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article imageNRA press conference on Sandy Hook receives very mixed responses

By Can Tran     Dec 21, 2012 in Politics
The National Rifle Association (NRA) gave its response to preventing tragedies such as Sandy Hook from happening again. It's proposal has received very mixed responses.
Earlier today, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held a press conference in response to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It was a few days ago that the NRA had come out and broken its silence about the whole tragedy which has become the second deadliest shooting in the United States. The Virginia Tech Massacre, which happened in 2007, is still ranked as the first deadliest shooting. However, Sandy Hook can be deemed more severe due to the most of the victims being children from ages 5 to 10. Due to those circumstances, the NRA and other gun-rights advocates are feeling the sociopolitical hate. As the NRA came out saying it was saddened by what happened, the organization talked about “meaningful contributions” to make sure that school shootings don't happen again. The gun lobby group said it would hold a press conference today.
So far, the NRA gave its somewhat typical response: more guns. Wayne LaPierre, the vice-president and CEO of the NRA, was the one giving the press conference. He talked about how good guys with guns are the only things standing between bad guys and the victims they plan to kill. LaPierre refused to take questions at the press conference; but, he gave blame and ideas. In regards to blame, LaPierre blamed the following: music videos, video games, and movies. He said that those things exposed children to violence just about everyday.
LaPierre talked about an NRA program to develop a security plan for schools that relies upon armed volunteers. Also, he said that it would be spearheaded by former GOP Representative Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
The press conference was disrupted by members of Code Pink. According to co-founder Medea Benjamin, they wanted to listen to what the NRA had to say. In response to what LaPierre said, they were appalled. Benjamin said that such words coming from the NRA shows how out of touch the gun lobby is with the American people.
In terms of video games, LaPierre was naming titles such as “Grand Theft Auto,” “Mortal Kombat,” and so forth. Ultimately, the debate on guns has turned into a battle between the 1st and 2nd Amendments.
However, there are people that do support LaPierre's notion. Oklahoma state Representative Mark McCullogh (R-Sapulpa) is proposing a bill that allows teachers to get the necessary training to become reserve police officers. However, that notion is opposed by Sapulpa School Superintendent Kevin Burr. Instead, Burr wants law enforcement officers at the school instead of having teachers trained. Burr said that the purpose of teachers is not law enforcement. The differences puts McCullogh and Burr at odds with each other.
Conservative talk radio hose and pundit Rush Limbaugh said the NRA was being “classy” for choosing to remain silent until now.
People from public relations firms are saying that the NRA press conference was disastrous. According to the VP of Washington DC-based Levick Strategic Communications, it would have been better if the NRA had kept silent. This firm works with firearms companies. The VP also said that the NRA made the mistake of keeping silent on social media.
The president of the Los Angeles-based firm called Bernstein Crisis Management said the NRA was too aggressive. Also, the firm's president doubts that the NRA leadership even bothered to listen to its own members.
In terms of politics, the NRA's response at the press conference came under fire from Democrats. Democratic Representative Chris Murphy called the NRA's response both revolting and tone deaf. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who is about to be vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said what the NRA is proposing is the exact opposite of what American wants.
David Axelrod, who worked US President Barack Obama's campaign, said that LaPierre's response to Newtown was astonishing. Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), said they both expressed disappointment at what the NRA said. They were disappointed at the NRA's defiant stance. Giffords survived an assassination attempt back in January 2011.
In a Politico article, former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania weighed in on the NRA press conference. Rendell, who was on MSNBC, said that the GOP needs to break away from the group or come off as being “crazy” to suburban Americans. He said that the NRA embarrassed themselves and called upon LaPierre to resign from his position.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted the NRA's response. Bloomberg said that the NRA's response wasn't a solution; instead, he called it a vision of America where it is paranoid and dystopian.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who's the current president of the US Conference of Mayors, echoed similar words that Bloomberg said. Nutter said that the NRA's response is similar to proposing an arms race. He implied that the NRA wasn't being serious about addressing these problems.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) gave his response to the NRA press conference. Blumenthal said that the NRA's response made the group irrelevant when it comes to gun control. He said that the NRA cannot be constructive and credible if their solution is having armed guards on school campuses. Blumenthal said that the NRA has failed to “answer the call.” Furthermore, he said that while increased security would help it doesn't measure up to the level of comprehensive action needed to prevent future shootings such as that one from happening again.
According to USA Today, residents of Newtown criticized the NRA's response. One resident of Newtown said that the NRA's response only encourages more fear. In short, residents at Newtown don't like the NRA's response.
However, Democrats and liberals weren't the only ones to criticize the NRA's response. Republicans and other conservatives sounded off.
Michael Steele, current MSNBC analyst and former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman, responded to the NRA's press conference. Steele said that he felt LaPierre's response was disturbing. He said that as a supporter of both the 2nd Amendment and the NRA, the thought of talking about arming faculty members is disturbing. Steele felt that the NRA's response was the incorrect response to the Sandy Hook shooting.
GOP Governor Chris Christie didn't like the idea of putting armed guards in every school in the country. He thought the idea wouldn't be effective as there are many ways to enter and exit the school. Christie said that armed guards would have to be at about every classroom and that would take a toll on law enforcement.
Conservatives, like liberals, took to Twitter to blast LaPierre's response. David Frum, responding to LaPierre's response, said that the notion of conservative was really broken.
Even celebrities took to Twitter to respond. Mark Cuban gave a colorful tweet equating LaPierre's response as a sign that the world will be besieged by the apocalypse.
Piers Morgan of CNN, taking to Twitter, said that the NRA has 4 million members while the United States population is 311 million. In short, he's calling for the rest of America to take a stand against the NRA.
Actress Kristen Bell, who starred in “Veronica Mars,” tweeted that the NRA needs mental health care. Actress Julie Gonzalo, who currently stars in “Dallas,” tweeted that the NRA's answer to the school shootings was BS.
Students and those in the education community were quick to attack LaPierre's response. A group of teenagers in California made a video saying that having more guns is not the answer to stopping such incidences. The head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) criticized LaPierre's idea as being both irresponsible and dangerous. The head of the National Education Association (NEA) said that the response from the NRA was out of touch and delusional.
In terms of the NRA blaming video games, one of the biggest video game critics went after LaPierre. Democratic California state Senator Leland Yee sent an e-mail response. In the email, Lee was surprised that the NRA is starting to care about the effects of the very violent video games. He said that the NRA's response, after being silent for those days, was pathetic. Lee points out that armed guards are not the answer and points out the Columbine High School shooting. The school had armed guards and they weren't enough to stop the shooting from happening.
In a Detroit Free Press op-ed article, the NRA's solutions lack practicality. The author of the op-ed said the response was shocking but not surprising. In terms of blaming video games and movies, the author points out that young people in every industrialized country has access to the same things; but, mass shootings aren't reported in those countries.
An article on The Atlantic talks about the costs associated with LaPierre's plan. First, it points out that many people believe that more police officers would be at school. At the same time, students would feel less safe at school with armed guards. Plus, it points out that placing police officers probably wouldn't be that expensive. In terms of costs, it goes back to LaPierre's solution, armed volunteers which would mean no cost. But, the article points out that it's unknown how LaPierre's solution would actually help out. Like Yee, this article also talks about Columbine in which armed security didn't stop the shooters from taking so many lives.
In an AOL portal blog, many people gave different responses. One talked about enforcing the gun laws that are already in existence. Others talked about focusing on mental health issues instead of guns. Others talked about ideas such as ending violence in films & video games or improving school security.
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