Colion Noir, a commentator and web series host for the National Rifle Association (NRA), warned the parents of slain journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward against becoming “so emotional” in response to the fatal shooting of their children that they channel their “grief-inspired advocacy” to the wrong effect.
The NRA and other opponents of stronger gun laws consistently argue that calls for new gun laws in the wake of a shooting tragedy are based on emotion rather than logic. Just hours after his daughter was killed, Andy Parker announced on national television that he would make it his “mission in life” to get stronger gun laws passed.
Parker's mother, Barbara Parker, said during an interview on CNN, “We cannot be intimidated, we cannot be pushed aside, we cannot be told that this fight has been fought before and that we're just one more grieving family trying to do something.”
On August 30, the NRA's Noir posted a video response to the shocking August 26 murder of Parker and Ward, which happened while they were filming a live news report. The two journalists worked for Roanoke, Virginia ABC affiliate station WDBJ and were killed by a disgruntled former co-worker.
Noir, who is the face of an NRA effort to influence a younger demographic, said in his video post that while he has “no right to tell any parent how to grieve for the loss of their child,” “sometimes in a fight we can become so emotional everyone and thing starts looking like the enemy, even if they're there to help us”:
NOIR: And to the parents of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, I have no right to tell any parent how to grieve for the loss of their child. