December 21st, 2012
01:42 PM ET
10 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. Jim (the intelligent one)

    Floyd R. Turbo is alive and well and running the NRA, what a sad thought

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

    You know what? Times have changed.These acts are acts of domestic terrorism and people better be willing to come to grips with the fact that protective measures have to be put in place. Just like what had to be done after 9/11. A lot of things had to change after that. Some of the worst cities in America have schools with metal detectors and armed security. All you people that are "saddened" and "appauled" by the NRA's comments should tell your kids that you don't love them enough that you will not do what ever means necessary to protect them. It doesnt matter if you make it harder for people to acquire guns or if you limmit the number of rounds a gun can hold. That just means someone has to carry more clips. Given a choice, I'm sure the families of the ones that were lost would have loved to have armed protection that day.

    December 21, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Guy

    An idea that should appeal to the liberals – Close all of the schools and home school. That eliminates the threat of another Newtown. The big selling point is that the billions that would be saved could be spent by the politicians on other pet projects. Problem solved.

    December 21, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Dave

    People are idiots!!! Do you not understand that CRIMNIALS already HAVE theirs!!!! What part do you not understand??? Are law abiding people supposed to be defenseless? In my town police response is 20-30mins for violent crimes 30mins-2hrs for non-violent. So how the hell can a man a pregnant wife and their children be protected in the immediate moment a group of thugs break into their home? Explain that? People are so brainwashed thinking NEW LAWS will help CRIMINALS WHO LAST TIME I CHECKED DONT FOLLOW LAWS. You fools!

    December 21, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Fire Congress

    Just goes to show that you can't have a dialogue with someone who is incapable of listening to a viewpoint other than their own. Liberalism is a mental disorder. You cannot reason with them. It's their way or the highway. I say we divide the country the way the old Soviet Union was divided. Then people can choose not to live in an area controlled by mentally unstable Democrats. But see, that won't work for them because they are control freaks and parasites. Who would they tax to pay for their insane social experiments if decent people were allowed to have their own country? Think about it. Any loyalty to what the US once was is misplaced because it just ain't that country anymore.

    December 21, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. sam

    No, no go ahead. Treat the symptom but not the underlying cause. Great idea.

    December 21, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Mark C. Williams

    I propose a telethon to be aired every December 14 in honor of all people murdered by assault weapons in America where the proceeds are given to local police departments throughout the country for the purpose of buying-back assault weapons on the streets of this country. Congress and the President will likely abolish assault weapons going forward, but they likely will not attempt to pull these guns out of houses like done in Waco, Texas. A good way around this problem is to raise money and give the assualt weapons owners money for a bad product. Doing this year after year will eventually wipe out the stash. In the end, Americans will be left with their single action rifle and 6 bullet pistol or handgun. They really never needed any more than this in the first place until assault weapons were supported by the NRA and ACTIVIST, conservative judges on the Supreme Court, like Scalia, Thomas and the other right-wing block on the Court. I eagerly await their retirement during President Hillary Clinton's 2 terms in the White House. You don't really think the GOP and NRA have a real chance of getting their guy in office in 2016 with this kind of stand on the Newtown tragedy, do you?

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. JG

    Congratulations NRA for having the couarge and the wherewithall to tell the truth, despite what the liberal media would have the sheep believe. You'll definitely be getting a membership from me.

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. yeahdothat

    Time to pull all armed security from the house, senate, supreme court, and white house! After all, that's just CRAZY to have guns all over the place! Only a matter of time before one of those trained security personnel has a bad day after all and we have a disaster!

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. dan

    this guy had a chance to be a statesmen and attempt some reasonable compromise in a time of nation tragedy instead he sounded like a shrill advocate for the extreme gun rights ; views which are at best not shared amongst most Americas and at worst and perhaps ironically even counter productive to the vast majority of NRA members political interests in summary he added nothing positive to the discussion on guns and violence and weakened his own organization political influence

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. DGfromMI

    ...shall not be infringed...Amen to that...

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. immaannoid

    Most high schools have a SRO anyway. The problem is, people want some kneejerk solution when the reality is our mental health system is the cause of this.

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Surprised

    The cost of the guard would be what? Maybe the cost of two teachers, maybe only one. Where would the money come from is this era of "fiscal responsibility". On average wouldn't we be better off if every school in America had two additional teachers?

