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. Dave

    DB77 boy you just showed how ignorant you are...Google it? Give me a takes a person to shoot a gun...he was messed up in the head...the gun only shot because he pulled the trigger. You put guns in the hands of the teachers or put armed guards at a school that gunnman is going to think twice about walking up to the school and shooting period. If you allow people to carry guns anybody is going to think twice before opening fire becuse they wont know who has a gun. I guarntee you if there was a teacher with a gun or even one or two armed guards at that school the gunmen wouldn't have gotten off half as many shots as he did. Its common sense and thats exaclty what you people lack. You are honesty blaming the gun not the person in charge of the gun get real!

    December 21, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Phoenix Bruce

    The point is almost every one of these mass murders happen at places where guns or armed gaurds are not allowed. Deterance is an answer. Ask ANY criminal behind bars. They target places where there will not be resistance. Almost always, these murderers of innocents turn the gun on themselves when the first responders show up, or are confronted by someone who has a gun permit, and draws it on them. We don't even NEED to post guards that are armed. Simply pass a law that concealed gun carriers are allowed to carry on school property. Typically, 95% of the time, according to criminal history, these people will NOT target anywhere that there is a possibility of armed resistance. Again, and listen to what I'm saying, broadcasting that there is a possiblity of people working at a place of employment carrying concealed weapons, will act as a deterant. As it is now, we broadcast over and over, "NO Guns are allowed here!" so if you do not care about the law, you'll carry out an assualt with confidence that you will NOT be opposed! Unless you can remove 100% OF ALL GUNS, you're simply creating kill zones.

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

    Shameful, Comnrad Bluhmberg, is to have used dead children to push your anti gun agenda even before the bodies were cold.

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

    When I first heard about the horrible event, I asked "where was SECURITY"? They didn't have any because they were in a Gun-Free zone – and they were proud of it. We have school resource officers in each of our schools. They are trained law enforcement professioals and are well armed. I do wish Sandy Hook had been given one or two.

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

    Who's going to pay for this? Cost effective solution to the problem is still regulate weapons.

    December 21, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. powerspowers11

    Sorry but heavily trained and regulated police forces are FAR different than wanna-be cops, most likely poorly paid and undertrained, roaming the halls of our children's schools. We can't even train our public transportation police well enough to avoid unnecessary shootings. The last thing I want to see is some patriot militiaman on a schoolyard with a gun.

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

    @ Shirley
    I have to answer your question. You asked that there are armed guards at banks and sports events and why not at schools. Here is the difference. Do you go to the bank everyday or to the sports events every day? I suppose the answer is a BIG NO. Kids seeing the guards everyday before they enter their classes in some of them is a big disturbance. They can not concentrate well as it is supposed to be. It worries them that the place they are is not a safe one. In order to learn something and sticks in minds, you need a place where your mind is relaxed/settled and not having one mind thinking about the safety outside, and the other mind is forced to learn something.

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

    Wow post armed guards in over thousands of school, who's going to pay for that? Surely ,not the NRA. BTW, aren't wee still working on armed guards at movie theater? Why do ppl keep acting like this is simply a school issue? Why do these backwoods, Jethros think gun control means no guns rather than no high powered weapons designed to exterminate masses of ppl with extreme prejudice. I guess the bottom line is the bottom line. As long as military style guns are big business among paranoid individuals, than this issue is dead.

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

    We armed airline pilots, and no catastrophe occurred. We have armed guards at banks, but maybe money is more important than lives to some. The NRA only advocated having some degree of armed protection at our schools. These can be conceal-carry plain-clothes security. The shock at the idea of having some armed protection at our schools is indicative of the self-proclaimed "progressive"mindset that cannot deal with reality.

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

    Did the NRA explain how to pay for this?

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

    How about M1 Abrams on the front parking lot?

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

    I am a teacher and I am for effective gun-control BUT I do not see a problem in having an armed guard at every US school like we have armed air-marshals in flights. My question is how this program will be funded. Whatsoever, I am deadly against arming teachers in school; that will completely change the purpose of education providers.

    December 21, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Ninian Beall

    I'm a gun owner; a lifetime hunter and shooter and I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the NRA.

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

    The NRA could have come out with a plan to provide licensing and instruction for all gun owners like drives licenses... The infastructure is there it would provide revenue for the state and federal agencies involved... We need to NRA who is supposed to be a group of experts with guns and gun laws... to guide us in the right direction... we do not need a vigilantes to guard our schools. They can’t be serious...

    December 21, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Name lynn

    im just speakless all this talk yet, the shooting hasn't stop yet how is these people getting guns and also master minding who an where an how they going to shoot an kill people and how they going to enter into these places like school an movies these people need help

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

    More guns = more shots fired. More shots fired = more people hit. More people hit = more people dead. It's just that simple. The NRA's statement is the most irresponsible, tone deaf, dangerous, thoughtless, stupid and regressive thing I've heard all year...and this was an election year. I think we need to start asking ourselves how to rid the country of the NRA and THEN we can pass some gun laws that actually contain reason and logic. Wayne LaPierre is a disgusting excuse for a human being.

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

    The 2nd amendment was made for this exact reason. I will never part with my guns. We (gun owners) will defend our rights.

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

    mark marek, it's stupid comments like this that is keeping meaningful discussion from taking place. You might as well have said, "let's just execute anyone with any mental problems."

    December 21, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Maximus9

    100 rounds fired, in three minutes, twenty 6-7 year olds killed, plus seven adults, by a semi-automatic, military grade weapon, and those ignorant fools talk about volunteer, retired, school security personnel. Are they for real??? I would have love to see a fat has-been with a handgun dealing with a deranged 20 year old with a .223 Bushmaster. Laughable.

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

    Correct me if I am wrong, but violent video games and movies in are allowed in Canada. So by the NRA's logic, there would be massive murder rates there. Oh, there WERE security details at Virginia Tech and Columbine.

    The NRA is yet another in a long line of angry, white, government hating groups of toned-deaf zealots whose arrogant illusion of power is slowly draining away as they continue to give themselves enough rope to hang themselves. Good will eventually overcome these narcissists.

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

    And just how are the schools supposed to pay for these armed guards? The Republicans are busy cutting children's health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security – are they now going to take that money and fund armed guards in our school system? Just nuts...

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

    "are talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms." UM. Sorry but they said armed gaurds at schools, not supply teachers with glocks in classrooms. Learn how to read lady

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

    All the liberals that made comments about his remarks are incompetent and or didn't listen to what he said. Not only that but they have failed to offer any solution that remotely has a chance to prevent tragedies like this from happening. The only way to stop an armed man with a gun IS with another armed man with a gun PERIOD. Taking away so called assault rifles, that are not really assault rifles, from law abiding citizens does NOT take them away from criminals. Libies are just so paranoid about guns they refuse to see the truth.

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

    Can never satisfy the anti-gun fanatics...they have no clue. You are free to choose to not invoke your pre-existing right not to own a firearm...just don't screw with everyone else's right. By the way, many of you anti-gunners are clearly hypocritical because you are also pro-choice and can kill a child for no purpose other than a selfish one but then think that someone else killing children for their own selfish reason is not acceptable. You can't have it both ways. Either its wrong or acceptable. Go stew on that for awhile...

    December 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. DB77

    How ironic is it that the main reason we are in this mess, that there are so many guns in circulation, that soooo many people possess guns, that our children are no longer safe in their schools or at cinemas, IS BECAUSE OF THE NRA!!! Had this problem been tackled LONG AGO, we wouldn't be where we are today. Thank you, NRA, for making America safer and a better country to live in for so long!

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