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Cydney Hargis

Author ››› Cydney Hargis
  • NRATV ran defense for Trump after he sold out US in disastrous Helsinki press conference

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s media arm, NRATV, spent an entire day defending President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was otherwise widely characterized as disgraceful and un-American.  

    While NRATV was running defense for Trump, another significant Russia news story broke: Maria Butina, a Russian pro-gun activist with close ties to the NRA, is being charged with conspiracy against the United States over attempts to establish “back channels” that the FBI says “could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the US national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation.” According to the charging documents, Butina attempted to use the NRA and other politically minded groups as conduits for her efforts.

    Putin and Trump met for a July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland, for “nearly two hours behind closed doors and another hour” in a press conference. During the press conference, Trump doubled down on his earlier tweet that both countries share blame for the current tense state of relations. He also said Putin’s denial of any election meddling was “extremely strong and powerful,” effectively throwing the U.S. intelligence community -- which has unanimously concluded Russia interfered in U.S. elections -- under the bus.   

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper called the press conference “perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president” during a meeting with Russian leadership, and media figures and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress lambased it as un-American and shameful. Even Fox News’ reliably pro-Trump program Fox & Friends said that the president “fell short” while Fox Business host and Trump booster Maria Bartiromo called the press conference “probably the low point of the presidency so far.”  

    Despite the near-universal criticism, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield defended Trump’s appearance on his July 16 broadcast as “quite an amazing thing to witness,” and exclaimed that Putin and Trump “may even be fond of each other":

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): President Trump and Vladimir Putin wrapped up their summit, meeting, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t matter -- it’s all semantics. Two leaders of two very powerful countries met to talk, to try to iron issues out. It appeared to me that President Trump and Vladimir Putin actually like each other. If I ever knew that I had something in common with Vladimir Putin, I didn’t until today. Vladimir Putin admitted that he wanted President Trump to win the election because President Trump talked about normalizing relations with Russia. That is a valid reason why a leader of a giant country like Russia would want President Trump to win. So did I, for that reason and so many others. Listening to these two leaders talk about all the issues at hand, and hearing, right off the bat, Vladimir Putin say the Cold War is a thing of the past and confrontations are a thing of the past is really quite an amazing thing to witness. Now, we know the confrontations will continue. We know Vladimir Putin will still be working against us and, I do believe, still hacking into American computers. I also believe that the United States has put Vladimir Putin on notice, saying, we are on to you. But this meeting showed that these two leaders can get along.

    ...

    STINCHFIELD: So I do believe this will go down as a historic meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. It reminds me of when Ronald Reagan met with [Mikhail] Gorbachev, and I see those pictures even now of the two meeting. It was an amazing sight and I do believe the two of them get along well. They may even be fond of each other. That is actually helpful when you talk about adversaries trying to work through serious, serious issues.                    

    Just before the press conference, Stinchfield had also argued that the indictments of 12 Russians over hacking allegations by the Department of Justice were released last week specifically to “undermine President Trump” going into the meeting with Putin. (During the press conference announcing the indictments, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that he had briefed Trump in advance on the indictments and that the timing was “a function of the collection of the facts, the evidence, and the law and a determination that it was sufficient to present the indictment at this time.”)

    NRATV host Dan Bongino also went to bat for Trump. During the July 16 edition of his evening show We Stand, he praised Trump’s performance at the press conference (albeit noting that “he could have worded some things differently”) and slammed a journalist who dared ask whether Russia has any compromising information on Trump.

    These defenses of Trump come while the National Rifle Association is knee-deep in questions about whether Russian money was funneled through the organization to help Trump during the 2016 presidential election. While NRATV has been happy to absolve Trump of Russia-related wrongdoing, the outlet has been reluctant to address reports of Kremlin involvement in the NRA.

  • The NRA’s attempt to deflect blame away from guns for the Parkland shooting just fell apart

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch dismissed new findings that a school-based discipline program called Promise was not responsible for the Parkland, FL, school shooting after pushing the allegation for months that the program allowed the shooting to happen.    

    Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz had been referred to Broward County’s Promise program, an alternative option for students “who have committed a behavioral infraction that would normally lead to a juvenile delinquency arrest” in 2013 after he vandalized a bathroom in an area middle school. Despite claims that referring Cruz to the program contributed to the failures to report his behavior to law enforcement, a commission set up to investigate the mass shooting concluded the program was “irrelevant” to Cruz’s ability to obtain an assault weapon and carry out the massacre.

    During the months following the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead and 14 others injured, NRA spokesperson and NRATV host Dana Loesch repeatedly shredded the “Obama-era” Promise program during her show, Relentless. During the May 29 edition of her show, Loesch suggested people should protest outside the house of President Barack Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, because it was his “Promise program initiative that assisted this murderer.”

    Loesch said “the real story” behind the Parkland shooting is Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie “worrying about the appearance of complying with an Obama-era Promise program” which ultimately “guaranteed that this murderer’s red flags would being completely overlooked” during the June 1 edition of Relentless. Four days later, she insisted Duncan’s “policies that were implemented that coddled this murderer failed” Parkland students.      

    One day after the Miami Herald reported the commission’s findings, Loesch did a segment on the commission’s work that discussed the Promise program but ignored the revelation that it was found to have no causal relationship to the shooting. From the July 11 edition of NRATV’s Relentless:

    KERRY PICKET (NRATV CORRESPONDENT): Now, Cruz was sent into the Promise program despite initial denials from the school’s officials. But back in March, The Associated Press reported local Florida officials once suggested they wanted Cruz forcibly committed to a mental institution via Florida’s Baker Act two years before the Stoneman Douglas massacre, but their advice was never heeded. According to documents obtained by the AP, Cruz cut himself with a pencil sharpener and told a fellow student he wanted to buy a firearm. Cruz also told another student he had drank gasoline and later vomited. Dana.                 

    DANA LOESCH (HOST): Wow, yeah, those I think are -- that coupled with everything else that we know, the whole body of evidence that has to deal with his mental health and then of course the violent threats -- what was it -- some of the family members had said that he had held a gun to peoples’ head before, he had hit his mother so hard he knocked teeth out of her mouth. It is amazing, A) that she intervened and B) that there was not enough material there existing already for either mental health professionals or even  law enforcement to act when prosecutors say under Florida state statute you could have gotten him for a felony because of the threats and because of all of the stuff he demonstrated health-wise. You could have had him Baker Act-ed. I’m wondering, because I know that there is still an investigation ongoing, but I mean, with all of this discussion about red flag laws, this -- I mean, you couldn't have been more obvious about it if you took out a billboard in Times Square. Are they going to answer for actually not following up on what is clearly actionable items according to every prosecutor from Florida that I’ve spoken to and I think you as well have?

    PICKETT: Well, here’s the thing is that this particular school safety commission, they are going to be meeting tomorrow as well as the following day to discuss not just the questions that you’re bringing up but also questions as to why, for example, law enforcement, why their communications were so shoddy, specifically the radio communications between law enforcement. As well as the mental health history of Nikolas Cruz. So this is something that this particular commission really wants to clear up. Now, something else too, the Promise program. A lot of people wonder why this hasn’t been eradicated yet. It looks like the Promise program is going to stay, but it looks like it’s going to be reformed in some way, shape, so we’re going to have to wait and see what happens with that.

    LOESCH: Reformed in some way? And I’m sure we’re going to get details as to how they’re going to quote-unquote “reform” that program?

    PICKETT: Correct.

    LOESCH: Wow.    

    The Promise program was the first agenda item on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission’s July 10 meeting. According to the Miami Herald, commission chair and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the commission found that the program “would never in any way, shape, form, would’ve affected his ability to buy that AR-15.” He went all to call claims that the program contributed to the shooting “a rabbit hole” and a “red herring” and explained that even if Cruz had been taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center and charged with a first-time misdemeanor instead of entering the Promise program, his punishment would most likely have been community service which would have no impact on his ability to buy a gun.   

