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. Erik

    Mr. LaPierre was right when he cited violence in the popular media as a big part of the problem. Movies and TV shows, music, and video games glorify violence even more than they did back in the 1960's when people said that entertainment was too violent. Having armed police at schools is a good idea, in spite of the idiotic drivel from all those who are objecting to it. However, guns are objects that have no free will, just like baseball bats, automobiles, and knives, all of which can be used to kill people. The answer is not to rob people of their guns, or their baseball bats, or any other object, but to teach them Judeo-Christian morality, which emphasizes self-control. As all of our founding fathers said, the USA is designed only for people who govern themselves through God's morality.

    December 21, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. James

    I hope American finally sees how nutty these people are .

    December 21, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. FastDrawMcGraw

    Ok, so I am a security guard posted at the local Day Care Center (cause that's probably next) and here comes this crazy guy with his automatic rifle already drawn. My little pistol is in it's holster. What do I do??? If was starring in a Clint Eastwood western, maybe I could draw my little pistol before he can even pull the trigger. But this ain't no movie, so I'm dead and so are all the little kids I was there to protect. Yep a security guard is just the cure for this sort of thing.

    December 21, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. leo

    What if, what if, what if my God we have provided safe hunting grounds for the sickos in this country so they can safely go and shoot with out any interference. We provide armed protection for office holders of every level why not kids? You can ban every type of gun ever made and that will not stop the sickos from getting what they need or want to kill when there are these safe zones they can go to.

    December 21, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Mike - WA

    What about the rights of gun manufacturers to market and sell their product???

    That is what you heard at the press conference this morning. It was a marketing campaign to sell more guns. Since the NRA's sole purpose is to represent the interests of gun manufacturers, what you heard this morning was a push for more guns and not less. It makes perfect sense that they would do this since their purpose is to sell more of their product.
    Asking the NRA to do anything to stiffle gun and weapons sales is like McDonalds asking people to stop buying Big Macs. It ain't going to happen and people should get real about what the NRA is, who they represent, and what their purpose is.

    December 21, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. KeninTexas

    Hey people, before everyone gets hysterical, look around. There are already armed police in many schools already. As we know, even with the doors locked, crazies can still get in the schools. This happened at Sandy Hook. Having an armed policeman there to protect the students is not only the right thing to do, it is also the wisest.

    December 21, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. rs

    It is time to realize that at least some classes of guns have become a public health issue. In a nation where we have to strip search to get on a plane; see a pharmicist to get OTC pseudominophen; where we ban public smoking; require seat belts in cars and more, allowing idiots to roam about unsupervised with assualt and assualt-style weapons is delusional. AND making an armed camp out of everyplace isn't the answer!

    We need to ban these guns now
    We need waiting periods, and more detailed background checks
    We need to pass laws making the gun owner fully responsible for what happens with their weapons- that means registration, insurance, and perhaps licensing
    We need to end private and gunshow firearms sales without a background mechanism
    We need limits on clip capacities, and ammo strength
    This should be paid for by the Gun Lobby with high gun and ammunition taxes
    Finally- perhaps we need a Dr. Phil to help teach the people who are members of the NRA the difference between "wants" and "needs". You May want an AR-15- but you sure as hell don't need one!

    December 21, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    The ONLY thing that the NRA Wayne LaPierre CARES ABOUT is his BIG PAYCHECK & MAKING MORE PROFITS for GUN MANUFACTURERS!!....he doesn't give a hoot if your babies got killed in their classrooms!!!

    Arming schools is just an avenue for the GUN MANUCFACTURERS to SELL MORE GUNS....heck, they are SELLING MORE GUNS NOW. SO Wayne LaPierre & the GUN MANUCFACTURERS are already profiting off of the killing of our children & babies by this demonic evil monster ADAM LANZA!!!


    Kill the NRA before they kill our babies!!!!

    December 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. IQ173

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    To all of you @$$h0l3s out there,just what the FAHQ did you want the NRA to say,,there really is nothing to say.the NRA defends your 2nd Amendment right to own and bear arms/guns and if it were not for them we would have lost that rigtht to pacifists long ago and would be an enslaved people by our own government
    December 21, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |

    December 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Tom Joad

    It's quite evident that gun owners cannot keep their weapons stored safely. Must we all live in fear because of irrational gun owner behavior.

    American's are 5% of the population and own 50% of the worlds guns. Says a lot about scared Americans.

