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)

    What else would we expect from the gun peddlers? Buy more guns.

    December 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. CSM

    Teachers with guns is the WRONG CALL!

    December 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. dave

    The NRA did not say ANYTHING about arming teachers or principals; they said trained armed professionals just like at banks, government buildings, train stations and airports!!!!! People in this country live in some dream world. No one can argue that had there been a trained armed professional at that school that A. this horrific unimaginable tragedy may not have even happen or B. that the lose of life would have likely been much lower. No lose of life is acceptable but the reality is it likely would have been much lower.

    December 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. JenniferC

    Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, a deadly shooting takes place in real time while LaPierre spells out his dystopian vision of unpaid, non-unionized, volunteer, armed guards standing watch over our school children.

    December 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. JJP

    Basically, what the NRA is doing is using the school shooting as an excuse to try to sell more guns. They are, after all, a lobby for the gun industry. It's a disgusting, shameful, reprehensible act on the NRA's part.

    December 21, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Data Driven

    Thanks for the math, re - kinda puts things in perspective, don't it? 🙂

    December 21, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Mike in SA

    Of course, after reading all of the bleeding heart liberal garbage here, I am more than ever happy I have all of hte weapons and ammo I need for quite a while. After you all ban your guns and create even more "Gun Free Zones" (also known as soft target areas) to allow the criminals to get what they and my family will be well protected.

    December 21, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Dave

    The coming conflict appears inevitable. Bring it.

    December 21, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Realist

    Because what we should do is continue to leave our schools with no defence against crazy people whatsoever... After all, all we really have to do is eliminate crime!!!! Yeah! That's the ticket!

    December 21, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Brian Bender

    The anti-gun lobby's response was to create neat little barrels with signs pointing them out and when something happened they blamed peaceful gun owners and played politics to try to disarm them. That's shameful..

    December 21, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Larry Boston, Massachusetts

    Many schools have police on the doors today so the NRA is not that far off. IN urban cities, many schools have x-ray scanners. There are police in every court; there are armed marshalls on planes; and pilots now carry guns. Adding "some" armed security at some schools is not far fetched at all. Ironically this is the oNLY idea that haS BEEN OFFERED FROM ANONETHAT ACTUALLY PROVIDES SECURITY FOR SCHOOLS today.

    December 21, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. nvmature

    The good thing is more and more NRA members are speaking out against the organization's leadership and beliefs. This whole discussion of the mentally ill should be focused on LaPierra and his Hilter-like personality.

    December 21, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. JMT

    NOT surprised by the NRA stance and very disappointed by the gun power mindset in this country. We make guns more available than quality professional mental health services for people. Sickening....

    December 21, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Ed

    Perhaps it is time to disband the NRA. Register firearms and require owners to demonstrate proficiiency in use and safety in storage.

    December 21, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. essmeier

    There was an armed guard on duty at Columbine High School in 1999. Didn't do much good. Multiply that times 90,000 and you get a lot of not much good.

    December 21, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. William

    What is so hard to understand that you can not know when there are "bad actors", and reason would dictate that you can not stop someone with a firearm if you have no means of self-defense. The principal at Newtown was heroic, but she is dead. All of this just goes to show that when the chips are down, "civilized" people, like those wanting bans, no guns, will eat each other alive. Here is an idea, all the gun haters can go stand out in front of the schools without a firearm, and wait to be put down like dogs. Put armed officers in schools, quit the whining.

    December 21, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. BoFo

    I don't usually agree with the left on major issues, but I watched this "news conference" on C-Span this morning, and LaPierre came across looking like a certifiable wacko.

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Larry Boston, Massachusetts

    To the folks on here that link the GOP and the NRA, the membership of the NRA has a najority of Democrats ....

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. TonyInNYC

    I'm glad I have a mayor who uses phrases such as "they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision."

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. jelliot1978

    While I am not sure that having armed security personnel at schools is the best choice I have to ask this question. The president is protected by a squad of armed personnel, federal buildings have metal detectors and armed security, and plenty of other government buildings do as well. If it is ok there, why not in schools? We can protect politicians, banks, hospitals and a myriad of other things but not children? No armed security for kids then none for anyone.

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    the USA might be the dumbest country in the world. More guns = safer country.

    The good news here is that never again can the US point the finger at another country's human rights follies.

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. nvmature

    I think the shooter would just shoot the guard first. Prolong his spree by a mere 2 or 3 seconds. Yeah, NRA, good solution.

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Tootie Muldoon

    Disturbing is putting it mildly. Sounds like Mr. NRA would like for us to turn domestic security over to the NRA...then who should we be afraid of?

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. CAS

    Wow...disappointing to say the is it if that armed guards in the schools are going to make a difference – this dude, shot out a window...what if the guard is at the other end of the school? With the kind of gun he was carrying, by the time the "armed guard" responded, children & teachers would be dead. What is a guard going to carry? I am very happy to be living in the high taxed, north...I will keep my inferiority complex, free health care and be very pleased to say I live in Canada. Another very sad Friday for the USA!!!

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Mike

    The extreme radical teabagers are wrong again when it comes to either the Gun or Fiscal Clif discussion!!

    December 21, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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