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. CH

    May be these people don't undwestand something. Who can help explain it to them? I was expecting a very strong support from this NRA to the parents who have to bury these kids unexpectedly. What a disapointment !!!! What a shame!!!
    I have a 5 yrs old. He is so happy about learning, he feels my week-ends with joy and my evenings with love. It is just amazing to see how much he is enjoying everything his loving teachers are making him do and discover. So as a parent I really feel the pain of these other parents in this unexplicable gun tragedy. I really do, and I'm just wondering if "this" NRA feels their pain as well. I was hoping their press conference today would give some sort of comfort to America, but i'm afraid they clearly did not. They just hurt us in our open wounds. Maybe there is something they are missing and I wonder if there is no one in this blessed land of ours to help them get reason ... Their obsession for gun is now over the top. Seriously.

    December 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Charles

    Got to love the NRA, boy are they out of touch with reality.
    Now they want the money that should go to educating children instead be spent on arming the schools with armed guards!
    This reminds me of the definition of insanity – "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results".

    December 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Last time I looked nearly every government facility is this country has armed guards, funny that our politicians feel this is necessary to protect them but will deny that same protection to our children. Don't tell me that our children are our most precious resource then turn around a fortify the building that you work in with 24 hour armed security while denying the same protection to my kids.

    December 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Floyd from Illinois

    Nutcase – firearm – bullet – dead victom.

    Which part of that chain do you think would be the easiest to implement? Which the most effective?

    December 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Right tool for the job.

    The NRA wants to address gun violence by adding more guns. When the only tool in your drawer is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. I had hoped for something better.

    December 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Andy

    Last time I looked nearly every government facility is this country has armed guards, funny that our politicians feel this is necessary to protect them but will deny that same protection to our children. Don't tell me that our children are our most precious resource then turn around a fortify the building that you work in with 24 hour armed security while denying the same protection to my kids.

    December 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Brian

    i respect NRA more now because they have more common sense than our law makers. Gun control will not make our schools safer; it just sounds good for their reelections. Suppose they ban all the guns, would they feel good about walking around without ARMED GUARDS? If not, why would they try to sell that dumb plan to us and convince us that our kids are safer without guards after gun control?

    There is nothing disturbing about this logical choice. We simply can not predict WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, OR HOW criminals attack. But I can tell you now that Schools have been popular choices because our laws made them EASIEST targets.

    December 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Dave Green

    Basic argument: Person A. "We must ban guns!! It's too easy for deranged people to get them!" Person B "We must arm everyone in the country! That way we can shoot them deranged people dead!"

    Am I the only one that is looking at those two arguments thinking, "Uh, isn't there a person C?" heh

    December 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Adam

    Lorenzo, Those are called cops, and they don't "prevent" anything from happening.

    December 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. SafeJourney

    There was an armed guard at Columbine High School when two students shot up the school. NRA typical response for the gun manufactures that pay the NRA lots of money.

    December 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Still waiting for someone to answer? You're going to have a long, long wait. They're still at the denial stage. They feel used and abused ... no one understands them ... but they can't seem to justify what they know is the truth: there is no legitimate reason.

    December 21, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The Warsaw ghetto of WW2 was e of the most effective gun free zones ever. No Nazi sadist evet felt unsafe there.

    December 21, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. R68

    Please tell me how putting an armed guard in our schools is solely the way to go. He could have easily overpowered a man with a gun with the types of weapons he had. Plus,how does that protect the innocent and children at the mall, a place of worship, a theater, a grocery store. C'mon NRA. Shame on you and a slap in the face to those poor families that are burying their kids this week.

    December 21, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Kenny

    High schools and elementary schools in British Columbia have an assigned armed officer that frequents the campus at random times. Do they have this in the US?

    December 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Bud Light

    Parents out there you are the problem with the violence this country is seeing with our children. Not the guns, not the NRA, not the Video Games. Stop blaming everything else on your inability to raise your children with the simple values of repect and love for one another. You don't have time to be a parent then don't have kids. If you are focus on your carrer and making money, don't have kids if you cannot spend the time you need to raise them to be pillars of our communities. The violence begins in the home. Take responsibility for your lack of parenting and keep the guns, the video games, etc out of the discussion and admit your faults and take action. Only you can prevent these kids from acting out and doing this crazy stuff. Talk to your kids and never ever be too busy to spend time with them.