    During the July 13 edition of NRATV’s Relentless, Loesch referenced a tweet Runcie wrote in which he echoed the commission's finding and said she questioned “how much” she believes him. She went on to place blame squarely on the superintendent, saying if the findings are true, “wouldn’t that just mean that it was his own personal incompetency then that contributed to this instead of a bad program? I mean, that seems like it’s worse.”

  • NRATV celebrates Brett Kavanaugh's radical view that bans on assault weapons are unconstitutional

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Immediately after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, NRATV, the media arm of the National Rifle Association, cheered a dissent he wrote that argued bans on assault weapons are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. That view is far outside of mainstream legal thought.    

    On July 9, President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, as his nominee to fill the seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy and praised his “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and ... proven commitment to equal justice under the law.” Trump picked his nominee from a shortlist of four right-wing federal appeals court judges, and a mounting number of Democratic senators have announced that they will oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation.   

    The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislation Action -- the NRA’s lobbying arm -- put out a press release on July 9 applauding Kavanaugh as an “outstanding choice” and highlighting his “impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment.”  

    In a 2011 challenge to D.C.’s assault weapons ban, known as Heller II, Kavanaugh split from the rest of the D.C. Circuit Court and wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that “semi-automatic rifles, like semi-automatic handguns, have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense in the home, hunting, and other lawful uses.” He went as far as to claim that “a ban on a class of arms …. is equivalent to a ban on a category of speech.”

    Based on this position, Kavanaugh would consider bans on the type of firearms most typically used during mass shootings -- including those used in recent massacres in Parkland, FL, Sutherland Springs, TX, and Las Vegas, NV -- unconstitutional. This view is entirely at odds with how federal courts have ruled on the issue. According to The Washington Post, “no federal appeals court has ever held that assault weapons are protected” by the Second Amendment.    

    NRATV host Cam Edwards immediately celebrated Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion, tweeting that it was “a better reasoned argument than the majority opinion.” During the July 10 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield suggested gun owners and NRA members “take this appointment as a reward for our hard work” and hailed Kavanaugh as a “strong dissenting voice in the court’s decision to unfortunately uphold the D.C. ban on so-called assault weapons.” NRATV host and spokesperson Dana Loesch said she was “very pleased” with Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion during her show Relentless later that same day.

    Edwards joined Stinchfield during the July 11 edition of Stinchfield to continue to praise Kavanaugh’s Heller II dissent:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): So, Cam, you’ve been in and around this for a long time. Most of us are looking at the [District of Columbia v.] Heller go-around number two. Dianne Feinstein mentioned it, this was when Kavanaugh dissented in the D.C. ban on so-called assault weapons. Have you looked through that ruling? What does it tell you about Kavanaugh?  

    CAM EDWARDS: I have looked through the ruling, Grant, and it’s a great decision. I mean, it’s a great opinion by Judge Kavanaugh. I wish that his opinion had carried the day because he actually looked at what the Supreme Court said in Heller and McDonald [v. Chicago]. And he said, look, it doesn’t matter if I like these gun control laws or I don’t like these gun control laws. What matters is that, under the precedent set by Heller and ratified by McDonald, so we know that these Second Amendment protections don’t just apply to infringement by the federal government, D.C.’s blanket ban on the most commonly sold rifle in America today doesn’t pass constitutional muster. And he made a very commonsense argument. He said, look, in the Supreme Court said in the first Heller case that you can’t ban semi-automatic handguns because those are in common use by millions of Americans for lawful purposes. Well, what’s the difference between a semi-automatic handgun and a semi-automatic long gun? They’re both in common use, both owned by millions of Americans for lawful purposes. If you can’t ban one, you can’t ban the other.                        

    Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion is a radical interpretation of the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s handgun ban in a 5-4 decision. The 2008 ruling, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, explained that the Second Amendment right is “not unlimited” and that there is no “right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Specifically, the Heller opinion said that “dangerous and unusual” weapons can be banned under the Second Amendment, which is the rationale federal courts have relied upon in upholding bans. In April, a federal district court judge (who was appointed by Ronald Reagan) rejected a Second Amendment challenge to Massachusetts’ assault weapons ban by positively citing Scalia’s language from Heller that explained cases where gun ownership can be limited.

    Kavanaugh, however, has signaled he would advance the NRA’s interpretation of the constitutionality of assault weapons bans, which defies mainstream legal thought.

  • NRATV ignored the Jason Washington shooting in its live updates for a week straight

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Over the past week, NRATV, the National Rifle Association’s broadcast outlet, covered a litany of stories during its hourly live updates but ignored the police shooting of a Black veteran who had a license to carry a concealed weapon in Portland, OR.

    Billed as “live news updates,” NRATV’s Stinchfield airs for 10 minutes at the top of every hour, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Throughout the past week, the show failed to report that Portland State University campus police shot and killed 45-year-old Jason Washington outside a local bar on June 29. Washington was trying to break up a fight and dropped his legally owned firearm on the ground. According to CNN, police officers can be heard in a witness video shouting “drop the gun” repeatedly before firing several shots. The university released a statement that same day confirming that the Portland Police Bureau has launched an investigation into the shooting and that the two officers involved are on “paid administrative leave.”

    The show did, however, cover a range of other stories, including:

    The “Abolish ICE” movement:

    The “utter disgrace” of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein:

    The border situation:

    “Pretty little socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

    Protests on the Fourth of July:

    Immigrants being discharged from the military:

    NRA spokesperson and NRATV host Dana Loesch mentioned the shooting twice during her hour-long show, Relentless, but during both segments she implied that Washington could have avoided the killing by not getting involved in the situation. During the first segment, on the July 2 edition of her show, Loesch referred to the incident as “tragic” but said she was “never going to keyboard quarterback what police are doing” and asked, “Should he have been in that position, even though he was being a good samaritan, because he was carrying?” During the second segment, on July 3, Loesch asked her guest, “Should someone be doing that [intervening in a fight] if they’re concealed carrying and it doesn’t look like this is going to disrupt into something fatal?” and the guest replied, “No, no, no.” Loesch also said, “When police are already there on scene, I think you have to question, do you need to be involved anymore at that point?”

    Loesch’s comments are similar to remarks she made after 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot during a traffic stop. Loesch said at the time that Castile did not deserve “to lose his life over a stop” and the incident was “awful and avoidable,” but she also implied that Castile was partially to blame by highlighting missteps she said he made such as not having his handgun permit visible.

  • NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch blames ATF for not regulating gun sellers. The NRA sponsored a law that makes it harder for them to do that.

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch cited reporting about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) low penalty rate for firearms dealers who have violated the law, to disingenuously attack getting “the government involved,” because it’s not “doing their job.” But, Loesch ignored that the NRA championed a law that restricts the ATF's ability to regulate the sale of firearms and makes it extremely difficult for the bureau to take action against non-compliant arms dealers.

    During the June 4 edition of her NRATV program Relentless, Loesch pointed to a June 3 New York Times article reporting that there were “11,000 inspections of licensed firearm dealers in the year starting in October 2016” and “more than half were cited for violations” but “less than 1 percent” actually lost their licenses. Loesch said these violations “should have resulted in actions by the agency” and that the government, which is “tasked with protecting innocents,” is “ultimately [falling] short of doing that job”:

    DANA LOESCH (HOST): We’re told over and over that the solutions to all of the problems related to all forms of violence is to ban all of the things and to get the government involved. In fact, one of the favorite pastimes of the progressive left is to claim that they don’t want to repeal the Second Amendment, they just want the quote, unquote “universal background checks,” or to make sure gun sellers are held accountable for breaking the law.

