Colion Noir, a commentator and web series host for the National Rifle Association (NRA), warned the parents of slain journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward against becoming "so emotional" in response to the fatal shooting of their children that they channel their "grief-inspired advocacy" to the wrong effect.
The NRA and other opponents of stronger gun laws consistently argue that calls for new gun laws in the wake of a shooting tragedy are based on emotion rather than logic. Just hours after his daughter was killed, Andy Parker announced on national television that he would make it his "mission in life" to get stronger gun laws passed.
Parker's mother, Barbara Parker, said during an interview on CNN, "We cannot be intimidated, we cannot be pushed aside, we cannot be told that this fight has been fought before and that we're just one more grieving family trying to do something."
On August 30, the NRA's Noir posted a video response to the shocking August 26 murder of Parker and Ward, which happened while they were filming a live news report. The two journalists worked for Roanoke, Virginia ABC affiliate station WDBJ and were killed by a disgruntled former co-worker.
Noir, who is the face of an NRA effort to influence a younger demographic, said in his video post that while he has "no right to tell any parent how to grieve for the loss of their child," "sometimes in a fight we can become so emotional everyone and thing starts looking like the enemy, even if they're there to help us":
NOIR: And to the parents of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, I have no right to tell any parent how to grieve for the loss of their child. Grief-inspired advocacy can be extremely effective and powerful and I say run full speed to find a way to end violence like this. However, sometimes in a fight we can become so emotional everyone and thing starts looking like the enemy, even if they're there to help us. I'm deeply sorry for your loss.
Noir wasn't as diplomatic throughout the rest of the video, saying at one point, "Turning this murder into a gun control dog-and-pony show minutes after the shooting because you can't make sense of what just happened is ridiculous."
He also claimed that Hillary Clinton, President Obama, "and the rest of the gun control Wu-Tang Clan are so full of it" because "they try to take advantage of people's ignorance about guns and their emotional response to horrible events to win votes and push an agenda that fosters an unhealthy dependence on the government..."
Claiming that arguments in favor of stronger gun laws rely solely on emotions is a major strategy the NRA employs to try and shut down the debate over gun laws every time a shooting captures national headlines.
In a June 2014, a post on the website of the NRA's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), claimed that gun safety groups "use grieving victims to invoke an emotional response and spread misinformation falsely claiming that enacting their agenda would have prevented these tragedies and will prevent future tragedies."
The host of the National Rifle Association's radio show reacted to the fatal shooting of two journalists in Virginia by attacking "anti-gun politicians" and "anti-gun activists" for using the tragedy to call for stronger gun laws, claiming they "politicized" it and demonstrated "a lack of shared humanity."
But not only is the NRA hypocritical for saying gun policy debates should be off-limits after a shooting -- it has used mass shootings to call for looser gun laws -- it's also self-serving, because its political agenda benefits when potential new laws that it opposes are not debated and discussed.
The NRA's declaration that this is not the time to discuss gun policy also stands in stark contrast to comments made just hours after the shooting by the father of one of the victims, who said publicly that he will make it his life's work to convince politicians to close loopholes in gun laws.
During the morning of August 26, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, of Roanoke, Virginia's ABC affiliate station WDBJ, were gunned down while doing a live report from a recreation area. The shooter, who later that day committed suicide, was a disgruntled former co-worker. The tragedy quickly made national headlines and prompted calls for stronger gun laws and action by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAullife (D).
Later that same day during an afternoon broadcast, Cam Edwards, host of the NRA radio show, Cam & Company, lashed out at people who consider this latest incident of shocking public gun violence as more evidence the nation needs stronger gun laws.
Edwards complained, "Before we know any of the details, we are seeing anti-gun politicians, anti-gun activists trying to turn this tragedy into some sort of political advantage," and went on to characterize calls for new gun laws as "the wrong response to take here. I think it shows a lack of shared humanity."
He went on to lament, "It has been really disheartening to see in a matter of minutes how this story became politicized," and said, "This is a community that is absolutely heartbroken right now and you've got people who are trying to turn this tragedy into some sort of political advantage for them[selves]. I just think it's gross."
That reaction typifies the gun group's strategy whenever a shooting captures national headlines. Hiding behind expressions of concern for the victims of the attack, the NRA condemns anyone who sees the violence as a reason to change or reform laws and accuses them of "politicizing" a tragedy.
This argument is nonsensical. As Ezra Klein explained for The Washington Post following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, saying that it's not appropriate to talk about new gun laws "is a form of politicization":
When we first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid "politicizing" the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for "don't talk about reforming our gun control laws."
Let's be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It's just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws.
With statements that attempt to police what can and can't be said following a shooting, the NRA not only seeks to shut down debate that could lead to tougher gun laws, it also purports to speak for the victims and their family members.
But no one who has been personally affected by gun violence needs the NRA to speak for them. Certainly not Parker's father, who appeared on Fox News the night his daughter was shot and made an impassioned plea for gun reform.
Noting that he had spoken by phone with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Andy Parker said: "I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes in background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns," adding that McAullife told him, "I'm right there with you":
ANDY PARKER: And, you know, I'm not going to let this issue drop. We've got to do something about crazy people getting guns. And, you know, and the problem that you guys have is that -- and I know it's the news business and this is a big story. But next week it isn't going to be a story anymore and everybody is going to forget it. But you mark my words, my mission in life -- and I talked to the governor today. He called me and he said -- and I told him, I said, I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes in background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns. And he said, you go, I'm right there with you. So, you know, this is not the last you've heard of me. This is something that is Alison's legacy that I want to make happen.
