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. Qman

    For all of those hoping to ban guns... good luck.

    Putting an armed gaurd in a school doesn't seem to be such of a bad idea.

    Now anyone suggesting a teacher, or principle having it..... Lets leave the teachers and principles alone so they can focus on teaching our children.

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

    schools with armed guards? SICK!

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

    The NRA is only concerned with selling guns so they can make money. It's as simple as that.

    December 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    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.


    What if the guard is on the other side of the campus when the bad guy starts his rampage? Secondly, whose going to pay for those armed guards. The same reactionaries who are calling for armed guards in school are the same reactionaries who are responsible for fewer first responders everywhere because they don't want to pay taxes to cover their salaries. People who don't have kids in school don't even want to pay taxes to fund schools, so what makes you think they're going to want to pay even more taxes to protect other people's kids?

    December 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Good Idea

    It is a good idea. We are still a young country figuring all this out. In Europe guys in camo walk around airports schools and many other public places with assault rifles. I have always felt safe traveling in Europe. Our national guard could restructure their drill schedule by state and there would not be any need to raise taxes to pay for it since we are already covering those expenses.

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

    next there will be uranium tipped bullets that the NRA will say is covered by the 2nd amendment.

    December 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Not everyone who owns a gun are killers. I don't approve of killing animals for "sport" but it's very different to kill an animal than a person or just use a gun for target shooting which I used to do many years ago. Never used it for hunting.
    A policeman frirend of ours says that if you have a gun and you have made the decision to pull it out of the holder, purse or drawer that you better be ready to shoot and possibly kill somebody because just one second of hesitation makes you the victim not the shooter because the criminal will not hesitate.
    Having a gun doesn't mean you are going to win the gun fight and that happens more often than not.

    December 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Brad Smithson

    NRA = low IQ. Arm the preschool teacher?? The right to own a weapon is now more important in the USA than the right to life. The world is shaking their heads at the USA. If the NRA thinks you need more guns to prevent these mass murders, what the right number... there are 300 million guns now, do you need 500 million guns to make it safer?

    December 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. A Safe Gun Free Canadian

    DB77 has it so right. The NRA are the loyalists you kicked out in the revolution. The Loyalists came to Canada and figured out that education, civility, compassion and caring for each other was more important than acting tough and walking around with guns in complete fear. Unfortunetely I see no hope for the guns nuts. Hell half of them don't believe in evolution? So sad, so very sad these shooting s occur every week or so. More people were murdered in Newtown Conn by guns than in my province in the past 15 years. Think about that. No handguns, no semi auto weapons are allowed. I don't lock my doors to my house or car most times and no break ins. Guess what you cant take it with you when your gone.

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

    Not my usual position but, I guess I agree with the NRA. But, it is because of the NRA our only choice is to arm the schools. The facts are this, because of the NRA's lobbying efforts there are so many fire arms already out there in the public that massacres are not going to be avoided unless we increase security, both fortress and armed security. Nothing being proposed that even has a chance of passage, clearly would have helped keep the guns out of Lanza's hands. It was his mother that bought them, lawfully, not her deranged son. How many high capacity magazines are already in the market? Do you really think people will hand them over or that a law has a possibility of passing that would do anything except outlaw new purchases. The same goes for auto loading rapid fire assault type weapons. Nope, thanks to the liberal gun policy promoted by the NRA our schools must now be turned into fortresses.

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

    Will it stop then..and what sort of weapens should teachers have..Machine Guns/APC's, as you cannot have a pistol and try to prevent a killer with bigger and more leathal guns..and Also does having armed gaurds at banks enough to prevent bank thefts and armed attacks, whereas the attack on banks are suuposedly with a aim to get away with money, whereas the atack on shcools is something more of a suicedal and determind in nutshell, having a deadly weapon with a emotionla isssues or anger is more probable to result in more harm then just having a momentrly rage..

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

    The absolute ignorance in the media & the gun control movement is unbelievable! I have personally seen two news stories where 1. a Marine stood outside of a school, unarmed mind you, & 2. an off duty police officer both volunteered their time to patrol these schools! Both parents & administrators said they made them feel safe & comforted! But when the NRA proposes the SAME EXACT THING!!! Everyone goes nuts because it was suggested by the NRA. Probably half the schools in this country already have at least one armed police officer in them!!

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

    "are talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms." Pretty sure they said post armed gaurds at schools, not supply teachers with glocks. Good job interpreting that comment...NOT

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

    I am an NRA member and I keep hearing these democrats saying that we members see things their way and that we would support support the bans they propose. WE DO NOT. The suggestion that defending our right to bear arms is not popular with NRA members is downright stupidity. It is because of these kinds of articles that I will continue to support the NRA. No law you make will reduce the violence. Making it harder for me to buy a gun will not stop these tragedies from happening.

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

    Did you hear the one about a guy who walks up to the front door of a school, shoots the armed guard with a semi-automatic, and continues his carnage inside? So what happened to the NRA suggestion of an armed guard at the school? It doesn't work and is really just a sick way of selling more guns. You start by disarming, not by loading up. And nobody said to get rid of all guns. At least start with the types that can take out a class of 20 six and seven year old innocents before they could make it out the door. It’s the least we could do but it seems to be too much for many of you. Shame.

    December 21, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Romney is NOT My Hero

    I watched the "response" in disgust. The NRA put the blame on everyone and everything else, all while trying to increase gun sales. We don't have enough guns!!! Put more in the schools - COMPLETELY WRONG!!!!!

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

    By his logic, all movie goers, mall shoppers, and worshippers at Sikh temples should be heavily armed at all times.

    December 21, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I'm so happy Michael Bloomberg is just a Mayor and not anything more. Let him run his nanny city!

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


    That is the second dumbest thing I've heard all day. First being the NRA's statement, naturally.

    December 21, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. justinnoah

    @Selmers – I have a few things I can say about the NRA's suggestion:

    1. What if the teacher and/or armed guard with a gun loses it? Becomes mentally unstable? Has a grudge against the school or another teacher?

    2. What would an armed guard do if an attacker walked up with an automatic weapon and blasts the armed guard away? What then?

    Arming people at school may help in some situations, and may make some situations worse. Instead of focusing solely on arming more people, let's focus on better protection for our schools, including different building designs to provide multiple layers of security so that my points 1 & 2 are also considered.

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

    I love reading the NRA bloggers posts pretending to be teachers and concerned parents. Watch the NRA chair resign in the next 45 days. Mark my words...

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

    Instead of blaming the media, or video games, or guns, why don't we try and get to the root problems of the violence in this country? More guns, less's not going to solve the issue. If anyone thinks having armed police or soldiers at our schools will make things safer, you're kidding yourselves. I don't want to live in a society where I can't even send my children to school for fear of someone with a gun snapping and killing their classmates. Or a society where I feel like I need to be armed 24/7 and live in fear. That is the slippery slope people.

    December 21, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Trixtur

    It is all about their partnership with gun makers and the fact that the most profitable product is assault rifles. No one is even suggesting banning all guns. Talk about a subterfuge.

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

    TO: Bryan McKinney

    No they don't. Many schools have nothing more than one resource officer who walks the halls on foot and 'rolls' around in the parking lot then back to the office for some gossip time, then a little more hall walking with some more gossip time mixed in. They have been there primarily to intimidate students into displaying civil behaviour.

    December 21, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. dani

    Give everyone a gun and things like this won't happen?????? So I guess give everyone AIDS and we won't have to worry about that anymore either. Hmm

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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