    ...

    LOESCH: All of these solutions depend on the government doing its job, but the problem is that they aren’t doing their job. The New York Times is reporting that the ATF, quote, “regularly find violations of the law, ranging from minor record-keeping errors to illegal sales of firearms.” But the ATF rarely does anything about it or at least does very little. According to this report, out of the 11,000 inspections of firearms dealers, more than half had violations that should have resulted in actions by the agency but in the end, less than 1 percent resulted in any real serious consequences like a loss of a license. Combine this with the failures of the FBI to follow up on leads or federal bureaucracies that have failed to, in any way, communicate with one another in order to prevent a prohibited possessor from purchasing a firearm, as happened in Sutherland Springs, as happened in Charleston, the same disturbing picture that we saw unfold in Parkland appears. A government, tasked with protecting innocents yet preventing us from protecting ourselves, and then they ultimately fall short of doing that job.

    While the Times article claimed that many ATF “supervisors downgraded recommendations that the stores’ licenses be revoked,” it also noted the bureau is tasked with proving “that store owners not only violated the law but intended to do so,” which dealers “would almost certainly appeal.”

    Loesch neglected to mention that the NRA actively supported the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act, which mandated that the ATF prove a firearms dealer is “willfully” breaking the law when selling to a prohibited person, limited the agency to inspecting over 135,000 active federal firearms licensees once a year, and mandated that the bureau reduce the penalty for inadequate records of firearms acquisition and sale from a felony to a misdemeanor.

    On the nearly 25th anniversary of the 1986 law, NRA-Institute For Legislative Action, the NRA’s lobbying arm, cheered the passing of the bill as the moment “the gun rights movement really came into its own” and “NRA-ILA and other pro-gun groups … earned their spurs.”  

  • Sunday shows ignore Puerto Rico amid new study that nearly 5,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Following a new study estimating that almost 5,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, Sunday news shows completely ignored the devastation and death toll that is 72 times higher than the government’s official number of 64.

    Written up by the Washington Post, a May 29 Harvard University study “estimates that at least 4,645 deaths can be linked to the hurricane and its immediate aftermath,” and noted that “health-care disruption for the elderly and the loss of basic utility services for the chronically ill had significant impact.”

    If the Harvard study is accurate, Maria will be the second deadliest hurricane in U.S. history. Thousands are still waiting for power. It is already estimated to and have caused $90 billion in damages in Puerto Rico alone. The devastation in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Hurricanes Irma and Maria has caused billions more in damage. And 2018 Hurricane season is officially underway as of June 1.  

    Despite this less than a week old study, the major Sunday political talk shows -- which include CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday -- were all silent on the subject.

    MSNBC’s AM Joy and CNN’s Reliable Sources both noted the discrepancy between coverage of Hurricane Maria’s devastation, and Roseanne Barr’s racist and anti-Semitic tweets that resulted in her eponymous show being canceled.

    CNN’s New Day Sunday highlighted the Harvard study’s reported death toll and noted Puerto Rico is “still recovering” and that “11,000 residents still do not have power” as the country enters the official 2018 hurricane season.

    The media has routinely ignored the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, dating back to just one week after the storm made landfall when these Sunday shows covered the devastation for less than a minute. Cable news quickly turned away from Puerto Rico following the hurricane as well. The day the Harvard study was released, cable news gave it 30 minutes of coverage that was drowned out by ten hours spent on Roseanne.

  • In new video, NRATV blames "moronic media" for turning mass shooters into rock stars

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Just days after a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, TX, NRATV released a video blaming the media and “our culture” for causing mass shootings by routinely turning the gunmen into “rock star[s].”

    On May 18, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, killing 10 and wounding 13 with his father’s legally owned shotgun and a .38 revolver. This is the 22nd school shooting this year in the United States and comes just three months after the Parkland high school shooting that left 17 dead and 17 injured. 

