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. Bob

    Yes, the NRA, of which I am a member, has come out with a really lame proposal. We need a national background check for ALL gun purchasers, BUT the real need is to totally ban all gun violence in all tv shows, movies and video games. That is the real elephant I the room, but will Hollywood listen? Of course not. "What about our first amendment rights!!??" they scream, while trying to gut the 2nd.

    December 21, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Mo Blajchman

    The National Rifle Association or NRA should be labelled for what it really is:–A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION that is designated to kill innocent people, like those in other countries of the world such as the IRA, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. etc.

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

    But why stop at schools? The Virginia Tech shooting was in a college campus. So armed guards in all American colleges. Oh wait the Tuscon shooting was at a public meeting. So armed guards in public places, shopping malls, airports so on and so forth. How will America find so many armed folks? Maybe NRA wants all Americans to carry guns at all places.

    December 21, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. cincinnatidavid

    The power the NRA has amassed over recent years is incredible.

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

    Reagan was surrounded by the most highly trained men in the world brandishing Uzi s and packing major heat. Reagan and Brady still got shot. It's all about who shoots first, military strategy 101. So when sometimes angry 14 year old Johny middle school reaches into his gym bag to get his clarinet the guard might just shoot first. Just staying.

    December 21, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. BMoore

    essmeier said, "There was an armed guard on duty at Columbine High School in 1999. Didn't do much good. Multiply that times 90,000 and you get a lot of not much good." Excuse me, but you don't know what you are talking about! There was no armed police officer at Columbine, but there are 2 now. Read this statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept.:

    "In Jefferson County, Colo., where the the 1999 school shooting by two students at Columbine High School left the pair and 13 others dead, the presence of police at local schools is testament to the community's determination not to relive the horror of 13 years ago.

    "We have a cop in every high school in unincorporated Jefferson County," said Mark Techmeyer, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. "Two deputies are assigned to Columbine. And our regular patrol deputies act as liaisons to each elementary school. They are not physically there at all times but have a relationship with them and check in at least once a week."

    December 21, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. jim jones

    Kids do not mind at school or home, so what's the problem....

    Even the teachers only work lesss than 60% of the time...

    Let's close the schools...why learn to work, who need it....Welfare will support us, keep the rich working...and paying taxes...

    December 21, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. cincinnatidavid

    The power the N*A has amassed over recent years is incredible.

    December 21, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Tom Hartman

    Surprise Surprise....the NRA's answer is....

    MORE GUNS lol

    December 21, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. logic

    i want security\protection for my child yes. i want security in that knowing that our gun policy is strong and effective and i want my child protected from the NRA this coming from a gun toting Texan

    December 21, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Eric

    So lets blame the NRA. Did they say hey assult rifle go do this horrific attack. Cause i didnt see a rifle do this carnage without a sick person behind the trigger. Our drones and bomb attacks kill how many ionnocent children and women. Quit ponting fingers at guns. Amazingly the shooter killed himself as soon as he heard the police in the school so your telling me that if there was a couple trained guards in the school he would have done it. why shouldnt we protect our children. Politions have armed guards and so do so many other places but we cant guard our children they same way. get with the program people

    December 21, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. Chuck Smith

    Can we officially call NRA as National Retarded Association? What if security officer turns mental? Are we going to arm every citizen in this country? I am thankful that NRA is not running our education system. After hearing Mr. Wayne LaPierre, I have less and less confidence in executives.

    December 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Hu Phart Ngau

    I can see it now... A shootout between teachers and students, in 4th period History, at Trombly Alternative High School in Detroit. The teachers had better buy one of those 100 round magazines (only $249 at, because they get paid less than a plumber, and they're outnumbered in that school, 40-to-1.

    December 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. DJW

    The NRA actually proposed something that made sense. That was its crime. We live in culture that promotes violence everyday and then we are shocked that violence happens. The solution is not to address the problem but get rid of the tool that someone uses. It the shooter in Conn did not have a gun he would have used his car he would have used a bomb. Are we going to outlaw cars, (you can easily kill 20 school chilldred by running you car into a crowd. Address the problem which is the bankrupt culture that so many on the left love and in the meantime provide the protection our innocents deserve.

    December 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Y Ell

    If I were a 7 year old, I would like to be allowed to carry a hand gun for self-defense. I could not trust my teaches and principals to protect me. If I were naughty, they may shoot me instead. I would not trust any armed adults. If adults are allowed to bear arm for self-defense, why shouldn't kids are allowed as well?

    December 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. tnsurge

    There was so much Mr. LaPierre could have said about mental health, about background checks, waiting periods the NRA's good training programs or about limiting firepower. Instead he is attempting to promote more fear by suggesting no one is ever safe. He and the direction of the NRA are a disservice not only to it's members but the country as a whole.

    December 21, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Mike

    Not only were the words of the NRA disturbing – it was the condescending tone in which it was delivered that disgusted me even more so. What's next – arm the kids ? I'm glad I live in Canada where we at least have some sensible controls on firearms. And yes, I do own one...........which is always secured so no one else can have access to it (the law), not hanging from a gun rack in the cab of my pickup. It also takes a long time to purchase one – and that's after a strict and lengthy screening process. It seems as if America is afraid – of everything. I have American cousins who I love dearly and they're great people. And they own more than a dozen guns each............I don't get it.

    December 21, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. fajitajesus

    Hand guns are made for killin. they aint no good for nuthin else. and if you like to drink your wisky, you might even shoot yourself..

    December 21, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Hugh Mann

    We need a Woman as President.

    December 21, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Bob F

    The over the top knee jerk reactions people are having to this massacre have so many underlying implications that will never be touched on by the media. First and foremost; parenting. How are things like video games, movies, and gun laws overlooking the fact the a family was housing a special needs child and surrounding him with assault rifles. NO LAW CAN COMPENSATE FOR PARENTAL NEGLIGENCE/ IGNORANCE. I think as a whole our society refuses to acknowledge how terribly irresponsible parents have become, which is why we see movies and video games pointed to as scapegoats. Why wouldn't a parent point to these, especially when they know in the back of their mind that their children are being raised by these media. This NEVER makes it the game or movie's responsibility, it is solely on the shoulders of negligent parents who just do not care until the time comes when tragedy strikes. How can they blame themselves if they know they're never there?

    December 21, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. abmri60

    The best line yet from the NRA :

    " The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is with a good guy with a gun "

    December 21, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. 1L

    I agree w/Horave – an armed gaurd is no match for an AR-15. We need other measures besides the obvious, which doesn't come cheap at a tijme of fiscal crisis. The NRA needs to think outside the box, like strengthening laws that keep the mentally disturbed from getting access to guns in the first place.

    December 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. smokeee

    its so easy for someone to walk up to a security guard and kill them before they knew what hit them. especially when that security is there 5 days a week for 8+ hours where nothing happens. its just a really dumb idea but considering the NRA solution to college shootings was for everyone to carry its not surprising. they're such a joke with how they think, its almost laughable if it weren't such a serious subject. In fact its insulting they offered that solution considering how that obviously coincides with them making and selling more guns.

    December 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. fajitajesus

    Hand Guns are made for killin. they aint no good for nuthin else. and if you like to drink your wisky, you might even shoot yourself.

    December 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. IQ174


    You're an idiot.

    December 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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