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. Grace

    What nonsense. I listened to the speech live and he never ONCE mentioned arming teachers! He talked about putting armed POLICEMEN and SECURITY guards in schools. However, I'm not surprised CNN would be spinning this because one of the things he mentioned – which a vast majority of us believe is true – is that the media and entertainment businesses are FILLED with graphic violence they call 'entertainment". He even mentioned the video game called Kindergarten Killers. I support an arm policeman or security guard at a school, along with other measure. Like LaPierre said, the ONLY way to combat an armed bad guy is with an armed good guy!

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Alex

    It's quite odd that the people calling for gun rights and stand your ground mentality seem to primarily be Christians. Jesus tells us that the greatest form of strength is to not repay evil with evil and to forgive your enemies, so in fact using a gun to defend yourself is really the greatest form of weakness a Christian could have.

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Eric

    The only solution to actually prevent this from happening is arming someone at schools. Germany has had 2 school massacres since 2005 and has very strict gun control. The problem is, most people on here jumping off about how the NRA is responsible and the politicians stating their perspectives probably do not even know this fact.

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Quixote

    "Criminals" are not targeting schools and movie theaters and malls and workplaces for mass killing sprees. Not the typical "criminal" like drug cartels, thieves etc. it is ONLY because civilians can purchase weapons of mass destruction over the counter at walmart or any other department store that we have this kind of slaughter of the innocent. If you think guns is the answer to gun violence you are an idiot. It is like saying the way to cure drug addiction is to put heroin dispensers on every street corner.

    December 21, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Rosslaw

    Well Wayne makes it pretty clear-if one of more of those six or seven year olds had been packing like they should have, this horror would have never happened. How is that much toxicity contained within one human being?

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Bill

    The NRA's comments today only indicated that we will have to do gun control legislation without their input or any regard for their concerns. They are horribly out of touch, and I hope their membership is ashamed of their comments as the rest of the country is.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. RS

    America has had a 30 year experiment in homecaring and mainstreaming the mentally ill.
    We have allowed homicidal schizophrenics like Cho, Laughtner, Holmes and Lanza to walk the street, turning the entire nation into an asylum without walls.

    An asylum where the sane hide behind locked doors. Where we are talking about walls and guards at schools to protect our children against those madmen who now decide if, where and who to kill.

    It's not working. And gun bans for the sane and the honest are not the solution.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. justinnoah

    @dave, I think you make a good point that it "could" have prevented some of the tragedy, but do you agree it's not "the" solution? What happens if the armed guard is killed first and then the school attack takes place second? We need to protect our schools better, perhaps with different building designs, think multiple layers of protection.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Patrick

    You're kidding right? Wayne's solution is probably the best so far. With his idea, at least there's a chance to stop a madman with a gun, so called assault weapon, chainsaw, bomb, knife, ad infinitum. With the current emotional response by gun control people, you ban guns and implement mental health checks that are stricter. Mental health is a moving target. There is no guarantee that a person who is deemed sane when they buy their gun will be sane for the rest of their life. Ban guns... then a perp shows up with a bomb, ban fertilizer and accelerants, perp shows up with a sword/knife/chainsaw. You remove these types of weapons and you remove the ability of this nation to repel tyranny, and you may as well remove America itself because it will then become just an extension of Europe or a vasal to the UN. Guns and weapons (especially military style) are indeed bad, destructive, efficient killing machines and a bane to society but the genie was let loose and the only way to remove gun violence is to snap your fingers and have all guns dissapear from the Earth. Until that is possible, there is a need to counter fire with fire or accept the possibility of being murdered on a daily basis because criminals and the insane will find weapons even if they are legally banned, and they will use them. Wayne's solution is not the only thing that is necessary but it functions as a stop-gap until the social root causes that perpetuate these acts of violence is discovered and dealt with if possible.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Groovy

    After the tragedy in Newtown, how many schools in your local area had an increase in police presence? How many schools in your area have had a long standing police presence? How many copy cat attempts have been made against the increased presence? Until more comprehensive measures can be determined (and become effective), the immediate response is an armed force to deter a potential attacker. Like it or not, it is an ugly truth.

