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Timothy Johnson

Author ››› Timothy Johnson
  • Kelly Jones speaks out: My marriage to Alex Jones was a “domestically violent situation”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Alex Jones' ex-wife Kelly Jones said the prominent conspiracy theorist was violent toward her during their marriage.

    Jones described her “nightmare” marriage during a wide-ranging April 3 interview on the David Pakman Show in which she talked about an ongoing custody dispute with her ex-husband, his threats last year against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and his rise as a prominent backer of President Donald Trump. The couple divorced in 2005.

    Kelly said that she and her ex-husband met after she moved to Austin, TX, and was working for a public access TV station where they had the same producer. While initially drawn to him because he was “different than anybody I had ever met,” she said that several years into the relationship, “suddenly I was living in a domestically violent situation completely isolated from all friends and family.”

    Citing what she described as her ex-husband’s “lack of control,” anger problems, and substance abuse issues, Jones said, “It was a nightmare to be with him, it was horrible, and especially towards the end it was awful, untenable.” Jones said she stayed in the relationship for as long as she did because she was in "a domestic violence cycle." But she said when she saw her children “starting to emulate” some of their father’s mannerisms, she concluded that “like a lot of domestic violence victims” she was “fooling” herself that “this isn’t having an effect on them.”

    Jones said that she is speaking out to help others who may be in similar situations, telling Pakman, “The reason why I’m coming out so hard, too, is I divorced Alex Jones. And everybody looked at me and gaslit me and said I was a liar and worse and treated me horribly, victim-shamed me when I came forward with serious concerns about abuse, and neglect, and other things.”

    “If that can happen to me with Alex Jones, there’s people back there all over Travis [County in Texas] and all over this country who don’t have the possibility of this kind of publicity because they didn’t divorce a notorious unwell person. But I did. Doesn’t that concern you, America, that this is happening in family court?”

    Two former employees of Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet recently filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging abusive behavior from Jones and other Infowars employees while on the job. He is currently embroiled in controversy over his attacks against student survivors of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, and he is facing defamation lawsuits brought by individuals he or his outlet falsely identified as being involved in recent mass casualty events.

    Kelly Jones’ full interview is below:

  • The Trump campaign and the RNC are advertising on Alex Jones’ YouTube channel

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    The Trump Make America Great Again Committee -- a joint fundraising operation run by President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee -- is running a campaign advertisement on toxic conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel.

    Media Matters observed the ad just a day after Jones used his YouTube channel to depict survivors of the Parkland school shooting as members of the Hitler Youth:

    During the March 27 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones broadcast a video that dubbed a Hitler speech over Parkland survivor David Hogg’s speech at the March For Our Lives gun violence rally and depicted Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez and other march participants as members of the Hitler Youth.

    Jones has been at the forefront of pushing conspiracy theories about survivors of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Jones also pushed conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting -- labeling it “a giant hoax,” “staged,” and “fake” -- and has called other mass shootings and national tragedies “staged” “false flag” events. (He often claims that contrary to official accounts, attacks and other mass casualty events are carried out by his political opponents.)

    Jones was an early Trump backer, and the president appeared on his show in December 2015 to praise Jones’ “amazing” reputation. Jones says he has been in touch with Trump during his presidency and brags that his communiques reach the president during his “executive time.”

  • The NRA is running ads on Parkland conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel

    UPDATE: The NRA’s media operation, NRATV, is also running ads on Jones’ channel

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While many major brands are ensuring that their ads do not appear on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel, the National Rifle Association is continuing to advertise with Jones.

    CNN reported on March 3 that it had “discovered ads on InfoWars' channels from companies and organizations such as Nike (NKE), Acer, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Network, the Mormon Church, Moen, Expedia (EXPE), Alibaba (BABA), HomeAway, Mozilla, the NRA, Honey, Wix and ClassPass.” Many companies that were running ads on Jones’ YouTube channel told CNN that they terminated the ads after being made aware of them.

    The NRA, however, is continuing to run ads, like this one that appeared before a video of NRA board member Ted Nugent’s February 26 appearance on Jones’ show:

    Jones has pushed conspiracy theories about numerous mass shootings, including calling the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School “fake” and a “giant hoax.” Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, last month, Jones has waged a campaign against several student survivors who have spoken out about gun violence, claiming that the students are “Democratic Party operatives” and are “scripted.”

    Jones has become a vocal supporter of the NRA since the gun group’s release of a 2017 ad that critics say was an incitement to violence against critics of President Trump. Following the Parkland shooting, Jones invited Nugent on his show to make an NRA membership pitch. This past weekend, Jones visited Nugent at his house; he says he will broadcast footage of that interview this week.

