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. Bobby Ray

    The students at Sandy Hook were perfectly safe until guns were brought into the school.. The NRA prescription is to add more guns. The NRA was mercifully silent for almost a week after the tragedy. I thought they had learned some compassion, instead they were just saving up the crazy. In the world I live in, I would like to think that the right of a child to turn 8 years old trumps the right to wield deadly force. Guns don't kill people, people kill people, PEOPLE WITH GUNS.

    December 22, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. Truth316kk

    What's so scary about having 1 armed guard at every school? It's not like it's any different then your kids watching action movies or playing violent video games. When I was in high school we had a resource officer at our school and guess what we didn't have any problems. All you need is doors that can only be opened from the inside and an alarm system that acts as an early warning system. You don't need a guard at every door. Also when I took security/escort training. The officer there told me. "it's important to make your presence seen, because now you've decreased your chances of an incident happening by 95%, but you will always have that 5% that think they can get away with it. That's the people you have to be prepared for. See you will always have people that have evil intent, it's nothing no one in this world can do about this 5%. Not banning guns, not banning bats, cars, explosive material. Nothing!

    December 22, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. Data Driven

    Land of the Free! Armed guards in every elementary school! Heck of a lot more free than banning assault weapons!

    By the way, NRA groupies: who pays for all the security? The Feds, or the States? (Well, OK, "States" actually means "Feds", anyway). It hardly matters, coz your taxes will have to go up to pay for it. More tyrannical gubmint and more taxes to pay for it - y'all sound like buncha liberals!

    It's hilarious, the way ideology goes by the wayside when it comes to protecting one's little hobbies and obsessions.

    December 22, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Liz the First

    Apparently, the NRA feels the way to stop an epidemic is to make more people sick. yes, i totally belive in the right to bear arms. but with rights come responsibilities to keep guns out of the hands of sick, dangerous people. the 'left' gets this, the right apparently doesn't believe in any common-sense, multi-pronged approach to this naational epidemic. all they can think of is throw more guns at the situation. it's like pouring gasoline on a fire.

    December 22, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. mikelogan45

    Idiot !! Armed people at schools ,They will be the first ones to get shot . I am a gun owner and fiercely believe in my second amendment rights !!! But get real ,

    December 22, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The left just doesn't get it"

    Get what? That you folks spent decades screaming the government's gonna take your guns now find yourselves screaming the goverment's gotta protect you?

    Yeah. We get it.

    December 22, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Truth316kk

    Dream don't you know it's widely known that our own Goverment supplied weapons to the drug lords in Mexico "Fast and Furious" ? I guess you missed that huh? Also it's many school in te USA that have armed guards, even the one I went to and no one has came in and shot the armed guard or anyone else for that matter. It sure stop people from shooting up sport events, gun shows, the president. What deters them is knowing that have a chance of getting shot in the face of the tried.

    December 22, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Seth A Drekin

    So, if we take the NRA's advice, what happens when the angry fifteen year old who always wears black is stomping around the hallway and by chance puts his hand inside his jacket in front of the "Security Officer"?

    December 22, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. RINO Bill

    I wonder if LaPierre's suggestion would have been met with the same derision had Sandy Hook been attacked by Islamic terrorists.

    December 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. mandy

    Open your eyes people! The election was merely a month ago. Obama has been trying to do away with our individual gun rights since his 1st term. Does it not seem a tad coincidental that this has been an extremist "issue" from the get-go? Does anyone else out there not see the absolute truth behind the matter? I've seen the media blame the NRA, Hollywood, and individual mental intelligences. What about getting to the ROOT of the issue. Think about it. What was that odd question on the presidential election ballot relevant to gaming, hunting, and fishing? Merely a little over a month later, during one of the most memorable, family/religious-oriented times of the year, some 20 year old John Doe that no one ever really knew existed wakes up one before 9 am, stretches and decides to go execute little children? Ask yourselves, how/why would that be beneficial to him? And, then we have the man from PA shooting and killing church people yesterday....with a huge picketer holding up a BIG RED sign stating the NRA is killing our kids??? I'm not even a gun fanatic, a member of the NRA, nor a gun owner, but this whole "scenario" sounds like it's been created and twisted so that "someone" might benefit from taking away individual gun rights...that "someone" being the one our electoral college voted for. Open your eyes. Wake up America! Obama's vacationing in Hawaii right now with armed guards. No worries!