A flack for the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA) used the Jim Crow-era term "poll tax" to describe a new Seattle ordinance that imposes a tax on the sale of guns and ammunition to fund research on gun violence, which the NRA has challenged in a lawsuit.
On August 10, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a new tax on firearm and ammunition sales. Beginning in January, firearms will be subject to a $25 tax, while most types of ammunition will be taxed at 5 cents per round. Seattle has embraced a research-based approach to preventing gun violence and already has a "hospital-based intervention program for gun violence victims." Revenue from the new tax will fund additional research. Seattle City Council data shows that in 2014, Seattle taxpayers paid $12 million to cover the direct medical costs of gunshot wounds.
During the August 21 broadcast of the NRA's radio show, Cam & Company, NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) media liaison Lars Dalseide -- who has been attacking the tax in media interviews -- compared the measure to a "poll tax" that is "meant to punish a certain group."
Dalseide said, "Basically what this really is is a poll tax. It's something to stop people from doing something. I know traditionally here in the states a poll tax is tied to voting, but if you go worldwide, a poll tax is just meant to punish a certain group, and this is exactly what this is doing."
In the United States, poll taxes were voter registration fees aimed primarily at disenfranchising African-Americans that began during the 19th century following the ratification of the 15th Amendment. Poll taxes also disenfranchised poor people and women in some states. The practice was barred in federal elections by the 24th Amendment and state poll taxes have been found to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Outside of the United States, the term "poll tax" is synonymous with a "head tax" -- a fee imposed on certain immigrants depending on their country of origin that was most infamously levied against Chinese immigrants to Canada and New Zealand in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Dalseide's inflammatory comparison ignores the fact that firearm sales are already taxed -- gun and ammunition sales have been subject to a federal excise tax for decades that is used to fund conservation programs.
The NRA -- which is joined in its lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and a gun industry trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- says the tax violates a Washington state law limiting the kinds of gun regulations localities can enact. The Seattle City Council contends that the new tax does not regulate firearms and falls within their taxation authority.
In an August 24 NRA-ILA press release, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane also referred to the tax as "nothing but a 'poll tax' on the Second Amendment..."
The National Rifle Association's magazine America's 1st Freedom attacks Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley on its first cover focused on the 2016 presidential race. The issue's feature article outlandishly accuses the former Maryland governor of offering "hope and change to convicted killers and criminals," but the organization's overheated rhetoric is based on unfounded attacks on O'Malley's record.
The September edition of the magazine features a cover characterizing O'Malley, who served as governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015, as a "menace" to the Second Amendment who has "made a mockery of Maryland's gun rights":
The NRA's feature attacks O'Malley on two fronts, claiming that he poses a threat to Second Amendment rights and accusing him of taking the side of criminals in Maryland -- even though courts have sided with O'Malley on gun laws and violent crime fell significantly during his tenure as governor.
Angered by O'Malley's strong support for a package of gun safety laws enacted in Maryland in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the NRA claims O'Malley "imposed the most draconian new gun bans anywhere in the country" before offering attacks from the top two members of NRA leadership.
NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre is quoted in the article claiming O'Malley "has presided over some of the most spectacular, bloody and brutal failures of 'gun control' in our nation's history," while NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox suggests O'Malley becoming president could trigger "a fight for the survival of Second Amendment freedom as we know it."
The NRA also objects to O'Malley's response to the massacre of nine parishioners in a historically African-American Charleston, South Carolina, church in June, sneering that the former Maryland governor acted "decidedly un-presidential" when he wrote an email to supporters declaring he was "pissed" about inaction on gun violence while calling for bans on assault weapons and stronger background checks on gun sales.
Despite the gun group's suggestion O'Malley is jeopardizing the Second Amendment, as the article itself notes, the package of Maryland gun safety laws was upheld by a federal court.
Indeed, according to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, gun safety laws signed by O'Malley are "constitutional" because they "substantially serve the government's interest in protecting public safety ... without significantly burdening" Second Amendment rights. Furthermore gun safety laws like those signed by O'Malley, including handgun licensing and bans on assault weapons, are routinely upheld as consistent with the Second Amendment by courts.
The second prong of the NRA's attack characterizes O'Malley as weak on crime, arguing, "As governor of Maryland, O'Malley doubled down on some of the same failed crime policies that he had instituted in Baltimore."
Given this fact, the NRA stretches believability in its crime-related attacks on O'Malley. In one section the NRA nonsensically links O'Malley to a judicial decision that overturned convictions for several murderers (emphasis original): "Moreover, in 2013, a ruling by the Maryland Supreme Court resulted in convicted murderers being released from one end of 'The Free State' to the other, including more than a dozen killers in Baltimore alone. Nonetheless, Gov. O'Malley boasted in a State of the State Address that the Maryland prison population had fallen to the lowest point in decades under his leadership."
As the head of Maryland's executive branch, O'Malley of course had no control over Maryland's highest court, which is actually called the Court of Appeals, not the Maryland Supreme Court. In any case, the overturned convictions dealt with cases pre-dating 1980 -- when O'Malley would have been 17-years-old -- where judges had instructed juries in a manner that violated the defendant's right to a fair trial.
