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Cydney Hargis

Author ››› Cydney Hargis
  • NRA and conservative media run with inaccurate report to try to make pro-gun point about the New Zealand mosque shootings

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch and several members of conservative media used an early news report -- that now appears to be erroneous -- to repeat a favorite NRA talking point, claiming that the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand were stopped by a “good guy” with a gun. While the NRA and Loesch have previously said that people shouldn’t debate gun policy in the immediate aftermath of high-profile shooting incidents, they set that rule aside in this instance to advance their pro-gun agenda.

    A mass shooting targeting two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left 49 dead on March 15. The gunman was reportedly inspired by white nationalism; before the shooting, he posted links to a manifesto that praised other mass shooters and listed white supremacists as his heroes. The gunman was charged with murder over the mosque attacks, which were livestreamed on his Facebook account.

    An initial article reported that during the attack on the second mosque, “a well known Muslim local chased the shooters and fire two shots at them as they sped off.” It was later reported that a man charged the gunman inside the mosque, took his firearm, and chased him outside while carrying his weapon, but did not fire any shots of his own. 

    Though the initial report does not seem to have been corroborated elsewhere, right-wing outlets and media figures still rushed to claim a “good guy” stopped the shooting. Loesch tweeted that a “Good guy with a gun” is making "terrorists afraid of ever targeting innocents again.”

    The “good guy with a gun” claim is an NRA and conservative media myth; there is no evidence that having more people carrying concealed guns is the way to stem public mass shootings.

    In recent years, the NRA has taken a two-fold approach in its response to high-profile instances of gun violence. If the NRA sees an opening to push its agenda, it will comment, but if not, the organization will say that everyone should avoid any commentary out of respect to the victims.

    For example, after the June 2015 mass shooting at a historically African-American church in Charleston, SC, the NRA claimed people promoting gun safety in its wake were “exploiting” the attack “for political purposes.”

    But after a gunman killed five members of the military at a naval facility in Chattanooga, TN, in July 2015, the NRA was quick to respond, claiming the incident provided proof that rules about service members carrying guns on military bases must be loosened.

    Loesch herself tweeted last month that “wisdom says to wait” to comment “until more details are known” after a gunman shot and killed five people at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, IL. But evidently this call to wait for facts before “exploiting” a tragedy doesn’t apply if the NRA is the one doing the exploiting.

  • Discredited researcher John Lott to testify before Congress about gun violence

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Gun violence researcher and National Rifle Association (NRA) favorite John Lott Jr. will testify as a witness in a congressional hearing on gun violence -- even though his work has been repeatedly debunked and discredited.

    On March 7, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to address “the public health emergency of gun violence.” In addition to Lott, other witnesses will include Ronald Stewart from the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, Andrew Morral from the Rand Corp., and leading gun violence researcher Daniel Webster from Johns Hopkins University.

    Lott is the founder and president of the conservative Crime Prevention Research Center and a frequent guest on NRATV, the media platform of NRA. Though he has made many attempts to position himself as a leading gun rights researcher, they have been unsuccessful as his work has been routinely discredited. For example, in his book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Lott pushed the myth that increased gun ownership, especially increased concealed weapons permits, results in fewer incidents of violent crime. The book was widely criticized, and the Stanford Law Review said Lott made his central claim “without credible statistical support.” Lott’s premise was in fact proved to be patently false; states with right-to-carry concealed handgun laws have higher rates of violent crime than states with no such laws.

    Lott was also a subject of an ethics inquiry in 2003, after he claimed in the second edition of his book that he had conducted a survey that showed that 98 percent of defensive gun uses involved people only brandishing a weapon. Lott couldn’t provide any evidence that he had conducted such a study and later claimed he lost the data in a computer crash.

    In response to widespread criticism of Lott's book, Mary Rosh, who claimed to be an old student of Lott’s, frequently defended him online for three years. In 2003, Lott admitted that Rosh was actually a pseudonym he had used to defend himself. According to The Washington Post, “The name is an amalgam of the first two letters of his four sons’ first names.”

    In 2014, Lott ghostwrote an op-ed for a female victim of stalking who advocated for campus carry. The piece was published on FoxNews.com, and the woman later told BuzzFeed that Lott pressured her into allowing him to submit a piece he had written.

