The Washington Post

NRA presser prompts swift criticism from Democrats

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's call on Friday for lawmakers to to spur an effort to put armed guards in schools to prevent mass shootings was met with immediate criticism by some Democrats.  

Sen.-elect Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the statement "revolting," while David Axelrod, a top adviser on President Obama's campaign called it "astonishing."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), a leading gun-control advocate, sharply criticized the NRA for what he called a "shameful" evasion of the problem confronting the country. 

"Their press conference was 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. 

On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers offered a swift rebuke of the NRA's stance. 

“It is beyond belief that following the Newtown tragedy, the National Rifle Association’s leaders want to fill our communities with guns and arm more Americans," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). 

"The NRA’s press conference was appalling," added Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). "Even more firearms are not the solution to reducing gun violence."

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted that the NRA's call to arm schools is at odds with the conservative posture towards limited government there. 

Mark Kelly, the husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who nearly lost her life when a gunman opened fire on her and others in 2011, said: "Gabby and I are extremely disappointed by the NRA's defiant and delayed response to the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School."

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), a gun owner and hunter chairing a congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said that simply arming more Americans is not the answer. 

“Everyone agrees our schools, movie theaters shopping malls, streets and communities need to be safer. But we need a comprehensive approach that goes beyond just arming more people with more guns to make this happen," he said. 

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called LaPierre’s remarks “unfortunate” and said he didn’t believe that the news conference represented the views of even the majority of NRA members.

“The recommendation of an arms escalation in America is not, I think, the solution that the American people believe makes common sense,” Hoyer said. “I am very hopeful that we will go in a direction that will say these weapons of mass killing capability will be limited, the magazines will be limited, and that, yes, we will make sure that people who have access to dangerous weapons in fact are mentally healthy to the extent that we can get there.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the NRA "fundamentally out of step with the American people on the issue of gun violence." 

Ed O'Keefe and Felicia Sonmez contributed to this post. 


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