Preliminary Case Study of the NRA Response to the Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Issue:  The response of the NRA (National Rifle Association) to the shooting spree deaths of 28 people in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012.

Background Information:  On Friday morning, December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother and traveled five miles from his house to Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Once at the school, Lanza broke into the building and proceeded to shoot 26 more people; including 6 faculty and staff members and 20 first graders.  In total, 28 people, including Lanza were dead when the rampage stopped.  On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 the National Rifle Association (NRA) released a statement, saying it would hold a press conference on Friday, December 21, 2012 to address the Sandy Hook tragedy and add a meaningful voice to the dialogue on gun safety.  On Friday morning, December 21, 2012 the NRA held a press conference in Washington D.C.  during this and subsequent appearances on NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week and CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, December 23 the NRA came out against taking any measures to restrict gun sales or gun licensing.  The organization also made it clear it would not support such measures should they be brought to Congress.


  1. The NRA was not part of the initial crisis at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  However, now the organization has inserted itself into the conversation.  What role, if any, does the NRA have in this debate?
  2. Given the press conference and the appearance on the Sunday morning talk shows, does the NRA now have a public relations crisis?
  3. How can the NRA, regain its footing in the debate over gun control? 
  4. Was Wayne LaPierre the correct person to put out in front of the camera? Is there someone else who would be a better spokesperson?

I am interested to know what others think?  I will be posting my response to these questions and how I feel the NRA should have best handled the situation later this week.


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