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National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent reacted to the police shooting of Philando Castile and the mass shooting targeting police officers in Dallas, TX, by claiming President Obama wants to start a race war and by smearing Castile with an unsubstantiated report that he may have carried out an armed robbery.
Nugent made the claims during a series of Facebook posts on July 9. Reacting to the July 7 mass shooting in Dallas, TX, where a gunman reportedly angered by recent police shootings of African-Americans opened fire during a peaceful protest, killing five police officers and wounding seven more, Nugent claimed Obama wants to start a race war.
Nugent wrote Obama “wants a racewar (sic)” and that he “will go down in history as a maniac America hating freak with his fundemental (sic) transformation scam.”
An hour later Nugent “liked” a comment predicting a race war, and added his own commentary, “yeah no shit. blacks slaughtering blacks at an unprecedented rate. Blacks killed more blacks this week than the KKK has in 50yrs. braindead goofballs”:
Nugent also reacted to the July 6 fatal shooting of black motorist Philando Castile in St. Anthony, MN. Castile had a permit to carry a concealed gun and reportedly may have been trying to explain that fact to the officer who shot him. Following the shooting, the NRA was criticized for failing to comment on the shooting of a law-abiding gun owner.
In the aftermath of the shooting, it was reported that the officer who shot Castile believed that he matched the description of an armed robbery suspect, according to the officer’s attorney. There is, however, no evidence that Castile was involved in the armed robbery in question.
But Conservative Treehouse, a blog that played a key role in smearing Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager shot and killed while out walking in his neighborhood, published an article on July 8 suggesting Castile was connected to a July 2 robbery at a convenience store.
In response to a commenter asking “why has the NRA not commented on Philando” given that Castile “was doing what any law abiding (sic) gun owners would do,” Nugent wrote, “not really” and shared the Conservative Treehouse article:
Snopes has debunked the Conservative Treehouse article, concluding, “The Conservative Treehouse article employed a series of half-truths, misleading claims, and unsupported speculation in an attempt to justify the fatal force used by an officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota. No real evidence has yet come to light supporting the notion that Castile had been involved in an armed robbery or was carrying a firearm illegally when he was killed.”
In a subsequent comment on the same thread where he smeared Castile, Nugent wrote that it was time to “oust” President Obama:
Nugent made a subsequent Facebook post that appears to allude to the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Castile. The implication of Nugent's advice is that he believes Castile did not have "enuf brainmatter (sic)" to avoid being shot:
National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre railed against “elites” in a new NRA video, complaining that powerful people in politics, Hollywood, and the media “run our country.”
In a July 5 video titled “We Don’t Need You,” released as part of the NRA’s “national campaign,” LaPierre complained that there is “no longer any difference between our politicians and the elite media who report on them, and the Hollywood elites who bankroll them both.”
According to LaPierre, these groups of elite figures “work together, in some newsrooms and boardrooms and Washington back rooms and star-studded champagne fundraisers, to decide for the rest of us what's news and what's not, what's true and what's not, who gets protected, who goes to prison, who gets our money, and who gets our vote.”
LaPierre added: “These elites threaten our very survival, and to them we say: We don't trust you, we don't fear you, and we don't need you. Take your hands off our future.”
But if being elite means wielding outsized influence, LaPierre and the NRA are perfect definitions of the word.
LaPierre gets more than $1 million each year in pay and other compensation from the NRA and is registered as a federal lobbyist for the organization. The NRA also wields outsized influence over Congress due to the longstanding, but false, belief that the organization has the ability to use elections to remove politicians from office who refuse to go along with its agenda. (Actual analyses of federal election outcomes and of NRA election spending have proved that the conventional wisdom is wrong, but the attitude persists in some respects, impacting congressional behavior.)
