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. crowgan

    Armed guards in all schools, theaters, restaurants, parks, malls, office buildings, churches, museums, stores, subways, buses, gymnasiums, hotels, bowling alleys, ice rinks ... YEAH!

    December 21, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Lets skew the facts

    Once again the press has chosen to skew the facts, rather than provide fair and balanced reporting. While the NRA statement could have gone a lot further to offer real solutions to the problem, asking for armed law enforcement officers in the schools is a stop-gap measure to insure the safety of our children until legislation can be put in place. Itis not the end all be all solution. Liberals in the media are fanning the flames instead of addressing the real issue which is a failure of the government to adequately enforce the laws currently on the books, a failure of the mental health system to identify at risk individuals and share that information with officials to insure that they can not access firearms. Let's be clear here...this tragedy was not perpertrated by a law abiding citizen or a responsible gun owner ,it was perpertrated by a mentally ill person who was a criminal. The guns were legaally obtained, he chose to MURDER the owner and STEAL the guns to further his crimes at the school. The gun used in the Oregon shooting was legally obtained and owned by a law abiding too was STOLEN so a mentally ill person could commit his crimes. Do not solely attack guns or gun owners look at the entire spectrumof issues that surround this horrific incident. I'd encourage the media to report the facts and not skew the facts to support their editorial position...that's not likely to happen, but it would further a truly honest conversation rather than heated rants from either side of the debate.

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

    1. It's a state issue. What's appropriate for NYC or LA, for example, is ridiculous for the cities in Montana (and visa versa).

    2. Armed security guards have been stationed in public schools here in South Florida for a long time. Along with metal detectors.

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

    Why stop with armed guards at schools...what about churches/mosques,synagogues/local YMCA's?

    Did the US go to hell in a hand basket when the ban on assault firearms was put in place back in 1994?

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Mycenia

    An armed middle-school teacher might just be the most dangerous person in the building... There can be mentally disturbed, corrupt teachers just as easily as police or military personnel. Do you really want to arm someone that someone you likely never met determined to be "safe" around you kids? I can get behind an properly vetted armed guard or two, depending on the details... But teachers and administrators? No, thank you.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Look out

    2nd Amendment rights are not "special interest politics..."

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. TonyK

    Yeah and guess what? there WAS an armed guard at Columbine. An armed guard that engaged with and shot at Harris.

    A lot of good that did.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. len

    The sheep always dislike and never trust the sheep dogs until the wolf comes. Then they praise him for saving the flock from certain death, until the next day when they decide he looks to much like the wolf again.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Oakspar77777

    To have a community put their most valuable possessions together in an open building without an armed guard every day in a world where there are people who want to take those possessions away from you is the height of stupidity.

    People wouldn't do that with their money, why would they do it with their children?

    Armed teachers with CCWs is the only cost effective way to do that. Hired armed securty would also work, but would be very expensive.

    Labeling the schools as Gun Free Targets, however, has proved again to have the highest cost of all.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. fryuujin

    the NRA leader, the rantings of a madman. the solution to gun deaths won't be solved as long as these nut exist and it may be decades until enough of these madmen die of old age. So get ready for a long slow death of the NRA, but make no mistake it is dying.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    I heard from the NRA dude, "The NRA and it's members agree to pay for placing an armed officer in every school in the country. It's a small price to pay for our freedom to arm ourselves with whatever manner we want."

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. noboat1

    You're never going to satisfy the Left in this country, not on taxes, guns, abortion, gay marriage, nothing. They all think they know what's best for ALL of us. So why even waste your breath, the only response you'll get from any of them is BAN.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. bqm13

    Hey America are you aware that 99.964% of all guns are used legally. I am part of the 99%.

    December 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. bspurloc

    Um Adam Lanza used the Bushmaster Assault rifle to put a MINIMUM of 3 bullets per 6,7 year old. he shot them from the hallway not close range. He had less than 30 minutes to put over 200 bullets into these toddlers. stop being ignorant. and armed guard would have had ZERO chance against this weapon.
    .....Buy the way if the shooter didn't use the rifle....."

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. j.e.g

    Columbine had an armed guard. He was a sheriff's deputy and ate lunch with the students every day. Fat lot of good it did, too.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Mitch H

    As a democrat and a supporter of ban on assault rifles, let's face it, the 2nd Amendment is here to stay. If we have guns in our society, we need people with the proper training and equipment to protect the most vulnerable. I oppose the NRA on most instances. However, in this case, I agree with them. If a police officer had been present, the massacre could have been avoided or have its outcome dramatically made less severe.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Montane

    Looks like American's support the NRA's position:

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Craig

    I just drove by my local gun store and the line was out the door. There cannot be one solution to this problem, but a series of coordinated efforts to recognize and treat mental illness in conjunction with a reduction in the capacity for those who slip through the cracks to kill so many so quickly. We need to find a way that the majority of gun owners can legally purchase products for recreation and for defense while protecting children and others from these less and less rare tragic events.

    I have difficulty understanding the argument for military-grade weaponry in the hands of civilians designed to counter a tyrannical government bent on suppressing its population. First and foremost, the armed forces are honorable men and women who are our friends, our family and our neighbors who are trained to reject illegal orders. The USA is not a corrupt 3rd world country where people can be easily cowed. Second, there are counter-balances to federal military might in the state national guards. Thirdly, if the Army really did want to dominate the population, we are sorely out-gunned. What are the other reasons to possess such weapons? Home defense? Hunting? Range practice? Are these reasons justifiable enough to a majority of the population to allow continuance of the sale of these weapons?

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Jason

    Yes please take away all of the guns away from the good guys so when the bad guys build them or obtain them illegally we have nothing to defend ourselves with. Taking the tools away isn't going to stop someone from doing what they did. If it isn't guns it would be knifes or swords. Or poison or pushing a bus off the road. When sick people want something done they will find a way. They took down planes with box cutters...

    As far as armed guards in schools it IS what is needed. So many people living in their happy little lives and think the world is a happy safe place and their aren't sick predators out there. Well wake up America they are out there and they want to make you miserable so they can be happy. The only thing that a place that doesn't allow guns into them is is a target. Why? Because the sissy's that go and commit these crimes know that there will be little to no resistance when they go in. How hard is it to round up unarmed people and take them out? That is why you don't see young gunman walked into police station and started shooting on the news or young gunman opens up on military platoon. Unless it is politically or religion motivated you just aren't going to see someone go there because they know their chance of success is nil. So business's and schools take those no gun signs down and change the laws and allow our kids and patrons a fighting chance to defend themselves. Until something like this happens we will keep seeing headlines like this.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Bob

    The NRA is a blood soaked terrorist enabling anti-American bunch of tools.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. bqm13

    I am part of the 99%, the 99.964% of legal gun owners, that is.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Rob

    It is like they think if guns were made illegal they would disappear or something. How did making drugs illegal work out? Still on the streets in the hands of the criminal. Exactly.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Gary

    We are not looking for the NRA to draw up a plan to improve the morals of the country..Just stick to the gun safety and gun laws..

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Bud

    Who's paying for armed guards at ALL schools? The NRA isn't but maybe they can supply the assault weapons and loaded magazines.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Steve

    Alcohol and cigaretts kill more people by a good measure then guns. Maybe we should ban those products.

    December 21, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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