    Most recently, Lott elevated a fringe conspiracy theory that bombs sent to prominent Democrats and media figures were false flags.

    Lott has long dismissed the fact that gun violence is a public health issue -- the same topic the upcoming congressional hearing will examine. He told CBS Evening News in 2015, “Every country in the world, or place in the world that has banned guns, has seen an increase in murder rates.” This claim falls apart when one looks at Australia’s homicide rate after the country’s lawmakers enacted sweeping gun safety legislation in 1996 -- the gun homicide rate fell by 59 percent and gun suicide rate by 65 percent in the decade after the laws were introduced.

    Lott made a similarly false statement after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that left 59 dead and hundreds wounded. In an opinion piece on FoxNews.com, he attacked the gun safety regulations that were proposed following the massacre, writing, “Europe, which has all the gun controls that are being pushed in the aftermath of the Las Vegas carnage, has actually suffered more bloodshed from these types of attacks than the U.S.”

    Lott also wrote in his piece that though countries in Europe have banned semi-automatic weapons, people have used automatic machine guns to commit murder, and pointed out that the Las Vegas massacre was the first mass shooting in the U.S. with an automatic weapon. This comparison is based on the very narrow subset of gun violence involving machine guns which intentionally ignores a number of attacks in the U.S. in which a semi-automatic rifle was used, such as the mass shootings in Newtown, CT, Orlando, FL, Sutherland Springs, TX and Parkland, FL. Lott also failed to mention that countries in Europe with much stronger gun laws than the U.S. have much lower homicide rates.  

    Lott’s history of flawed research and multiple ethical controversies shows why he should not be considered a credible source on gun violence.

  • NRATV launches last-ditch effort filled with falsehoods to counter House background check bill

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Hours before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on HR 8, a bill requiring universal background checks for gun sales, the National Rifle Association’s online broadcast outlet NRATV made a last-minute effort to push a deluge of falsehoods about the legislation, including claiming that it would “make felons out of good, hard-working Americans.”

    For the first time in over two decades, the House will vote on gun safety legislation that would require a background check on all firearm sales in the country. Under current federal laws, background checks are required only for gun sales through a licensed dealer. Individuals who do not have a license to sell firearms can still sell guns to others in “private” sales, which often occurs at gun shows, over the internet, or through newspaper classified ads. Under HR 8, the vast majority of gun transfers would now require a background check, although the new bill makes several exceptions for “gifts to family members” and for temporary transfers of firearms for “hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.”  

    During his February 27 broadcast, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield spewed falsehoods about the new bill, claiming it could cause gun purchasers to “wait up to 10 days” for a firearm. In fact, the bill does not include a waiting period, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System typically completes background checks for gun sales within a few minutes.  

    Stinchfield also falsely claimed that HR 8 would make “felons out of good, hard-working Americans because they made a mistake,” echoing the tired and false NRA talking point that background check bills seek to criminalize routine and obviously noncriminal gun use.  

    He went on to insist that the bill is “filled with feel-good ideas that do nothing” to impact gun violence and baselessly claimed there are “tens of thousands” of instances of unrecorded defensive gun uses.

    Among other misleading claims, Stinchfield questioned the constitutionality of requiring background checks for gun sales -- even though there is no serious legal debate over the constitutionality of such provisions -- and claimed that family members will have to “jump through hoops” to transfer firearms among themselves, even though the bill explicitly exempts many intrafamily transfers.

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Let’s make people pay a fee to exercise a constitutional right. That’s what the Democrats’ new universal background check bill will do. Let’s make law-abiding Americans wait up to 10 days for a gun because the federal government can’t do its job. That’s what the Democrats’ new universal background check bill will do. Let’s make sure people leave their guns in an empty house for days and sometimes weeks when they could leave them with a friend to watch over them. That’s what the new universal background check bill will do. Let’s make law-abiding Americans jump through hoops to transfer a gun even to a family member, while criminals will simply ignore the new law. That’s what the Democrats’ new universal background check bills will do. Let’s make felons out of good, hard-working Americans because they made a mistake. That’s what the Democrats’ new universal background check bill will do. The bill is filled with feel-good ideas that do nothing to actually stop the problem of violent individuals using guns for no good. It only puts a huge burden on the overwhelming law-abiding population of this nation. Again, the Democrats offer up legislation that depends on criminals to use the honor system. And I can tell you right now there is no honor among thieves or murderers or rapists or domestic abusers.

