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. Ray

    Courts have guards. Airports have guards. Congressional offices have guards. Banks have guards. Museums have guards. Are our children not more important than any of these?

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

    It doesn't surprise me that the political response towards what appears to be a logical solution came with such scrutiny. The NRA makes very valid points. After reading the entire press release I did not see where they even suggested arming teachers or principals. I did read putting a armed officer or retired VET to secure the schools.

    Just because the NRA's view doesn't support disarming the people of the US, much like the view point of the average politician does mean it is a bad solution.

    "If it is good for the goose it is good for the gander..." The US provides a very strong military presents to the world. It is there to divert attacks from foreign threats. Well by placing an armed guard, police officer or VET, people who are trained with firearms into our schools, chances are they will never have to draw their weapon. Just knowing they are there diverts the attacks away from our schools. Makes a whole bunch of sense to me.

    Wake up America! To do battle with armed crazys is not to take away a means to defend ourselves, but to be able to even the odds.

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Deep

    I am seeing a lot of parallels between the mafia and the NRA. If they have their way civilians would have 24/7 armed personal security for their kids and family members! Should I give up my day job and stand a post in front of my kids' school with an assault weapon???
    Is NRA the Taliban of America who oppress anyone who gets in their way?

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. PR

    So to you people who feel we should have the guards, lets say we do, then what? Should we then not care about arming the crazies anymore with automatic weapons? I mean, why not let them have them, someone will be around to take them down if they try to use them right? Who cares who gets caught in the cross fire, you want to try and shoot people, someone somewhere will have a gun to stop you eventually. Maybe we do need a guard now to protect children in school, UNTIL we get a sane solution so our children don't have to armed guards in a place of study. Try to remember how life was like for you when you were young and in school, did YOU have to worry about your life and safety while sitting in math class?

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. allenwoll

    The NRA is simply a Special Interest Money-Mill actively scamming its mostly warped(*) members ! ! ! . A look needs to be taken at their financials, pronto ! ! ! . (*) Just hoping for a chance to kill legally.
    Ammunition should be designated as outright contraband with the most devastating consequences for its possession. This does not interfere with gun collectors. . A heavy tax on ammunition would only lead to the pols promoting its purchase ! !

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. AJL

    Columbine had armed guards. That should end this discussion. More guns are not the answer.

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Bereal

    OK ban guns lets be real, drunk driving claims lives everyday. There are strict laws against it, why does it still happen. Drugs are banned and a crime why are they everywheres and yet still claim lives. Weapons dont kill people the person pulling the trigger do. Point of the matter all these areas are soft targets, why not look for ways to protect them. Banning guns or stricter laws wont help. All that is is a reaction to quiet the anti gun protesters!

    December 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Matthew

    So, just to point this out... the top universities in this country all have their own, dedicated police forces patrolling campus grounds, and have for years. This is considered a normal safety need.

    Yet suggesting we do likewise, maybe in a smaller scale, in our public school is blasphemy and agenda-driven?


    December 21, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Peter

    Here are the facts: Any gun you buy is more likely to take an innocent life than it is to save one, even if you are a law abiding citizen. Even if you ignore homicides, and just look at firearm accidents, they totally outweigh the number of times a gun has protected someone. More guns in schools just means an increased chance of an accident. Not to mention, an armed guard is just going to be a perpetrator's first target: easy pickings for someone with an assault rifle.

    December 21, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. MB

    As a nation we are immoral for not securing our schools. I have six elementary aged grandchildren. I demand measures be taken to secure their schools, now, not later.

    December 21, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. MaryAnn

    I totally agree, wake-up his remarks were not "disturbing" 20 children dead in school is disturbing! getting murdered and not having a fighting chance to save youself is disturbing, ever citizen who can legally carry a gun and who completes proper taining should be allowed to carry, gun control will not work, too many guns out there, do you think these head cases would attack targets that can defend themselves, I dont think so, if they are crazy enough to try they will not kill many, before they are neutrelized! The problem in this country is the mental health system, we have no system so dangerouslt ill people are walking around unchecked on our streeets when they need to be in hospitals designed to treat them! China has gun laws and 22 kids were stabbed in a school there last week..

