Mayor Bloomberg Was Unpersuaded by the NRA’s Press Conference

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

In an announcement surprising many political observers, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre came out swinging against both the media and a host of other entities in the wake of the recent elementary school massacre in Connecticut. In today’s extensive address, Mr. LaPierre further proposed immediately putting an armed security guard in every single school in order to guard students against future shootings. Needless to say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become one of the nation’s chief  voices against the NRA’s lobbying efforts, was unimpressed.

“The NRA’s Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been so apparent as this morning,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “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. Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis. Today the NRA’s lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives – not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics.”

At least two of Mr. Bloomberg’s would-be successors have also sent out statements so far, Comptroller John Liu and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Both slammed the NRA and discussed Mr. de Blasio’s call to divest the public pension from the gun industry.

“The NRA’s press conference was a bizarre misfire,” Mr. Liu said. “The NRA’s grotesque proposal insults the memory of the innocent victims who were gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut. The gun lobby’s argument that our children would only be protected if schools had armed guards is a twisted vision of a future in which no one is safe. If we want our children to be safe at home or at school today, we need tougher controls over guns today. As my office stated on Tuesday, the NYC Pension Funds are reviewing their holdings in gun manufacturers and are considering all options, including divestment, to ensure that public pension dollars do not support weapons that can destroy a community in the blink of an eye.”

“The NRA’s response to the tragedy in Newtown is a complete disgrace,” Mr. de Blasio echoed. “Only the NRA would have the audacity to claim the solution to horrific school violence is to put more guns in our schools. Through divestment, through tougher laws and through a national movement, we are going to take the gun lobby head-on and win.”

Update (3:07 p.m.): Council Speaker Christine Quinn, another mayoral contender, sent out a press release on the topic:

“Seven days after those teachers and children were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut the NRA has broken their silence. I wish they had kept their mouths shut. All they did today was add more pain and heartache to those Newtown families. Their remarks are some of the most stupid, asinine, insensitive, ridiculous comments I have ever heard made in the public arena. All these remarks tell us is that the NRA does not seem to care about protecting our children. I do not understand how even with all of those little coffins being rolled out in Newtown, that the NRA believes the answer is more guns. All that would have happened if there were armed guards in Sandy Hook Elementary is that we would now have dead armed guards. Why do we need an army style gun in that school, a gun we send to Afghanistan? I think the NRA’s comments today were a clear and blatant attempt to throw salt in the wounds of families who lost their loved ones. As a human being, I am surprised and tremendously disappointed in what the NRA did today.”

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