Republicans not jumping onto NRA's gun plan
December 23rd, 2012
01:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Republicans not jumping onto NRA's gun plan

(CNN) – Republicans on Sunday were reticent in voicing support for the National Rifle Association's scheme to place guards with firearms in American schools, though they also appeared to find little common ground with Democrats, who want tighter restrictions on purchasing assault weapons.

Lawmakers from both parties have agreed that some changes are needed following the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting on December 14 that left 28 people dead, including 20 children. But while Democrats advocate new legislation making it harder to obtain military-style firearms, Republicans claim such measures have proved ineffective in the past.

The NRA, the top lobbyist for gun manufacturers, asserted on Friday that armed guards in schools were the best prevention against a similar tragedy. That proposal, along with vows from Democrats to reintroduce bills banning assault weapons and high-volume ammunition clips, was met with skepticism Sunday from Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

"We had an armed guard in Columbine, we had an assault ban. Neither one of them worked," Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We're talking about preventing mass murder by nontraditional criminals, people who are not traditionally criminal, who are not wired right for some reason," he continued. "And I don't know if there's anything Lindsey Graham can do in the Senate to stop mass murder from somebody that's hell-bent on doing crazy things."

Another Republican, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, also cast doubt on the NRA's proposal, saying a national effort to place guards with guns in schools was misguided.

"I think decisions about schools ought to be made at the local level," Barrasso said on "Fox News Sunday." "I would not want a national effort to say you have to do this in schools. I think local education decisions are best made at the local level."

On CBS' "Face the Nation," GOP Sen.-designate Tim Scott said Americans shouldn't "rush to judgment" on the NRA's plan, but didn't offer an endorsement of the plan himself.

And Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a conservative from Utah, said on NBC he was worried about arming educators since he "had science teachers in high school who can't negotiate a Bunsen burner for goodness sake."

"I wouldn't suggest necessarily that we give everyone a gun. It's not for everybody," he continued. The NRA has specified it is not advocating teachers carry guns in school; rather, the group suggests schools could follow the example of malls and movie theaters that employ retired or off-duty policemen.

Nearly every Republican appearing on the Sunday talk shows agreed that new gun restrictions were the wrong path to take in the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting - though some expressed an openness to hearing all options put forward.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia said he wanted President Barack Obama's newly formed team on gun violence to look into every aspect that could lead to a massacre like the one in Newtown, but that previous bans on assault weapons had done little to stop senseless killing.

"Bans alone don't solve the problem," he said on ABC's "This Week," pointing to a prohibition on military-style weapons that was in effect in 1999 when the shooting at Columbine High School claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher.

Barrasso said Americans "can get false sense of security from Washington, and in passing more laws. But we need real solutions to a significant problem in our country, and I'm not sure passing another law in Washington is going to actually find a real solution."

And Graham wondered how a ban preventing him from purchasing another AR-15 semi-automatic rifle would thwart another tragedy like the one in Newtown.

"If you deny me the right to buy another one, have you made America safer?" he asked.

Democrats say yes. Sen. Joe Lieberman, the retiring independent senator from Connecticut who caucuses with Democrats, said bans making it impossible to buy the type of weapon used in Newtown would reduce the chance of similar shootings in the future. While Republicans' intransigence on the issue means such a ban won't come easily, he said, the public is ready for new laws.

"It's going to take the American people getting organized, agitated, and talking to their members of Congress," Lieberman said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Filed under: Gun rights • NRA
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. stevetall

    The NRA and the Republican Party. What a bunch of idiots. The time is now for a dialogue, you morons, whether you want to talk about it or not. You've screwed up the process long enough with you rmisinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment and allowing nut-jobs to openly possess weapons which have no other purpose than to kill mass numbers of humans. These should be strictly for the military, and unfortunately, for the police agencies which have to work harder and harder to maintain firepower superiority. Duh!

    December 23, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "If there are teachers who have passed a "right to carry" and after some training on how to handle situations, they should be allowed to (volunteer to) carry a weapon at their school. How many teachers or staff are armed and who they are should only be known to the principal and the police."

    Teaching is stressful enough. Adding a loaded gun to the equation only spells disaster down the road. And, yes, it would have to be federally funded AND include ALL school districts. Otherwise our school districts would become another "gun free zone" talking point for those districts unable to handle the burden of funding armed guards. Keep in mind, schools do not have only one entrance. Fire safety laws would still have to be adhered to.

    We're talking over 6 – 7 billion dollars per year per ONE armed guard per school. Start adding in renovation costs to accommodate a one guard per school scenario and it'll top 1 trillion in taxpayer funding. Yearly.