    The Santa Fe shooter reportedly told police officers he targeted the students he didn’t like and spared those he did. The mother of one of the victims said her 16-year-old daughter faced “four months of problems from this boy” as he kept “making advances on her.” She said her daughter had stood up to him in class a week before the shooting. 

    Despite this emerging picture of the Santa Fe gunman’s motive, NRATV released a video in which host Colion Noir blamed media for the increase in school shootings, claiming reporters turn the shooter “into a damn rock star within hours of the damn shooting.” Noir went on to criticize supposedly liberal phenomena including “safe spaces” and “participation trophies incentivizing mediocrity,” saying that we “tell our young boys that their masculinity is toxic, and our young girls that being a woman means acting like a man, further confusing the hell out of kids”:  

    COLION NOIR (NRATV HOST): So, when are we going to be completely honest and acknowledge the awkward, bullied, sexually frustrated, psychotropic drug-laced, suicidal, mass shooters in the room for what they are? Or are we just going to keep acting like we don't know what's going on in the name of not confronting the miserable reality that they are a creation of our so-called progressive culture and media?

    [...]

    Yet our moronic media in their blind pursuit for ratings will post every picture they can find of the shooter and repeat the shooters's name habitually, turning the kid into a damn rock star within hours of the damn shooting and they will keep asking why these shootings keep happening in a country obsessed with celebrity culture raising a generation of kids with an inability to cope with anything.

    [...]

    Instead of teaching our kids how to cope with the harsh realities of life, we shield them in safe spaces and give them participation trophies incentivizing mediocrity and tell our young boys that their masculinity is toxic, and our young girls that being a woman means acting like a man further confusing the hell out of kids who are naturally going to struggle with their identity as is. Anyone screaming for gun control in response to this last shooting is just not being honest with themselves. The kid used a shotgun and a revolver that he took from his parents because he wasn't old enough to buy a gun legally. Ask yourself, what is more likely a reason this latest killer decided to secretly build improvised explosives in order to murder his classmates in cold blood, "loose" gun laws or our culture?

    The NRATV host made similar comments after the Parkland school shooting and taunted the student activists by saying he wished an armed guard had been there to stop the shooting because “your classmates would still be alive, and no one would know your names.”

    This followed his 2016 tweet after the Pulse nightclub shooting that attacked calls for stronger gun laws, and his 2015 warning to the parents of slain Virginia journalist Alison Parker to not become “so emotional” that they channel their “grief-inspired advocacy” to the wrong effect.

  • Violence against women is a guns issue, but not the way the NRA wants you to believe

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    After multiple reports of physical abuse came out against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the National Rifle Association’s media arm, NRATV, used the reports to falsely claim the solution to violence against women is more  gun ownership. In reality, the presence of firearms in households where there is domestic violence drastically increases the likelihood that women who live there will be killed or injured.

    A May 7 New Yorker article reported that four women say Schneiderman committed “nonconsensual physical violence” against them. According to the article, he “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent,” as well as choked them. Just hours after the story broke, Schneiderman announced his resignation.

    NRATV wasted no time using Schneiderman’s reported abuse of women as a pretext to slam gun regulation and push for female gun ownership as a means of defense against sexual assault and domestic violence. During the May 8 edition of her NRATV show Relentless, NRA national spokesperson Dana Loesch claimed that Schneiderman’s views on gun regulation were motivated by his abusive behavior, saying, “Let’s not forget that Schneiderman just hates lawful gun ownership. Hearing these stories about him it’s no wonder why. The last thing human filth like this would want is for a woman to be in a position to defend herself.”

    The next day on NRATV’s news show Stinchfield, Loesch said that it was “fitting that Eric Schneiderman is also anti-gun because predators such as men like him, they don’t like for their victims to be armed” and claimed that abusers are usually “far-left individuals who want women to remain victims and are absolutely aghast when women speak about their right to defend themselves”:  

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): I am tired of using the word hypocrisy over and over again for just about everything the left does, but once again here we are. I don’t know how else to describe it.

