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

    Columbine had armed guards and locked doors ........... and to put multiple armed guards at every school in the US would cost billions of any republican wanting to pay off the national debt yet supporting that stance would be hippocritical.

    December 22, 2012 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  2. Sassafras

    This isn't a left/right thing anymore Mac1. The people hace had it with these guns. It is you who doesn't get it. I will give you one thing. Radio silence from anyone in a leadership position on the right. Cowards.

    December 22, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  3. Marie

    Security personnel do not need to be armed. They could be stationed in a booth just inside or outside the entrance with camera surveillance of all inside and outside areas just as they are in many public places and serve the role of watchdog. When a potential threat is noticed they would sound the first alarm which sends all staff and children into safe areas and the building into lockdown and notification to police all at the same time. These security personnel should be as necessary as teachers and janitors. Otherwise our children are sitting ducks.

    December 22, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  4. Roger

    It's difficult to have a rational discussion of the issues with all of the emotion involved at the extremes which often dominate the discourse in the media. I am a pretty liberal guy, but the truth is that limiting magazine capacity or sales of new weapons won't have a significant impact - there will always be access to deadly weapons as was the case in Connecticut. I wear a 9 mm pistol on my army uniform. It's not that big a deal. Many capable teachers could be taught to responsibly carry firearms in schools and use them in an emergency. We don't have the resources to place armed security throughout the schools. Cowardly attackers would be much less likely to open fire if they knew someone could shoot back at them before they had the chance to take the painless bullet in the head.

    December 22, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  5. luvmyguns

    The second amendment was made specifically to protect us from King Bloomberg and people like him. They try to say that the hunters don't need this kind of gun to kill deer with, so someone show me where in the second amendment says anything about hunting. It's to protect again enemies foriegn and DOMESTIC, EX; (BLOOMBERG). New Yorks governor is treading on thin ice also.

    December 22, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  6. Ban guns

    If guns were illegal this massacre and countless others never would of happened.

    December 22, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  7. lgalb

    In future years, communications courses will study the NRA presentation as a case study in bad communications.

    Regardless of whether their ideas are correct or not, their presentation totally undermined anything they sought to present.

    December 22, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  8. PaulC

    If the U.S. is delusional enough to consider the NRA proposal to arm schools I would expect that their next suggestion is to arm theater ushers, store clerks and every place where the public gathers. Lunacy at it's finest but I have no fear that there will be any meaningful changes to our pitiful gun laws.

    December 22, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  9. Robert

    I agree with him. I had police offiicers at my school when i was growing up and it made me feel safe knowing that if someone did start a school shooting that there would be someone well trained enough to end the terror. There does not have to be a guard at every exit. Just a couple of them roaming around or even at a post so that way if something does happen then they are there to react. It might or might not stop someone from shooting up the school but it might deter someone from choosing that school as well as it will definantly lower the amount of casualties that are taken.

    December 22, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |

    "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"

    Hmmmm... for once I agree with Gov. Christie

    December 22, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  11. Dano

    I think the NRA is addressing the problem from the wrong direction. Rather than posting armed guards at every school, or arming every teacher and administrator as others have suggested, why don't we mandate that everyone in America must wear kevlar body armor at all times when outside the home? Silly idea, yes, but it's no more ridiculous than the other suggestions from the pro-gun lobby that I've read lately.

    December 22, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  12. Brad E

    Let's see? I wonder how many alcohol related deaths we had in 2013. Maybe we should ban all alcohol. We had Prohibition back in 1919 and how did that go for us? It became a lucrative business for the bad guys, the gangsters of the 20s. Today we have numerous drugs that are deemed illegal and how is that going for us? Hello drug cartels! We don't guard our borders at all, so exactly what is going to happen when we one day have a total ban on weapons? Maybe we should put a few military bases on our borders to keep watch. Maybe we should not let our kids watch these violent movies or play these violent games. Maybe teen pregnacy would go down without "Two and a Half Men" and "Rules of Engagement" showing in primetime. I could go on and on, but maybe we just need to get a little Mayberry back in our lives~!

    December 22, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  13. sifto

    i do not understand why the media is blaming NRA for all the gun violence–Obama and his cronies have the power to ban assault rifles and they have chosen not to–why are legal gun owners being "targeted"? put the blame where it belongs–on the democrats with the big mouths and NO action!