While LaPierre put forward a populist message in the NRA video, it is the NRA that blocks broadly popular legislation and congressional action. The organization is widely credited as the reason Congress cannot pass legislation to expand background checks, a proposal favored by between 88 and 93 percent of voters. The NRA is also key in blocking legislation to prevent individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, a proposal favored by 86 percent of Americans. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has cited the NRA’s opposition to Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland -- pointing to its distortion of Garland’s judicial record -- as justification for obstructing his nomination, even though strong majorities of voters want Garland to receive a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The National Rifle Association is promising that there will be an Islamic terrorist attack involving a mass shooting at a shopping mall, going so far as to release a video in which the NRA used a camera phone to case a real mall in Oklahoma. The video identifies where exits are “few and far between” and where there is “lots of open area,” “high ground” and “places to channelize people.”
Footage of the NRA casing a mall appears in a video released by the NRA News’ commentator series. The video opens with a re-enactment of a would-be terrorist planning his attack, then switches to the NRA’s camera phone footage of an Oklahoma mall, before returning to a video re-enactment of a planned mass shooting at a shopping mall. NRA News contributor and former Navy SEAL Dom Raso narrates the video, attempting to connect the NRA’s re-enactments with its footage of the mall, as well as news footage from the 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
The video begins by depicting a bearded man of apparent Middle Eastern descent watching a news program about a “generational problem in our Muslim community” while he plans a terrorist attack. Raso narrates, “Right now there is someone in America who wakes up in the morning and starts working, just like you. Think of the week before a huge job interview or a big presentation. Think about how much work you put into make it perfect. He is doing the same thing, except it isn’t for weeks. In some cases, it’s generations of dreaming, planning, working. … He is a radical Islamic terrorist.”
Raso then posits that the attack will occur at a mall, arguing, “He wants to be remembered for killing more innocent people than the terrorists before him. That’s exactly why he is looking for gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms.” News coverage of the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack, depicting real security camera footage from the shooting, is played as Raso narrates. (In fact, the NRA’s claims about gun-free zones have been debunked: There is no evidence that mass shooters pick targets based on whether civilians can carry guns or that civilians with guns have stopped public mass shootings.)
The NRA video then switches to footage of a real mall, apparently shot on a camera phone by a member of the NRA’s video team. While video footage and freeze frames of shoppers at the mall are shown, Raso says, “As he walks through nearby shopping malls, he’s looking at the exits. He wants them to be few and far between -- hard to find in a panic, and easy to block. He wants lots of open area, high ground, and places to channelize people.”
The NRA video blurs out some faces and store signs, but not others, making the mall identifiable through its distinct characteristics. The shopping center the NRA cased appears to be Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, OK, less than a mile from the offices of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm. The location of the mall also undercuts Raso’s argument that a terrorist would only target “gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms,” given that Oklahoma has some of the loosest gun laws in the country.
After the Oklahoma mall footage, the video returns to a re-enactment of a mass shooting breaking out at a mall. Raso narrates the viewer’s impending death amid sounds of screams, saying, “You still have no idea where the shots are coming from, but you see an exit sign. Tunnel visions sets in, your heartbeat increases, and now you feel a shortening of breath. You think you’ve escaped, but then you realize the shots and screams are getting louder. You’re surrounded. He’s planned this in advance. He’s covering the exits. He is going to kill you.”
With the re-enactment over, Raso acknowledges, “The people who want to restrict your right to bear arms will call this fearmongering.”
The video closes with Raso stating that the prospect of a mall terror attack means we should be asking, “What are we and our leadership doing to prevent it?” But while the NRA’s answer to combating terrorism apparently involves pushing against legislation to reduce gun violence, the terror group Al Qaeda infamously released a video urging terrorists who wish to carry out an attack on American soil to exploit the United States’ lax gun laws.
Here is the NRA’s full transcript of its video:
Right now, there is someone in America who wakes up in the morning and starts working, just like you.
Think of the week before a huge job interview, or a big presentation. Think about how much work you put in to make it perfect. He is doing the same thing … except it isn't for weeks. In some cases, it's generations of dreaming, planning and working: 50, 60, 70 hours a week in anticipation of the moment he's been waiting for his entire life.