    DANA LOESCH: Well, it seems fitting that Eric Schneiderman is also anti-gun because predators such as men like him, they don’t like for their victims to be armed.

    [...]

    People like Eric Schneiderman and Harvey Weinsteins of the world -- he apparently was the Harvey Weinstein of New York politics -- these individuals, more often than not, they are far-left individuals who want women to remain victims and are absolutely aghast when women speak about their right to defend themselves or do anything else that would be in anyway considered self-empowerment. So I’m not surprised. I think hypocrites should feel the double force of the law, personally.     

    In actuality, there is a mountain of evidence that the presence of a firearm makes domestic violence situations more dangerous. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, “The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.” One study found that among women living in the United States, “about 4.5 million have had an intimate partner threaten them with a gun and nearly 1 million have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner.” Another study that interviewed women at women’s shelters found that 71 percent of women who reported living in a household with a firearm had been attacked or threatened with a gun, but only 7 percent had successfully used a gun in self-defense. In fact, a September 2013 Violence Policy Center study titled "When Men Murder Women" found that women were more than three times more likely to be murdered when there was a gun in their household.  

    According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.” On average, three or more women are murdered by their husbands and boyfriends every day. And one in four women have been the victim of severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime -- that's roughly 40 million women. The issue also disproportionately impacts women of color.   

    While the NRA continues to dangerously advocate for greater firearm ownership as a solution to violence against women, it has also historically fought efforts to strengthen laws to keep domestic abusers from accessing guns. The group also spent more than $30 million in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign and stood by him when a tape emerged of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. The organization used its NRATV platform to shill for Trump while accusations of sexual misconduct mounted against him, including pushing the claim that such reports were getting too much attention in the press.

  • Notorious misogynist and accused child molester Ted Nugent spoke at the NRA Women's Leadership Forum

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent was allowed to address the Women’s Leadership Forum at this year’s NRA annual meeting in Dallas, TX, despite his history of misogyny and reports that he engaged in sexual misconduct involving minors.

    In a May 5 Facebook post, Nugent shared this picture of himself speaking at the Women’s Leadership Forum, writing, “A grand American freedom celebration was had by all at the mighty NRA party in Dallas”:

    Nugent has a long record of making profane attacks against women, including telling a CBS News producer that he would “fuck” her in a lewd off-camera remark, claiming “fat chicks” will kill you, defining the term feminist as “some fat pig who doesn’t get it often enough,” calling former Attorney General Janet Reno a “dirty whore,” and referring to Hillary Clinton as both a “worthless bitch” and a “toxic cunt.”

    Back in the 1970s, a 30-year-old Nugent became the legal guardian of a 17-year-old girl with whom he had a romantic relationship. The woman later said, “It just really wasn’t a terribly appropriate situation in most people’s eyes. And now, it would be criminal.” In 2004, singer Courtney Love said that she performed oral sex on Nugent when she was 12 years old. According to Mediaite, “Nugent apparently declined to comment” about Love’s statement when she made it.

    The Women’s Leadership Forum was held on May 4 and billed as an event for “philanthropic women united with the mission of infusing new enthusiasm, new excitement, new leaders and new opportunities into the fight for Second Amendment freedoms.” This year’s forum featured professional sexist Tucker Carlson as its keynote speaker.

  • A gun that looks like a cellphone isn't the only tone deaf thing on display at the NRA annual meeting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    The National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting in Dallas, TX, this year. The event kicked off on May 3 with an evening banquet and is now in full swing with a three-day exhibition at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. In addition to exhibiting guns, ammunition, gun accessories, tactical gear, and other merchandise, the event features speeches, seminars, and workshops.