    UPDATE:

    NRATV, the NRA’s 24/7 online media outlet, is also running ads on Jones' channel. This ad featuring NRATV commentator Dom Raso was observed on March 6:

  • A top NRATV commentator keeps promoting the work of a racist YouTube conspiracy theorist

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton frequently retweets Stefan Molyneux, a far-right commentator who is known for promoting scientific racism, eugenics, and white supremacy in a video series posted on Youtube.

    According to a review of his Twitter account, Holton -- who is a daily contributor and sometimes guest host for the National Rifle Association's “news” show on its NRATV network -- has retweeted Molyneux at least 33 times since August 2017.

    On February 19, Holton retweeted a Molyneux statement that promoted links between race, IQ, and crime -- a basic tenet of scientific racism:

    Holton has also replied to a number of tweets from Molyneux’s account, including telling Molyneux that “white farmer murders in South Africa” was an under-covered news story:

    Holton has also replied to a Molyneux tweet to say “apparently white lives don't matter” in reference to South Africa. In recent years, white nationalists including Molyneux have promoted false claims of “white genocide” in South Africa.

    Molyneux has been described as a libertarian blogger but in recent years has branched out to promoting racist commentary as well, drawing plaudits from white nationalists and neo-Nazis. He has also been accused of leading a cult that urges people to cut off all contact with their friends and family members. In particular, Molyneux is a promoter of scientific racism, an approach that attempts to cloak discredited arguments that certain races are inferior in an academic veneer.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Molyneux as a commentator who “amplifies ‘scientific racism,’ eugenics and white supremacism to a massive new audience” and “has encouraged thousands of people to adopt his belief in biological determinism, social Darwinism and non-white racial inferiority.”

    A recent profile of NRATV in The New York Times noted that the outlet’s “hosts are not shy of trading in racially charged language and imagery,” before citing a racist tweet about former President Obama sent by Holton.

    Holton has written that “there is plenty of proof that black culture is inherently more violent than other cultures.” During an August 2016 appearance on the NRA’s talk radio program, Holton made a number of racist statements and told people to watch a Molyneux video that had been well-received in the white nationalist community.

    “You know my definition of white privilege?” Holton asked. “It’s just simply the culture that we have created, that our fathers and grandfathers have worked hard to create.” He went on to claim white privilege is “a culture of individual responsibility, where you take responsibility for your own actions, a culture that respects authority,” while adding that “if you live in that inner-city community and you don't like it, you are welcome to join our community and take advantage of this ‘privilege’ that we have any time you want” and that “you're welcome to come. All you have to do is join us in respecting authority and taking responsibility for your own actions.”

    More recently, Holton has used his NRATV platform to whip up fear that the group Black Lives Matter is prepared to commit mass rape and murder against white people.

    NRATV previously employed another Molyneux proponent, conservative commentator Bill Whittle, who went on Molyneux’s program to promote scientific racism and make other racist claims. Whittle left NRATV in September 2017. An Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate's campaign recently rescinded an invitation for Whittle to serve as keynote speaker at a fundraiser after learning about his history of racist commentary on Molyneux’s show.

    NRATV’s incendiary content is currently making headlines, with The Hill noting that “multiple online petitions are calling on Apple, Amazon and other streaming services to cut ties” with the outlet.

  • President Donald Trump runs with conservative media’s horrible idea of arming teachers

    Even the NRA used to have a “zero tolerance” position against arming teachers

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    President Donald Trump is pushing a fringe idea to arm school teachers that has been promoted by conservative media and the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

    Trump made the proposal during a February 22 meeting at the White House, suggesting that armed teachers could receive a pay bonus. He also defended the idea on Twitter, promising that it would end attacks at schools:

    Trump continued to push armed teachers during his speech at CPAC: 

    According to NBC News, “Gun violence experts, educators, and school safety advocates immediately panned the idea.”

    Trump’s outrageous proposal has its roots in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. After that attack, conservative media figures increasingly began pushing the idea of arming teachers, and the proposal was also backed in a post-Sandy Hook report issued by the NRA. The push to arm teachers has come full circle, with conservative media now celebrating the president’s adoption of their idea.

    There is no evidence that arming teachers will stop school shootings. Even the NRA used to acknowledge this fact. After the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a speech at the gun group’s annual meeting where he said, “We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period ... with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.”