    December 23, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Senior

    If the NRA is 4 Million members strong, that is a little over 2% of the population.... a very small tail wagging the dog.

    December 23, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. grixxly

    Blaming the weapon seems so completely out of touch... what would the carnage have been if he had used a 12-gauge shotgun? Or a .22 pistol as in the case of the VT shooter? With a 12-gauge it could have been significantly worse. You aren't going to remove weapons... What does the band-aid approach solve?

    December 23, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Bart Brown

    There will be no change to Federal gun laws; the NRA owns too many Senators and Congressmen, lock, stock, and two smoking barrels.

    BTW, Colon: " It is a FACT that crime rates are lower in states where people, AFTER passing a skill test, can be licenced to carry a hand gun. This is because criminals do not know if possible victims are armed."

    Not a FACT - there is NO statistical evidence to back this ludicrous claim

    "It is a FACT that when it is known that a school is a "gun free zone", a person who decides to commit murder can attack without worrying about an armed response."

    That's not a FACT, either – it's a department of redundancy department opinion. You can see into the mind of a murderer? You should hire yourself out to the police. You've simply been watching too much TV after school.

    When you grow up and can think for yourself.

    "I do not have a gun but I have common sense."

    It's great news that you don't have a gun - keep it up. Your contention that you have "common sense" is not borne out by the pure frivel you posted above.

    December 23, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. fernace

    Graham's arguement is redundant! A law restricting sales of as.sault weapons & unlimited clips Will help, because it will restrict thousands of people, not just 1! Calling the shooters a "monster" & a criminal is disingenious! Most are not criminals till they take up readily available guns & fire them at humans & while some obviously have problems, they are disturbed, not monsters! Using that type of terminology divorces shooters from the rest of the population, when the truth is that any1 who feels angry, frustrated, disenfranchised, depressed etc. can pick up a gun & cause mayhem! We read about it every day, most recently in Pennsylvania! Not to mention death of children by unsecured guns! We live w/all sorts of laws governing seatbelts to cigarettes, which seem to work & make us safer! I don't understand the reluctance to even TRY to approach all avenues! Do we love guns more than human life!?

    December 23, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. nat69109

    Putting armed guards in schools is theoretically a valid idea but the problem is that you are deferring action until the very last moment when the armed individual is already on the rampage at the school. It is like saying no need to worry about a terrorist attack on the airplane we have armed air marshals. Why let it get to that point in the first place?

    December 23, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. GOP = Greed Over People

    So, to recap, the NRA which says it champions individual freedoms, is advocating increasing the size of government, thereby increasing taxes, AND giving the government employees guns and training to protect our children?

    What happened to the conspiracy chant that "obumma" was turning the U.S. into a "nanny state"?

    December 23, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Frank from Gilroy

    Hey Wayne,
    The worst school shooting in American history had what amounted to a SWAT team on campus and Columbine had a armed deputy Sheriff. How well did your solution work in those two case? 44 dead 38 wounded with 35 armed officers on duty.
    Something to think about people before you go all in on this being a solution.

    On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School had an armed guard–Sheriff's Deputy Neil Gardner on duty on campus. Although Gardner was on duty (he was eating lunch when the shooting started), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were able to kill 12 students and a teacher, and wound 21 others and before committing suicide.

    And Virginia Tech, which remains the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, had what amounted to a SWAT team on campus. According to the governor's report on the 2007 shootings that left 32 people dead and 17 wounded, the Virginia Tech police department, a fully accredited police force, has an emergency response team. On April 16, 2007, 34 armed officers were on duty.

    December 23, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Jim

    I dont care what the NRA says.I care what my rights are as an American.And I dont care what this writer spins on this either.

    December 23, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: What is it about "well regulated militia" that you don't get?!?

    #1 Close the loophole that allows unlimited purchase of firearms at gun shows without a background check.

    #2 Ban assault weapons.

    December 23, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Mike - WA

    Da guvernmint aint gunna tack away my writes to my gunz and dey ain't gunna tak my pappy's still eidder.

    December 23, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. norma jean

    WHere does the NRA plan on putting this armed guard in the schools????? The back door,,,side doors...rear to windows or on the roof???The bottom line no matter how you call it is that if this person had not had an assault rifle to kill in multiples... most of those killed would still be here!!!!An assault rifle has no purpose but to kill....that's what they are using in war zones. It is not good for home security,seldom used for why are they available to anyone but law enforcemnt here or abroad???? As to arming teachers...the very way this shooting went down proved that armed schoolteachers and other school officials would not have been able to move fast enough to make any difference!!!!