    The preeminent event at the annual meeting will be the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, which will begin at noon CST on May 4. (The Institute for Legislative Action, or ILA, is the NRA’s lobbying wing.) NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, chief lobbyist Chris Cox, and national spokesperson Dana Loesch are scheduled to speak at the forum. Elected officials speaking at the event include President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and several conservative media figures will round out the lineup. The following day will feature the event’s official “Annual Meeting of Members,” where the election results for the NRA's board of directors will be announced and other NRA business will be conducted.

    There are many notable facts about the event, but none highlight the disconnect between the NRA and public sentiment on firearms regulation and the role of guns in society more than a pistol featured in the exhibition hall that can be disguised to look like a cell phone:



    The pistol is manufactured by Ideal Conceal, whose website says, “Smartphones are EVERYWHERE, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment.” A demonstration video shows that the weapon can be pulled from a pocket, unfolded, and fired in just seconds.





    The display comes less than two months after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police in Sacramento, CA, after the cops mistook the cellphone he was holding for a gun. As Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the mass Parkland, FL, shooting, noted on Twitter, the existence of the firearm could be used as a pretext to justify police shootings of unarmed people:

    Here are some other highlights of the NRA’s annual meeting:

    Speeches, seminars, and other events

    • Trump’s will give a speech at the meeting for the fourth year in a row. The Kremlin reportedly sought to use the 2016 annual meeting as a venue to attempt to make “first contact” with Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • The meeting will have a “Women’s Leadership Forum” and the keynote speaker will be white nationalist favorite Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host. This isn’t the first time a Fox host has keynoted the event; Sean Hannity was the featured speaker in 2013.

    • The NRA announced that pro-Trump media figures Diamond and Silk will speak at the event’s NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. The announcement came just days after the duo appeared before Congress and made false statements under oath.

    • NRA board member Ted Nugent will be attending the meeting. Nugent has made several controversial statements this year including saying the Parkland shooting survivors are liars who “have no soul.” Nugent has been a regular figure at NRA annual meetings, where he’s talked about shooting former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called then-President Barack Obama “Osama Obama” and offered to “pilot” a boat to send him to Kenya.   

    • Discredited gun researcher John Lott will give a seminar on “false and misleading claims that will be made to advance gun control this year” ranging from “claims about Australia’s and the UK’s gun laws to … the true costs of expanded background checks to mass public shootings and gun-free zones.” His group, the Crime Prevention Research Center, will also have a booth.  

    • During the meeting’s “Youth Day,” the NRA will introduce children to firearms by using “nerf guns.” The NRA was previously criticized for pushing an ineffective program to teach kids gun safety and for rewriting children’s fairy tales to include pro-gun narratives.

    • The NRA has stated that no guns will be allowed in the arena during appearances by Trump and Pence at the behest of the Secret Service, undermining the NRA’s frequent claims that so-called “gun-free zones” imperil people’s lives, enable mass shootings, and draw terrorists.

    The exhibition hall

    • Smith & Wesson, the maker of the assault weapon used in the Parkland, FL, school shooting, will exhibit several products in the “Featured Product Center & Demo Area.” Smith & Wesson has donated more than $1 million to the NRA.

    • Aagil Arms, a sister company of TuffZone and the “official manufacurer (sic) of the Ted Nugent Signature Series upper assemblies,” will have a booth on the exhibit floor that will feature a line called “Ted Nugent’s American Spearchucker Series AR15-style Upper kits,” which reference an obscure racial slur.

    • Trump-supporting Liberty University, conservative Hillsdale College, and right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation -- entities with no direct connection to the gun industry  -- will all have booths at the meeting.

    • U.S. Border Patrol will also have a booth at the meeting, even though members of NRA leadership routinely demean and attack immigrants.  

    • There will likely be a lot of men. Eighty-five percent of attendees last year were men, according to information posted on the NRA annual meeting website for potential exhibitors.

    • According to The Texas Tribune, the NRA is “getting a free ride” for this event and will not pay the usual $410,000 rent for the space.