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. Lorenzo

    Why not include armed volunteer groups that are well trained and certified to respond to school crisis? The National Guard could also chip in. Fact is there are citizens and parents who are more than willing to contribute to the safety of our children much like it was when such folks were referred to as militias. What could be more patriotic?

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. cha cha

    Our high schools here im my state have uniformed armed police officers as "resource officers" I for one would feel less fearful for my very young grandchildren and other youngsters if there were a uniformed ARMED police officer in elementary schools here as well. It breaks my heart that our world has come to this but it is the reality of the times we live in.

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

    The "mental health" argument, while valid, is a diversion. There's plenty of evidence that the more people keep guns at home, the more intra-family murders take place in the home. And yet, magically, putting more guns in schools is supposed to reduce violence while we pour money into mental health issues (which are issues that the Republicans under Reagan defunded, by the way). This is a complex problem and the NRA is making things worse, not better.

    December 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Eric

    America already is a war zone with strict gun laws and that doesnt stop anything. Lets ban ciggarettes that kill mor people than guns. And alcohol, and driving. You gun haters stop doing all of that then maybe theres a conversation about more gun laws on the table

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC


    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."

    Put police at schools to protect our kids dosent make sense? Why would we protect our kids?
    Try something completely different: think it through for yourself.

    How do you pay for it? Republicans have been cutting education budgets and police officer budgets for over year. They filibustered the "American Jobs Act" [pass this bill] in the Senate a year ago, that would have re-hired laid off police officers. Now suddenly, the right wing wants to hire them back without any funding.

    Republicans are in complete disarray. McConnell filibusters his own bill, while Boehner withdraws his bill for a House vote and decides to cut and run. "It's your problem Mr, President."

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Thor

    I would prefer a comprehensive National Education Act that teaches the visceral feel of what it is like to experience death of a living individual first hand, immediately followed by an intensive psychological session of each student for a few weeks to determine/monitor/test the mental state of the individuals for stability; providing those ill equipped for gun ownership the government/medical oversight that would prevent them from committing such an act.

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Robert

    NRA membership is growing everyday by the thousands and will continue to grow. Guns are not the problem.
    The problem is a mental health issue which is not being addressed. Mentally ill people who want to kill others and themselves will always find a way.

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Dennis

    These mass murders are mentally disturbed, looking for fame and want to be remembered for *something*. The common thread here is that mass media outlets like CNN are more than willing to give that person all the airtime, all day, for weeks. What does this do? It tells the next one "Here's your ticket to fame" – guaranteed coverage. STOP COVERING IT AND THEY WILL STOP HAVING AN INCENTIVE TO DO IT!

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. theemptyone1

    I am guessing that none of you spewing these absolutist, zero tolerance, "mommy, make the guns go away" comments haven't been abroad in the last decades. In Frankfurt airport in the 90s when I traveled most, the police carried assault weapons. If you saw two walking, one had an assault weapon on his/her shoulder. I lived in a gun control country for three years and I knew enough of the civilian culture to know that many owned illegal firearms. Also, it might be mentioned that in Switzerland, every citizen is in the army and have their weapons at their homes.

    So why do we have all this gun violence in America? To all these bad doctors who want to treat the symptoms and not the disease or cause, I say that we ought to look at broken, single mother homes, the decades of drugging and suppressing boys in classrooms and the sort of privilege for some political we make into life effecting policies here. We have a culture of mean here. It is easy to go after law abiding gun owners and even the NRA. It is far more difficult to address the culture of mean and disrespect that is seen everyday on tv, on our roads, in our politics and on the job. In the week following these shootings, I saw talk show hosts and guests, the very ones who just finished calling for severe gun control, play with aggressive toys and make mean "playful" comments. I think the saying applies; "We have met the enemy, it it is us."

    Time to do more than just round up the usual suspects.

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Citizen

    More guns, that's it, we need more guns!!!!! More guns to kill more people. How about some faster firing guns? I bet they can make a faster one and how great will that be!!! You can kill more in a shorter amount of time. THAT'S IT! Arm everyone with bigger and faster guns. How about bombs? Let's do bombs too! You can really do damage that way. Just think of the marketing for those, an advertisers dream! Every American should be able to protect their homes with grenade launchers, at the very least! Get the NRA and GOP behind this and we can make alot of money!

    December 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Bill

    I read earlier this week that the NRA was "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." I guess that must have been a misprint.

    December 21, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Dakota

    Just like America. You Blame everyone but yourself. Its the way you have been treating these people. And looking the other way. You go home and close your doors and act like their are no problems with American until it comes home. And then you start pointing your finger. Shame on you all. You want to change America. Start with your self and then your towns. God have mercy us all. Its not the guns. Its us. You want to change America start at home with the way you treat your children and bring them up. And teach them how to treat others. Take God out of everything and all you have is evil . The Bible says the devil is here to kill ,steal and destroy. It doesn't say anything about the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. CT818

    So why were guns banned when we had the wild west ? Back then guns were legal to be carried openly. Why did we ban them back then ? Aren't we going backwards if we legalize more weapons ?