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. John

    The last several schools my children have attend had / has an armed person usally police office or 3 on the school grounds during school hours. KY, MS, MN all three had this to protect my child. I have not heard of one school that had an armed person at the school with a shooting. I do not understand why congress does not know this ???

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Thor

    Can someone come up with a firearm that cannot be used as a military weapon? Perhaps, if not, then, might someone explain which firearm cannot be used as an assault weapon? Perhaps the single muzzleloaders would be considered as non-assault "type" weapons? Perhaps the model of "assault"weapons can be understood from the event called the Boston Massacre, where Crispus Attucks was killed by British thug soldiers might provide some answers?

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Jim

    America now sees what the NRA represents.

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. KE6522

    Oh my GOSH!!!! We are talking about BABIES HERE PEOPLE!!!!! Put an armed guard on every floor of every school!!!! I guess people opposed to armed, trained guards in our schools don't have children. There's absolutely NO way if they oppose this! And then others complain on how much it will cost??? Are you kidding me????? A child's life has a price???

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Bill Rich

    I cannot believe what I just heard... Did he write this address or did he not read it before he spoke.... of the video games, movies & music he rightfully chastises.... But, the hypocracy of not including "assault wepons" in America today was beyond my understanding. I'm a gun owner and NRA member and "once" Republican .... This guy should join that party because he's out of touch with decency. I'll be a "former NRA" member shortly.

    December 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. SCBAMA

    NRA remarks called "appropriate".

    December 21, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Edzepp

    Lapierre asks if Armed guards had been at Sandy Hook, "Will you at least admit it's possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?"<<
    Okay, Wayne. Will you at least admit it's possible that those 26 innocent lives (and the tens of thousands of Americans that die every year from gun violence) might have ben spared if you and your organization didn't fight so hard to keep sensible gun controls from taking effect?
    Ahhh...but that would require that Mr LaPierre would have a conscience, wouldn't it?

    December 21, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. CV

    One thing you need to give NRA is they are superbly good at what they do. After 26 innocent lives shredded away in a hail of bullets, the big proposal is to increase the gun circulation even more. It is like selling guns to two countries at war. If you are the one doing the selling it is a win-win. Sell both the bad guys and good guys and sit back and enjoy your profits go up as each side will try to come over the top. While keeping safety personnel in schools can have some merit it is at the bottom of the list. Eliminate assault weapons, high capacity clips. There is only one purpose of these: Kill many efficiently and effectively. Eliminate loopholes. Require background checks.

    While mass shootings happen in other places, it is primarily an American trade mark. Simply because the means are there.

    The same day while our babies were being massacred in 3 minutes, another individual in China wanted to do the same. But he could only get a knife. He hurt 22 children who all lived. As horrible of incident as it is; the contrast is evident.

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. arothmanmusic

    So, how about we leave the guns alone and just put restrictions on the ammunition? That'd affect even the guns that are already out there. How about a restriction on clip sizes? How about requiring gun ranges to only let you use bullets kept on the premises instead of bringing your own? What about requiring gun owners to be trained, licensed and insured just like drivers so that we have the right to revoke the license and the gun from anyone deemed unsafe?

    There ARE common sense measures that won't interfere with 2nd Amendment rights (even the misguided modern interpretation that converted 'keeping a musket for your militia' into 'personal ownership of semi-automatic assault rifles'), but sadly a lot of people seem more willing to live in an increasingly dangerous and paranoid society than to make any attempt to change it.

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. peace love happiness

    I propose that the only people who can buy military assault weapons are only those who have been trained in the military, and are willing to follow up with yearly training. Switzerland and Israel are also very weaponized nations, but both those countries have a COMPULSORY military service for all males over the age of 18. Weapons are distributed to those males who have completed their military training. Continued yearly military training is also COMPULSORY (that means you HAVE TO). So, sure, a person can keep an asault weapon in their home if they have had adequate military training. I have no problem with that.

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Mike

    Not surprised that NRA wants to arm every possible person upto the teeth in America ... as that maximizes the sales and profits of the gun manufacturer that they represent.

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Ryan Hartmann

    All but 1 mass-shooting in the US since 1950 has been in a "gun-free zone".

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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