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. invisleg

    TO: HS

    While an armed guard may seem like a solution it 'begs' such answers as, will this person guard just the front entrance, patrol the whole school inside and out all day? How will one guard protect all doors and windows at once? Furthermore, the shooter did not take his time. He was very effective at killing many within minutes–no hesitation. Had it not been for the PA system being flipped on many more would have died. He did not account for such a possibility in his 'plan.' The shooter was not afraid of the barrel of a gun–he had already planned to kill himself. He just simply wasn't going to give LE any glory. That seems evident.

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Kam

    What the NRA and the anti gun-control lobbiest conveniently ignor is the fact that assault rifles are weapons of war designed to inflict the highest number of deaths in the least amount of time and, as such, they have no place in a civilized society. It is so much easier to pull a little trigger and kill dozens in mere seconds in a moment of madness, than to use any other means to kill. Unless you are being attacked by an army, there is no argument for possessing such weapons merely for "protection"! Ban them!

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

    Even though I hold the NRA in utter contempt I have to admit he made an important point. the culture of violence we tolerate is part of the problem. I've seen video games that are enough to make you sick, and I know adults who play them with first graders! Every movie has to involve people getting shot or blown up or worse or it isn't going to make money.

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Andrea

    if you spend a few hours playing video games and it makes you want to kill people... this issue is not the video games. the issue is your problem with aggression, and that in itself should be addressed.

    December 21, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The only reason the NRA suggested armed guards is because the idea of arming teachers has been thoroughly denounced as a really bad idea. If you want your kid protected by armed guards while in school, then I suggest home schooling. It's cheaper on taxpayers, and gives you better peace of mind. If not that, then a private school that uses underground, fully armored bunkers is an alternative. Either way, I don't want to pay higher taxes for guards, and I don't my kid exposed and walking around to an armed guard. That's too much like what they used to do in the Soviet bloc.

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. tstorm92

    How incredibly insensitive for the cowardly NRA to make a pro-guns speech on the one week anniversary of this terrible event NRA, if I had no respect for you before, now I just hope you and all your members rot in hell...

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. megin

    College campus have security why not schools? A public school is big enough to be basically a small community and should be protected as such....

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Eli

    NRA is not going to cut off their money, so no call for any type of gun control instead they call for more guns. We see where their minds are-MONEY MONEY MONEY.

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. JAFO

    It's funny how the idea to arm schools is from "The greedy gun lobby" but when a woman wants the government to pay for her contraception, it's not "The greedy drug lobby" wanting to sell more pills, condoms, etc. Hypocrites!

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

    Even Dodge City and Tombstone in the wild West were smarter than the NRA-no guns allowed in town, and when the Clantons brought them in, the Earp brothers (law enforcement) blew them away. Next the NRA will want every first grader to be equipped with assault rifle. When all these guns are out there, along with "stand your ground" laws, we can expect shootouts in the restaurants, schools, movie theaters, the shopping centers, the freeways, and the US will be an armed third-world country like Afghanistan. We are fast becoming a nation of terrorists, the gun-toters.

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. justinnoah

    Build our schools like the Pentagon, multiple layers of security. An attacker blasts in the first layer, he's stopped by the second layer and so on... giving authorities time to react before the attacker can truly get in. We could design the schools this way and still make sure children have grass areas to play in, plenty of areas to see the sunshine, etc. I'll gladly pay higher taxes to support this.

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Bob

    This is 100% spot on by the NRA. The idea of arming a teacher is not necessarily the answer or maybe it is? The NRA said "Security Guards" or police not necessarily the teachers. But think about how our good ole government works with these "knee-jerk" reactions to tragedy. They pass something, cannot afford it, then do away with it. or if they put a ban on something like they already had a ban on "Assault Weapons" for 10 years and it did nothing to reduce school shootings or any other kinds. Assault weapons have only accounted for 2% out of the last 250,000 gun crimes? So how is a ban going to work? You cannot stop crazy with a ban. You can only stop a shooter with another shooter. This is almost always the case. Either a shooter takes them out or they take themselves out. You must have someone on ground zero at the time of the incident?? What has Bloomberg done with his states gun crime?? Not a darn thing!! Police can't protect the schools, they come along to collect the evidence after the shooting has stopped. The last time I remember a cop stopping a mass shooting was at UT in 1966.

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. DC

    My brother's 21 year old friend was just shot in the head for $10 in his wallet and his sub sandwich on a community school campus. I wish he had been carrying a weapon to defend himself... These "gun free" zones are a place where criminals are targeting... They are "victim zones".

    If guns were illegal to purchase would it end the violence? Would it stop people from buy guns illegally? Would it stop people who would otherwise steal the guns from someone else, who owned them legally or illegally? Is every gun owner a murderer in waiting? WE NEED REAL SOLUTIONS. More gun laws and restrictions are not it...