The NRA concludes its attack on O'Malley's record on crime by claiming that as governor he "was quick to offer hope and change to convicted killers and criminals" and that "he also did his best to take away the last, best hope of innocent, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from those criminals."
In one final unhinged attack that ties together claims about O'Malley on gun policy and crime, the NRA riffs on O'Malley's comments on "Black Lives Matter" to argue that "the lives that apparently don't matter to O'Malley are those of law-abiding citizens":
In June, speaking to the United States Conference of Mayors' annual gathering in San Francisco--where the current mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, was sworn in as president of the organization--O'Malley said, "One of the sad triumphs of white racism is the degree to which it has succeeded in subconsciously convincing so many of us, black and white, that somehow black lives don't matter."
In truth, the lives that apparently don't matter to O'Malley are those of law-abiding citizens--no matter what their background.
Ted Nugent called a black man a "mongrelboy" during an exchange on Facebook in just the latest example of the National Rifle Association board member's use of the social media platform as a launch pad for racial attacks.
Although Nugent is a columnist for several conservative and hunting outlets -- most notably, the conspiracy website WND -- he has been increasingly turning to Facebook to promote his pro-gun agenda. During his many media appearances, Nugent routinely brags about his impact on Facebook, declaring that his page is more popular than those of recording artists Taylor Swift and Beyoncé -- something that's not even close to being true.
And more and more, Nugent's social media pro-gun advocacy has been accompanied by racially inflammatory attacks.
In an August 18 post, Nugent made a typical appeal for people to join two groups whose boards he has served on: the NRA and the Crime Prevention Research Center, a pro-gun group run by discredited gun researcher John Lott. After urging his supporters to sign up as members to both, Nugent engaged with commenters, attacking one critic with a racial slur.
Although the exchange appears to have been deleted, Nugent was responding to an insult posted by a black man named Eissej Gorfu. Nugent wrote that the man's name was "another stark reminder of subhuman mongrelism gone obama," before calling him a "mongrelboy" (Nugent quotations are sic throughout this post):
It was far from the first time Nugent publicly unleashed a racially inflammatory attack. In January 2014, Nugent infamously called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel," sparking a controversy that made national headlines.
Here are eight other examples of Nugent's racially charged commentary from his Facebook page:
On August 13, Nugent attacked the "Black Lives Matter" movement, writing, "If black lives matter then let us pray that blacks stop killing raping & destroying their own. Soulless pathetic punks."
He then posted a video showing one man attacking another, claiming that it depicted Mike Brown, who was fatally shot by a police officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri: "Here's the gentle giant of Ferguson in action. The world is clealy better off without such vicious devils."
When commenters pointed out that the video is not of Brown -- it's a hoax that circulated in fringe right-wing circles -- he replied, "doesnt have to be mikey. devilpunks are all the same."
In a June 24 post promoting a column that he wrote for WND in defense of using the word "nigger," Nugent wrote, "When I play my Motown guitar, I niggerup. its beautiful. Perfect. Only liars & linguistic fleebs & nazis claim otherwise."
Unsurprisingly, Nugent's Facebook page is a cesspool of racist comments from his supporters -- but Nugent actually engages with this audience.
Following a June 6 post, one commenter wrote, "uncle ted, what would happen if you were to challenge obongo to a live, televised debate?" "Obongo" is a racist name for President Obama that references his Kenyan heritage.
Nugent "liked" the man's comment and replied, "Id eat his family tree & shit sawdust."
In a June 1 conversation with a supporter, Nugent referred to Obama as a "slavedriver."
In a May 14 post, Nugent shared a photograph of an African-American child and wrote, "This is the only known photograph of me just before I attacked my guitar back in Detroit @1956. Amazing I havnt changed a lick."
In response to a commenter who wrote, "Ted, were you born a poor black child?" Nugent wrote, "dat right."
He then "liked" a series of racist comments that riffed on his picture including, "I bet you like fried chicken," "Just one question.. How did ya make the pubic hair on your head go straight?," "i didnt know you took place in the Baltimore riots ted????," and, "Ebola?"
In an April 6 post where Nugent attacked Media Matters for writing about how he called civil rights leader and MSNBC host Al Sharpton a "mongrel," Nugent "liked" a Facebook comment where someone wrote, "Isn't 'mongrel' better than 'nigger'? Can't please some people."
On November 24, 2014, the night a grand jury announced that it would not indict police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Mike Brown, Nugent posted an unhinged rant on Facebook in which he offered "lessons from Ferguson," writing, "Don't let your kids growup to be thugs who think they can steal, assault & attack cops as a way of life & badge of black (dis)honor. Don't preach your racist bullshit 'no justice no peace' as blabbered by Obama's racist Czar Al Not So Sharpton & their black klansmen."
He also wrote, "dont claim that 'black lives matter' when you ignore the millions you abort & slaughter each & every day by other blacks," and concluded, "So quit killin each other you fuckin idiots. Drive safely."
Nugent also made racist comments about American Indians after some American Indian groups were involved in efforts to cancel several of his concerts in 2014 as a reaction to Nugent's misappropriation of headdresses in his performances and long history of racist commentary.
In an August 7, 2014, Facebook post, Nugent attacked the "stinkyass unclean dipshit protestors" who represented an American Indian group that protested his performance at a South Dakota music venue.