    STINCHFIELD: The lie -- as they always do, this is the Democrats’ go-to theme -- is the data shows universal background checks work. In fact, it is just the opposite. Study after study shows universal background checks do not work -- including universities half-funded by Michael Bloomberg have confirmed that universal background checks do not work to do anything to stop criminals from getting their guns. In fact, a United States study, out of the federal government, found that only 1.3 percent -- 1.3 percent of criminals got their gun from a retail establishment. Overwhelmingly, crooks [and] murderers will tell you they get their guns on the black market.        

    STINCHFIELD: If you want to look at statistics, there are tens of thousands of uses of firearms that are not recorded, that have saved lives. Simply someone drawing a firearm at a would-be criminal that is threatening them stops the crime. That’s never recorded anywhere. Guns in the hands of good people save lives. That is an absolute fact.  

    Requiring a background check for a gun sale is a deterrent for felons and other individuals who are prohibited by law from owning firearms. Even with the existing “private sale” loophole, the federal background check system has stopped more than 2.1 million prohibited sales since it was created in 1994. According to research highlighted by The Trace, a nonprofit media outlet that tracks U.S. gun violence, stronger background checks deter prohibited people by increasing the obstacles involved in obtaining a firearm. In a 2015 article, the outlet noted several states saw a drop in the number of prohibited persons applying to buy a firearm after the original background check system was created.

    There is no evidence to support Stinchfield’s claim that this bill will prevent the “tens of thousands of” uncounted defensive gun uses every year. The consensus among gun violence researchers is that firearms are used more often to commit crimes than to prevent them. In fact, defensive gun use is so rare that it’s difficult to measure. Researchers have instead conducted surveys asking respondents about different types of gun uses, and the results demonstrate that criminal gun uses far outpace defensive uses. 

    The NRA is claiming that expanding background checks on firearms sales will place a “huge burden” on gun owners. But even gun owners don’t seem to agree with this assessment; the vast majority of people who own firearms support requiring a background check for all sales. 

  • NRATV hosted members of the MSD commission to push for arming teachers in the year following the Parkland shooting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    In the year after the mass shooting at a Parkland, FL, high school, the National Rifle Association’s broadcast outlet NRATV developed a relationship with members of the state commission set up to analyze the response to the shooting and suggest security improvements, which included arming classroom teachers.  

    The 16-member panel was put together to “investigate system failures” and recommend policies for active shooter situations as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, a “sweeping school-safety law” signed by Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott a month after the Parkland school shooting left 17 dead. NRATV host Grant Stinchfield praised the legislation on the one-year anniversary of the shooting, calling the law “amazing” and reminding viewers that “the NRA worked hard to get [it] passed.” Among its recommendations, which were released in December, the commission called for arming teachers who undergo background checks and training.

    Commission members were chosen by state Republicans -- Scott, then-Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and then-Senate President Joe Negron. They initially included three Parkland parents in the commission, though Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, later resigned. The panel held its first meeting on April 24.

    On August 16, Pinellas County Sheriff and commission Chairman Bob Gualtieri appeared with NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch on her NRATV show Relentless and echoed a common NRA talking point that “police officers cannot be everywhere.” He claimed, “The unfortunate reality is is cops can’t be everywhere all the time, and if there had been a good guy with a gun on that campus or in that building, there’s no doubt in my mind that they would have been able to minimize the carnage.”

    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, a commission member, has made at least five appearances on NRATV’s Stinchfield and Cam & Co. since his appointment to repeat NRA talking points and push for more guns in schools. On November 28, Judd appeared on NRATV with host Grant Stinchfield to take credit for guiding his “dear friend” Chairman Gualtieri toward supporting armed teachers after he initially expressed discomfort with the idea:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Here we have another recommendation that teachers should be armed. Not surprising to you, but what do you think about this recommendation? Was it surprising to others in Florida?

