Reactions to the NRA’s press conference

The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre held a news conference this morning about his organization’s thinking on keeping America’s children safe in the wake of last Friday’s massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school:

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, whom House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named earlier this week to chair a gun-violence task force:

“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.

“Closing holes in our mental health system, addressing our culture’s glorification of violence, improving background checks for everyone who buys firearms, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons and assault magazines all must be part of a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who introduced bills this week to boost federal grants for school security and to offer federal reimbursement to governors who deploy National Guard troops to secure schools:

“The head of the NRA blamed everyone in sight – except his own organization – for gun violence in America, and showed himself to be completely out of touch by ignoring the proliferation of weapons of war on our streets.

“The NRA is now calling for stronger security at our schools. They should endorse my legislation, which would fund security upgrades for schools and trained law enforcement personnel to protect our kids.

“In the days ahead, I will work for a comprehensive strategy, which includes sensible gun laws, a focus on mental health and school safety.”

From Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez:

“To the NRA, gun violence is never about semi-automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition clips. Never. But to a majority of parents across the country, mass shootings and gun violence have everything to do with those types of assault weapons and people who have lost their minds. Congress needs to ban high capacity clips, reinstate a sensible ban on assault weapons, and dramatically increase access to quality mental health care in America as part of our effort to reduce gun violence.

“The fact is, the NRA’s approach would require armed guards not just in schools, but everywhere in America – at every store in every mall, every movie theatre, every supermarket, every church, synagogue, and mosque, and every sporting arena, because that is where America’s families and children spend their time outside of the home. And yet those locations would still be vulnerable to a deranged person wearing bulletproof vests and carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition and semi-automatic pistols and rifles.

“For most of us, everything has changed since Newtown. Sadly, one of the only things that hasn’t changed is the way the NRA thinks about the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who authored a state law – struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 – to prohibit sale of certain violent video games to children:

“I find it mind-boggling that the NRA suddenly cares about the harmful effects of ultra-violent video games. When our law was before the Supreme Court – while several states, medical organizations, and child advocates submitted briefs in support of California’s efforts – the NRA was completely silent. Now, rather than face reality and be part of the solution to the widespread proliferation of assault weapons in America, they attempt to pass the buck. More guns are not the answer to protecting our children, as evident by the fact that armed guards weren’t enough to stop the tragedy at Columbine High School. The NRA’s response is pathetic and completely unacceptable.”

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“The predicted Mayan Apocalypse apparently materialized today in the form of the NRA’s vision for America.

“The NRA’s suggestion that we militarize our schools is not the solution, and references to other militarized institutions simply reinforce the problem our nation has with gun violence. What next? Armed guards at Starbucks and little league games? This is completely the wrong direction.

“The NRA’s grotesque demonization of mental illness feeds ignorance. It insults the one in four Americans who suffer – overwhelmingly in silence – some form of mental health problem annually.

“What was billed as a constructive conversation spiraled into extreme rhetoric and profitable fear mongering. As I set out in a letter to Vice President Biden yesterday, we must focus our efforts on multiple fronts, including health care and gun control, to curb disturbingly familiar and horrific scenes of mass murder.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • GV Haste

    NRA LaPierre has finally “jumped the shark”…
    A armed guard in every school.

    A response on par with nitwitt Senator Barbara Boxer, who made a similar proposal.

    Two ends of the idiot scale.

  • John W

    Of course, if we are going to post armed guards at each school, we’ll have to pay for it. Supposedly, there are 90,000 schools. You can’t protect even a medium-sized school with just one guard.

    It would be costly. So, I’m sure Mr. LaPierre would favor a dedicated gross receipts tax on gun manufacturers and sellers to fund this security. After all, when events such as Newtown occur, the gun industry enjoys windfall profits from the spike in sale of gun and ammo. Bay Area gun retailers report that they can’t keep up with the demand since last Friday.

  • Constitutional Right

    It is weird for Senator Boxer and others to criticize the NRA’s proposal to put armed guards at schools because that is exactly what Senator Boxer proposed two days ago! She introduced a bill that would send the National Guard to every school in California. How is that any different?

    Of course, a better plan would be to allow law abiding teachers to discreetly carry concealed if they want to. Who honestly doesn’t wish that a teacher had been discreetly carrying a gun that awful morning?

  • Elwood

    Good God, the usual bull**** from four brain dead dimmiecrats.

    I am in danger of losing my lunch.

  • John W

    Re: #4

    Mike Thompson — gun owner, hunter, Viet Nam vet. A true flake!

  • Elwood

    @ #5 John W

    Point taken. Now please expound on the words of wisdom from Steinberg, Miller and Yee.

  • Anne

    the NRA has lobbied impecably and as a result we have gun saturation in the US, the highest homicide rate among industrialized nations, and we are the only country to routinely have mass homicides. The NRA is destroying this country. They are selfish, crap.

  • John W

    Re: #6 Elwood Says,

    I agree with most of the sentiments expressed but not with Boxer about her ideas for school security. But if there is a specific point made by one of the aforementioned people that you disagree with, I’ll be happy to “expound “– i.e., opine pro or con.

  • Elwood

    I really haven’t followed the thinking of Steinberg much, but Miller and Yee are two of the biggest idiots to ever issue a press release.