    Even armed individuals with extensive firearms training have failed to stop school shootings. In the case of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, an armed deputy present at the school took a defensive position outside the building where the shooting was taking place and never went inside to confront the gunman, contrary to  department policies. At Columbine, an armed police officer present at the high school attempted to fire on one of the shooters, but was quickly pinned down by the greater firepower of the shooter's assault weapon. Jeanne Assam, a retired police officer who did actually stop a gun rampage at a Colorado church in 2007, has rejected the notion of arming teachers, telling CNN in 2012 that “a teacher wants to be a teacher. He or she doesn't want to be a police officer” before concluding that the proposal is “ridiculous.”

    Proposals to arm teachers do not appreciate the reality of the highly chaotic scene an active shooter incident creates. According to the Violence Policy Center, research has shown that “trained law enforcement officials have only an average 20 percent hit ratio in armed confrontations, meaning that only 20 percent of shots fired hit the intended target.”

    Some states already allow teachers to carry guns, although it’s unclear whether the educators widely adopt the practice. But when armed teachers make headlines, it is not for stopping school shooters. As HuffPost noted:

    In September 2014 at Idaho State University, a teacher accidentally shot himself in the foot when his concealed handgun discharged. Students in the chemistry class watched.

    Later that month at a Utah elementary school, a teacher carrying a concealed weapon accidentally shot herself in the leg as she used the restroom.

    In 2016, a group of elementary school students in Pennsylvania found a loaded gun in the bathroom after a teacher accidentally left it behind.

    In general, the presence of firearms makes people less safe. Research has demonstrated time and time again that keeping a gun in the home increases the risk of homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings. The concealed carry of firearms -- which conservative media claim without evidence to be a solution to mass public shootings -- also makes people less safe. Instead of preventing crime, laws allowing permissive gun carry increase violent crime and are particularly associated with aggravated assault.

    In addition to carrying out their teaching responsibilities, teachers, if armed, would be tasked with preventing students from accessing their firearm. As Lily Eskelsen García, president of National Education Association, explained in a statement opposing Trump’s proposal, “Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators.” And as Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, noted, “We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharp shooters; no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15.”

  • The NRA’s new talking point about background checks is bullshit

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) leadership has broken its silence following last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Comments made by its leadership at CNN’s February 21 town hall on gun violence and during speeches at CPAC indicate that the NRA is coalescing around a misleading talking point that attacks the national background check system for gun purchases.

    Three different times during a 24 hour period, NRA leadership bemoaned that states are not required to submit disqualifying records into the background check system:

    • At CNN’s town hall, NRA national spokesperson Dana Loesch said, “We had three lawmakers on this stage and only one of them hinted at reinforcing the background check system. It is only as good as the records submitted to it. Only one of them even got anywhere close to mentioning that. We have to have more than 38 states submit records.” Loesch also asked Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez, “Do you know that it is not federally required for states to actually report people who are prohibited possessors, crazy people, people who are murderers?”

    • Loesch used the talking point again during her February 22 speech at CPAC, saying, “I want you to all ask yourselves, where are the stories about how only 38 states submit less than 80 percent of criminal convictions to the background checks system. It’s only as good as what’s submitted to it. How many of you knew that? No. Why isn’t [Sen.] Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] calling for that? I have to question whether or not they want this system to fail.”

    • NRA CEO LaPierre hit the same point to attack the press during his speech, saying, “No one gets ratings by telling the truth about how to stop mass killers. So they don’t report that 38 states submit less than 80 percent of their felony convictions to the system, leaving more than 7 million felony convictions in the dark.”

    There’s one major problem with this talking point: The NRA’s actions are the reason states can’t be required to submit disqualifying records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

    During the 1990s, the NRA backed a lawsuit Printz v. United States that sought to block the implementation of NICS, which was created by the 1993 Brady Bill.  

    While the system eventually went into effect, the outcome of Printz damaged its effectiveness, as the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in favor of the NRA’s argument that requiring states to perform background checks for a federal system violated the 10th Amendment.

    The ruling also had implications on whether states can be required to submit disqualifying records into the background check system. As the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence explains, “Federal law cannot require states to make information identifying people ineligible to possess firearms available to the federal or state agencies that perform background checks” because “case law suggests that a federal statute requiring states to disclose records to the FBI would violate the Tenth Amendment” due to the Printz ruling.

    As a result of this state of affairs, all Congress can do is encourage states to submit records using a carrot-and-stick system that provides incentives and disincentives for states to submit records.

    In Loesch’s CPAC comments, she asked “Why isn’t Dianne Feinstein calling for” more records to be put in the system. In fact, Feinstein is the co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) that would further incentivize states to provide records into the system.

    LaPierre revived the NRA’s past claim today at CPAC that the NRA should be credited for the creation of NICS. But the reality is that when the law was being considered as legislation, the group tried to stymie it at every turn, and once it was enacted attempted to sue it out of existence.