    I am disappoited with the NRA for not providing additional alternatives.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Michael Emert

    Done right, this could be the best plan anyone has had yet. Rather than using the local authorities, this could be a job designed for returning and retiring military. We've already paid hundreds of thousands to train them how to use the weapons and the same people crying about wanting more gun control are also crying about our military not protecting us. This could kill two birds with one stone. Our veterans get jobs doing the thing they swore to do (protect our citizens), our children are protected by the best money can buy, and Obama gets to be a hero by not putting guns in the hands of more people.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. jgolphin

    People are utterly stupid and ignorant. Brainwashed by crappy journalism. Not a single one of you complain that your money is GUARDED by SECURITY PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE ARMED. Not a single one of you complain that your airports are GUARDED BY ARMED SECURITY OFFICERS and you have the never to criticize TAKING THE PROTECTION OF OUR CHILDREN SERIOUSLY. SHAME ON YOU! If my school falls into this bs that gun control (which I agree we need more of) will protect our kids, I will start homeschooling my kids. We need damn officers to get in these schools and let people know that they can't just walk into a school that houses the most precious of lives and do do such evil things. Get your heads out of your politically correct as*es, wake up and smell the coffee! We need GUN CONTROL and CAPABLE SECURITY IN ALL OF OUR SCHOOLS!

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Mecha

    I am sick of hearing some gun control advocate says "streets" because they are not talking about criminals. And if they are, then they are stating that the all gun owners are criminals. It isn't that they don't want guns on the streets, but they don't want guns in the hands of anyone not police or military. You hear it all the time when law abiding gun owners turn in their old non-working guns in mass gun buyback programs that they are so happy that they got X number of guns removed from the streets. No they didn't because no gang-banger or criminal is going to sell his stolen Glock back to the the cops. Those guns were not removed from the streets, but from the homes of law abiding citizens who simply no longer wanted them or needed the money that the buy back program offered.

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Lance

    Armed guards weren't necessary 20 years ago, and they shouldn't be necessary now. Don't accept the problem and use armed guards to combat it - fix the problem.

    And the problem isn't the guns...

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Nothing says "freedom" and "security" like "not if I murder you first."

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Russ

    The NRA did not say ANYTHING about arming teachers or principals; they said trained armed professionals just like at banks, government buildings, train stations and airports!!!!! People in this country live in some dream world. No one can argue that had there been a trained armed professional at that school that A. this horrific unimaginable tragedy may not have even happen or B. that the lose of life would have likely been much lower. No lose of life is acceptable but the reality is it likely would have been much lower.

    Who pays for these armed guards? Can we tax guns/ammo/accessories to help pay for this?

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Third world country here we come

    If the day comes that I have to carry a weapon everywhere I go, mall, movie theater, shopping etc.. and my kids have to wear bullet proof backbacks and vests to school I dont want to live here anymore. This is not Colombia, or Mexico run by the cartel, although the NRA is damn near one. ... The next big mass shooting is just around the corner. Time to plan your exit now..

    December 21, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Bill

    The NRA are about as much of a solution for the safety of our citizens as the GOP are in regards to avoiding the fiscal cliff. Neither group has anything significant or meaningful to contribute towards a solution and both groups are in fact the reason why we have these respective issues in America today.

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Andrew from West Haven, CT

    "There was am armed guard at Columbine and we see how well that worked."

    There was an "assault weapons" ban from 1994-2004 and we see how well that worked.

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. A-Rod

    The only organization that makes people madder than the NRA is the ACLU. I usually support the activites of both organizations.

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Miguel

    It would be amusing if it wasn't so pathetic. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, etc, etc. Do those names ring a bell? History tells us that governments often, not always, murder their own citizens whom they have effectively disarmed. No, I'm not saying that the Obama administration has nefarious plans. But what if a future leader does? People who are ignorant of history and lack the ability to see the unintended consequences of knee jerk reactions are dangerous to themselves and their posterity. They worship the ground their heads are buried in....

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Big Jilm

    So Destro wants to sell more guns -big surprise. Gun dealers are about as bad as drug dealers. It's not the gun owners -those responsible ones were never the problem. It's the ones who will sell guns (any type) to anyone in order to make as much money as possible.

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. ctbeckyw

    The NRA has been off base on this for a long time and I agree, LaPierre is crazy. I support the second amendment. I DON'T support public ownership of assault or fully automatic rifles. Semi-automatics should NOT be modifiable to be full-auto. They are not necessary for target or game hunting in the US. Cops and the US military should have them NOT the general public and certainly not anything branding itself a militia.

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. cathyinca

    Get the NRA and politicians out of this. Put some teachers, Mental health experts, and law enforcement officials in a room and let them hammer out the solution. Politicians are all talk and no action, and this issue is to pressing to wait

    December 21, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC


    Face facts and understand that no laws will deter criminals, we should without a doubt have armed guards in every school
    Yeah, right. Combine that with "stand your ground" laws and suddenly you have armed vigilantes shooting at shadows, feeling empowered like so many police officers that I've seen. Totally unfit for that type of duty. We'll need to start doing psyche profiles on them, you know?

    December 21, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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