In follow-up comments, Nugent responded to a commenter who wrote, "Maybe the natives shoulda had better weapons" by writing, "less peyote less whoopin & hollerin." Nugent also characterized the "'Mexican' population" as "poor communication challenged liability babies."
The National Rifle Association's online magazine attacked an analysis of federal data that found that more than 200 hate crimes were committed with firearms between 2011 and 2013, writing that the number is not "enough to merit mention." The gun group also falsely claimed that the data in question "shows firearms are not being used in hate crimes." The NRA's stunning statements come less than two months after a white man shot to death nine African-American parishioners at a historically black church in South Carolina, in what authorities have classified as a racially-motivated attack.
An Aug. 12 article in the NRA's online magazine, America's 1st Freedom, headlined, "Gun Hating Justifies Race-Baiting," accuses The Trace of "twisting federal data to taint guns with the most radioactive subject in American politics: race" because it published an article that analyzed federal hate crime data to determine how many incidents involved guns.
Although only recently launched, The Trace -- an online venture that describes itself as "an independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States" -- has quickly become a target for criticism by NRA-run media, which span online, print, and radio. (Though editorially independent, The Trace received part of its seed funding from Everytown for Gun Safety, whose founder, Michael Bloomberg, is perhaps the NRA's top adversary in the gun debate.)
In an Aug. 10 article, The Trace analyzed data from the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and found that between 2011 and 2013, 207 hate crimes involving firearms were reported. As The Trace notes -- and even the NRA acknowledges -- only around one-third of police departments in the country report this type of data to the FBI. In addition to hate crimes that go unreported, this means that the total number of hate crimes committed with guns is very likely greater than the number of incidents in the NIBRS.
The Trace article, headlined "The Gun Doesn't Have To Go Off for it to Be a Hate Crime," cited several hate crime incidents, including June's mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina as well as an incident from the NIBRS where an African-American woman and her children were repeatedly threatened by a white man who waved a gun and yelled racial epithets at them. The Trace's analysis of FBI data found "79 [hate crime] incidents in which an anti-black bias was the known motive (more than twice as many as crimes driven by any other bias)."
The NRA took issue with The Trace's characterization of the FBI data, writing in America's 1st Freedom that the piece "took a stab at creating the impression of a nationwide hate-crime spree fueled by bigots waving firearms" and made an attempt at "smearing guns and gun owners with such a dingy film of racism."
The NRA article nonsensically countered that the FBI data actually "shows firearms are not being used in hate crimes" -- even though official reports from NIBRS include 207 such incidents between 2011 and 2013. From America's 1st Freedom:
Analysis; Data; Pattern. One can almost see the banks of lights flickering on The Trace's supercomputer. After all, it would take one to look at federal data that shows firearms are not being used in hate crimes, yet at the same time see an epidemic of bigots intimidating minorities just by waving guns around.
America's 1st Freedom also accused The Trace of "manipulat[ing] the numbers so self-servingly, any self-respecting database would be ashamed to be cited by them," apparently because The Trace broke down data in several categories, including charts showing the races of victims and perpetrators and a graphic showing which type of bias is most common in reported hate crimes.
Although the NRA article initially denied the incidence of hate crimes with guns at all, it later acknowledged that these crimes do occur, but argued that they do not happen often enough to merit attention.
In response to The Trace's observation that incidents in which a gun is used to threaten violence in a racially-charged situation are not "often talked about in America," the NRA responded: "It's not talked about because, by your own 'research,' it's not freaking happening often enough to merit mention. Your own research finds that only 2.6 percent of hate crime involves firearms."
That's more than 200 gun-abetted hate crimes that the NRA doesn't think is enough to warrant a discussion.
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent sided with Donald Trump in the candidate's recent feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, calling Trump "a good guy" and saying he turns on Kelly's show "just to look at her" and often does so naked, while loading his gun.
In the wake of Fox News' Aug. 6 Republican presidential debate, Trump and the network engaged in a short-lived feud that began when Kelly, one of the debate's three moderators, asked Trump to address his history of derogatory and sexist comments about women, including calling them "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals."
After the debate, Trump ignited controversy by saying of Kelly: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her -- wherever," a remark many took as a reference to menstruation. The ensuing dust-up between Trump and Kelly's employer, Fox News, ended days later following a phone call between Trump and network president Roger Ailes.
During an Aug. 12 appearance on WIBX's Keeler in the Morning, Nugent defended Trump, whom he says is his favorite presidential candidate, by making crude comments about Kellyand suggesting she may be becoming "stupid."
Nugent said, "I'm a big fan of Donald Trump because I believe in bold, aggressive, unapologetic truth. Period. And I'm not a fan of Megyn Kelly, although I often turn on Fox just to look at her. Sometimes when I'm loading my [gun ammunition] magazines, I like to just look at her. And I usually sit naked on the couch dropping hot brass on my stuff."
Nugent then criticized Kelly for asking Trump about his history of sexist comments, stating, "I'm afraid the gorgeous, stunning, otherwise professional and tuned-in Megyn Kelly absolutely fell of the cliff of political correctness when she proposed that obnoxious, meaningless, nonsensical, biased question for Donald Trump."
Nugent continued: "Megyn Kelly absolutely broke all of our hearts as only a Megyn Kelly could when she went into the status quo world. She isn't status quo, but she started acting, and sounding, and looking like one, and I don't believe she is. I think she is playing some games, either that or she's getting bad advice, either that or she's just getting stupid. Either way, Donald Trump is the good guy, currently Megyn Kelly ain't."
