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. Mike

    It is time that all US citizens understand that NRA is nothing but a lobbyist for the gun industry and as such their only goal is to maximize the sales and profits for the gun manufacturer.

    What they have proposed today is beyond outrageous - schools are supposed to be emotionally healthy place for kids to learn - they are not military camps or forts with heavily armed guards standing outside - what kind of impact does that have on emotional health of kids. it creates an atmosphere of fear ... our kids will grow up with fear syndrome ... such an atmosphere is not conducive to learning or positive emotional development among our kids.

    NRA .. c'mon time to be honest .. ENOUGH!

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Shaun

    The problem here isn't guns at all. It's everyone on here that commented before me. All the people calling the gun-controllers "communists", and gun-supporters "Terrorists". No middle ground will be found here because you're all to stuck in the "ME I'M RIGHT, YOUR A F$%&ING IDIOT" phase. grow up and try to see the benefits to each side (There are actually benefits to either choice). God your like a bunch of 3rd graders........... Grow up and think everyone.... Your ruining this county.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Bob

    The most disturbing thing about the NRA remarks is that they suggest a lack of connection to reality. Okay, we understand that the NRA positions itself as having staked out a philosophical position that is not consistent with acceding to any demands for increased gun regulation in the wake of the school shootings. But taking the position that the answer to the problem is more guns cannot possibly help the NRA because it antagonizes just about everyone who does not already agree with the NRA's party line. It is disturbing that the NRA does not have enough connection to everyday Americans to realize that. The NRA would have protected its political position a lot more effectively by saying nothing.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |

    Well there it is, at least a third of the comenters here think the NRA is out of touch with reality. Some even say we are becoming a backward nation because of all the gun lovers. Well here it is, don't arm the teachers, don't police the grounds and entrances, remove all of those gun and gun nuts, while you're at it, disarm the police, disarm the military, and all of the rest of society. It sure worked for Mexico, heck they don't have any gun violence down ther now do they. Way to go democrats, you'll be safe for sure. You'll certainly have a safe haven to live in.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Gunowner tired of NRA

    The NRA's comments play perfectly into their fear and propaganda that no place is safe. They want to instill in people that strapping on your gun in the morning should be as common place as putting on your socks. The NRA will turn the US into another crime stricken central or south American country if given the chance.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Eric

    All the Dems that are speaking against it all have a private security detail and they call this haunting and disturbing. Hey Michael Steele and Michael Bloomberg drop your armed security guards before you talk this garbage.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Dale

    DC: Hmmmmm, So how are you going to add all those armed guards without raising taxes? OOOOh, I just heard a loud squeel just like from the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    One entrance and armed guard should prevent any more school shootings.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. trude

    Some schools already have a resource office that is armed...All the NRA was saying lets do that across the board. What most people don't understand is it is LEGAL to own a fully auto gun if you go through the process and pay the 200 tax stamp
    you people are talking about Banning semi-auto for everyone. If you want reform lets talk about that not an all out ban.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. bqm13

    Liberals care about the First Amendment and the one for abortion. The second they care less about.

    December 21, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Tim Mills

    Mike in the Bronx you got it all wrong....if you want to stop killings take away the guns, if you want to stop speeding take away the cars.=, while the liberals are at it if you want to stop obesity let's control food. What's next with you guys?

    December 21, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Eric Chickering

    Its amazing the media is taking one side: Gun Control. Every comment thread that I have read the majority of the people believe in their rights. CNN needs to showcase all the people supporting gun rights instead of saying everyone is against guns. I thought you were supposed to be bias? NRA represents their members, which are legal gun owners that believe in their right to bear arms without infringement.

    December 21, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. cinemarama

    It is rarely someone previously identified as a criminal who carries out this type of attack. As another poster mentioned, it is usually a law abiding gun owner or a family member who obtains access. the arguments by the pro gun lobby sound very much like those for nukes during the Cold War. We needed more firepower than the enemy and somehow we would all be safer with mutually assured destruction on the line. That only works at all when dealing with a rational opponent. Now the focus is to LIMIT the number of nukes around the world and to restrict access to the unstable countries who want them. I suggest doing the same with guns.

    December 21, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Atlbirdawg

    I'm a supporter of the 2nd Amendment but the NRA has completely lost touch with reality and I find their comments today to be incredibly frightening, stupid, and irresponsible. I understand who they represent but LaPierre's comments are ridiculous. Technology has existed for a few years for biometric safeties for guns (finger/palm print recognition) yet not a single manufacturer wants to see them in production. If they were wise they would have the NRA to push for legislation that phases out all handguns or assault type weapons that do not have these biometric securities. I'm sure existing guns can be retrofitted with these grips as well. This would be a major boom for the gun industry while still protecting 2nd amendments rights. Criminals will still have their illegal guns but possession of these would result in felony gun charges and would likely phase out the majority of illegal weapons.

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. xsys

    Chris – you retard, we are America and have a 2nd amendment, so if the problem is that people in other countries playing violent video games cant kill because they don't have access to guns, then ban the games here because they do have access to them.

