Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele was left dumbfounded, saying, "I don't know where to begin":
“I just think that this was a missed opportunity to create another conversation at a higher level where the American people are right now. This incident cut to the bone. This is unlike anything that’s come before it because it did involve such precious young people and it really starkly called us to think about our society, those issues, not just gun control laws but mental health and a whole bunch of other things I think the NRA could have brought to the table, the idea that the message, the top line message out of this press conference is let’s put a gun in the hands of teachers in our classroom and I do not think that’s where rank-and-file NRA members expected this to go to.”Michael Bloomberg:
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.Anonymous GOP staffers, included here because they are funny:
“100 percent true,” one GOP staffer said when asked if the NRA had jumped the shark Friday.Rep. Jim Moran:
“True,” replied another. “But only after they set themselves on fire first. That was BRUTAL.”
A GOP lobbyist simply snarked: “If you don’t have something smart to say, don’t say anything at all.”
"The NRA's press conference was appalling. […] It was galling, and an overreach, and it may well backfire on them as the public reviews Mr. LaPierre's statements."Capt. Mark Kelly:
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. The NRA could have chosen to be a voice for the vast majority of its own members who want common sense, reasonable safeguards on deadly firearms, but instead it chose to defend extreme pro-gun positions that aren't even popular among the law abiding gun owners it represents.Rep. Chris Murphy:
Meanwhile, the residents of Newtown met the NRA response with deserved fury:
“How dare they?” demanded Elizabeth Murphy, 42, a pet groomer.If there's been a genuinely positive response anywhere to the NRA's ridiculous, ranting press conference, aside from other outright crazy people, I haven't seen it yet. And the NRA prepared for this press conference for a week, so you know this was the absolute very best they could come up with.
“We are all still grieving. This is the wrong time to discuss their goal of putting more guns on the street.” [...]
“The NRA has no compassion whatsoever,” said Barnett Parker, 68, of Durham, N.C. “They are without conscience and they are cruel.” [...]
Elizabeth Candia, 31, said she was appalled that the NRA’s answer to the rampage was more guns.
“These are from the same people fighting to keep these assault weapons on the streets? It's not the right time,” said Candia, of Newtown. “I think we need more restrictions.”
I think it's safe to say that was a total fiasco. On the bright side, it may have effectively sidelined the NRA in future "negotiations" about what to do to prevent the mass murder of schoolchildren, or at least made it much more difficult for legislators like Sen. Joe Manchin to suck up to them without looking like transparently insincere tools themselves. So there's that.