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. wildernessyes

    The NRA and their member like this k illing and mayhem. What else expalins their behavior?

    December 21, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. GoCanes

    we can get violated at the airport and ran over at a bus stop and have armed men on air planes, but not security at a school? what the hell is wrong with you people. you wonder why people keep getting shot, you're posting an open invite for psychos. when your sign says Gun Free Zone killers no that it'll take 10-20 min for anyone to show up and stop them. put security in the school. if they can even make it in undetected they'll have about 30 seconds.

    oh and stop using the terms "well regulated" and saying the knife attacks in china didnt have any deaths. a whole crap ton of knife deaths happened in china prior to this incident and the phrase is 'well regulated militia" it has nothing to do with regulating arms you liberal morons.

    December 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. TImhoff

    Question for the NRA, So do we have armed guards at: Theaters, malls, post offices, all education facilities i.e.. pre-school through college, grocery stores etc... Where will this end? Return to wild west where EVERYONE carries a gun? There is more to this issue than guns, Ban assault weapons for civilians, Better mental health care, a return of parental rights to educate and discipline their own children, return to moral and religious values, regulation on violent video gaming. This is a short list.

    December 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Debits-n-Credits

    Greed + Stupidity = the NRA

    December 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. 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 just insulted OUR POLICE saying that they are NOT NEEDED and they take TOO MUCH TIME TO RESPOND....Why is Wayne LaPierre scared of ALLOWING GUNS IN THE COBFERENCE ROOM WHERE HE WAS DELIVERING HIS "ARM OUR BABIES" GUN SPEECH?

    Guns dont kill people, right?.............LOL

    December 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Tim

    Remember that we have to go off facts not feel good answers that are ineffective. That goes for both sides here. We need to refer to statistics on gun crimes from when we had our last assault weapons ban that would indicate it was successful in deterring gun related crimes. We can place armed guards in schools but with what funding and are we ready to raise taxes to fund the payroll? What other solutions are out there? I'm not an idiot who is threatening kids safety if I don't agree with gun restrictions. While we are at the table lets open other avenues that may something that we can come together on? Parenting, programs for early detection and support of mental health issues in school aged children, more awareness and support for parents so they know what to look for, etc. Let's stop the next shooter before he gets to the door because if he doesn't have a gun, he's gonna have a pipe bomb or drive a car into a playground.

    December 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Noway2

    Why I am not surprised that those against this talk about it on outlets like MSNBC and come from places like New York, both of which are notoriously unfriendly towards gun rights. To say that this article has anything resembling credibility or persuasive value would be an outright lie.

    December 21, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. NotFooledByDistractions

    Well, so much for mr. lapierres long awaited response from his alternate reality. It's obvious that he fails to understand that all Americans don't relish living in an armed and militarized USA bowing to the wishes of the gun manufacturers. He did his organization more harm than good with his speech today. I did notice that he was too cowardly to take questions. Cowardly.

    December 21, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. nancheska

    Suppose you really want to learn how to use an assault rifle, and you wish to buy one (I don't, but let's say you do):
    what if you were to store the rifle in something like a security deposit box, at a shooting range? You'd not risk having it stolen or misused with obvious tragic results. The owner/mgr of the range has his/her key to the lockbox, you have yours, you can target-practice, and when you're done, lock the rifle up again, where it's safe and you don't have to worry about it getting into the wrong hands.

    December 21, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Jwgriff

    Figures they would come up with a 'solution' that would not only destroy more lives, but would make them more profits in the process. Stand up and fight, America!

    December 21, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. ameivid

    well it is a spend program, the liberals should be good with it. We do NOT need to lose our 2nd amendent right to DEFEND ourselves, not to go out and harm anyone else. That is what responsible owners do.

    December 21, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. BobPitt

    Who's fault is it? The NRA area bunch of goons and you people let them get away with it by electing their choices..grow some and stop them by not voting for their subrogates, whether they are democrat or republican

    December 21, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. lostisland

    Let's just arm EVERYBODY – kids included, if 6 year olds can die by the gun then let's give them all guns. What? You've got a problem with arming schoolkids? What's the matter with you. After watching thousands of hours of first-person shooter games I'd bet there quicker at the draw. The bad guys won't stand a chance.

    December 21, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Mike

    He never said... "Arm our Teachers and Principals" He said the NRA would like to take the initiative with a plan to implement a system to guard our children with Trained: Law Enforcement, Security Guards, Ex-Military, or qualified volunteers, as well as other security enhancements to the buildings, and security plans. I am not an NRA member either, but I do have children in public schools. I for one think this is a no brainer. It would be fast and effective.

    December 21, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. cincinnatidavid

    It's incredible, the power the NRA has garnered over recent years.

    December 21, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. pinkfloyd43

    CNN says
    "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."

    DUH, simply have (1) entrance and this is taken care of. Have armed guards, many depending on the size of the school.
    We have armed guards all over the place.....banks, stores, quickie marts................

    We have to do something, first ban sales of both AR and related ammo/magazines. Next setup a 'buy back' program that will pay 2X the amount paid, so it cost $$ but saves lifes!

    December 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. 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 advocationg for the SPENDING OF $4.75TRILLION a year to pay for ONE Police Officer in every one of America's 132,183 schools, yet the GOP wants to CUT SPENDING?!!!

    DELUSIONAL!!!............This is just more posturing from a clueless idiot Wayne LaPierre who is more concerned about his BIG PAYCHECK & MAKING MORE PROFITS FOR THE GUN MANUFACTURERS!!!

    Heck, the NRA dont care if our babies are killed in their classrooms....IT'S ALL ABOUT MORE GUNS, MORE BABIES BLOOD FOR PROFITS!!!!

    December 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Name srd

    Insane individuals can't see own insanity. Often rife w fear. Metaphorical for many in this nation. Hopefully some level headedness will prevail. Still chance of beinhg mass murdered is much less than being struck by lightening.

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

    Are you serious, did the NRA really suggest that we bring in armed volunteers like George Zimmerman was to watch our kids?

    December 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. JohnReedjr

    This is absolute insanity. It is a step back to the Middle Ages. It's as if the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment never happened.If this becomes policy, and our solution to mad men with guns, then we have forfeited our right to be the standard bearer for Western culture, and all the efforts of every previous generation is waste.

    December 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. 57strat

    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 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. a Republican

    well OBVIOUSLY democrats do not like the NRA's proposal, but wouldn't objective reporting require showing us the opinions of some of our Republican politicians?

    December 21, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Ed

    Sorry, I have to take exception to all those who find the NRA statement tone-deaf, insensitive or worse. As the parent of a child in Kindergarten (and another in 5th grade), I can't even watch news coverage of the Sandy Hook murders. I want an armed policeman on the grounds of my children's schools and every school in the country. We're not going to outlaw and confiscate guns in the US due to political beliefs, so we had better do whatever it takes to protect our children from maniacs with guns. The best defense against a maniac with a gun is a trained police officer or soldier with a good gun and good aim.

    December 21, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Smarterest Human

    NRA just solidified what we all already knew – that they are LUNATICS! GUN NUT LUNATICS!

    December 21, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. joeinalabama

    NRA has a bad idea?? Instead of bashing the NRA, let's hear some good ideas.

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