    Using the argument that its the person that kills and not the weapon. Agreed. But you don't make it easier for the madmen to do this. Its a small sacrifice to have a member of public to give up their rights to bear arms if its prevents one more person from being killed.

    Statisitically you have a better chance of a gun in the home accidentally killing someone than being killed by someone intentionally out ot kill why would you take that risk ?????

    December 21, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Bob

    Even if you don't believe in gun rights at all, how can you be against putting some kind of protective force in schools? This is not an either-or proposition. Crack down on guns all you want, and the threat will still be there. If the Newtown attack was done by terrorists, would we be asking where the terrorists got the guns and how can we stop them from getting guns in the future? Of course not. And for good reason. So if you hate the NRA, fine, but keep that between you and your shrink and please don't let that opinion influence public opinion because that will just lead to more massacres. It's not about YOU and your liberal self esteem. It's about preventing this from happening again.

    December 21, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Come-N-Get-Em

    to those of you who think that the assault weapons ban will ban all these ar-15's, ak47's, high capacity mags, etc. you are not very educated in the law...The laws that they will introduce will be proactive, NOT retroact, meaning, that they will halt the production and sale of NEW semi-automatic rifles. The can not and will not come and take guns from people. I promise you, banning these guns will not remove them all together, so get your heads out of the sand.

    On another note, as has been said before, ALL of the active shooter mass killings in the United States in the last 20 years, have happened IN GUN FREE ZONES!!! So, if you keep places known as such, then those places will continue to become targets to the deranged and mentally unstable, or just psychopathic. Have you ever heard of a mass shooting at a gun range? I know that you have not, reasons for this are obvious, armed good guys deter armed bad guys, period.

    And for the nut job that thinks that the government will come take my guns from me, well partner, come and get 'em...

    December 21, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. John Summers

    Thats ok.. let the NRA and Republican idiots that back them continue... The Tea Party started the downfall of the Republican party.. the NRA will take it down the rest of the way... I know which way I am voting next election.. I am ashamed I voted for any republicans at all. I did vote for Obama but I also voted for Republican state officials.. That mistake wont happen again. Down with the NRA and their Republican backers!

    December 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. AnAmericanWHocares

    This sucks I cannot stand by fellow democrats on this one because they are just being stupid ....Juarez , Mexico has the toughest gun laws on the planet ...and guess what they are also the murder capitol of the world !

    December 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Lone wolf

    This just shows how out of touch with reality this ultra right conservative group is. They don't represent the ordinary citizen, they represent the gun makers. They use money and intimidation to keep Republican politicians in line. Their answer to the problem is more guns! What a bunch of nut cases.

    December 21, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. dave

    If someone wants to own an assault weapon, let them, if they clear all the current background hurdles, let them provide"proof of insurance" just like automobile owners. Three hundred dollars per year for any of these weapons paid into a fund to distribute towards survivers. Rates go down if you have a gun safe, rates go up if your kid takes it to show and tell. It's the American way, you want to drive a car, you have to have insurance, you want to ride a motorcycle, you have to have insurance and a helmet, if you don't want to pay for your assualt weapon, turn it in, why does society have to cover for such a small percentage of people?

    December 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. pre-runner

    i feel like i'm living in the land of meatheads – more guns is the answer – seriously?

    December 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Matt

    Yes our schools are clearly safe because we put up a sign that says no weapons allowed. That sign right there should stop all criminals and make them think twice.

    December 21, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. theNRAtookmybabyaway

    cops and so called "trained professionals" are not above having mental health issues. let alone making the wrong judgement and causing more gun related. if the house is on fire you dont fight it with a flame thrower. I also dont think taking away everyone's guns is the answer. its about many variables coming together in a bad way. all of them have to be looked at. all of the issues have to work with all of the other aspects of the issues. finger pointing gets us no where.

    December 21, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. brian

    @Ryan Hartmann – Gun free doesn't mean there are not armed security guards. Columbine had armed security. The Oregon mall had armed security. Ft Hood had armed MP's. The church that had a gunman run amok had armed security. We are talking about mentally deficient people here. They are not rational.

    December 21, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Jeff S

    What I find strange is that people believe that everyone armed is not safe, but have only people of "authority" armed is safe.

    It worries me that these people have not studied history and what happens when one side holds all the power.

    December 21, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Jayakumar

    None of the GOP members have the common sense or the guts to face the NRA. They rather let little kids and brave innocent unarmed civilians die at the hands of gun owners (yeah.. every psycho in all these masacres were all gun owners mostly legally owned). Save this country from these violent gunmongers.

    December 21, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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