    December 22, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  14. Mike

    It appears that the lives lost at Newtown and in every other community in the USA are a means to an end: for gun manufacturers led by the NRA to make more money. If we have to arm people in every school, that's more guns and more profit. They have got to be kidding us. If I was an NRA member, Id be cancelling and starting an organization that is more rooted in reality.

    December 22, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  15. Dave C.

    You want to see how an armed Police Officer at a school deters shootings come to Detroit and see it first hand. It's enough to know that someone will shoot back is what keeps these nuts and criminals away,

    December 22, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  16. CdnJim

    And who's going to guard the guard so that he doesn't go nuts and start shooting kids, And who will get guard the guard who guards the 1st guard? The rest of the world is waiting for the next slaughter of children to see who Americans are willing to sacrifice on the altar of the Gun God.

    December 22, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  17. Laura

    How is the media reporting this in a "leftist" biased way when they are reporting actual quotes from Republicans and Democrats alike? It's just amazing to me that the NRA's only solution to the gun problem is "More Guns!!!" It's ridiculous that citizens can walk into a gun store and buy the same gun my husband used to train for going to Iraq, a war zone. I don't think anyone is advocating that you can't have a nice hunting rifle or a well-secured personal handgun for your home protection. The crazy thing is that the gun control population is more than willing to meet gun nuts halfway on this issue, but you won't budge one inch from your "free guns for everyone" stance. Arming more people is not the answer because action is always faster than reaction. Reacting to a gunman takes time, whereas the gunman is already firing his weapon because he knows what he is going to do. In addition, even highly trained police officers sometimes have their guns taken from them and used against them. There are just too many variables with guns and guess what, all of them end in tragedy and death.

    December 22, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  18. Jon

    Taking guns away fom honest people will only give the bad guys a bigger advantage. The bad guys won't give up their guns. They don't care if they are obeying laws or not. Posting a sign designating a "Gun Free Zone" is like an invitation to them,. If They know there is an armed guard, they will think twice about their target selection!

    December 22, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. sifto

    why don't you NRA haters stalk Ferrari to ban killer high speed cars? or any car company for that matter?

    December 22, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    Gun-ban law is needed.

    December 22, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  21. Dave

    Something else for the loony left to rally around... Omg... Most don't have a clue that the key to improving the security of schools and the populace in general lies in changing the hearts of the American people. It's not guns that are killing our kids, it's people. We've taken God out of schools, and He's been replaced by evil. Gee, I'm shocked....

    December 22, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  22. DogHaus

    The NRA missed a huge opportunity. Yes, police officers at every school is a solution but not a preferred solution. Are we to also put armed protection at churches, daycare centers, soccer games, boy/girl scout events, parks, playgrounds, etc. etc... The problem is complex and therefore the solution will be more complex than just recommending more guns. The NRA had an opportunity to help America and instead they double-downed on more guns.

    December 22, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  23. sensible ideas

    OK, so you arm the teachers and janitors at every school. at great expense. How about shopping malls? Movie theatres? Little League games? Etc. This is madness. Look at the data worldwide ==== more guns = more gun deaths. Want less death? Decrease the number of guns – specifically, hi cap magazines on military style weapons. It is illegal to have anti aircraft missiles in your backyard, or tactical nuclear weapons, or hand grenades, so why not ban the military gunds from private ownership as well? That would be consistent.

    December 22, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  24. streetlovely700236000

    let's just put armed guards everywhere. every store in a mall. every school classroom. every gas station. every liquor store. every street corner. every office cubicle in every office building. every screen inn every movie theater. then we'd be pretty safe. the NRA needs to go.

    December 22, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  25. dreamer96

    MAC 1

    You do not get it....

    There were armed guards at Columbine High School ...and that did not stop the two boys from killing fellow students in 1999....

    The NRA wants a national database of the mentally ill, but fights every attempt to create a national database of gun owners...hmmm....and still the NRA fights to keep the loop hole for guns sold at gun shows without background checks wide open, to sell any gun to anybody....

    Why did the GOP help shutdown the Phoenix AZ ATF office ...was it so they would not create any kind of gun owner database?...

    Was it so the US gun makers could keep selling guns to straw gun buyers that smuggle over 2,000 guns out of Arizona each day..into Mexico for the Mexican Drug Cartels...

    And what about the easy way to buy demolition explosives in Arizona?...

    December 22, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
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