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. apothecary

    As a Canadian who owns no guns, never plans to, and has never shot a gun I have to say that the idea of armed guards in schools is plain wrong to me.

    I have no issues with responsible gun owners. And registration is not an answer...we tried a long gun registry here in Canada and all it did was cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. Legislation also is in my opinion ineffective, because as Perrin Beatty, former Solicitor General of Canada said after Denis Lortie stormed the Quebec National Assembly in 1984 and killed 3 people, "You can't legislate against insanity,"

    There needs to be much more money poured into mental health services, social services and crime prevention. That is the best way to stop this kind of heartbreaking act from happening again. If the NRA wants to help, perhaps they should help fund some of these initiatives.

    December 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. ebp

    are these guys kidding!!!
    teachers who are packing.
    armed guards at all schools.
    i think LaPierre and his band of brothers have inhaled too much of the post-shooting carbon smoke

    December 21, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. 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 self motivated 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 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Steve

    the NRA should fund and administer the program by collecting annual licensing fees for every gun (similar to the way we have to have an annual license our cars). if they really believe this is the answer, then let them put their money where their policy is. Further, they can hire ex-servicemen and women who cannot find jobs.

    December 21, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Tom

    LOL. So the NRA VP is blaming video games for mass public shootings? I like video games, have no interest in owning a gun nor any desire to go out to kill people. I guess we should ban guns in movies? There goes John Wayne. Maybe we should arm and train children to use and carry firearms the day they are born? It'll be a new kind of mandated draft. We prepare every kid to kill right at birth. That's way better than any video game. Don’t take away our guns or I shoot you. Arm everyone!!! I don't get that logic at all.

    December 21, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Henry Bowman

    OK so let me get this straight, we don't want to put an armed guard in a school to protect children, but society sees no problem with armed guards securing all other manner of things that need protecting, such as armored car drivers. The logic escapes me. How about using retired law enforcement officers to work in plainclothes, simply posting by the main entrance in khakis and a blazer. Pay them $20 an hour. Guys would be lining up to get that job. As for armed guards not standing a chance against an armed intruder such as the lunatic who murdered those children and teachers last week, they would at least even the odds a bit. Maybe if money were stored at the schools, people would get behind the idea.

    December 21, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. dave

    My school has had armed guards (resource officers, policemen) for many years. The schools are built with safety in mind with multiple entrances that are guarded and then closed at certain times. To acess the schoo you must pass the guard shack where everyone checks in and out. I guess our children are just more valuable to us than yours are to you.

    December 21, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Jack

    Somebody should ask New York Mayor Bloomberg how he is doing with the crime rate in New York City! They evidently already have a ban on guns. Now the criminals are the only citizens that have them and their crime rate is as ramped as it ever was. There will always be guns available if you want one. The US has never been invaded by another country because we bear arms freely.

    December 21, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. gcom

    Buy a gun safe and lock up your weapons. HOW ABOUT THAT! ???

    December 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Does anyone really see a teacher fighting off a determined gunman? How about a security guard? This NRA plan is an idiotic suggestion and is completely self serving.

    December 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Mark

    Once you get rid of the sheep dogs, the wolf will eat the sheep. As humans, we are no different.

    Are you a sheep? Most likely yes – If you aren't one of the sheep, you probably agree with the NRA. I do.

    December 21, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Someone U. Dunno

    To add to my previous comment, another option for school security is to have metal detectors at each mass entrance to the school. Not only are they useful for schools that are in session, but they are useful for school events. Have an armed security guard/local police representative stand by at the metal detectors.

    December 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Oliver Cowderey

    Today, the NRA announced 500% new tax on all weapons and ammunition purchases nationally.

    December 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. jclough

    I know!.....Let's make drugs illegal too. The we'd all be safe. Only doctors and bonafide patients would have them. Right?!

    December 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. Zaphod

    Utah has allowed concealed weapon permit holders carry firearms on campus for some time now. Hasn't been a problem.

    December 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. tracy

    You are all Idiots. Not one brain in the bunch.

    December 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. cmnsense

    I believe the worst school tragedy in the US was perpetrated with bombs not guns
    I believe we can all agree that we would like to stop these atrocities for ever but the reality is that will never happen. The root of the problem is the individual not the tool used for the carnage. If you remove one tool they will find another. If we can make our airports safe for hundreds of thousands of passengers a day why can't we do the same for our children? I believe Nancy Pelousi's travel budget would be enough for the entire state of California.

    If you really want to stop things like this from happening again then you must commit to a plan that protects the children. Simply passing gun legislation will not accomplish the goal although it will make everyone feel better.

    December 21, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. kdeutschler

    The NRA is pure EVIL

    December 21, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Dr. Disaster

    These NRA guys talk out of reality. Before their good guy with a gun would even knew who the bad guy with a gun is the good guy is dead.

    December 21, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Mark

    "Does anyone really see a teacher fighting off a determined gunman?"

    Right now it would be illegal... the principal in Connecticut lunged at the shooter while she was unarmed and died as a result. If you don't believe she should have had the option, via training, and certification to have a firearm at that moment – you are not the solution to this problem.

    December 21, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. ksmith

    Unfortunately, NRA's proposal of not to address limiting semi automatic and automactic weapons, puts a school armed guard as probably an additional fatality in such a scenario. This unless they will continuely try to out gun and placing the guard in a tank, but that brings out an anti-tank weapon. Where does it stop?

    December 21, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. John Wright

    NRA remarks disturbing? Calling for armed security in schools? Find me a grieving parent who wouldn't have wanted an armed cop or security guard at the door of Sandy Hook Elementary on 09/14/2012 at 09:20AM.

    December 21, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. John

    Citizens owning semi-automatic weapons is consistent with the Founders' intention for the Second Amendment. As stated by Thomas Jefferson: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

    Let us hope prey that this final check and balance never becomes necessary, but we delude ourselves if we think that those who rule us can never have evil intentions toward our liberties. Given the assaults on civil liberties during both the Bush and Obama Administrations and the increasing arbitrary power of the federal government, freedom-loving Americans cannot afford to be too trusting of Washington.

    December 21, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Kingsley

    The lunatics should start taking their madness to the children of these NRA bosses then they will know how painful it is to loose a child in such senseless manner. They will then put human life first than the profits they are making.

    December 21, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Mac1

    The left just doesn't get it. When I've been to high school football games, night H.S baseball games, pro events, airports, concerts, all GUN FREE ZONES there are police officers. I never thought twice about it. Why is everybody going crazy over the comments from the NRA? Only 1, yes 1 mass shooting in the past 20 years in the US has taken place outside a gun free zone, I wonder why? We all say our children are the most precious things but suddenly we shouldn't protect them. Don't we teach our children to idolize officers and military, now they should fear them. I don't get the antis. Over the last 10 years unions have increased the amount of educators 60% but student enrollment has increased 4%, but we can't have one police officer at the entrance?

    December 21, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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