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. j


    December 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. the colosseum is full

    the resources are already available to do this ..schedule marijuana to a harmless substance for adults which it is....then take all the narcotics employed law enforcement and send them to all of our schools...leave pot alone...
    on a side note perhaps Adam lanza "the shooter in this tradgedy" ,might have fit in better among his peers if he had acces to a little pot... some fun also ...... the truth usually never hurts .. 🙂

    December 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. NJD

    "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." – Michael Steele

    Umm, what? The NRA statement said nothing of teacher and principals being armed. You said that Mike. You are haunted and disturbed by something that wasn't even said, Mike. Your imagination is haunting and disturbing you. You should seek help, Mike.

    December 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. ralph

    Is he aware that they have video games and movies in other countries that have very little gun violence?

    December 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. people

    Wayne LaPierre definitely has mental problem. In this country, with the most armed guards, we have two presidents had been shot in the last 50 years. No such thing happened in any other civilized countries. One single gunman killed 13 people and wounded 29 others on an American military base which has more guns than anywhere else. This guy still think we need more gun. I wonder if he has gun with him 24/7 to protect himself.

    December 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. larry

    But the existing guns laws did work. He was not able to buy guns. Instead, he robbed a legal gun owner's guns, killed her, and then went on a rampage. What additional law would prevent that?

    December 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. nvmature

    The good thing is more and more NRA members are speaking out against NRA leadership and policies. More focus should be on the the sanity of LaPierre and his Hitler-like personality.

    December 21, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Of course LaPierre did not take questions: he has never felt that he had to answer to anyone, so why start?

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. DustyOnes

    Let the Teachers arm themselves.....those with CHL's can take one to school.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. jimmy

    so let me get this right...having armed guards at schools is ridiculous and crazy, but having armed police invade our homes to confiscate our guns (the ONLY way we are going to get rid of guns) is sane and rational? just passing more laws does nothing...please tell me how closing the barn door when the horses are already gone solves anything. the left can not come up with anything other than some feel-good "let's ban all guns" despite the fact there are 300 million legally-owned guns in this country. not surprising, since their only answer to climate change is basically to ban all cars.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Kip Oliver

    Hey Adam – Keep drinking that Kool-aid, baby! Did some NRA nut somewhere bellyache about how "pools kill more children than guns" per year is BS. So...350 kids under the age of 5 drown in pools? DId you know that over 500 kids are killed every year by guns? And lets face it, when was the last time you took a pool out to deer hunt? Pools weren't designed for the single purpose of taking a life. Try something a bit more apple and apple – like compare gun deaths vs bow and arrow deaths. Could Adam Lanza burst in a school armed with a Pool and kill 27 people? Could some crazy person take a pool to a movie theatre or a mall and commit mass murder? The Pool Argument only shows ignorance and stupidity.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. rodger

    So, I guess the Liberal solution is to put up huge bars, and thick bullet proof glass? What is going to protect our kids? I haven't heard of any proposals from the Dems except ban guns.. Yup, that'll fix it.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Smitty

    The NRA only cares about the strength and growth of the NRA. Never did I expect to hear anything rational out of them, but this takes the cake. I do not want to have to send my children to school armed with guns to protect themselves, but this seems to be their ultimate solution. Shame on the NRA, the gun lobbyists, and the politicians who refuse to make a difference.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. L.Sanfod

    "High Noon" the movie played out for real in every school, place and street in America. Thank you NRA

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. I doubt it

    I doubt there are any responsible NRA members who don't support what was said today. If they were responsible and felt the NRA was going in the wrong direction they would quit the organization.. but instead, they go out and buy more assualt weapons when they feel there might be new laws.
    It is time that those of us who honestly oppose assualt weapons, to not associate with NRA members.. don't make them your friend, make them out as you would a child killer.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Sam

    Let's just sweep mental health issues under the rug and give everyone guns. Sounds reasonable... right?

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. SaneGunOwner

    The first thing Wyatt Earp did to end violence in a lawless town was to require everyone to keep guns at home. The NRA thinks a better answer is to double down on crazy.

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Dave

    I am a gun owner, and an NRA member. I was very saddened by what he said today. Schools are the LAST place we want to start introducing guns as a standard practice. Even IF we did do this, it would not address the library, movie theater, sports stadiums (both pro and HS), parks, dog parks...ANYWHERE where 10 or more people can come together in fellowship. I will not be renewing my membership in the NRA, but I will retain my pistol and my right to carry it concealed (e

    December 21, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. NorthVanCan

    Notice how the pro gun argument is groundless and incoherent .

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. bks

    Let us call NRA as No Remorse Association.
    Putting armed guards at every school is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. How they can up with this ? Tomorrow NRA will ask everyone to have guards at their home as well. Then we will be a nation of 'war zone' where everyone is armed.

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Guy

    The NRA statement isn't shocking. It's perverse – as perverse as the killing machine fetishism that pervades gun culture.

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. dg

    I've heard this line a lot. "guns don't kill people, people kill people" This is supposed to direct our attention towards the people who are responsible for the crimes instead of the guns...My question is if people kill people why do want to give every person a gun? Gov. Perry wants to arm teachers, but what happens when its a teacher who kills everyone at school. If you allow everyone to have a gun the decision to kill becomes a personal one that society can't fix.

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Lorenzo

    If you think you can properly safeguard a school without armed security personnel you are out of your mind. Mayor Bloomberg is delusional....THIS IS A MORE DANGEROUS AND VIOLENT AMERICA. Our modern society creates these monsters. Accept it and guard against it. Crazy people and terrorists will always have access to guns no matter how strict gun control laws become. Put bullet proof glass in school doors, tighten up security proceedures regarding who and who cannot enter the buildings, and add an armed securtiy guard/off duty police officer. Face reality, don't run from it.

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. rad666

    Since America is already paying troops, bring them home and station them at schools. Two issues resolved: 1. troops keep jobs 2. schools secure.

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Kr55

    NRA solution: Make us more money by buying more guns.
    Wow, thanks for your selfless contribution to trying to fix our country.

    December 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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