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. Jerome W.

    Responsible and caring NRA members should turn in their NRA memberships and not renew and thus going forward this lack of funds will "starve the [NRA] beast" as the Repubs are so fond of saying. Just as the Sandy Hook shooter was ill so are the NRA extremists though not mentally but spiritually.

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

    I long believed that the NRA could best represent responsible gun ownership. Every year, I have questioned the NRA's commitment to that ideal. The NRA's initial failure to respond to the tragedy (a simple "our thoughts and prayers are with the family, etc" would have sufficed) and now this absurd statement have firmly established that the NRA has no place in rational discourse on the issue of guns. In addition, they have forced the Republican Party to choose between one of its largest financial contributors and mainstream America. This may be a watershed event in the future of the Republican Party. What are you going to do RNC, take the money or have a conscience?

    December 21, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Sly

    Yeah, we need more 'guards' like George Zimmerman to protect our children from machine guns.

    We'll all be safer if ladies like Adam's mom have 10 assault rifles for their mentally ill children to kill with.

    December 21, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Do you all realize that a gun ban ONLY stops NEW assault rifle's and hi-cap mags from entering the market!? All the ones out there now, including the ones used last Friday, will STILL be out there. This ban is simply to appease the lefts cry's for action and the right's ability to retain these items, while doing nothing meaningful at all. Gun owners laughed at the gun ban from 1994-2004 because it was silly and didn't reduce crimes with guns at all.

    As a gun owner, I'm not laughing anymore because I want something passed that WILL do something to stop 26 kids from getting killed! I'm not against the proposed ban because I think it's my right to have them, I'm against it because it doesn't do anything. It will get passed and the debate will end and everyone will live with false sense of security.

    At the very least, the NRA proposal WOULD very likely have stopped this attack, while also creating 100K jobs in this economy at the same time. We gain security for our children and helping the job market at the same time. This is a winning solution. I don't want a mall cop at my school to just "observe and report" how the murder of my kids went down..I want them to stop it!

    Steele is an idiot for what he quipped about he NRA. The NRA is proposing putting SECURITY guards at schools, not arming teachers and principals...(paragraph 4)!! Those are TWO completely different paths...Steele is wrong.

    December 21, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. dg

    Guards have personal struggles like everyone else. If an Armed Guard opens fire on people, do we then need armed guards to watch armed guards so we can minimize the death? To me that fact that you can kill 25 people in less than 30 minutes makes the GUN the issue. I'd like to see how far you get trying to stab 20 people to death before someone with bare hands stops you.

    December 21, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Shirley

    Why is it ok to have armed guards at banks, sporting events, etc., but, not schools?

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Guy

    We should have strict gun laws like Mexico because we have seen how well that is working.

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. brian

    What a great idea! We can put armed guards in our school to prevent this just like we did with columbine! What? That didn't work?

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. gwall

    Bloomberg called the statement "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country." This was an incident, it is not a crisis. People driving and using cell phones don't kill people, people kill people. So lets teak away their cell phones and cars. I am all for that. Adam Lanza took a gun and did something bad. Timothy Mcviegh took a truck loaded with explosive and did something bad. Nut case mental people are sometimes bad and bad people like to do bad things. So they find a way.

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Bill

    I'm really surprised the NRA only called for armed guards at the schools rather than all out militias and warlords for each neighborhood.

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. plain&simple

    Backwards thinking certainly makes the way forward crystal clear.....thank you NRA!!!!

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. tonymarko

    The NRA was Absolutely right in making those remarks.

    Come on people, do you honestly believe gun control is going to solve issues with teens. Please go out and buy a gaming console and play some of those games mentioned. After playing it for long periods, its not a game anymore, its a push toward wanting it to be reality.

    I have a right to defend myself and my family. If i were a teacher and had permission to carry a firearm, I would. And i would have stopped that human who was neglected from help.