His job is to disrupt freedom by killing you, your family and our fellow Americans.
He knows he gets one shot, and it has to be perfect. He wants maximum chaos and maximum fear; he needs the news media to replay his work for years to come.
He is a radical Islamic terrorist.
I spent 12 years of my life hunting down people like him, and I know exactly how they think.
And I know they are looking at shopping malls. Because they've already done it.
September 21, 2013. Nairobi, Kenya. A group of heavily armed gunmen executed a pre-planned attack on Westgate Shopping Mall during a busy Saturday. Sixty-three innocent people were brutally murdered. Close to 200 more were injured.
That terrorist I mentioned earlier? His goal is to outdo the Westgate massacre. He wants to be remembered for killing more innocent people than the terrorists before him.
That's exactly why he's looking for gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms. He wants to produce mass chaos, mass panic; he wants to immediately assume control over everyone in the building. So of course he is only going to consider malls that prohibit his targets from carrying firearms.
As he walks through nearby shopping malls, he's looking at the exits. He wants them to be few and far between—hard to find in a panic, and easy to block.
He wants lots of open area, high ground, and places to channelize people. Most important, he wants an unsuspecting and an unprepared crowd. In order for his plan to work, he is counting on everyone in that mall being completely and utterly unprepared.
Think about this.
You're at the mall with your kids on a busy Saturday, picking up clothes for your family's summer vacation. As you wait in a long line to checkout, you and your kids laugh and smile. You'll be at the beach in a few weeks.
Out of nowhere, you hear shots fired. A few seconds later, screams. Your mind tells you what's happening, but you still try and convince yourself it isn't real. The shots get louder, and the screams multiply.
People begin to realize what's happening. Panic spreads and chaos erupts. Kids get separated from their parents. The elderly are pushed to the ground. The teenager behind the checkout counter is frozen in fear.
You still have no idea where the shots are coming from, but you see an exit sign. Tunnel vision sets in, your heartbeat increases, and now you feel a shortening of breath. You think you've escaped, but then you realize the shots and screams are getting louder. You're surrounded. He's planned this in advance … he's covering the exits … he is going to kill you.
The people who want to restrict your right to bear arms will call this fear-mongering. They'll say it almost certainly will never to happen to you.
Maybe it won't. But it will happen to someone. And what if that someone is you? And what if it is your family?
Both as a society and as individuals, what are we doing to prepare for it? More importantly, what are we and our leadership doing to prevent it?
Deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it was … or face the consequences.
A controversial National Rifle Association ad filmed at a military cemetery in violation of government policy was shot at Alexandria National Cemetery.
On June 30, the NRA Political Victory Fund launched a $2 million ad buy in swing states. The ad features veteran Mark Geist -- a survivor of the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks -- as he walks in and stands in front of a national cemetery.
Because of the distinctive fencing and foliage, Media Matters can identify the cemetery as Alexandria National Cemetery. A Friday visit to the cemetery confirmed it as the location for the ad.
The cemetery is located in Old Town, Alexandria, which is also the headquarters for NRA News and the site of an office of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm.
Facing questions over where it filmed the ad, the NRA previously declined to tell ABC News where it was filmed, other than to say it was not filmed at Arlington National Cemetery.
In the ad, Geist says, “A lot of people say they’re not going to vote this November because their candidate didn’t win. Well I know some other people who won’t be voting this year either.” The ad then shows footage of Alexandria National Cemetery.
The ad goes on to use the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks to criticize Clinton and ends with a graphic that says “Trump 2016.”
The area where Geist is shown walking and pausing at a gravesite is largely filled with Civil War era graves. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Alexandria National Cemetery is one of the original 14 national cemeteries established in 1862. The first burials made in the cemetery were soldiers who died during training or from disease in the numerous hospitals around Alexandria. By 1864, the cemetery was nearly filled to capacity, which eventually led to the planning, development and construction of Arlington National Cemetery.”
Geist uploaded a photo to his Instagram page in May with the caption, “Alexandria National Cemetery visiting fallenpatriots from the civil war.#13hours #benghazi #markozgeist#neverhillary.”