Like Trump, Nugent has a history of misogynist commentary. He has called Hillary Clinton a "worthless bitch" and a "toxic cunt," and labeled other women "worthless whore," "fat pig," and "dirty whore."
During his appearance on WIBX, Nugent called model and actress Charlotte McKinney a "fine-ass, greasy-ass bitch" in the context of a discussion about fast food chain Carl Jr.'s 2015 Super Bowl commercial, which featured McKinney and Nugent's music.
National Rifle Association past president and Florida gun lobbyist Marion Hammer promoted the NRA's plan to force Florida colleges and universities to allow students to carry guns by claiming that opponents of the measure are "engaged in a war on women," given the epidemic of campus sexual assault.
The NRA has increasingly co-opted the issue of sexual assault on college campuses to push legislation that would allow guns on campus, even though no evidence exists that more guns would make campuses safer for women. In fact, research has repeatedly indicated that where there are more guns, women are more likely to be murdered, often by an intimate partner.
During an Aug. 10 appearance on the NRA radio show, Cam & Company, Hammer touted the re-filing of a proposed law in Florida to allow guns on campus that died in committee in the last legislative session. Florida's next legislative session begins in January.
Hammer, a paid NRA lobbyist and past president of the NRA who also heads NRA affiliate group Unified Sportsmen of Florida, was one of the chief architects of the nation's first Stand Your Ground law, which was signed into law in 2005 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
On Cam & Company, Hammer claimed that "a gun-free-zone campus" is "a sanctuary where criminals can rape and commit mass murder without fear of resistance," adding, "Not only are opponents of this bill engaging in a war against the Second Amendment and self-defense, they are engaging in a war against women who need to be able to defend themselves against rape and physical violence on a college campus."
Hammer also attacked the League of Women Voters of Florida, a prominent opponent of the NRA's legislation, saying the group is part of an "anti-women, anti-self-defense movement."
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the League of Women Voters of Florida is hosting a "Gun Safety Summit" on Aug. 13 with the goal of "uniting with students, professors, administrators and the national organization, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus" to oppose the bill in 2016 .
Hammer ended her appearance on Cam & Company by lashing out at higher-ed administrators and educators who oppose "campus carry" laws, saying, "The message should be very clear that college administrators and liberal anti-gun professors who oppose self-defense on campus are turning a blind eye to rape and violent crime."
All available evidence, however, indicates that guns are not an antidote to the epidemic of campus sexual assault and that the presence of firearms actually increases danger for women.
In fact, according to academic research, students who carried guns while at college were more likely to report "being victims and perpetrators of physical and sexual violence at college" compared to students who did not carry guns. A 2002 study in the Journal of American College Health suggested that students who kept firearms on campus did not help make the school grounds safer, finding that they were more likely to engage in risky or illegal behaviors.
There is also no evidence that women rely on guns to defend themselves from sexual assaults. David Hemenway, the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, studied 10 years of data from the National Crime Victimization Survey and found that out of 1,100 victims who reported experiencing sexual assault, just one used a firearm in self-defense.
On the contrary, research has repeatedly indicated that the presence of firearms increases danger for women, because most male attackers target someone they know. Although the NRA is framing "campus carry" legislation as a women's issue, the legislation would apply to women and men, who are much more likely to carry guns. And where men have more guns, more women die in domestic violence incidents.
According to a fact sheet issued by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "A study of risk factors for violent death of women in the home found that women living in homes with 1 or more guns were more than 3 times more likely to be killed in their homes. The same study concluded that women killed by a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative were 7 times more likely to live in homes with 1 or more guns."
Research from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found that in states where more guns are owned, women are more likely to die violent deaths from unintentional shootings, suicides, and homicides. The Atlantic reported that this is true "even after controlling for factors such as urbanization, alcohol use, education, poverty, and divorce rates."
Despite all evidence indicating that guns on campus are not the solution to campus sexual assault, the NRA has increasingly cited sexual assault in its campaign to arm college students nationwide. The host of Cam & Company, Cam Edwards, has argued that people who oppose guns on campus legislation are "OK with some sexual assaults occurring when they could be prevented."
Edwards has also attacked the argument that women should not have to carry guns to defend themselves, saying that the burden is on the victim to stop the attack. According to Edwards, "It is the truth that if you are the victim of violent crime or the victim of an attempted violent crime, it is not the patriarchy that puts the burden on you to defend yourself, it is not rigid gender roles, it is -- it's a fact of life."
Media reporting on a National Rifle Association-backed bill introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to change the national background check system for gun purchases should know that the bill would actually weaken the system by making it easier for some people with serious mental health issues to buy guns.
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent referenced Nazi Germany's propaganda operation to claim that the worldwide outrage sparked by the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe is a "lie." He made the remarks during a media tour which saw him repeatedly defended the lion's killing by a hunter who paid guides to help him shoot big game.
Nugent has been one of the very few defenders of the paid hunt that killed Cecil -- a beloved, 13-year-old lion who was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Critics have expressed outrage about several aspects of the hunt, including its questionable legality, the fact that the hunters used bait to lure Cecil out of the preserve where he was protected, that Cecil was wounded by an arrow and suffered for two days before hunters tracked and killed him with a gun, that the hunters reportedly attempted to destroy Cecil's GPS collar signifying his participation in a scientific study, and that the hunters only took Cecil's head, leaving his body to rot.