    December 22, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. National Research Association

    We have made the list of mentally ills as NRA requested. We will release the names from the list one a day.
    As the first day we release the first name on the list.
    1) Wayne LaPierre ( he needs immediate attention for his " Adjustment Disorders" and "Logical thinking Disorders" that pose extreme danger to the general public, especially to children)

    December 22, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Sirned

    So let me get this straight. We want assault weapons to defend our selves against the Government but the same folks want those guns given to the government workers at every corner to protect them. Too crazy for words. If you truly believe the 2nd Amendment means having the arms to defend against a Government gone bad then tanks, machine guns and chemical weapons should be sold at Walmart too....

    December 22, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. orion

    @dreamer96... LOL..i guess everyone but you knows it was the Federal Government who pushed those firearms to Mexican cartels via operation Fast and Furious. Yep, they set it up and watched as thousands of guns made their trip South. ATF execs even viewed real-time video from mobile cam from agent's vehicles. Whatever youve been reading or listening to has only left you dumb and dumber. Pathetic putting it mildly.
    As for sales at local gun shows... many states (and gun show promoters) have existing rules which go a long way in preventing "just anyone" from buying firearms at these events. Guns coming in are tagged one way and guns going out are tagged differently. Most non-dealers and collecters i know require a state ID and log the information of the purchaser for their own peace of mind. Although not as binding as the NICS check FFL dealers must use, it does go a long way in preventing guns from falling into hands of those with evil intentions.
    For those who oppose the NRA for offering a good Common Sense Solution already in place at thousands of schools across our nation today.. wise up! It's already being done!!

    December 22, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. jane

    I have two words for that asshat LaPierre and his idiot remark: "only thing to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun:: Fort Hood.

    December 22, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: What is it about "well regulated militia" that you don't get?!?

    The NRA wants armed guards in school in part to create future customers: Their mostly old, white man demographic is dying out.

    By having guns a daily, acceptable presence in young people's lives, the NRA hopes some of them will grow up to be gun owners.

    The NRA is just like any other lobby, shilling for their clients.

    December 22, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: What is it about "well regulated militia" that you don't get?!?

    Everyone who thinks they have to own weapons to protect themselves from our government: You are the same folks who thump your chests and demand spending cuts to the programs that help the most vulnerable among us in order to avoid taking one dollar from the defense budget.

    You are the same folks who rallied around GW Bush, never once questioning his waging two wars while cutting taxes and creating massive debt, because you are "real Americans" and "patriots."

    You are the ones who fly the flag at every opportunity, but agree with Republican politicians who want to cut funding from veteran's programs.

    You are the ones who call anyone anti-American if they don't fall lock-step behind you when you utter the words "American exceptionalism."

    And yet you are the very same ones who fear our government, our military and our police, because you know that if you didn't have your precious little assault weapon, they would break down your door in a heartbeat and do Lord knows what to you and your family.

    How you keep your head from exploding is beyond me ...

    December 22, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. jane

    A press conference with no questions allowed? Crying about protecting the Second Amendment, and dragging away the protesters who were protecting their First Amendment rights. This was not a 'serious discussion'. This was just a 39 minute advertisement for the gun industry.

    December 22, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. GOP is for the rich

    By the way, Truth316kk, Columbine HAD armed guards!

    December 22, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. trex

    ..........NRA to AMERICA.................the best way to fix all this GUNS.............................who would have thought?............

    December 22, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. GOP is for the rich

    What happens when the 'armed guard' goes nuts?

    December 22, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It wasn't his child, grandchild or family member gunned down in cold blood so this man who has outlived those little babies and others has no empathy. He's also a Vietnam draft dodger who refused to go into battle against an enemy.

    December 22, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The NRA is no longer the voice of hunters and sportsmen. It has largely been taken over by the neo-cons that are destroying the republican party and is now the voice of extremist republicans, neo-nazis, skinheads, Michigan Militia and other fanatical organizations.

    December 22, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. midway

    It is the most revolting statement I have hear for a long long time. Have been very open minded in NRA in the pass, it is impossilbe to tolerate it anymore. America people should rise above politics and fear of NRA. It is time to take them on directly.

    December 22, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. RUready

    Well Steve Lepuke head of the Not Rational Association, why not just ban schools instead. That way we eliminate any possibility of school shootings and save the tax payers the $80,000 cost each to put an armed guard at each school and save tax payers the cost of hiring teachers and building schools. Bingo, NRA solution and problem solved. I mean it's clear most of the NRA leadership can't possibly be educated or rationale so I'm certain this would ring a bell with them.

    December 22, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. John the Historian

    The NRA wants terrorists to have guns. They want the wild wild West. Guns were made for killing. Thou shalt not kill.

    December 22, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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