The ad has been criticized by veterans groups. VoteVets.org has called for the ad to be taken down, while a national spokesperson for Veterans of Foreign Wars said, "Don’t use our dead to score political points."
Star Of Ad Previously Said He Didn’t Hold Clinton Accountable For Benghazi Attacks
The National Rifle Association’s political action committee released an ad featuring a former CIA contracter present during the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks urging viewers not to vote for Hillary Clinton because of the attacks. But the contractor previously said that Clinton is not accountable for the attacks.
USA Today reported on June 29 that the NRA Political Victory Fund was launching a $2 million ad campaign which the paper notes is “one of the larger expenditures by an outside group on behalf of the presumptive Republican nominee.” The NRA-PVF titled the ad “Mark ‘Oz’ Geist: Stop Clinton, Vote Trump.”
The ad features Mark “Oz” Geist, a former CIA contractor who responded to the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi that claimed four American lives, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Geist is the co-author of 13 Hours, a book chronicling how he and other contractors undertook a rescue mission during the attacks. The book was later turned into a 2016 Michael Bay film with a similar title.
In the ad, Geist, who has endorsed Trump, is shown walking through a cemetery while saying, “Hillary as President? No thanks. I served in Benghazi. My friends didn’t make it. They did their part. Do yours.”
But Geist has said in the past he does not blame Clinton for the attacks. During a January 2016 appearance on ABC’s Nightline to promote the film 13 Hours, Geist disagreed with the notion that Clinton was “accountable” for the Benghazi attacks, instead blaming the terror group that carried out the attack. According to an ABC News writeup of the interview:
But while many of Clinton's enemies use Benghazi to hold her accountable, Geist has his own perspective.
“Do I hold her accountable? No. You know who I hold accountable is al-Sharia,” he said. “That’s who attacked them. That’s who killed the ambassador.”
In addition, Geist has pushed back on the conservative media myth (which congressional investigations have also debunked) that Clinton or some other high-level Obama administration official issued a “stand down” order that delayed the attempt by him and other contractors to rescue Americans under fire during the attacks. During a September 9, 2014, appearance on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Geist instead blamed the delay responding on the CIA station chief, while attributing no “malice” to the chief’s decisions. From a CNN transcript of the segment (emphasis added):
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: The chief of base wasn't telling the contractors to wait out of malice or unwillingness to help those under attack. There is a huge and fundamental difference between a short delay for security considerations and a stand down order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I understand that this might just be semantics. But their argument is that Bob wanted to make sure that they got Intel, wanted to make sure you had enough weapons, wanted to make sure there was enough backup. It wasn't a political decision.
GEIST: Sure, sure.
TAPPER: Your take?
PARONTO: My take on that is the first five minutes -- and I've even said this, and I even said this to the committee when we were interviewed. I said the first five minutes, I'll give you that. It is a combat situation. We do need to adjust fire and get ourselves in order. The next 20 minutes, no. Tactically, that's unsound and minutes cost lives. And they died of smoke inhalation, Sean and the ambassador. So, once that comes about in that 20 minute time frame, the decision needed to be made. And we need to go - we need to stay in. Also, we didn't have a rapport with the 17 February militia.
PARONTO: So we are calling - calling- we are relying on somebody to rescue our friends and our comrades and we didn't trust them. We didn't initially trust them. We still don't trust them.
GEIST: Well, you know, and we've never indicated that there was any malice from them. And why he made the decision. But you have six operators that have probably together almost 100 years of experience in counterinsurgency operations. The question that we have, is why wouldn't you utilize that asset that you have available to get out there and see and put eyes on to find out real true intelligence instead of depending on a local national to get that intelligence.
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The National Rifle Association’s radio show compared participants in a sit-in in the U.S. House of Representatives being led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) to “criminals and terrorists” reasoning that like terrorists, the sit-in participants were not following the rules.