    GRADY JUDD: Well, do you know, I don’t think it was a surprise to others in Florida because Senate Bill 7026, which we pushed through, mandates armed guardians or school resource officers on every campus. Sheriff Gualtieri is a dear friend of mine and chairs the commission -- I’m on that commission with him. I established that position early on as, you know, through my sentinel program. Bob originally -- Bob Gualtieri, the chair -- was not really comfortable with that. And as I worked with him -- and he and I are dear friends and are on several committees together. And the research we developed through this shooting, it was abundantly evident had teachers -- not all teachers; those that wanted to and were capable of and completed thorough training -- could have and would have saved lives that day. We know one teacher that was shot by our suspect, had actually pulled himself over into a corner, and then the suspect came back and shot him again, fatally killing him, obviously. But we know he would have shot and killed the active shooter had he had a firearm. Had he had that firearm, not only would his life have been saved but so would have a lot of other children in school that day. As I’ve said over and over, Grant, this is not something we want to do. When I was a kid in school, we didn’t have to have armed security on campuses. But this is a new normal and a new day. And we have to have someone there so if we can’t discover this active murderer, shooter, ahead of time, that when they arrive on campus, somebody is there to stop them before they can hurt our students and our teachers.

    STINCHFIELD: You know, sheriff, to me this is all common sense. I mean, I don’t really even think you need research to understand the very basic premise that [NRA executive vice president and CEO] Wayne LaPierre coined the phrase “The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I know that research has been done, it backs up your case, but to me it comes down to just simple common sense. You’ve got to meet a threat with equal or greater force. That’s the only way to stop a threat. This does that, doesn't it?

    JUDD: It absolutely does.     

    Two weeks later, on December 12, the commission released a draft report that listed “a series of failures by Broward County agencies and recommendations for avoiding a similar tragedy in the future,” the Sun-Sentinel reported. Among its other recommendations, the commission voted 14-1 to allow classroom teachers to carry guns provided they undergo background checks and training.  

    Less than a week after the draft report was released, Loesch revealed that Gualtieri told her information about the shooting that was released to the commission but not to the public. On her December 18 radio show, she said CCTV footage from inside the school showed that the gunman took seven to 10 seconds to reload, a longer time compared to “an adequately trained person” who “can reload in a second.” The commission submitted its final report to the governor and state legislature on January 2.

    The NRA has long advocated for putting armed personnel in schools, and even though NRATV ramped up its advocacy following the Parkland mass shooting, there is little to no evidence putting guns in schools will stop mass shootings. An FBI study of 160 active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2013 found that only four incidents were stopped by “armed individuals who were not law enforcement personnel” (three security guards and one licensed and armed citizen) -- compared to 21 incidents stopped by unarmed citizens. A working paper released in March 2018 by Johns Hopkins University education professor Sheldon Greenberg that relies in part on analyses of police officers’ confrontations with armed suspects also concluded that arming teachers would do more harm than good.  

  • There were three mass shootings last week that left fourteen dead, but cable news barely covered them

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    In the span of only a few days last week, three shooters killed a total of 14 people in three separate mass shootings in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana -- but you might not have heard about these incidents at all if you watched cable news. The shootings were barely discussed on the major cable networks, and the minimal coverage quickly faded away within days.

    On January 23, five women were killed in a SunTrust bank in Sebring, FL, after a 21-year-old gunman walked in and reportedly “shot every person he encountered.” The gunman then called the police himself and surrendered to a SWAT team after a brief standoff. He is now charged with five counts of capital murder for the deaths of Ana Piñon-Williams, Marisol Lopez, Cynthia Lee Watson, and two other victims who have not been named.

    In the days following the public mass shooting, cable news devoted scant coverage beyond mentioning the incident in headlines. From January 23-26, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC together covered the shooting for just over 20 minutes, including reading headlines and short teasers. The majority of the coverage occurred the day immediately after the incident. Fox News devoted about 12 minutes in total to the shooting, followed by CNN with just over 7 minutes, and MSNBC with only 22 seconds.