    December 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Einzart

    Another of NRA's idiotic suggestions. Gun violence is not restricted to schools only. Maybe we can stick armed men outside offices, post offices, schools, universities, malls, clubs, airports, homes etc... And when of these armed men goes nuts and does something stupid, we can put armed men to control other armed men and so on till the next fall fashion would be gun holsters for everyone.

    December 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Mikerooni

    There are two kinds of Ideologists: Those who look at how they wish people were, and ask themselves "how do we change people into the people we think they should be," and those who look at how people really are and say "what's the best way to deal with them."

    I hear a lot of "shock" and "disappointment" at the position the NRA takes. But I don't hear much in the way of logical explanation for why the idea is so appalling. Just a lot of people wrapping their preconcieved notions up in indignation and presenting it as some obvious truth that only bad or unintelligent people could possibly disagree with.

    So here's a surprise. I don't own a gun. Never have. Probably never will. I'm reasonably intelligent, and like to think I"m not a bad person. Yet I'm perfectly okay with BOTH banning assault style weapons and high capacity clips AND arming somebody at every school. Not to MENTION doing something about the appalling lack of mental health care in this country. Why does one idea have to cancel out the other? How serious are we about preventing this kind of tragedy from happening again?

    There is a very simple logic at the core of the 2nd amendment that goes to the heart of human nature and can't rationally be disputed. Guns are an equalizer. They have the capacity to protect the powerless from the powerful. Whether that is the government, or a rapist, or a mentally disturbed mass murderer. The only attempt at a logical argument I've heard against armed protection for our schools is that people who are under stress don't shoot well. It's an inaccurate generalization that has been proven wrong in many cases. Who is to say that if the principal had been armed, she might not have saved some if not all of those precious, innocent babies? If not the principal, then an armed guard.

    My son's highschool has a very involved security process where visitors have to sign in at a desk, show their license, and have an ID badge created for them. Typically, a student and a faculty member staff this desk. But they are unarmed. And every time I visit, I can't help thinking that all they are doing by manning that desk is volunteering to be the first ones shot if the unimaginable happens.

    Ban assault weapons. That's fine. I'm totally on board with that. But it isn't a complete solution. If we truly can't stand the thought of this happening again, then we should take EVERY reasonable precaution against it. This is how the world is: It contains dangerous, unreasonable, and mentally unstable people. It always will. And it contains a lot of weapons. And always will. How do we best deal with that?

    At some point, I don't really care if arming the principal or a teacher or a guard at a school seems "uncivilized" or "dystopian" or "isn't really the kind of society we want to be." What I care about is the fact that there are dangerous people in the world that would perpetrate this kind of atrocity, and I can't stand to think about it being allowed to happen again.

    December 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. zeke

    @Lorenzo, are you kiddin?? The gunman was finished when Police arried.

    December 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Winning

    Just what we need, dead Trayvon Martins in high schools across the South taken out by overzealous rent-a-cops with a hero complex.

    December 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. wildernessyes

    Shameful man and shameful group. They hurt and endanger our nation in so many ways. I think the NRA and their membership like the killing. like the mayhem.

    December 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Chris

    Huh. I could swear there was an armed sheriff on duty at Columbine. And an entire armed police force on duty at Virginia Tech. And an entire armed military force at Ft. Hood. Glad they were able to stop those massacres. Oh, wait...

    December 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. alpha

    Mr. LaPierre gives new meaning to the expression "Band-Aid" solution.

    December 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    The NRA Wayne LaPierre wants to put GUNS IN EVERY STREET in AMERICA and put guns in our classrooms & schools, and arm our 6yrs old to defend themselves on their classroom...but in today's press conference Wayne LaPierre was AFRAID TO ALLOW GUNS IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM where he was delivering his HATE AMERICA SPEECH!!!

    The NRA is the PROBLEM and NOT the SOLUTION............Kill the NRA before they Kill our little Babies & Children!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. rehabmax

    The NRA is full of wackos that want guns everywhere. We better arm the theater ushers at every movie theater for next nut that comes in and shoots up the theater. How stupid can they be? Get rid of the assault weapons you morons.

    December 21, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Srinivas India

    Asking NRA about guns is like asking a muslim about Islam.....Their is only one closed view!!!
    Ban the Guns and Live peacefully !!!

    December 21, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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