While the House was in session on June 22, Lewis and other Democratic members of Congress sat on the floor of the House, refusing to return to regular order until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed to call a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence.
CNN.com described the move as “a dramatic protest inside the House of Representatives” that was “rich with historic symbolism.” Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organized numerous sit-ins to protest racial discrimination during the 1960s, has been described as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.”
During the June 22 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company, as the sit-in proceeded, host Cam Edwards claimed, “So in order to push legislation that the sponsors say would not have prevented the attacks in Orlando, Florida, they’re also going to flout the House rules. Kind of like, you know, criminals and terrorists flout the rules that we have in place right now and will continue to do so?”:
After presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said clubgoers at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, where a gunman killed 49 people June 12, should have been carrying guns, many media outlets noted that Trump had staked out a position on guns in bars that was even more extreme than the National Rifle Association’s.
Several media outlets, however, also incorrectly reported that the NRA opposes guns in bars generally.
In fact, for years the NRA has made state-level efforts to allow concealed guns to be carried in bars so long as the person with the gun does not consume alcohol. The alcohol prohibition would largely operate on an honor system, as most concealed carry laws require that the gun remain concealed at all times unless being used for lawful self-defense or some other legal purpose.
On June 17, Trump said while discussing the Orlando mass shooting, “If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here -- right to their waist or right to their ankle -- and … one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes 'boom, boom,' you know what? That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight." (Trump later dishonestly claimed he was referring only to the arming of employees or security guards.)
Two NRA officials were asked about Trump’s remark during Sunday show appearances on June 19. NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox said people drinking in clubs should not carry guns while NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said, “I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking.” The NRA later clarified that LaPierre was expressing opposition only to people drinking while carrying guns in bars.
So while Trump’s position is further out there compared to the NRA’s position, the NRA’s position itself is out of the mainstream.
Several outlets misreported the NRA’s extreme position in guns in bars, amid confusion over both Trump and LaPierre attempting to “clarify” remarks made about guns in bars:
USA Today: “But NRA officials said Sunday that having armed patrons in bars with alcohol was not such a good idea.”
NBC’s Peter Alexander on the June 20 broadcast of Today: “Trump’s argued that if more people at that Orlando nightclub were armed with guns strapped to their waist, and that they fired back at the shooter, the carnage would have been much less. But even the NRA pushed back against that, insisting it does not believe people should carry guns in drinking establishments.”
Associated Press: “Donald Trump is backtracking from his contention that victims of the Orlando massacre should have been allowed to carry arms into the nightclub where they were attacked -- a stance even the NRA says is untenable.”
The two National Rifle Association officials who appeared on Sunday political talk shows to respond to the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, both made anti-LGBT remarks as recent as a month ago.
One week after a gunman wielding an assault weapon killed 49 people and wounded 53 others during a terror attack at Pulse nightclub, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation and NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) executive director Chris Cox appeared on ABC’s This Week to advocate against passing stronger gun laws in response to the mass shooting.
As in the NRA’s official response to the shooting, which was authored by Cox, both Cox and LaPierre failed to mention that the shooting targeted a gay nightclub.
Both LaPierre and Cox made anti-gay statements during a May 20 event at the NRA’s annual meeting. During the annual NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, Cox and LaPierre both delivered speeches that led into the NRA’s endorsement of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Cox spoke first, and attacked societal acceptance of transgender people as “perverted” and “twisted” just seconds into his remarks. Cox lamented that “the America we know is becoming unrecognizable. Everything we believe in, everything we’ve always known to be good, and right, and true has been twisted, perverted, and repackaged to our kids as wrong, backwards, and abnormal.”
Citing examples of America’s supposed downfall, Cox went on to say, “Who are our kids supposed to respect and admire? The media tells them Bruce Jenner is a national hero for transforming his body, while our wounded warriors, whose bodies were transformed by IEDs and rocket-propelled grenades, can’t even get basic healthcare from the VA.”
During his speech, LaPierre said the Obama administration was “in the toilet” because of efforts by the administration to prevent schools from discriminating against transgender students.