During an Aug. 4 appearance on conservative Michael Berry's radio show, Nugent said, "Every word uttered by the 'Propaganda Ministry' about this lion kill is a lie. Every word is a lie, and I can take it lick-for-lick. Lured for a game preserve? Hello, that's why they have game preserves."
The "Propaganda Ministry" (Propagandaministerium) is one name used to describe propaganda efforts in Nazi Germany run by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Nugent frequently invokes Goebbels in his inflammatory attacks.
Later during Berry's show, Nugent compared the killing of Cecil to the phrase, "Black Lives Matter." Nugent said, "The entire episode is such a lie. It's like 'Black Lives Matter' ... I suppose those who claim 'Black Lives Matter' don't believe that that the black lives in Chicago matter or Baltimore or Detroit or New Orleans or Washington, D.C., because as black lives are slaughtered by the hour, not a peep. Same with lions. Thousands and thousands of lions were killed in the exact same legal manner, and not a peep for one reason and one reason only, because they didn't have names."
Nugent's appearance on Berry's show was just one of a series of interviews he has recently given in which he defended the killing of Cecil. During an Aug. 3 appearance on The Frank Beckmann Show, Nugent even unfavorably compared modern-day Zimbabwe to its former incarnation as Dutch-ruled Rhodesia to help rationalize the lion's killing.
Without mentioning that Rhodesia, the territorial predecessor to Zimbabwe, was ruled by a white minority that subjugated the black African population, Nugent complained about Zimbabwe game officials who have launched an investigation into Cecil's killing.
He said, "Do you know that Zimbabwe, right after it came from Rhodesia -- they changed because [President Robert] Mugabe's gangsters took over all the Dutch African farms? It was the bread basket of Africa, the entire continent. It was the most agriculture, productive country in Africa and then when Mugabe and his Crips and Bloods moved in, it's become nothing but a cesspool of violence and murder and rape and they don't produce squat. Somebody choose a system. If you are on Mugabe's side you're weird."
Image via Flickr user Vince O'Sullivan under a Creative Commons license.
Breitbart.com's John Nolte attacked actress and comedian Amy Schumer's recent call for gun safety measures, claiming that the Trainwreck star doesn't actually care about a mass shooting that occurred during a screening of her film, but rather that she hoped to cynically use the shooting as "a great opportunity" to advance her career.
Two women were killed and nine other people were injured after a gunman opened fire during a screening of Trainwreck at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana on July 23. The gunman, who had a history of domestic violence and bizarre behavior, committed suicide.
Following up on her pledge to engage on the issue of gun violence following the shooting, Schumer appeared alongside her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), at a press conference to promote new legislation to ensure that disqualifying records are submitted by states into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The bill includes other measures to address substance abuse and mental health issues.
During the Aug. 3 press conference, Amy Schumer said, "We're here today to say is enough is enough. To mass shootings in our schools, our college campuses, our military bases, and even in our movie theaters. These shootings have got to stop." She continued, "For me, the pain I share with so many other Americans on the issue of gun violence was made extremely personal to me on Thursday, July 23 when ... he sat down for my movie, Trainwreck, at the Grand Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. Two lives were tragically lost and others injured and I've thought about these victims each day since the tragedy."
A visibly emotional Schumer concluded her remarks by saying, "These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they will not be my last."
On the Aug. 3 broadcast of the National Rifle Association's radio show Cam & Company, Breitbart News editor-at-large John Nolte attacked Schumer's motives, claiming that she did not care about the shooting but rather wished to use the tragedy to advance her career.
According to Nolte, Schumer sees the mass shooting as "a great opportunity, this occurred at my movie and now the focus is on me, and what can I do to enhance my career."
"If she had any moral courage and she actually cared about what happened she would come out and she would say, 'Listen putting a sign on a movie theater that says no one inside it is armed, that this is a gun-free zone, is stupid.' She has the power to do this. She could make jokes about how stupid these gun-free zones are," Nolte continued.
Instead, Schumer "is dressing up like she is a grown-up and she's just exploiting the situation because it's an opportunity for her to maybe increase her box office over the weekend," he said, calling her advocacy "cowardly."
Nolte continued to claim that Schumer was using the shooting to advance her career, saying, "She's not thinking, she's just trying to please the right people to enhance her career. And she also -- there is a lot Oscar talk around her movie and that probably has something to do with it, too. You go the Angelina Jolie route so everybody suddenly starts to take you seriously." Nolte said all he sees "is cynicism behind" Schumer's call for action.
Cam & Company host Cam Edwards said that he disagreed with Nolte's assessment and would not impugn Schumer with a cynical motive for her comments on gun violence. Nolte responded, "You're a nicer guy than I am, but I just see these unthinking Hollywood types and it just enrages me."
As outrage continued over the killing of tourist attraction Cecil the lion by a hunter in Zimbabwe, National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called the controversy "a lie" and a "joke," adding, "God are people stupid."
The 13-year-old lion was killed by an American hunter after reportedly being lured outside of the confines of Hwange National Park sometime in early July. Cecil rose to fame and became a major tourist attraction after his participation in a scientific study that involved GPS tracking of his movements.
