NRA Absolves Corporate Donor That Made Sandy Hook Gun: Blaming Bushmaster “Like Blaming Kleenex For The Flu”

A new commentary video from the National Rifle Association argues that blaming the manufacturer of the assault weapon used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is “like blaming Kleenex for the flu.”

On December 14, 2012, a gunman used a Bushmaster XM-15 E2S assault weapon to kill twenty children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

NRA News commentator Natalie Foster complained about a “lack of accuracy and shoddy research” leading to an anti-gun bias in the media and argued, “Bushmaster, for instance, was blamed for Sandy Hook. It's like blaming Kleenex for the flu” in an October 15 commentary video.

Bushmaster's parent company, Remington Outdoor Company (ROC), is a major NRA donor. ROC -- then known as Freedom Group -- has given the NRA between $1,000,000 and $4,999,999 in corporate donations, according to a September 2013 report from gun violence prevention group Violence Policy Center. ROC's CEO, George Kollitides, is deeply enmeshed with the NRA. Kollitides was appointed to the NRA board of directors nominating committee after failing to win a spot on the board in the 2009 elections. He made another unsuccessful board run in 2013. Despite failing to garner the support of the NRA's voting members, Kollitides has also served as a trustee to the NRA Foundation.

In her commentary video, Foster also attempted to criticize a Rolling Stone article on the “most dangerous guns in America,” but ended up displaying a lack of basic firearms knowledge.

In a July 14 article, Rolling Stone reporter Kristen Gwynne used “firearm trace data from the ATF, as well as FBI homicide records,” to identify “the types of guns most often recovered from crime scenes and/or used in murders.” The most common types of weapons are, in descending order: pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, and derringers.

Foster claimed that Gwynne's article “details which guns are the deadliest according to statistics that don't actually exist.” The statistics do exist, and are publicly available on the websites of the ATF (download) and FBI.

Foster also criticized Gwynne for listing pistols and revolvers as separate classifications of weapons. (In her article Gwynne used the same classification system used by the ATF.) According to Foster, “Note to Ms. Gwynne, revolvers actually are pistols and it's kind of a major detail to miss actually.” In modern parlance revolvers are not pistols. According to Reducing Firearm Injury and Death: A Public Health Sourcebook on Guns, “Revolvers are handguns with rotating cylinders. The term pistol has come to mean handguns other than revolvers, but the first revolvers were simply modifications of the pistol.” Both revolvers and pistols are types of handguns. For example, on the Smith & Wesson website, pistols and revolvers are listed as two categories of handguns:

Similarly Ruger separates out the handguns that it manufactures by distinguishing between pistol and revolver:

The video concluded with Foster mocking the epidemic of gun violence in the United States by purporting to name “what the leading cause of wrecks on the road are” which included “fast cars” and “cars with wheels”:

FOSTER: These reporters are not interested in truth. They're interested in defamation. Missing are the positive facts about gun ownership that my colleagues here at NRA News outline on a daily basis.

But if we are going to take this level of information as standard, well, I'm happy to report that we've learned what the leading cause of wrecks on the road are. Turns out it's sports cars, red cars, fast cars, cars with passengers in them, and cars with wheels. It's an epidemic and we must do something about it. Lesson learned here, just because it's written and published doesn't make it true.