    December 23, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Funkymonkey1

    Typical GOP. No ideas of their own. Everybody else's ideas are no good, but they provide no real alternatives. They just want to wait and see if things work themselves out. Par for the course. The GOP – Party of Inaction.

    As far as LaPierre goes – Great idea. Let's put police in all the schools. I'm all for it. And we can tax the hell out of guns and ammunition to pay for it. I think that COMBINED with a ban on assault weapons and high capacity clips and far sweeping gun control reform would be a great place to start.

    December 23, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Herb

    After posting armed guards at all the school buildings (and, by the way, my local middle school has three buildings all by itself), then we'll need sentry guard towers to protect children during phys. ed. or at recess. And then, we'll need guards on every school bus. REALLY ??!!

    December 23, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. NoTags

    From what I've studied and found out about the Columbine shooting was neither of the two guards were at the entrances to the school. From the report I read one guard was in the parking lot and the other was a motorcycle officer who was 'near' the school (distance not stated) writing a speeding ticket. Also reported was that the guard in the parking lot fired 4 shots which missed the shooters and when the 2nd officer returned, he also fired and missed.

    December 23, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. PtBarnumBoy

    Guns for everyone is the only way to go. Just like Deadwood and Dodge City back in the good old days. Just because all these other civilized countries have lower violence and death rates doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to strap on a 45 and swagger down main street on a saturday night.

    December 23, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Sad very sad

    Thank the NRA for their input, but let them know that is all they can do. Lawmakers should pass laws for what is right, not for being on the take. Empeach and arrest any government official that is on the "take" – Make the NRA irrevelant. It's that easy.

    December 23, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. snowdogg

    "The NRA, the top lobbyist for gun manufacturers..."

    It is ALL about the money... guns are BIG business.

    December 23, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. musings

    The fox, caught with feathers in its mouth, suddenly decides he needs to go into the henhouse so he can offer them to the little chicks and give them a softer bed. But the farmer - well the farmer would simply shoot him.

    December 23, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Dr. Michael S. Brown

    Only a mildly biased article by CNN. Interesting. Perhaps some calm and reason is returning.

    December 23, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. Larry L

    Republicans made a deal with the Devil and now they don't like his terms... America has 5% of the people in the World yet we have 40% of the guns – and we have remarkable guns. Our very profitable, pro-gun culture validates gun violence in movies, games, and even toys for children. Unlike the flintlocks of our Founders, our "black" guns are extremely efficient, reliable, accurate, and offer a remarkable rate of fire. We've gone to great lengths to enhance the semi-automatic's capability – building ratcheted triggers and recoil-operated systems to highly enhance the rate of fire. Our ammunition is accurate and deadly – even designed to penetrate police armor.

    The N.R.A. is a well-funded, right-wing hate group and a good portion of it's members support high-capacity magazines for reasons beyond hunting, self-defense or sport. Many consider the 2nd Amendment a form of Constitutional authorization for seditious acts – like armed revolt against our government. Isn't that terrorism? Treason?

    December 23, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. yasmine

    this NRA suggestion is structured to do one thing...increase their gun sales...NOT solve the problem..

    December 23, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. artraveler

    How about the NRA offer to pay the bills for 1-50 armeed police (nothing else will do) rather than continuing to grease the palms of our greasy Congressional critters? Police require frequent re-training and updating. None of the other suggestions (parents, etc) have that requirement. Cost will be in the multi-millions but NRA and the gun industry should pay and add a tax on every sale and/or import to cover the costs. No taxp[ayer costs to correct an industry program..

    Wouldn't it be easier to (1) outlaw armour-piercing bullets outright and added jail terms for anyone using them. Those on the market already will eventually degrade, (2) nothing larger than a 5-shot chamber in any gun possessed by a citizen (larger drums licensed to gun ranges and anywhere they are needed but they have to be accounted for, and (3) no assault rifkes that are equal to army supplies, (4) start to outlaw single-shooter video games, and (5) re-install a mental health program better than the one that Ray-Gun destroyed.

    December 23, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. ljarmy84

    As a gun owner I must say I'm tired of being compared to everything evil because I own an AR-15. I've always said licensing, storage requirements, and closing private transfers were good ideas but now gun ban supporters demonize me for not supporting a complete ban. I'm sure there are many gun owners like me that are fine with a national licensing system for handguns and assault weapons. All these people who demonize gun owners do is force us in the middle to dig in and then nothing gets accomplished I'm sick of both extremes running this debate

    December 23, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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