    December 21, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Wayne

    I watched the NRA press conference with much anticipation about the 'meaningful statements' they would put forth. What I saw was an organization that foolishly believes their plan of putting armed guards in the schools will provide the solution to these types of horrific events. They certainly missed the opportunity to promote an even greater sale of weapons – they left out movie theatre guards, little league guards, ice rink guards….. I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but was neutral on the NRA… now the NRA has shown me their allegiance lies with the almighty dollar and they have no interest in a meaningful solution!

    December 21, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Hector Rodriguez

    A guy killed three people in PA and probably himself. Four more dead and the NRA wants more guns!~

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. DOG1

    "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"
    Maybe you should consider the other possibility, the loss of life could have been much, much higher. If a shooter was aware there is an armed guard, or armed teachers, he might want to engage them and start a real fire-fight. It's apparent at least some of these guys somehow think they're living out a video "shooter" game and getting to engage with someone will probably just make them excited and more destructive. Remember the people armed to protect the school would be constrained in where and how they could fire their weapons because of the presence of the children, Keep in mind that if the shooter sprays the area of the armed guard his rounds could pass through one or more walls, possibly into classrooms full of kids. (This is of course thanks in part to the NRAs assistance in making armor piercing rounds available). Armed guards would probably be required to use only frangible rounds to prevent the through the wall issue and all the shooter has to do is wear simple body armor, which is readily available (thanks again NRA), to protect themselves. Right after this occurred some idiot senator suggested the principle should have had an M4 and this would not have happened. Yeah, that means the shooter would have had an M4 to use when his bushmaster jammed!
    Pretty sure this is not the answer!

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. jimmiek

    The argument that placing armed guards in school would have prevented this tragic event is somewhat naive. It might stop the bad guy. BUT! Bad guys rob banks despite there being armed guards. They simply up their plan a notch to include dealing with the guard first. Would they not do the same thing with the school guard(s)? Just asking.

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Hector Rodriguez

    Terry...the NRA creates more gun nuts every day!~

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Pruitt Holcombe

    The article doesn't even mention that he went on a tirade labeling videogames and violent media as the cause of the shooting. Booooooo.

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. carol

    The whole world was waiting for their statement, personally, i think that this was embarrasing outcome, and is a bad reflection on the us, given the past week just my view what ever thats worth

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Bart

    All mass shootings in America have taken place in gun free zones. If you think it's just coincendence these murderers specifically target places they can carry out their plan unopposed, you are nuts. You do not have to start handing out guns to teachers, just eliminate the gun free zones.

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Please go out and buy a gaming console and play some of those games mentioned. "

    The games he mentioned are like 15 years old. It was evidence of just how out of touch and stale the NRA's talking points truly are.

    December 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. NRA sux

    If there had been an armed security guard in Newton, there would have been one more body to count. Hand guns don't stand a chance against assault rifles.

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Fil

    And where are struggling school districts going to come up with money to pay armed guards. The NRA is offering training, not the guards themselves. And how is a school with 6-10 different entrances going to guard each door?

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Poppy

    DB77 – Right on, brother!!

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Don

    Great. Let's be the first country in the world that has to deploy armed security guards to all the schools. Did we ever consider why gun violence is a non issue in other western nations? How about this. Let's make it a law that every American citizen over the age of 18 who's mentally stable has to carry a gun. We'll all be on a level playing field. Watching the news on Black Friday will be awesome when everyone tramples into Walmart and starts killing each other. Gun voilence will go up by 1000%.

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. alterbanner

    Given Mr Lapierre's remarks, it may take a few more Newtowns, Columbines and Auroras before they get it!

    December 21, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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