that an armed guard at the door would have prevented Sandy Hook, would that have been before or after this young man was asked for an ID before entering the building and responded by spraying the area with automatic weapon fire? Do the cops you know live in the Matrix??

    December 21, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. ncxmod

    people who intent on doing mass killings do not care about gun control background checks and gun bans. the will get what they need buy stealing or buy from black market. as for the nra comments he is right about place traned people in school to protect or kids.people don't be naive .he's talking about people like police offices and people that has gone though traning. listen to what his is saying don't go twisting his words

    December 21, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. dennis stephenson

    Gun Nut Job LaPierre, is the reason I am no longer a member of the NRA. It used to be a great organization until this nut job took over. Wayne forgot to mention, that we need to arm all our school crossing guards (have a good gun on every street corner) arm our school bus drivers and janitors, put good guy guns in every super market, WalMart, movie theator, church, etc., etc., etc."We need more good guy guns", Wayne claims–so do we need more armor piercing bullets (cause the bad guys now wear bullet proof vests) more magazine & clips (cause the gad guys have them) etc., etc. Wayne failed to explain where all this money to arm our schools will come from, since most school budgets keep getting cut. MR. LaPierre only cares about the gun manufactures and his own million dollar job. As I said earlier, it used to be a fine organization which did a lot of good teaching gun safety & sportsmanship etc., but now it's all about money and corruption of a few greedy folks. Wayne never mentioned online gun sales, guns sales at gun shows & auctions–NO BACK GROUND CHECKS required in the sale of a firearm–guess all the good guys can buy the guns for the teachers, school crossing guards and bus drivers there, right Wayne?

    December 21, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Kam

    Shame on the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Sid Prejean

    Semi-automatic weapons firefight in a schoolhouse. Terrific.

    Time for the sane members of the NRA (99%) to take back their gun-safety organization from this maniac.

    December 21, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Wilberforce

    Armed school guards and teachers is not what I would want to see but I don't find the suggestion "irrational" ,"haunting" , or "reckless". We already have armed security in other public places.

    December 21, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Indy

    After hearing Pepe LaPew speak today I ran out and bought a semi auto AK and 5-30 round clips. Those NRA F'ers are nuts and I wanna be sure I'm ready to defend myself when they try to take over the government.

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

    I am a liberal. I think the NRA is a front for gun makers to protect their interests and help a very small number of people make tons of cash at the expense of general safety, logic, and reason. The NRA doesn't care about the 2nd Amend. or it's individual members beyond how both can help them make money. I further believe claiming Americans need guns in case of a possible battle with government troops is ridiculous. And assault rifles? Ban them and anything else that needs banning.
    At the same time, I suggested to a group of friends just two days ago that if we asked retired law enforcement and military personnel to stand a post, with sidearm, at local schools we would be flooded with volunteers and schools would be safer.

    December 21, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Jason

    First, Is the NRA going to pay to have armed police and arm every teacher at every school in America? Most school districts can barely afford to pay their teachers much less add the cost of paying an armed guard or arming teachers. Second, what happens when an armed teacher is hit or attacked by a student? It is very possible that teacher shoots the student. Is that what we want in our schools? It would probably make the NRA happy. Then their statement would be "the only thing that can stop an armed teacher is an armed student." The NRA's statement is only to shift the focus away from them. They have no interest in really trying to solve anything.

    December 21, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Raj

    Here we go again, GOPers will say democrats created crazies. Other countries have crazies too, but they don't kill 10,000 people in a nation. NRA, GOPers have to own up to the responsiblitiy and admit it takes semiautomatic gun to shoot 26 kids and adults in few minutes. And there is no place for these types of guns in ANY society.

    December 21, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. tomnikoly

    ALL semi-autos should be banned along with a voluntary buy-back program similar to that which was implemented in the UK after the school shooting in Scotland in '94. The UK law works well by the way. Limit the amount of ammo purchased regardless of caliber. If semi-autos are banned the clip size becomes a non-issue.

    You can defend your "castle" with a nice S&W .357 six-shot wheelgun, your shotgun, or your bolt-action hunting rifle quite well I think.

    December 21, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Jim

    Positions like those held by Wayne LaPierre truly scar the snot out of me.

    December 21, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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