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. KWS

    As a practical matter, armed guards probably do work, as it is already a standard policy in many major cities. Even with rampant gang activity, drive-by shootings, stabbings and all kinds of horrors on the streets, cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, that have rountinely placed armed officers at schools, have no reports of shoot-outs on campus. Don't you kinda think the armed police presence is a key reason?

    Also, as a matter of policy and government cost, can you imagine the massive infrastructure we'll have to put in place to significanlty change gun laws, ,or (if we really went so far) to collect certain guns as "illegal"? Adding some armed personnel would likely be a much lower net cost to our burdened system.

    December 21, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. twalk

    NRA (Nut Rifle Assoc) has got to be joking. Next they will want to start training kids as early as Kindergarten to use guns.

    December 21, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Matt

    Big miss in showing leadership as a gun owner I don't understand his position. I don't need high capitizy clips. What is the first rule for hunting or shooting to have a clear target and to know what is behind the target. So you honestly believe that you would have a clear shot in a school without hitting someone innocent.

    December 21, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Jules

    There area lot of sportsmen and women who belong to the NRA as did my dad. The time has come to realize that the NRA does not represent the interests of hunting game as a sport but now represents anyone being able to buy any kind of gun and any size magazine. Why don't the true sprotsmen and women start their own group and cut ties with the nuts?

    December 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Rickettsia

    I feel ashamed by the lack of leadership within the NRA. I was waiting for an announcement that would address some bit of regulations to improve safety. Licensing, education programs, improved background checks, anything…. NRA members should demand better. Hunters and other gun enthusiasts need to put honest ideas out there on how to improve the safety our respective sports and communities at large. Instead we get this load of garbage from the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Maui Allen

    The idea of armed security guards/police at schools is nothing new. Today, right now, there are many schools that have police officers, both on and off duty, at the school. What is so unusual or off about having security at our schools. Many inner city schools that were besieged by gang violence saw armed police officers introduced into the school. This is a valid attempt to make schools a safer place for our children.

    December 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. dave

    Once I can figure out a dependable power source for the energy dispenser, the whole gun world will disappear anyway. Notice I DID NOT call it an energy gun! That helps to avoid the media hysteria. However it is a weapon that some of you will find fascinating. No reloading, unlimited cyclic rate and unbelievably devastating. A hand held device that will take down a full grown oak tree in a single energy burst. Thus far my only limitation is battery supply and life. But it is coming, then these toys will all be archaic.

    December 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Jason D

    What makes this gun nut think kids are going to have a more relaxed time in school and learn with n armed guard on every exit?....yeah..makes me feel wamr n fuzzy inside too....what a total fool, this mutt is the reason we should have background checks...i wonder if we should arm his grandkids at 5 years old 'just in case'

    December 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. bribarian

    Leftist biased media. In reality armed security would likely deter a mass killer from choosing a school.

    December 21, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. yougene

    While I fully support the demilitarization of privately owned weapons, I do not believe this will sufficiently protect our children. I do believe that the lunatics such as the Aurora theater shooter and the Sandy Hook shooter chose those targets because they believed they would be the only ones with guns in those locals. Also in Aurora, when a shooter entered a church with murder on his mind he must have been shocked that someone there had a weapon and was able to stop him.

    December 21, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  11. Sam

    If you were to arm a teacher, you're asking them to take a life in an emergency. That's a tough assignment.

    December 21, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. Jay

    We have seen the true color of the NRA today and it is green!

    December 22, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. Jennifer UCD

    How does the NRA think that schools would pay for armed security? They can't even afford new books for their students. And have you seen the state of decay in some of the buildings? No way this is going to happen in poor neighborhoods.

    December 22, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  14. Alina77

    Australia, 35 people killed by a nut with a semi Automatic, his first round killed 20, within 2 weeks legislation was ready and the process started to ban these weapons and their ammo. Remember the leader of Australia at the time facing an angry gun movement wearing a bullet proof vest,

    December 22, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. azokie

    And the gun show loopholes must change. I live in Tulsa and go to the largest gun show in the world here. The Wanenmacher Gun Show is the largest in the world. There, however, you don't have to have background checks. Heck, I can buy a .50 machine gun if I wanted. That's bad. That's really bad. Let's take it a step further since we're on the 2nd Amendment. Why can't I buy a shoulder fired Stinger surface to air missile if I wanted to. Why not an F15 eagle combat aircraft with some JDAMS? Isn't that what the 2nd Amendment says we can do. "The right to bear arms" Isn't that what it means? What is the definition of ARMS? Not one person on here was a parent of one of those kids. I can tell you that the 2nd Amendment doesn't mean anything you want.