  • NRA national spokesperson Dana Loesch lied to Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had a simple question for National Rifle Association (NRA) national spokesperson Dana Loesch during CNN’s gun violence town hall: “Do you believe that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic ... weapons and the modifications for these weapons to make them fully automatic, like bump stocks?”

    Instead of providing the NRA’s well established positions on these questions, Loesch gave a series of dishonest explanations that sought to hide the NRA’s fringe absolutism against gun regulation.

    After some niceties, Loesch purported to answer Gonzalez's question by saying, “I don't believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm, ever. I do not think that he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon. That's number one.”

    According to Loesch, “This individual was nuts and I, nor the millions of people that I represent as a part of this organization, that I'm here speaking for, none of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm.”

    Loesch was lying.

    The NRA opposes adding prohibiting categories to the gun background check system that could have included the Stoneman Douglas gunman. As the NRA’s website states, “NRA opposes expanding firearm background check systems, because background checks don’t stop criminals from getting firearms.” It also opposes a policy called a “Gun Violence Restraining Order” or a “Red Flag” law that has been widely cited as a policy that could have stopped the gunman from having access to firearms. These laws allow family members and law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily remove people’s access to firearms who are a danger to themselves or others.

    Loesch’s dishonesty didn’t stop with that claim. Moments later, while talking about the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Loesch said, “It is not federal law for states to report convictions to the NICS system. It's not federally mandated.” Loesch also argued that the states can convict a person, they "can adjudicate the mentally unfit," but "if a state does not report it to the National Crime Information Center, when you run that form, this individual -- this madman passed a background check." (NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre also used this talking point in his February 22 speech at CPAC.)

    What Loesch failed to mention is that states can’t be required to report disqualifying records because of the outcome of a 1997 NRA-backed lawsuit Printz v. United States.

    The lawsuit was the NRA’s attempt to invalidate the entire national background check system in court before it could be implemented. While the system eventually went into effect, the outcome of Printz damaged its effectiveness, as the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in favor of the NRA’s argument that requiring states to perform background checks for a federal system violated the 10th Amendment.

    The ruling also had implications on whether states can be required to submit disqualifying records into the background check system. As the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence explains, “Federal law cannot require states to make information identifying people ineligible to possess firearms available to the federal or state agencies that perform background checks” because “case law suggests that a federal statute requiring states to disclose records to the FBI would violate the Tenth Amendment” due to the Printz ruling.

    So far, none of Loesch’s answers were actually about semi-automatic weapons or bump stocks. Gonzalez then interceded to say, “I think I'm gonna interrupt you real quick and remind you that the question is actually, do you believe it should be harder to obtain these semi-automatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic, such as bump stocks?”

    Loesch didn’t mention semi-automatic weapons, but offered some muddled comments about bump stocks and said, “So, that answers your question.” (The organization has a deceitful position on the issue that decreases the chances they will be eventually banned.)

    The NRA had a responsibility to offer straightforward, honest statements about gun policy at CNN’s gun violence town hall, but instead what Loesch offered were lies and spin.

  • Here’s who the National Rifle Association is choosing to represent it at a CNN gun violence town hall

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & CYDNEY HARGIS

    On February 21, CNN will host a town hall on gun violence set to include a wide spectrum of people affected by the Parkland, FL, school shooting. The National Rifle Association was invited to participate and chose to send its national spokesperson, Dana Loesch, to join "students, parents and community members" at the event, breaking with its decision to not participate in a similar 2016 CNN town hall. The NRA’s decision to send Loesch, who is also a far-right conservative commentator with a long history of inflammatory rhetoric, to represent the organization in a town hall discussion about gun safety and legislation that includes survivors of a mass school shooting, clearly demonstrates the extremist, fringe views the NRA has embraced to advance its cause.

  • The NRA was tasked with preventing the next Newtown. Instead, it helped train the Florida school shooter.

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    NRA Foundation -- the National Rifle Association subsidiary responsible for the group’s school safety initiative -- helped fund the marksmanship training of the gunman who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, this week.

    The Associated Press reports that the NRA Foundation gave a $10,827 grant to an air rifle program that gunman Nikolas Cruz participated in. According to one of his teammates, Cruz was a “very good shot.” The NRA Foundation’s website says it has “awarded nearly $335 million in grant funding in support of the shooting sports” since 1990.

    The NRA Foundation -- the “charitable” wing of the NRA --  is also where your money goes if you donate to an NRA program called “National School Shield,” the gun group’s purported solution to school shootings.