    The next day, January 24, a gunman in Rockmart, GA, killed four people -- Helen Rose Mitchell, Jaequnn Davis, Arkeyla Perry, and Dadrian Cummings -- and injured one more before fleeing to Indianapolis, IN, where he was taken into custody. The Polk County coroner said it was the worst crime experienced by the local community and compared the shootings to an “execution.”

    All three major cable networks ignored the Georgia mass shooting entirely.  

    Only two days later, on January 26, another 21-year-old gunman fatally shot his parents, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, in Ascension Parish, LA. The gunman then drove 30 miles northeast to Livingston Parish and allegedly fatally shot his girlfriend, Summer Ernest, along with her father, Billy Ernest, and brother, Tanner Ernest. A manhunt ensued before he was apprehended in Richmond County, Virginia on January 27. The Ascension Parish sheriff called the pair of shootings “one of the worst domestic violence incidents I’ve seen in quite a while.”        

    Yet the major cable news networks devoted similarly little coverage to the Louisiana shootings beyond immediate breaking news headlines. All together, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC again spent just over 20 minutes covering the incident, including reading headlines and short teasers, in the the three-day window following the shootings. From January 26-29, CNN gave the incident just over 11 minutes of coverage, followed by Fox with a little more than 9 minutes, and MSNBC with only 24 seconds.

    While both CNN and Fox did mention the sheriff’s statement that the shootings were considered “domestic violence incidents,” none of the minimal coverage of the Louisiana shootings provided viewers with any context about the well-documented links between easy access to firearms, domestic violence, and mass shootings. Here are some of the relevant facts they could have mentioned:

    • In the United States, one in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner, and “nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused.”
    • One study published in 2016 found that among women living in the United States at the time, “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.”
    • According to Everytown for Gun Safety, in more than half of U.S. mass shootings from 2009 through 2016, “the perpetrator also shot a current or former intimate partner or family member.”
    • A 2016 Associated Press analysis of FBI data concluded that “an average of 760 Americans were killed with guns annually by spouses, ex-spouses or dating partners between 2006 and 2014.”
    • Access to firearms only increases the likelihood that intimate partner violence will end with a woman dead.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched SnapStreamHD for “shoot” OR “shot” OR “gunman” OR “kill” or “Florida” OR “Sebring” OR “SunTrust” after January 22. All mentions of the shooting were timed, including teasers, headlines, and full segments.  

    Media Matters searched SnapStreamHD for “shoot” OR “shot” OR “gunman” OR “kill” OR “Rockmart” OR “Georgia” OR “Indianapolis” OR “Polk County.” All mentions of the shooting were timed, including teasers, headlines, and full segments.

    Media Matters searched SnapStreamHD for “shoot” OR “shot” OR “gunman” OR “kill” OR “Louisiana” OR “Virginia” OR “Livingston” OR “Ascension” after January 25. All mentions of the shooting were timed, including teasers, headlines, and full segments.

  • Dan Bongino’s rise from the swamps of Infowars and NRATV to contributor at Fox News

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Dan Bongino, the latest addition to Fox News’ lineup of contributors, is a former NRATV host and tea party congressional candidate who honed his conspiracy theories on the fringe platform Infowars. He is now bringing his attacks and smears on the investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election to Trump’s favorite network.  

  • Gun pitchman Sean Hannity got his firearm permit through an allegedly fraudulent scheme

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity has highlighted his gun ownership to push membership in the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. But a former NYPD lieutenant says he didn’t meet the qualifications for his New York City concealed carry permit and that he got it thanks to a “culture of corruption” in the New York Police Department’s License Division.

    According to a January 23 New York Daily News article, an ex-NYPD lieutenant spoke about what the paper described as “culture of corruption within the unit responsible for processing city gun permits” in the department and “favors for powerful people ordered by his supervisor.” One of those alleged favors was approval of a gun license for Hannity, who did not meet license qualifications, said the former lieutenant who is facing sentencing for his role in the gun permit bribery scheme.  

    A spokesperson for Hannity told the paper he has had a gun permit for the majority of the more than 20 years he’s been at Fox News, “has followed every legal and proper procedure,” and does not have a relationship with anyone in the NYPD licensing department.