    December 22, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  16. azokie

    Jules...I think you are onto something. It can be call the Association of Responsible Gun Owners (ARGO). I agree, another choice for gun owners would be good.

    December 22, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  17. strider

    Why don't NRA members who want reasonable gun control, cancel their memberships? If the NRA leadership no longer represents the views of the membership, it's time to let them know...

    December 22, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  18. Steve

    We can all follow the logic of the NRA. The only way to protect ourselves is for every man, woman, and child to own and carry a loaded weapon. However Mr. Wayne LaPierre wouldn't be satisfied even if every man woman and child in the United States has a tactical thermonuclear device.

    December 22, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  19. Dave

    The NRA doesn't really represent the represents the gun manufacturers. And regarding having armed police or guards at EVERY school...who is going to pay for it? In Ohio, our schools are so cash strapped now that the Governor has shifted state monies away from the schools. None of the schools can pass levies to pay for what they need. And why in the world does the NRA assume that the "bad guy" won't kill the "good guy" first...then continue with his/her rampage?

    December 22, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  20. Leevamark

    The man spoke truth about real problems we face and real solutions for protecting our children. I fail to see why that caused such a hateful response. Existing gun laws do not prevent the criminally insane from obtaining guns. They only prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns they would use to protect themselves & their fellow citizens. The assault weapon ban was in place when Columbine happened. Gun free zones only prevent responsible gun owners from having a gun on them to protect ppl when a murderer ignores the law to shoot the zone up. If you would only calm down & do some research,, you may find out that there are much better solutions available to us.

    December 22, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  21. TeChSm

    The notion of having an additional security person at every school is fine. What gets me is the NRA's unwillingness to do or say anything that remotely resembles "the right thing to do". Their usual response to anything is to puff up like a cowardly toad, cover their ears, close their eyes and pretend everyone is agreeing with their asinine views. Why couldn't Adam Lanza or James Holmes have chosen an NRA meeting to go ballistic?

    December 22, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  22. Leevamark

    Jason D- My daughter's. High school had an armed police officer in the building every day. The kids loved her and felt much safer with her there. When our new Democrat Governor removed all of the officers in our city schools, (he claimed it was financially necessary then proceeded to spend us into oblivion with "beautification "projects) The kids were very upset. They fought to keep those officers in the schools, to no avail. Violent incidents immediately rose in the absence of those officers. From personal experience, I can tell you... the kids were definitely "more relaxed, when they had armed guards at their schools.

    December 22, 2012 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  23. yogi-one

    Not a good idea – where does it end? Banks, grocery stores, malls, and bars will all have to have armed guards. The society will become totally weaponized. Soccermoms will have to take an assault gun with them wherever they go, with or without the kids.
    Sorry, I don't want that America. That is NOT what a free society looks like, let alone a civil society. Obviously, the NRA doesn't care – after all, look at all the gun sales that will create! And that's what's important to the NRA and their crooked political buddies.

    December 22, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  24. Brandon

    Armed Guards at schools is a solution i thought of as well. If you take someone being armed at a school the person who is going to try to plan a shooting he will think twice about it. Train like a janitor or a coach or principal to do it something that would not cost tax payers. but you take someone really disturbed nothing seems to stop them, I am for guns i like to shoot them go hunting, because a few crazy people go crazy with a gun shouldnt mean that the people that have guns and use them safely should have to suffer. if half the population believe in no guns thats fine the other half should not be punished.

    December 22, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  25. BKB

    My high school had a police officer on campus and he was armed. It seemed totally natural, we all felt safer from gangs that didn't come around selling drugs anymore. It was no big deal at all. I wasn't aware this was a new idea around the US.

    December 22, 2012 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
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