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. dessertdog

    I won't pretend to have any of the answers but the DWI, air plane, cell phones, swimming pools, etc. arguments have no parallel and just make individuals sound like radicals. If you are going to draw a comparison then at least have it make sense.

    December 21, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Yeah Right

    Arming a guard in a school is not going to stop anything whatsoever. The guard will simply be target #1. Even if not, many children will die before the guard even gets to where the scene of the crime is. Sillyness.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. lucy moniz

    So the way I see it is we should not ban assault military weapons in our country but instead have armed camps everywhere. Who will protect our children in this country? Are we living in Beirut? Should all citizens arm themselves? Maybe we should look to England as an example. Getting a license to carry guns is a long, tedious process and your license can be revoked any time the government believes you are a threat. Everyone is outraged over the possibility of their Second Amendment rights being trampled but what about the right to life that these 20 children and 6 teachers had? How many children and innocent people in this country are killed each and every day by guns? Enough already. How many people need to be killed in one massacre before people will wake up? 50? 100?

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. GothVanhellsing

    I love how almost every person who hated the speech has armed bodyguards around them 24-7. The average number of people killed when the cops stop a mass shooter is 28 the average number when a citizen with a weapon stops them is 3. The fact is that it takes cops almost 30 mins just to get on scene let alone figure out what is going on. The real truth is guns kill very few children the number counting accidental, suicide, and homicide is 3.7% if you really want to save children ban cars. Tell me what does anyone need a 400hp top of the line assault car anyways

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Dave

    Really Sylar75 were you around in the Wild West days? Please tell me how the gun violence was back then....i'll wait.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Mike

    NRA clearly wants to turn America into a war-zone ... so they can maximize the sales and profits for the gun industry.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Speak the Truth

    I found the NRA's statement to be utterly contemptible. What kind of twisted America are they advocating? Where will it end? Guns at bowling alleys, guns at theatres, guns at supermarkets! This is absolute'y ludircrous, and they should be ashamed that America, the great nation, should turn itslef into a petty, Albanian/Columbian styled state. The final question at the end of our national anthem says it best; "Oh say does our Star Spangled Banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" Apparently for the likes of the NRA, the answer is "no."

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. CT818

    Using the arguement that any gun restrictions won't impact gun violence since there are already so many guns out there, reminds me of the cold war days. Can't get rid of the nukes because the other guy has them. Why not go and get all existing semi automatics and distroy them ? Why is that so impractical ? All existing semi automatics should be registered. Confiscation. That would also discourage people from going out to buy purely because of an impending change in law.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Gary

    Wayne LaPierre was simply offering a solution that is most likely choice to have an immediate effect on school safety. Putting well trained, armed guards at our schools, like they already have at every other government building, will deter madmen from using our children to inflict shock, mayhem and revenge on our society. This in turn will buy us more time to come up with better systems to keep guns out of the hands of those that shouldn't have them. It will also provide the time to get America off of it's fascination with death, violence and destruction in every type of media we see and hear.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Heather

    I am as liberal as it gets and I don't see why my own party of Democrats could possibly be opposed to having professionally trained armed military or law enforcement at our schools. How could anyone be opposed to that? Should we just let our teachers and students have no protection and sit there waiting to be slaughtered? We send out troops overseas to protect others and meanwhile our own children and teachers get massacred, right here in the US, in our own schools. I am anti-gun, pro gun control, etc., but there is no logical explanation for being against having professionally trained military or law enforcement personnel at each school throughout our country. The idea that teachers and children would have no line of defense protecting them, even after the Newtown tragedy is inexcusable.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. John Brigance

    Sorry but as a parent I don't want to continue having to drop my children off at school every morning worrying about whether or not I will ever see them again. And no, short of stationing policemen at every entrance which will never happen, I don't feel any added security with arming teachers. They're teachers, not military or police. These people carrying out the attacks are clearly evil, and intent on getting their hands on weapons that can inflict the most carnage. Obviously this type of weaponry needs to be severely restricted. Furthermore, as a responsible gun owner (I have two antique rifles that were passed down from my grandfather) it infuriates me to hear the far right pedantically spouting off about arming everyone with assault rifles and using the 2nd amendment as an excuse to justify it. Pitiful.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. NRA

    Columbine had an armed guard. So yeah that obviously solved the problem. No one died at Columbine. Oh wait.

    Also these school shootings are not committed by gang members getting guns from mexico. They are mostly by white kids getting guns from their gun loving parents.