    Hannity has repeatedly used his radio show to shill for the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), “the largest organization that’s dedicated to protecting those of us that are responsible gun owners before, during, and, God forbid, after any self-defense incident,” as he described it. He has advertised a USCCA giveaway offering “10 chances to win whatever your dream gun happens to be” and promoted membership following mass shootings. He said the association has a “family defense guide,” and if you read it you will “learn … how to survive a mass shooting” and “how to detect your attackers before they see you.”

    Hannity is also a longtime opponent of efforts to strengthen gun laws. The radio and TV host has insisted it’s a “misconception” that guns are dangerous and claimed, “They're only dangerous in the hands of a criminal.” Following the 1999 Columbine school shooting, Hannity pushed a common National Rifle Association talking point that instead of having stronger gun laws, the laws on the books should be better enforced, saying, “What good is the laws we have if we don't even enforce them?”

    During the April 11, 2013, edition of his Fox News Show, Hannity called the effort to strengthen gun laws after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT, “naked exploitation of dead children and grieving families”:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): If you look at Aurora, and you look at Newtown, there is nothing that’s been proposed here, not a single thing, that would have prevented the tragedy. Now I have a solution: I would put retired military, retired police in every school in the country, just like we protect presidents, politicians, Hollywood liberals, sports stars, and our money. Why not do that?  

    ...

    ANN COULTER: [Democrats] will exploit and play with these victims and say that their gun laws are going to do something. No, their gun laws are going to hurt the defense of the innocent.

    HANNITY: Listen, I got to tell you: It’s more than that. It’s naked exploitation of dead children and grieving families. It’s play acting, it’s feel good-ism, and I got to tell you something, the whole thing is grotesque, because not one of these -- not one of their proposals would have prevented what happened.             

    Hannity has also repeated common pro-gun talking points by insisting that mass shootings are “not a gun issue,” that “guns are not the problem, but they can be part of the solution,” and that it’s “shameful” to talk about gun safety after a mass shooting.  

    In perhaps his most unhinged act as both gun owner and gun shill, Hannity allegedly pointed a gun at Fox News contributor Juan Williams during an off-air incident at Fox News’ studios.

    Update (1/28/19): Approximately an hour after this story was published, Hannity read a new ad for USCCA during the first hour of his radio program. He said that “terror attacks can happen to anybody, any place, any time.” But instead of feeling “helpless in stopping them,” listeners can get a “complete mass shooting survival guide” from USCCA for free.      

  • Multiple polls show vast support for background checks. NRA's Dana Loesch says none of them count.

    Loesch discounted data as House prepares to consider an expanded background checks bill

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association spokesperson and NRATV host Dana Loesch said that she has “not seen any cross-tab data” showing almost unanimous support for requiring background checks on all gun sales despite years of polling showing just that.

    During the January 7 edition of her NRATV show Relentless, Loesch previewed the forthcoming introduction of a bipartisan U.S. House bill to expand background checks on gun sales and read House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement that “it is an honor” to introduce a bill “which 97 percent of the American people support.” Loesch took issue with the statistic, claiming she has “not seen any cross-tab data that at all supports that assertion whatsoever” and that she is “awaiting all of that.” In an interview with Loesch, NRA Institute for Legislative Action spokesperson Lars Dalseide claimed Pelosi is either “unaware of the facts” or is “spreading yet another false rumor”:

    DANA LOESCH (HOST): House Democrats are set to introduce their first salvo of gun control bills tomorrow. California Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Mike Thompson have chosen tomorrow’s date, January 8, for the unveiling -- the eighth anniversary of the Tucson shooting, which left six dead and 15 wounded including former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who will join Pelosi and Thompson in the Capitol. Says Pelosi, “It is an honor to join Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to answer their call by taking the first step to pass commonsense background checks, which 97 percent of the American people support.” Now Congresswoman Pelosi must be unaware that we have a background checks system, a system that is made possible thanks to the NRA. I’ve seen that 97 percent thrown around for quite some time, but yet have not seen any cross-tab data that at all supports that assertion whatsoever. And still am awaiting all of that. Joining me now to discuss is Lars Dalseide, spokesman for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.      