    December 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Ned Johnson

    NRA believes your pastor, teacher, gas station attendant, grief counselor, & well heck everyone should get a gun to make everyone safe. Thanks but no.

    December 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. dan Petzold

    So the NRA just shot itslef in the foot. Next time aim for the head

    December 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Mel

    These comments made by Wayne LaPierre, are just plain disgusting, disturbing, ignorant and just plain WRONG!!! He places the blame everywhere and on anyone, BUT the NRA!! They don't have a clue and they have NO COMPASSION for anyone but themselves. To ignorantly blame the media, video games and the movies as causes for mass shootings is just ridiculous!! The causes of mass shootings is the availability of ASSAULT WEAPONS and LARGE CLIPS OF AMMUNITION!!! If the weapons are not available...PEOPLE COULDN'T USE THEM!!! And to create a NATIONAL DATA BASE OF THE MENTALLY just ludicrous!! How is that going to happen?? How would you define the mentally ill??? And IF you had a case of being mentally ill, and now you are diagnosed as being you get taken OFF the list and how long AFTER would you BE taken off the list??? Can employers look up this info and who else can see this list??? How stupid IS the NRA??? Just so long as they can'f find blame with is everyone elses fault!!! How dare they state this kind of slime talk just 1 week after this horrible tragedy in Conn!! They are thoughtless PIGS!!!!

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. KeninTexas

    Hey people, before everyone gets hysterical, look around. There are already policemen in many schools already. As we know, even with the doors locked, a mad man can still get in the schools. This happened at Sandy Hook. Having an armed policeman there to protect the students is not only the right thing to do, it is also the wisest.

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. F1G

    Stop having children. It's the least we can do.

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. rs

    Common Sense-
    True- but a gun just makes the likelihood of death that much more certain and efficient.

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Crow

    So is the NRA going to back a Universal Mental Health Care Plan? Are they supporting the use of tax dollars for Obama Care for mental health? Of course not. As a gun owner I am sickened by the NRA's vapid response. There is no talking to these people. Gun control advocates and responsible gun owners like myself need to take the initiative and get organized. You can't change people. But you can change the law!

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. michele

    I was totally SHOCKED at what I was hearing and his tone. MORE guns and guards needed in America – OMG! PLEASE pass some new regulations - I can believe some of these nuts consider themselves Americans after reading some of their pro-gun, uncompromising people's posts!

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. KeninTexas

    Hey people, before everyone gets hysterical, look around. There are already policemen in many schools already. As we know, even with the doors locked, a mad_man can still get in the schools. This happened at Sandy Hook. Having an armed policeman there to protect the students is not only the right thing to do, it is also the wisest.

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. DJ

    Good idea,
    Let the NRA pay for all the security guards !!!

    December 21, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Steve

    D-20, Colorado Springs already figured out that solution.

    December 21, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Tad Zadykowicz

    Only retards can suggest to fix gun problem with more guns. "Bad guy with gun can be only stopped by good guy with gun" – really? What about bad guy withoth the gun? It might be not so bad after all. NRA must be labled terrorist organization threatening national security. Almost 12000 people are dying of gun wounds every year! It's time to stop this nonsens.

    December 21, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. mike

    no surprise the NRA proposed the opposite of the true solution, which is to reduce firearm ownership by improving screening and in some case having any form of screening where there is none. As well as banning Assault weapons and the clips that accompany them. They should not be sold to any civilian for any reason. I hope most Americans take a stand on this issue and dont let up until the small minority(NRA) that is in business to support gun manufacturers over people is required to meet the peoples will and not their own

    December 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Dyan S

    The only people that should be worried about a violation of 2nd amendment "rights" are those with dozens of fire arms in their home most of which are probably ridiculous and not needed to protect your life and the life of your loved ones. It's shameful that in this great country we feel the need to protect our families with anything other than a simple pistol.

    December 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. 57strat

    Good day all

    10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths last year, yet the majority of the crashes involved sober people yet we go after drunk driving and spend huge amounts of time and money combating it. But the firearm homicides that number some 11,493 The NRA says we should accept that and buy more guns? Sorry what is so special about owning a gun?

    A gun has only one use and that is specifically to kill people. According to insurance companies who want to charge you more in premiums for having a gun in your home, living in a home that contains guns increases the risk of homicide by more than 40 percent!
    They should know, because that’s the business they are in.
    If the NRA ran the fire department they would use gasoline to put out fires and sell the matches to firebugs. They would have you literally fight fire with fire, keep a jerry can by the bed.

    December 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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