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. GH

    I think the NRA's proposal needs some fine tuning. I support the 2nd amendment but there is a line of compromise that needs to be done.
    I have said for years that security should be more involved in schools and I believe that if there is security personnel on the grounds than yes those personnel should be trained at police / military standards and should have to be requalified every year. In the mean time instead of people just sitting back moaning and groaning why don't parents get more involved instead of letting the government deal with it. Parents can go sit outside the school for a few hours a day and just be an extra set of eyes and ears for the school. Step it up America and stop depending on our government to do everything "We the People".

    All these anti-gun people really need to think about it before they jump on a bandwagon.
    Does not matter if you make something idiot proof or not someone will be a better idiot. You take all the guns out of the publics hands, that is great but what about the crimminals they will still have them, they will still get their hands on large magazines, assault rifles, etc. The laws are only for people that abide by them.
    So until the day I die I will be a gun owner and I will go above and beyond to protect my family and my home from crimminals

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Craig

    This NRA guy was nuts, he only makes more of a case for gun control.

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

    If the millions of NRA members are 'moms and dads' as they call themselves, then resign your membership en-mass to protest this ridiculous stand by Wayne LaPierre. If you have any shred of decency, compassion and conscience left in you, please resign your NRA membership.

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. bspurloc

    the government should hand out ar15's to everyone. then we can all be equal until someone in your neighborhood gets an rpg.
    stupid is as stupid does.

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. D. Craig

    I am an NRA member, hold several certifications, and am a strong proponent of the right to own and carry firearms. That said, what I heard today was sickening! I am totally appalled, and could not believe what came out of his mouth, and the way he sounded. Sickening!!!!!!

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. abbydelabbey

    The NRA has proven its irrationality and unreasonableness and its insanity over and over again. There is no sense of shame, no common sense, no common decency ...

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Lisa Sutherland

    Lets fight guns with MORE guns. BRILLIANT. That man is an IDIOT. When will this NRA lobby be cut off at its knees like it should have been a long time ago? Is ignorance and violence now at the core of american beliefs????

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Mike H

    The National Babykillers Association should be demonized and shouted down at every opportunity. They are delusional and paranoid and it's scary that they have guns. Where are the anti-NRA bumper stickers and T-shirts ? I'm ready to buy them.

    December 21, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Kelby in Houston, TX

    if that kid didn't have access to a gun, all those kids would not be dead

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Sweet

    I don't see why everybody thinks this is a stupid idea. I have two kids in different schools and my wife is a teacher. They will all be in the same school next year so I have everything to lose if there was a school shoot. I live in Florida where we've had School Resource Officers for decades and they aren't some armed goons goose stepping through the schools, they are part of the community. They are seasoned, trained police officers and I'm surprised all states don't have them. I think most reactions are because this comes from the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. TW

    The NRA acts like people are trying to stop all guns. How is one armed guard with a pistol going to stop an unexpected attack by someone with a 100-clip rifle. The NRA's "any weapon, any time, any where" is disturbing. If the NRA's thinking holds true, North Korea and Iran deserve nuclear weapons. Very sad.

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. George

    We protect our BANKS with armed guards, we protect our AIRPORTS with armed guards, we protect our GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVES with armed guards, we protect OBAMA with armed guards. What is so wrong to suggest our children should be protected with a trained, proficient armed guards. Instead we advertise schools as "gun free" – a perfect target for a merciless psycho looking to victimize the innocent. An armed guard would stop this craziness TODAY!

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. carlos

    The NRA never said to arm teachers. THe left is up to their normal vilification efforts.

    The NRA said to put armed guards, like police, retired military, traininf professionals at schools, just like banks, congressmen, etc use armed guards to guard anything precious. And what is more precious and deserving of protection than our kids.

    Using the logic of the left, them denying security for out kids via armed police professionals as the NRA suggests must mean that they don't care about our children.

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. CommonSense

    How about this idea?. Put a tax on all gun sales and use that money to pay for the offices patroling the school since the NRA suggests such this.

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. heh

    That "responsible gun owner" politicians talk about, the one who reverentially passes down to his son the bolt-action rifle his father gave him? That guy isn't good for business. The manufacturers need the other guy, the one who fears he may not be all the man he could be. He'll go home and nod with satisfaction at his own little armory, telling himself that when the time comes for him to become the hero of his own action movie, he'll be ready. He's got his Man Card. And maybe he needs one or two more guns. Just to be sure.

    December 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. mike

    the NRA is a disgrace to the human race..PERIOD!

    December 21, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. JC

    A friend was stuck in traffic and suddenly a car pulled out of nowhere and tried to get in front of the line. When my friend began to protest, the driver lifted his gun and waved it at her. So much for responsible gun owners. Now the NRA thinks everyone should be able to walk around with a gun so they can 'protect' themselves. Get some of these guns off the street and there won't be a need.

    December 21, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. What

    They have guards at muddle and high schools...
    They are called resource officers!

    Whats disturbing about armed guards? Heck! You trust teachers to watch your kids!
    Why not arm them?

    December 21, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. suzanne

    wellywellup is right – NRA lobby is huge. I don't think we can stop it – but maybe stop the automatic weapons, to decrease the carnage. It's hard to be optimistic at all about this – but you've gotta know there is no optimism that the NRA is going to help solve this in any-way-shape, or form.....

    December 21, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. carlos

    So mow the left all of the sudden cares spending? When it comes to our kids?

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. Jim

    Mindless people didn't bother to hear or report on him calling VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES and VIOLENT HOLLYWOOD MOVIES a large CONTRIBUTOR to youthful violence. That is because you are truly NO LONGER JOURNALISTS and have become ADVOCATES or OPINIONISTS – please don't degrade the name Journalists or Journalism by saying you are either.

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Robin

    The United States has taken the "Right to bare arms" far to far. There is no plausible reason that any person needs to be armed like the military, period. The NRA is very good at making people paranoid, convincing them that the government is going to ban all weapons. Give me a break. There has never been any talk of banning all weapons. Get some common sense!. There is no need for anyone but the military to have assault weapons. There is no need for anyone but the military to have large magazine, barrel clips or strips. There is no reason anyone should be able to buy thousands of rounds over the internet. Background checks that take a few days not a half an hour is whats needed. Leave military style weaponry to the military where it should be. Quit acting like your rights are being taken away from you by banning military weapons for everybody but the military. Frankly I think the NRA has shown a lot of arrogance and not a shred of empathy or sympathy for the victims.

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Nisse

    NRA won'r be satisfied until every elementary kid is packing heat. Lunatics!

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. BigTBone

    Note from middle America: Nobody cares. We're powerless against the NRA and we know it.

    We can't even get Congress to end tax breaks for 2% of the population. What makes you think they'll be able to adjust our gun worshipping citizenry?

    Wake me when there's our next mass shooting so I can ignore it again and pray for something to be done somehow.

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Jonah

    IF you arm teachers adn security guards, what will be the NRA reaction the first time a kid brings a toy gun to school and gets shot by his teacher, or a 'trained security guard' by mistake?

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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