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. DB77

    Welcome to America everybody! Land of the Free?? Home of the brave??? Are you kidding me??? Such bravery we have, needing firearms to protect ourselves from ourselves. Bravery??? No, we live in fear. Constant fear. Anyone who "needs" a gun is afraid and a COWARD. Freedom?? What freedom we have, locking down our schools and needing uniformed guards or arming teachers. Do we live in Afghanistan????? By the way, there are more Americans killing Americans with guns than there are terrorists killing Americans! It's a fact. Google it. Let's make ourselves a national security issue now. What a sad and pathetic society we live in when it has come to arming teachers or having guards to protect them from madmen who have a "right to bear arms" all thanks to the narrow-minded, barbaric, un-evolved lobbying and funding and policies of the NRA. Nothing but COWARDS hidding behind guns. Man, do they ever have it backwards and just dont' get it. We are becoming the JOKE of the western / civilized / industrial world. Seriously, you'd think we live in war-torn Irak or Somalia the way the NRA and all those "gun-lovers" are talking.

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Terry

    Hey Bloomberg, how did the NRA create the problem of crazy people in this country? Sounds like you liberals are avoiding the issues again. Your goal is to outlaw all guns and not deal with the problem of all of these crazy people in this country including yourself. Make like the wind and BLOW!!!

    December 21, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Nicole

    Why would LaPierre want a national database of the mentally ill when this press conference proves that he should top the list??

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Reasoned by being seasoned.

    Has anyone here been to Isreal? If you have , then you have seen that the school teachers are armed with fully auto M-16s. They have been trained, and told, to kill on sight, anyone who even thinks of harming the children. IF ANYONE thinks that making laws will prevent this kind of thing from happening, they are sorely foolish, thinking such barbarians will fear the law. Might makes right, and a filly auto M-16, sure keeps the kids in Isreal safe. Cause, well, we all know, the palestinians fear the laws in isreal.

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. ccw holder

    ITT: everyone ignores what was actually said at the press conference

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. A-Rod

    Yeah for the NRA supporting a job creation plan. Hire more police officers and guards for all our schools. That is alot of new jobs.

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. cogitoergosum

    A 1998 study of injuries and death due to firearms in the home found that for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Kathy0715

    Just reading these comments I realize how hard it would be to be a conservative. How do you get through your days always being afraid of shadows around every corner. I can't imagine how scary it would be to always think that someone was coming after you or someone you love. Paranoia seems to be an epidemic among conservatives.

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. teddy

    so, the next move is to put gun training in the techers job requirements, isn't it?
    or, to bring back all the trained soldiers from Afganistan and make them school pricipals and you can kill (!?) two birds with one stone....

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. justinnoah

    What happens when a teacher loses it and decides to take out their frustration on the school? What happens if the armed guard is a nutcase? How about we find ways to better protect our schools and stop trying to see guns as THE answer. The Newtown killer could have and probably would have shot and killed any armed guard or teacher before they knew what was coming. Design our schools differently. Have multiple layers of defense, just like we protect our troops in foreign lands.

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine


    What I find disturbing is that a vast majority of democrats are against protecting our children. Instead of coming up with measures to protect children in our countries schools, they are focusing on their own personal target of blame. Any time there is a major gun shooting covered they blame the guns and call for reforms. Instead they should be looking into ways to stopping shootings at schools all together. This could quite easily be done by having security personnel located at those schools that decide they need such protection.
    What is disturbing is that you insist on labelling anyone who objects to arming teachers as a leftist. Anytime a solution has been proposed that costs any real money, the Right backs off of it: that raises the real question as to who has the interests of our children: the American people, or the NRA. The NRA is un-American, and anyone who accepts their endorsement should be treated like the societal cancer that they are.

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Dan5404

    Since they are a big part f the responsibility for so many gun deaths in this country, the NRA should certainly be willing to fund policemen at 100,000 schools in tjis country. Of course, it would require far more than 100,000 new cops because of after-hours activities, sick days, vacation days and the fact that some high school campuses are as large as small colleges, so multiple officers would be needed.
    Instead of asking the taxpayers to pay billions for protection against the guns they have indirectly sold and distributed for gun manufacturers, they should have enough concern for dead children to stop supporting the arming to the teeth of all citizens. But, again, they are not an organization of the majority of the people, they are go-between salesmen, lobbyists and propaganda group for gun sales

    December 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Poppy

    Supposing, for argument sake, that there had been a "trained armed professional" at Sandy Hook – what happens when the perpetrator guns down the "professional' before he/she can unholster his/her sidearm? We have the same situation – dead kids plus a dead security guard on top of it.

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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