Conservative radio host and former National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch served as one of the faces of the group’s now-defunct insurance program for people who shoot someone and claim self-defense, which is now facing legal action for allegedly deceiving members.
On February 5, the New York Department of Financial Services filed civil charges against the NRA for allegedly acting as an unlicensed insurance provider and deceiving its members through misleading marketing practices. The charges also allege the pro-gun organization claimed it was offering members the lowest possible cost, but was taking “substantial royalties, sometimes more than 20 percent of the premiums paid.”
The NRA initially launched its Carry Guard training and insurance program in 2017, which purported to offer coverage should a member use their gun in a self-defense situation. The coverage offer included, according to The Trace, “liability insurance, ranging up to $150,000 in criminal-defense reimbursement and $1 million in a civil-liability protection for those opting for the top-shelf Gold package, which runs $31.95 per month.” It also offered “a 24-hour advice hotline and immediate access to money for bail and clean-up costs.”
A little over a year after Carry Guard was introduced, New York state launched an investigation into the insurance program, and Washington, California, and New Jersey quickly followed suit. Carry Guard insurance broker Lockton was forced to pay millions in fines to New York and New Jersey as a result of the investigations, and it blamed the NRA and its “inflammatory approach to marketing” for the legal troubles.
In July 2019, the NRA officially ended the insurance portion of Carry Guard, though the training portion of the program still exists.
Nationally syndicated conservative radio host Dana Loesch was the face of the Carry Guard program when it launched, in her capacity as NRA spokesperson and NRATV host. Loesch was featured in promotional materials for Carry Guard, including this ad which fearmongered about “thugs” and said the program was “developed by the organization gun owners trust most”:
In 2017 promotional materials posted to an NRA Carry Guard Facebook page, Loesch said of the program, “There is no other organization in the United States of America that can do what NRA has done with Carry Guard. No other organization comes close. No one cares like the NRA does” and “I will never carry a gun without carrying this.”
During a 2017 NRATV broadcast, Loesch touted the Carry Guard training and tied it to the insurance offering, saying that instructors informed her that she would actually be “completely legally justified” in opening fire earlier than she would have thought in the training scenarios and that “nobody has ever told me that. Ever.”
This is not the first time NRATV hosts promoted a shady NRA program. Both Loesch and Stinchfield relentlessly plugged the NRA’s School Shield -- a free program to assess school security measures. But according to NRA’s former advertising firm Ackerman McQueen, the program was nothing more than a fundraising front which the organization never had any intention of fully rolling out.