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. Dom

    Did anyone read about the school attacks in China recently? They were knife attacks... When a crazy person decides they want to kill other people they will find a way to do it. Could be they drive a truck into a crowd at a football game or they set fire to a school. Our issue is we are raising crazy people in this country because of the violence that we are all inundated with every day via TV, movies and video games. Most of us consider this just entertainment – but to someone who is crazy and decides they are commiting suicide and want to take others with them – these are ideas. I think we should regulate guns – don't get me wrong on this – but the real issue is our society is sick.

    December 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. NoKidding

    The way some students can get on teachers nerves and drive them up the wall, yeah it's a great idea to arm teachers.

    December 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Mancy Graice

    Every potential gun purchaser should allow him (her) self to be shot before taking possession of the weapon. Just a flesh wound, nothing serious. The NRA education approach doesn't seem to instill much respect for the power of guns...

    December 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. IQ173

    I guess cnn only wants to allow posting of negativity against the NRA..

    December 21, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. fred

    So an armed guard with a revolver is going to be able to take out a nut job with a semi-automatic assault rifle?? Doesn't sound likely. Additionally, I don't see how a shoot out at a school is supposed to make anyone safer. LaPierre is a loon.

    December 21, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. roro

    LaPierre is LaLunatic, and so are all the leaders of the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. 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 is thanking ADAM LANZA for a BIG PAYDAY!!!

    WALMART is making more profits selling more's ALL ABOUT CORPORATE PROFIT!!!!

    December 21, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Sad Politics

    Love the liberal outrage. While I will agree the NRA made a mistake with this speech, where were all of these liberal cry babies when Sen Boxer put forth her idea to introduce a bill in California to get federal funding to put ARMED NATIONAL GUARD troops in California schools. Strange there was not even a peep from the liberals and gun control advocates, but when the NRA suggests something similar, there is all of this shock and rage about it. Interestingly enough, the NRA's proposal makes more sense than Boxer's. She want armed military personnel in full uniform in California schools, while the NRA wants to use the police. Which is less intimidating to children – an armed soldier with a M4 or a police officer?

    December 21, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Steve

    We don't have to worry about terror from other countries, our youth with guns are doing just fine. Another 4 dead. Imagine that.

    December 21, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Steve Karich

    Its sad how everyone wants to blame the NRA & guns when a psycho does something horrible to children, theater patrons, mall patrons, etc. What about all the semi-automatic guns the gov't sold to the Mexican drug cartels and then those guns were turned on our own border patrol agents and killed them? I think Ronald Reagan said it best when he said...."We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."

    December 21, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. A Bushmaster in every pot

    Whoa, NRA, that one was a dud.

    December 21, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. walleye46

    La Pierre wants to arm the schools, next the malls, next the theaters. So much for your LESS GOVERNMENT mentality. Just keep raking in the $$$ from the gun manufacturers and collecting your $1 million a year salary.

    December 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Dan

    The NRA could become part of the solution or the can choose to be the face of the problem. The tobacco industry did the same thing.

    December 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. michael

    pathetic self serving out of touch organization. they will die a slow death and I will applaud

    December 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. fred

    Sell all the guns you want....but severely regulate and restrict the sale of bullets and ammunition

    December 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Dave Green

    @Dave I am not opposed to armed guards, however, you realize you're talking 150,000 K-12 schools in the US. The cost would be in the 10's of billions. Okay, if that is the best answer and we really want to avoid these events, fair enough, but it's yet another expense at a time when we're trying to cut spending. Even if we fund it on local and state budgets, we run into the same money crunch problems.
    The other issue is that there are bound to be those who see armed guards at our children's schools as a prelude to some quasi-faschist state and we're all going to be hearded to the camps soon.

    December 21, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. BOb the Prairie Dog

    Congratulations NRA. You just lost us the 2nd Amendment. Idiots.

    December 21, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. ProtectOurChildrenatschoolARMTHETEACHERS!

    If Obama says one more time that he will not sign a bill to put police officers in our schools to protect our children.. I am calling on every single Father an Mother to take there children out of public schools an home school your child at least you can protect your child at home then at a public school.. You know im right about this...

    December 21, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. vintel7

    Very Very disturbing and revealing of where the Gun Clinger Cowards want to lead this nation. They want to create a NAZI GESTAPO State. It is simply amazing and nauseating at the same time how psycho spiritually sick and immature Lappiers and his Gestapo NRA organization are. Only sick people who are inwardly insecure feel a need to own guns. By buying guns these people create an intent to kill. Guns are after all for KILLING. Most gun owners with the exception of people that live off the grid and need to hunt with shotguns and rifles are cowards who are inwardly afraid. The guns give them a false sense of security. What the gun clingers end up doing is creating more fear and chaos in this already fearful world. Guns are for cowards and murderers.

    December 21, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. walleye46

    I strongly suggest an IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION of ALL gun sales until this mess gets cleared up in DC. At least we may be a bit safer for the next 10 years as congress debates.

    December 21, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Swamie

    Common Sense wrote: "In the U.S. a lone gunman kills 20 children in a few minutes with a gun. In China, a man using a knife wounds over 20 children. None die. Guns don't kill. People do."

    Your mantra of "guns don't kill people, people do" is typical anti-gun-control spin, but your example states why gun control is needed: people are more likely to die if guns are used than if other weapons are used. The lack of logic in your statement demonstrates why citizens should be fearful of people like you having guns.

    December 21, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Patrick

    In the "2nd Amendment rights" blather put forward by gun advocates, they carefully or ignorantly leave out the very important reasoning for the amendment described by the then sitting Congress. Let us read their actual words: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." These very important words tell us they did not imagine every individual living in this country having a right to obtain any and all kinds of weapons. Rather, they spoke to a formal organization (Militia, with a capital M), well regulated (the persons and roles of securing our country having definition and controls on them).... Hence not every communism fearing nitwit being able to purchase weapons of war at a gun show with no background check for any possible use imaginable...

    December 21, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Sen

    All insane people commenting here against gun control dont think about the innocent kids killed in the mass shooting because it didnt happen in their family and dont have that pain.

    December 21, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. David

    Okay look I don't understand what the big deal is armed guards or police at school are not new they just are just a new idea to you uppity rich folks. Here let me speak to those people for a second: Attention all you rich uppity suburbeing knights lol My name is David I grew up in Columbus Ohio the inner city dead prime smack in the middle I went to Columbus public schools the High school I went to was Brookhaven HS guess what we had TWO Armed full time COPS cuffs and gun and all!!! One was Mr.Blackmon never forget that man yes he had busted me for pot from to time lol but he was an awesome guy it was really good to have him there and all the kids really did welcome him even the one that got into trouble(me) and guess what we never had a shooting yes kids brought guns to school from time to time it's brookhaven you should expect that(yes they got busted) but there was NEVER GUN violence not even a hint of it I felt safe as ever its not a bad idea.

    December 21, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. BoJensen

    Let's say 100K public schools in the USA. 150K armed officers need to be hired. Another 10-20K supervisors and trainers. That's 14-15 Billion just in salary and benefits. Sounds like a tax-and-spend liberal ploy.

    December 21, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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