    My 2nd amendment right is more important than some idiot wanting to play a violent game.

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. driftss

    Gun-free zones don't work. If they did banks and congress would not feel the need to be protected with armed force and DC wouldn't have been the murder capital of the US for decades. Face it, 20000 gun laws don't prevent serious crime since the criminal is facing more serious offenses. But there are millions of fully trained and capable firearms personnel ready and willing to serve as guards, including past law enforcement, military and civilian trained people who know how to safely use a gun and can be an actual deterrent to crime. Why not put some of the unemployed to work doing something productive. These mass killing freaks aren't rushing into a police department, an army base or somewhere where they can face return fire...they are seeking out weak helpless victims.

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. glonq

    I think the NRA forgot “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. H-K

    Way to go NRA, keep it up! Now let Law Enforcement do what they get paid to do. ENFORCE the damn law! Murder is against the law. It's not the NRA's job to enforce the law. The NRA exists so that government can't take away my guns. I work, pay my taxes, served my country, and abide by the law. Go Hug A Tree.....

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Rick from L.A.

    The Bushmaster .223 is now associated with child murder, prior to sandy hook, it was a bloodthirty sniper's tool of choice.

    It's sad. No one is advocating the removal of all guns from private owners. just limit to what can be owned by private individuals. A bushmaster .223 is not a hunting tool, it's a weapon of war. add to that a 30 round bullet capcity per changeable clip and..

    Why would anyone need a magzine with 30 bullets? if you need 30 bullets to kill a burglar, then might I sugest a baseball bat instead because you are terrible shot.

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Jenny

    This is all spilt milk. The time for banning was 100 years ago.... now we must deal with the current reality and that is..... the guns are OUT THERE. Why do you think that shootings are only taking place in 'Gun Free' zones? Why do you think crime rates are down in states with carry laws? Facts are facts.... bad guys don't like it when lawful citizens are armed.

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. DavidEnc

    Our society is delusionally paranoid already. The idea of requiring armed guards at elementary schools will likely do nothing but make kids believe that bad guys are coming at them from every nook and cranny, and that they will need to own a gun to protect themselves. Sure there's risk, evidenced by the tragedy in Connecticut, but the statistical (e.g. actual) risk is still very small. Banning guns is not the answer. Arming everyone to the teeth is certainly not the answer. Better parenting, reasonable controls on who is allowed to own and handle firearms, and improvements in our educational system and our media are closer to solutions.

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Cunfuzed

    So the NRA thinks armed guards are the ticket ... I don't know ... but I do know how NOT having an armed guard or trained citizen worked out

    December 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Oregon

    I don't think more gun control is the answer. A person who decides that the way to express their anger, or whatever their motivation, with a gun will find one.

    When I think about the suggestion from the NRA, I'm not a member by the way, I think about my own kids' school. Would I rather the next crazy person with a gun come up to a school with a sign that reads, "Armed Guards on Site" or one with a sign that reads "Gun Free Zone"?

    December 21, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. zwylde

    It is really hard for me to believe (not sure why) that the issue is being so sorely missed in all of this nonsense. The common denominator in all of these mass killings is the poor mental health of the individual committing the crime. The guns are a tool that those individuals should not have access to, but how are they to blame? Taking issue with a certain gun ("assault weapons" – which doesn't even have any useful meaning – just a scare tactic) and large capacity magazines makes less than 0 sense. A disturbed individual could have done just as much harm in an elementary school with any gun and any sized clip (since it takes about 4 seconds to change a clip). The fact is, this person should not have had access to these weapons, and if his parents knew he was mentally ill, why would they not have stored them somewhere inaccessible to him? If an individual is disturbed enough to premeditate the killing of children, having no access to a firearm would not have changed this desire. They would have just found another medium with which to do it.

    And the thought that giving someone a gun makes them more inclined to shoot somebody is ludicrous. I've been around guns my whole life and never had a desire to use one on another person. I've read some of the flack the NRA is receiving for their comments, but how likely is a person to plan a killing where they know armed guards will be? The Aurora killer picked a theater – not closest to his residence – but that didn't allow firearms in order to inflict maximum carnage. You will never get all the guns off the street, so making it impossible for law-abiding citizens to have them leaves us sitting ducks for the criminals that have no regard for the law in the first place.

    Mental health should be at the forefront of this conversation – yet it is not even registering as an issue? I wish somebody could explain this. Fear is very powerful and will occasionally lead us down the wrong road. It is certainly used effectively by our government. I just wish people could think with their own brains and not be so influenced by the media.

    December 21, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. realistic

    As much as I condemn the mass shooting and regret the loss of all the innocent lives, looking at this in a more realistic way – rather than emotional, it does make sense that there should be a guard/police officer assigned to all schools. With over 200 millions guns in circulation and an alarming number of individuals with mental illness, this idea of having armed guards is not far-fetched. Even if we bring in gun control, what happens to the guns that are already out in the hands of criminally insane. How can we stop them from killing?

    December 21, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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