While ostensibly an organization focused on issues relating to guns, members of the NRA’s leadership have attacked LGBT people for years, including blaming a mass shooting on same-sex marriage, claiming gay people “created” the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and labeling or supporting the depiction of gay people as “despicable,” “perverts,” and “degenerates.”
While the NRA is ostensibly an organization focused on gun rights, members of its leadership have attacked LGBT people for years, including blaming a mass shooting on gay marriage, calling societal acceptance of transgender people “perverted,” claiming gay people “created” the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and labeling gay people “despicable,” “perverts,” and “degenerates.”
Many AR-15 Manufacturers Are NRA Corporate Donors Including Company That Manufactured Gun Used In Orlando Attack
Days after a gunman used an assault weapon in a terror attack that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others, the National Rifle Association released a video urging Americans to buy assault weapons to protect against terrorists and other threats.
According to the NRA video, Americans should buy assault weapons to “protect their life, liberty, and happiness.”
During the early morning hours of June 12, a gunman launched a terror attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, killing and wounding dozens before he was killed by law enforcement. According to law enforcement, the gunman used a Sig Sauer MCX assault weapon.
On June 15 the NRA directly responded to the Orlando attack with the release of an NRA News commentary video called “The AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime.” Sig Sauer is a sponsor of NRA News program “Defending Our America.” Numerous NRA corporate donors, including Sig Sauer, sell AR platform assault weapons.
In the video, NRA News commentator Dom Raso criticizes President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for their advocacy of an assault weapons ban in the wake of the Orlando attack.
The NRA video then made a number of arguments praising the abilities of the AR-15 -- which also serve to explain how the gunman was able to kill and wound so many people in a short period of time.
Speaking to his experience as a firearms trainer, Raso claimed, “For the vast majority of people I work with there is no better firearm to defend their homes against realistic threats than an AR-15 semi-automatic. It’s easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable.”
Raso went on to claim the Founding Fathers would have supported the AR -15. From the June 15 NRA commentary video:
DOM RASO: I guarantee if the Founding Fathers had known this gun would have been invented, they wouldn’t have rewritten the Second Amendment, they would have fortified it in stone. Because they knew the only way for us to stay free was by having whatever guns the bad guys have. This firearm gives people the advantage they so desperately need and deserve to protect their life, liberty, and happiness.
After the publication of this post, The Washington Post added and reorganized language so its article now states that the NRA expressed “general support” for Republican proposals rather than "general support" for a bipartisan solution. The primary Republican proposal was authored by Sen. Cornyn and is not a meaningful step toward blocking gun sales to suspected terrorists. The Post gave no indication that it had made revisions to its article.
The Washington Post erroneously reported that the NRA expressed “general support” for proposals to block gun sales to suspected terrorists. In fact, the NRA has supported, and continues to support, a proposal that has been described as having “an unworkable standard for blocking dangerous sales” to individuals suspected of having ties to terrorism.
Under present federal law, there is no prohibition on individuals on either a terror watchlist or the no-fly list purchasing firearms from gun dealers. On June 15, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.”
The NRA responded, also on Twitter, claiming, “Our position is no guns for terrorists -- period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans.”
A June 15 Washington Post article cited the NRA’s tweet as evidence that the gun group was “expressing general support” for proposals such as a nascent bipartisan effort being developed by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and “a gun-control group led by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg”:
Trump’s announcement, made via Twitter, came as Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), locked in a closely watched reelection battle, told Ohio reporters that he is ready to back a federal ban on weapons sales to anyone on a terrorist watch list if a compromise can be reached. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who has worked on bipartisan gun-control legislation in the past and is also facing a tough reelection, is in talks with a gun-control group led by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to come up with such a measure, the group said.
The NRA responded to Trump by expressing general support for such proposals: “Our position is no guns for terrorists -- period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans,” the group tweeted.