    In fact, a February 20, 2018, Quinnipiac poll -- conducted nearly one week after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL -- showed both 97 percent of all Americans and 97 percent of gun owners supported requiring all gun buyers to undergo a background check. The background check issue has been polled repeatedly over the last several years by different polling firms, and the results always show near-universal support for requiring checks.

    Dalseide echoed Loesch’s falsehood. And he made a dishonest comparison between polling on the background check issue and the outcomes of two 2016 state background check ballot initiatives -- i.e. not polls -- to falsely accuse Pelosi of spreading incorrect information:

    LARS DALSEIDE: As for Speaker Pelosi and her “97 percent,” if that were true then you have to wonder about why that’s not reflected when it comes to the polls. There were two huge universal background check ballot initiatives that came up in 2016, for example. And neither -- well, one of them broke 50 percent and the other one hit 50 or 48 percent. So to say that 97 percent of the public supports these universal background checks, either she’s unaware of the facts or just spreading yet another false rumor when it comes to gun control.      

    Notably, the NRA ran false attack ads against the Maine and Nevada background check ballot initiatives suggesting that the laws could easily land law-abiding gun owners in jail. When the public is plainly asked about support for requiring background checks for all gun sales, the answer is consistently near-universal support.            

  • NRATV correspondent used white nationalist talking point on air to fearmonger about immigrants

    Chuck Holton: Democrats want to “import” people from “the Third World” to counterbalance American voters

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Chuck Holton, a correspondent for the National Rifle Association's broadcast outlet NRATV, echoed a longtime white nationalist talking point when he accused the Democratic Party of trying to “import another group of voters” from “the Third World” in order to “to stay in power in perpetuity.”

    During the January 4 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield attacked Democrats in Congress for allegedly creating “fugitive havens” instead of supporting “anything that will make us safer along the border.” Holton agreed, claiming “they don’t care about border security” because they want to “import a new populace that will vote for them by offering them all these free benefits.”

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): I’ve seen no evidence that the Democrats have ever supported border security. Ever. They voted against Kate Steinle’s law. They voted against laws to keep gangbangers out. They love sanctuary cities. Give me one piece of evidence that the Democrats have supported anything that will make us safer along the border. All they have created are fugitive havens. Well, veteran Army Ranger and Frontlines correspondent Chuck Holton has been on this story for a very long time. Chuck, welcome to the program.

    CHUCK HOLTON (NRATV CORRESPONDENT): Yeah, good to see you, Grant. You are absolutely right. They don’t care about border security and that’s because they are trying to put together a voter base that will keep them in power in perpetuity. And they know that the American people are not going to allow them to stay in power in perpetuity, and so essentially what they’re trying to do is import another group of voters. They’re trying to import a new populace that will vote for them by offering them all these free benefits. Look, we have to address these pull factors that are bringing people out of -- basically all over the Third World, it’s not just the Western Hemisphere, it’s not just Latin America. I’ve been down there on the border, and I’ve seen people from India and Cameroon and Pakistan and Nepal and Afghanistan and all over Africa, Somalia. They’re all coming north and they’re all looking for the same thing. And that is, to win that lottery ticket and get across that easy-to-climb border fence that we’re seeing right there, and coming into the United States so that they can get a lot of free stuff. And, really, who can blame them?

    Describing immigration as “trying to import a new populace” from “the Third World” is a common tactic advanced by white nationalist publications including VDare and American Renaissance.

    Holton has a well-documented track record of using racist rhetoric, such as complaining that former President Barack Obama left a “mocachinno stain” on America, fearmongering about the Black Lives Matter movement committing mass violence against whites, and demanding Black people “join us in respecting authority and taking responsibility for your own actions.”

    Previously while speaking about immigration on NRATV, Holton repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that philanthropist George Soros is behind the migrant caravan, a remarkably similar conspiracy theory to the one that motivated a gunman who carried out a mass shooting in a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue in October. He also said that the migrant caravan is “an invasion under the guise of migration.”

    The NRATV correspondent also has a symbiotic relationship with white nationalists; he has previously repeated the white nationalist talking point that cultural “homogeneity” is responsible for low crime rates, repeatedly promoted the work of scientific racist Stefan Molyneux, and been praised by neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.