The BBC gave an account of the hunt, which involved wounding Cecil with a crossbow before killing him with a gun more than a day later, and noted that Cecil's cubs will now be killed:
He is believed to have been killed on 1 July but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
The ZCTF said the hunters had used bait to lure him outside Hwange National Park during a night-time pursuit.
Mr Palmer is said to have shot Cecil with a crossbow, injuring the animal. The group didn't find the wounded lion until 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
The animal had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by UK-based Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters tried to destroy it, but failed, according to the ZCTF.
On Monday, the head of the ZCTF told the BBC that Cecil "never bothered anybody" and was "one of the most beautiful animals to look at".
The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed by the new male lion in the pride, Johnny Rodrigues added, in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.
Controversy over the killing grew in recent days with the identification of Cecil's killer as an American dentist, leading to widespread condemnation of the man. The hunter, who previously pled guilty to a hunting-related crime in the United States, has said that he did not intend to kill Cecil. Still, the man is reportedly now wanted for poaching in Zimbabwe and may be the subject of a congressional inquiry.
On Facebook, Nugent attacked those upset by Cecil's killing on July 28, writing, "the whole story is a lie. ... I will write a full piece on this joke asap. God are people stupid."
NRA figures have previously defended controversial hunting practices. In September 2013, widespread outrage occurred after the host of NRA-sponsored hunting show Under Wild Skies, Tony Makris, shot an elephant in the face. Makris, who has longstanding ties to the NRA, responded to outrage over his hunt by comparing his critics to Hitler. NBC Sports canceled the show, citing Makris' "outrageous and unacceptable" comments.
The National Rifle Association debuted the third season of its web series Noir with the claim that singling out assault weapons for bans is a "form of tactical Jim Crow-style segregation."
Launched in 2014, Noir is the flagship program in the the NRA's "Freestyle" network, a digital platform that seeks to attract a younger audience to replace the NRA's aging demographic. The show is hosted by Colion Noir, a popular gun blogger turned NRA News commentator, and is sponsored by gun manufacturer Mossberg.
During the show's July 22 season debut, Noir warned about the prospect of a future assault weapons ban following a high-profile shooting, and claimed that selecting which guns fall within a ban is a "form of tactical Jim Crow-style segregation -- where if you don't shoot that kind of gun, you don't care what happens to it -- that will cause us to all lose our rights."
"Ironically, most guns are separate but pretty equal," Noir added.
NOIR: Let's not forget that in '94, the assault weapons ban would have banned all of these guns, the same ban they tried to reinstate in 2013. I can see the hunting guy in his fluorescent orange-colored Gucci hunting vest shrugging his shoulders like, "I give two shits about a tactical AR[-15]," not realizing that all it takes for them to want to ban his beloved gun of choice is a D.C. sniper copycat and a bunch of clueless anti-gunners realizing that the .30-06 [caliber round] can punch a hole through space and time.
It's this form of tactical Jim Crow-style segregation -- where if you don't shoot that kind of gun, you don't care what happens to it -- that will cause us to all lose our rights. Ironically, most guns are separate but pretty equal.
This is not the first time an NRA News commentator has invoked racist Jim Crow laws when talking about guns. During a July 2014 commentary, NRA News commentator Dom Raso claimed laws relating to the buying, owning, and carrying of firearms are "equally as unconstitutional" as Jim Crow laws.
The NRA was also widely derided in January 2013 after a past president of the organization said on NRA News that the assault weapons ban proposed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was like racial discrimination because "banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics."
After a gunman killed nine people in a historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, gun safety advocates responded with calls to expand the national background check system. Just as quickly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) reacted to those calls, slamming gun safety groups for "exploiting" the tragedy for "political purposes."
One month later, another gunman killed five members of the military at a naval facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The NRA was again quick to respond, but this time claimed the incident provided proof that firearm policies on military bases must be changed to loosen the rules about service members carrying guns.
So which is it? The NRA apparently thinks it is exploitative to discuss gun violence following mass shootings -- unless, of course, the discussion is about why we should loosen gun laws. Their stance on the issue changes based on how to best advance the organization's interests.
Following the mass murder at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, the NRA went into its post-mass shooting standard operating procedure -- shutting down its social media accounts and refusing to speak to the press. Two days later, the NRA's media arm addressed the shooting, with NRA News host Cam Edwards opining that it was "completely inappropriate" to discuss gun policies the day after the incident, adding, "I did not receive a single email communication chastising me or complaining that we should have been talking about policy and politics as opposed to remembering the victims in Charleston."
Soon, though, the NRA was forced to issue an official statement after one of its board members created controversy by blaming the shooting on the church's slain pastor, who was a supporter of gun safety policies.
While distancing itself from the board member's comments, the NRA claimed on June 20 that out of "respect" for the victims, "we do not feel that this is [a] appropriate time for a political debate," adding, "We will have no further comment until all the facts are known."
Three weeks later, the NRA did offer an additional comment on the Charleston shooting, following a push by gun safety advocates for expanded background checks. (It would later be revealed that the gunman was able to purchase a weapon despite being legally prohibited because of an NRA-backed loophole in federal law.) In a July 8 statement attacking gun safety groups, the NRA said, "gun control advocates are offering a solution that won't solve the problem. Even they admit that the legislation they are pushing wouldn't have prevented the tragic crimes they are exploiting for political purposes."