    So when I blame idiot gun people. That is why. They are providing the guns.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. betterdays

    I love these constantly improving United States of America. It's so much better here now than it was before! If Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were here right now I'd give 'em a big kiss.

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. WBL

    DB77 With the number of bad guys growing every day what are you going to do to protect your family try and talk your way out of a home invasion. In most cities 300,000+ in up scale areas there are 4 to 6 invasions most during day light hours if it happens to your home I hope I'm near by to help if not you have a real problem.Welcome to the real world where you have to take care of your self when the bad people come its to late GOOD LUCK !

    December 21, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Mike

    Is America supposed to be Afghanistan-style war-zone with gun-toting warlords everywhere we look?

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. MK

    Senator Feinstein just flat out lied on CSPAN. Describing mystery devices that can make 'these types of guns' fully automatic. Hello, Senator, even if you could just drop on in, you would be breaking FEDERAL LAW. So instead you lie and then try to get others to go along with the lie. Not surprising that yet another law maker does not know the laws that are already on the books. Also, before you comment on what the NRA said today, please at least watch the press conference and stop parroting the liberal talking points. He said he wanted each school to have qualified and trained armed security IF the school system so chooses. They also laid out the premise of a plan to create safer schools by consulting with school boards on their design and layout.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Gun Owner

    As a gun owner, I am proud that I am not a member of the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. deatypoo

    So what happens if the armed officer has undiagnosed mental health problems?

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Barry from Wisconsin

    I own firearms (not assault-type weapons). I believe responsible citizens should be permitted to own guns. I do NOT belong to the NRA – for reasons that they have made evident in the official statement. Arm schools????? We are not in Afghanistan.

    Rational people know that 30 (or more) round clips are not used for anything else that to kill people. A good hunter will get off one shot… .maybe two on rare occasions. A semi-automatic long gun (AR-15, for example) is modeled on the military M16. The purpose of the M16 is to kill people, not hunt deer.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Chad

    Has anyone ever noticed that police carry guns ? I wonder why... I mean we live in such a peace full place... All of our laws make life so nice and carefree… Because everyone follows them. .ALL OF THEM …. Hmmm,, I wonder why the secret service that guard the president carry Sub Machine guns… those should be outlawed… I mean they go into our schools regularly when the president visits… In fact they go everywhere he goes… Interesting..

    Interestingly enough most federal agencies allow for if not demand there people carry firearms ? FBI, Treasury, Tobacco and Firearms….. Hmmm.. More interesting… So it is not a good idea to protect our most valuable assets..Our Future…. Our Children ??? It might not be what everyone wants to hear, but it is not a bad idea. I would support it. In fact I think the security and monitoring of our schools needs to be improved and revamped… That is a use of my tax dollars I would not find offensive….

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. ITProfessional

    Michael Steele states that it's disturbing and discusting that the NRA suggest arming teacher and principle in our schools. Not one time was that suggested during the NRA's press conference. They suggested armed security professionals just like we do for court houses, concerts, government buildings, every airline flight, etc. If you argue with this, then you are more concerned about the people at these venues than you are about our children at school. This, though a huge undertaking, is a more proven solution than dividing the country by pasing laws that will affect lawabiding citizens and shouting the word "ban". The NRA's conference today was the most level headed set of statements I have heard on this issue. Everyone needs to watch it before commenting on it.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. GBfromOhio

    NRA / gun nuts "logic":

    "Take away guns and only bad people will have them"
    "Automobiles kill more people than guns do, should we ban them?"
    "Guns don't kill people, people kill people"
    "You can kill a person with a knife or club too"
    "Hitler took guns away from people and look how that turned out"
    "Sure we have a lot more murders than Europe, but we don't want to be like THEM do we?"
    "If everyone carried a gun at all times then we'd all be safer"

    Sad and pathetic.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Yeah Right

    And to these people who keep saying "Taking guns away from the good guys only leaves us without a means to protect ourselves" Uh huh, how many instances has a gun protected anyone in their house? Thats what I thought.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. The J

    If "guns don't kill people, people kills people" is true, then why "violent videos (or media) dont kill people, people kills people" is not?

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Why Not?

    We have armed officers protecting our children at shopping malls, airports, supermarkets, banks, baseball games, museums, on airplanes, in hotels, hospitals, etc, etc.

    Nobody's upset about this.

    President Obama has armed officers protecting his children 24/7.

    And yet the one place with the highest concentration of children – schools – goes totally unprotected.

    December 21, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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