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Jason

    What has happened is of course a tragedy. However; I get more and more frustrated that people don't seem to understand the issue. I believe we need to have better policies in place when normal people are buying firearms such as background checks etc.. If you ban these weapons all your doing is taking away the ability for a good American to be able to purchase a firearm to protect themselves, hunt or even for people who are afraid about the end of the world. The psychos out there are always going to be able to get firearms whether they are banned or not. As far as banning just AR-15's, This makes no sense to me. The civilian model AR-15 is not a fully automatic weapon. It is a semi-automatic weapon just like the majority of handguns out there. Many handgun magazines have the capability of firing just as many rounds as an AR-15. The only main difference between the handguns and AR-15's is maybe the ability to shoot at a greater distance, but then you would have to ban all rifles. It is a shame what has happened and there is no 100% way we can correct the problem. If we lived in a world without violence, hatred, theft and overall nut jobs out there then guns would never be needed, but the reality is we do and this will not change in any near term future.

    December 21, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Debo G

    Clearly there are some gun owners who are just plain stupid. Nobody is suggesting taking away handguns, rifles, for the purpose of self protection or hunting. Understand? Do you need that stated again? But not one person requires an assault weapon with high caliber magazines. Did you get that? Not taking away guns for protection or for hunting; just those used by military assault members who are in warfare. Get it. What a bunch of losers who are bringing this country to its knees. Why not move yourselves to the countries that may need those weapons like Libya. Good friggen riddance.

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Jt_flyer

    A few interesting bit of information for the NRA:

    1. In 713 days ALL 435 member of the House of Representaves will be up for reelection.
    2. The US Supreme Court has 4 justices in their mid to late 70's with nothing but Democratic presidents as far as the eye can see.

    You the other Mafia Bosses like Grover Norquist can control the cowardly Republican Representatives like Pinocchio but I suspect you'll find the Democrats a lot less accommodating. When people like me, who joined the NRA when I was only 12 years old so I could hunt in Pennsylvania at the young age, begin to turn on you -Your days of manipulation are numbered.

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. theemptyone1

    "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."

    What American does he imagine he ever lived in, or that his grandparents immigrated too? The fact is that guns and the individuals use of them is exactly what made and built this nation. it is all in the perspective one takes; retreat from threat and seek to use authority to chase a boogeyman around, or face the truth of a situation. The fact is that generally, communities with the most gun freedom, including concealed carry licensing are the most free from gun violence.

    Another FACT few are discussing is that it was not the owners of the guns that did the horrid acts of last week, it was people who stole then from owners. I cannot believe that the mother did not secure her guns when she knew she had a problem with her son. Anyway, guns should always be secured when not in use.

    Another FACT from last week's Portland mall shooting was that the shooter was faced by a Glock in the hands of a man with a concealed carry license. He was interviewed on local tv last Saturday morning. As the shooter was trying to free his jammed rifle, the man took aim with his Glock. He said that he had the shooter's head in his sights and was about to pull the trigger when he saw some motion in the background. He did not fire because he was afraid to hit an innocent party. The shooter saw him taking aim he said. The man next moved his girlfriend to a safer place (she was down on the floor behind him). There was then one more shot fired when the shooter got his gun unjammed and took his own life. It not for the man with his cc Glock on the spot, the slaughter at the Portland mall would likely be much higher. This is simple logic.

    This story is being repressed.

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

    Everybody knows that the NRA's proposal, or something like it, is the answer to this problem. Until people just admit it to themselves and stop living in a self-imposed fantasy world, more people will be murdered like this.

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Groucho Marx

    Excuse me, but I felt extremely offended with the words of the NRA leaders.....can some stupid moron pro-gun explain me why we are between the most violent countries in the world?....... Everything is dirty money, because the NRA receives millions coming of US ultrarich weapon builders. This country is so sick, that sales of Bushmaster rifles skyrocketed after the massacre.

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. NoGuns

    NRA doesn't realize the pain because none of their dear one's have gone through this is quite disgusting for NRA to make such comments.Hope god get's some sense into their minds

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

    So, Washington DC and Hollywood gets security but why not our kids????

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Marge

    Tax everyone gun 150% to pay for the guards at the schools.

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Ron

    Okay – we arm the schools. Now what? The not so psycho maniac takes his rampage to the school bus. Oh, arm the bus driver. Okay, how about the church? Playground? Shopping mall? Car dealership? Gas station? Grocery Store? .....

    December 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. monkey89

    How does banning guns stop madmen from killing people? ok you take the guns from law abiding citizens, the criminals will still get ahold of them and guess what the law abiding citizens are then defenseless. I actually support what the NRA is saying, the only way your gonna stop a madman with a gun is to take him down with one. If I'm wrong someone please tell me how your gonna stop a madman.

    December 21, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. 21k

    here's a better solution, based on the hunger games:: allow the nra to open regional "End of Days" resorts. completely walled in. 3 times a year, a free-for-all gun battle will be scheduled, live ammo. last one alive is the winner of say $100K. at the end of each year, all the regional winners compete in the final. winner gets a million. cable tv advertising rights pays for the prizes, costs. win-win. eventually we cull out the nuts, and will be able to get back to a civilized society. contestants have to sign a legal waiver to enter. these people believe in the live-by-the sword ethos, so let them have at it.

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