    National School Shield was first mentioned in December 2012 during a speech by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre a week after a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. When the program debuted in April 2013, NRA spokesperson (and current Arkansas governor) Asa Hutchinson claimed its findings were “independent” from the NRA. The program pushes more guns in schools, including arming teachers, and has been touted by the NRA’s media arm in the wake of the latest school shooting.

    Despite the claims of independence, National School Shield’s domain was registered by the NRA five days after Newtown:

    The National School Shield website currently  solicits donations for NRA Foundation with the tagline, “If We Truly Cherish Our Kids, We Must Give Them The Greatest Level Of Protection Possible”:

    At the bottom of the donation page, the website says, “Thank you for supporting The NRA Foundation and the future of our firearms heritage.”

    A disclosure provided on the website explains that the “NRA will receive 100% of the gross revenue generated by this solicitation,” and that “contributions raised will be used to advance the mission of the NRA.”         

    The NRA Foundation was supposed to prevent future school shootings. Instead, it helped fund the training for the latest school shooter.

  • 8 ridiculous NRA defenses of the AR-15

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In the wake of yet another massacre carried out with an AR-15 assault weapon, here are eight ridiculous defenses of the murder machine from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a major recipient of donations from assault weapons makers:

    1. Banning assault weapons is like racial discrimination

    Discussing Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) bill to ban assault weapons following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, past NRA president and current NRA board member Marion Hammer said, “Banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again: the color of a gun, the way it looks. It's just bad politics.”

    2. The NRA put on demonstrations of the AR-15 that downplayed the weapon’s capabilities by highlighting how it makes smaller bullet holes than some other guns​

    In 2013, the NRA held two AR-15 demonstrations at the shooting range it has at its national headquarters, one for Fox News show Hannity and the other for its own media outlet, then called NRA News. Each demonstration dishonestly highlighted the small bullet hole the weapon makes compared to some other guns in order to to downplay the weapon’s lethality. In fact, the AR-15 inflicts grievous harm on human bodies, even in comparison to other commonly owned firearms.

    3. The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was carried out with handguns (it was carried out with an AR-15)

    Months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, NRA board member Ted Nugent cited a conspiracy theory surrounding the tragedy to claim that “no so-called assault weapon was used in the grisly murders of the children and teachers in Newton,” but that instead “NBC has reported the butcher used four handguns.” The day after the shooting NBC had reported that only handguns were recovered at the site, but corrected its reporting the same day. The weapon used in the attack was an AR-15 manufactured by NRA donor Bushmaster.

    4. Blaming AR-15 manufacturer Bushmaster for Sandy Hook is like “blaming Kleenex for the flu​"

    Then-NRA News commentator Natalie Foster made the claim in a 2014 video released by the NRA:

    5. If the Founding Fathers had foreseen the invention of the AR-15, they would have “fortified” the Second Amendment “in stone”

    Days after a gunman used an AR-15 to massacre churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, TX, (and weeks after a gunman used assault weapons to carry out a massacre in Las Vegas), the NRA released a video that encouraged people to buy more AR-15 weapons. NRATV commentator Dom Raso said in the video, “I guarantee if the Founding Fathers had known this gun would have been invented, they wouldn't have rewritten the Second Amendment -- they would've fortified it in stone. Because they knew the only way for us to stay free was by having whatever guns the bad guys have.”

    6. The AR-15 is “easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable” and more people should buy it as protection from terrorists

    The NRA released another video days after the Pulse nightclub shooting also narrated by Raso. The video made a number of arguments praising the abilities of the AR-15: “It’s easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable." All these characteristics also inadvertently explained how the Pulse gunman was able to kill and wound so many people in a short period of time:

    7. The AR-15 as a good defense against the government

    On June 15, 2017, one day after Rep. Steve. Scalise (R-LA) was shot and others were wounded in a mass shooting, then-NRATV commentator Bill Whittle said, “I personally think it is a mistake for people to say [the AR-15] is used for hunting, or it's used for target shooting. I have my AR-15 to kill people.” Whittle added, “I am not worried about a deer breaking into my house at 4 o’clock in the morning and coming through the window and maybe murdering me or raping my wife, or anything. I am not worried so much about a coalition of deer marching people into extermination camps.”

    He also added, “My weapons are here to defend me against my government.”

    (Whittle left NRATV in September 2017. He was recently uninvited to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for an Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate after his history of making racist comments was raised.)

    8. Regulating the AR-15 “is a war on women”

    During a discussion of assault weapons days after the Pulse massacre, Dana Loesch appeared on Fox News to claim proposals to regulate the AR-15 were “about disarming women” and were a “war on women.” Earlier that day the NRA had announced Loesch had been hired to be the group’s “Special Adviser on Women’s Policy.” She is now the NRA’s national spokesperson.