But in a June 15 statement, the NRA indicated that its “position on this issue has not changed.” The statement went on to express continued support for a proposal authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
Cornyn’s proposal would not be a meaningful step toward blocking sales to suspected terrorists. As Everytown for Gun Safety explains, the Cornyn proposal, which was drafted in response to bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), “would fail to address the terror gap, continuing to make it nearly impossible for the government to stop suspected terrorists from buying guns.” This is because the Cornyn proposal “has an unworkable standard for blocking dangerous sales -- requiring officials to show in court not only that someone is suspected of being involved in terrorism, but that he or she will actually commit an act of terror.”
Additionally, “the counter-proposal would give the government only 72 hours to bring the suspected terrorist into court and meet this incredible standard -- or else the dangerous gun sale will proceed.”
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Gun Group Instead Reacts With Political Attack -- In Keeping With Its Past Hypocrisy In Mass Shooting Responses
The National Rifle Association responded to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history with an editorial written by its top lobbyist that barely acknowledges the victims, fails to mention that the target of the attack was a gay nightclub, and fails to mention the number of victims.
During the early morning hours of June 12, a gunman launched a terror attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others before he was killed by law enforcement.
While NRA social media accounts went silent in the immediate wake of the attack, as they do after nearly all high-profile mass shootings, by the evening of June 13 the NRA had issued a response at USA Today written by the organization's top lobbyist, NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox.
The NRA’s response barely acknowledges the victims, offering no condolences to the survivors or their families, and instead attacks President Obama as weak on terrorism. The response does not mention the LGBT community and does not list the number of victims of the attack. The closest the NRA comes to acknowledging the nature of the attack is a single line that argues, “It’s time for us to admit that radical Islam is a hate crime waiting to happen.” The NRA chose to have Cox byline the response even though just weeks ago he made a number of anti-LGBT attacks during a speech at the NRA’s annual meeting, claiming that societal acceptance of transgender people is “twisted” and “perverted.”
While the NRA routinely argues that people who call for stronger gun laws following mass shootings are “exploiting” tragedy for political gain, the group itself offered a number of political arguments against the Obama administration relating to terrorism following the Orlando attack.
According to the NRA, “the Obama administration’s political correctness” bears blame for the shooting, and “Radical Islamic terrorists are not deterred by gun control laws”:
The terrorist in Orlando had been investigated multiple times by the FBI. He had a government-approved security guard license with a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security. Yet his former co-workers reported violent and racist comments. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s political correctness prevented anything from being done about it.
Radical Islamic terrorists are not deterred by gun control laws.
While the NRA blamed supposed actions by the Obama administration for the attack, Obama and his administration have advocated for policies that could have prevented the attack or lessened its severity.
Just two weeks ago, Obama lamented that individuals on terror watchlists are not prohibited from legally purchasing firearms, noting, “I just came from a meeting today in the situation room, in which I’ve got people who we know have been on ISIL websites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens. And we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun.”
Indeed, the Senate GOP, at the behest of the NRA, has blocked both attempts to regulate assault weapons and proposals that would prohibit gun sales to certain individuals suspected of having terrorism ties.
The NRA’s editorial concluded, “The only way to defeat them is to destroy them -- not destroy the right of law-abiding Americans to defend ourselves.” But the NRA’s quick attempt to use the Orlando massacre to argue that permissive gun ownership is needed to ward off domestic terror attacks is indicative of the organization’s hypocrisy on mass shootings.
When NRA leaders see a facet of a high-profile shooting that they think they can exploit, they comment almost immediately. However, when they think that is not the case, the organization goes silent, aside from attacking anyone making policy arguments surrounding the shooting as disrespectful to the victims.
The hypocrisy is made clear by the NRA’s response to the June 17, 2015, racially motivated mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, SC.
While the NRA offered a response the day after the Orlando shooting, slamming Obama and others, days passed following the Charleston shooting without an NRA response. Only on June 20, three days after the attack, did the NRA release a statement, which claimed that “out of "respect" for the victims, "we do not feel that this is [an] appropriate time for a political debate," adding, "We will have no further comment until all the facts are known."