The NRA has continued to advance this narrative on the Charleston shooting and proposed gun law reforms. In a July 17 post on the website of its lobbying arm, the NRA lashed out at Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) after the South Carolina congressman proposed eliminating the NRA-backed loophole that helped arm the Charleston gunman.
Clyburn was "exploiting a recent tragedy" according to the NRA, which also said, "Gun control advocates are shameless in their willingness to exploit tragedy to achieve their agenda." The NRA re-published its attack on Clyburn at the conservative news website Daily Caller on July 19.
The very next day, the NRA's top lobbyist used the July 16 Chattanooga mass shooting to call for changes to gun laws, telling Military Times, "It's outrageous that members of our armed services have lost their lives because the government has forced them to be disarmed in the workplace. Congress should pursue a legislative fix to ensure that our service men and women are allowed to defend themselves on U.S. soil."
So when the NRA called for a policy change it claimed was justified by the Chattanooga shooting, was it exploiting those victims?
The fact is that after pretty much any high-profile national event, mass shooting or otherwise, policy debates are often triggered. In the NRA's hypocritical world view, however, calls for stronger gun laws are disrespectful, exploitative, and shameless -- while calls for less restrictions are sensible, timely, and relevant. Even worse, the gun group's post-shooting strategy operates from behind a façade of "respect" for the victims.
The NRA's doublespeak on Charleston and Chattanooga, however, reveals that its real concern is its own agenda.
The National Rifle Association is defending the loophole in federal law that allowed the alleged killer of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church to buy a gun without a completed background check by downplaying that thousands of dangerous people exploit the loophole each year to obtain guns.
On July 10, FBI Director James Comey announced that Dylann Storm Roof was ineligible under federal law to buy the gun used in the attack because of a prior admission to drug possession.
Due to paperwork errors, however, an employee at the FBI-administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which processes background checks for guns sold by licensed dealers, was unable to locate and view Roof's arrest record, despite knowing that one existed somewhere.
Under the current background check system, if a check cannot be completed within three business days, it may proceed at the gun dealer's discretion in what is known as a "default proceed" sale. According to the FBI, this is how Roof's sale was completed.
In a July 17 post on its lobbying website, the NRA sought to defend the loophole it helped create by attacking a legislative proposal by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to eliminate "default proceed" sales, arguing that the congressman was "exploiting a recent tragedy."
The NRA described "default proceed" sales as "a critical safety valve" to shield prospective gun purchasers from undergoing delays in the completion of background checks. (More than 90 percent of checks processed by NICS are completed instantly.)
The gun group then offered a deceptive analysis of FBI data to downplay the thousands of gun sales to prohibited persons through "default proceed" sales each year, concluding that even in spite of these sales -- one of which supplied the gun used in the racially-motivated Charleston mass murder -- there isn't "a public safety crisis demanding congressional intervention":
According [to] the FBI's most recent NICS operations report, 9% of FBI NICS checks in 2014 were delayed "for additional review." The report does not go on to detail how many of those delays extended beyond three days. Nevertheless, based on the total number of NICS check the FBI ran in 2014, these delays affected some 743,102 people.
Meanwhile, the delays resulted in only 2,511 actions for firearm retrievals (or three-tenths of one percent of total delays). Thus, in over 99.6% of delayed cases, the delay was less than three days, the FBI could not substantiate the person was prohibited, or the FFL did not transfer the firearm. That hardly seems to indicate a public safety crisis demanding congressional intervention.
The statistic offered by the NRA that suggests "default proceed" sales to prohibited persons make up less than one percent of the total number of delayed sales does not actually assess whether those sales pose a public safety threat. The fact that the loophole was exploited by the Charleston gunman -- and according to FBI data by more than 30,000 prohibited individuals over the last decade -- suggests that "default proceed" sales do pose a danger to the public.
According to FBI data, more than 20 percent of "default proceed" sales where a final determination is made by the FBI involve sales of firearms to prohibited individuals. An analysis of this data by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found "default proceed sales are more than 8 times more likely to be associated with a prohibited purchaser than sales where the purchaser's background check is resolved within three days."
The NRA attempted a second tactic to attack Clyburn and protect the "default proceed" loophole it helped create by falsely claiming that Roof may have been a legal firearm purchaser. The NRA suggests that Roof may not have been prohibited by citing conflicting media reports regarding whether at the time of the gun purchase Roof had a pending misdemeanor or felony drug charge:
None of this matters to Rep. Clyburn, of course, who is hoping the recent tragedy in South Carolina will give his legislation the momentum it needs to succeed. Clyburn claimed in his press release announcing the bill that "[u]nder current law, the Charleston shooter should have been barred from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer." That assertion is by no means clear, with media outlets now reporting that the suspect was arrested for a misdemeanor, not a felony, as originally reported. A single misdemeanor arrest, without more, is not cause for a denial under federal law (on the other hand, if the suspect had been formally charged with a felony, he would have been federally prohibited from buying a gun).
Under federal law, individuals under indictment for felonies are prohibited from buying firearms and should be flagged by the background check system. The NRA's citation of this fact, however, is a red herring because Roof was actually prohibited from owning a gun under a different provision of federal law.
According to the head of the FBI, police documents indicated that Roof had admitted to possession of a controlled substance. Under longstanding federal law, someone who "is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance" (as defined by the Controlled Substances Act) is prohibited from buying a firearm. But because an investigator wasn't able to locate this record within three business days, Roof was able to buy a gun anyways.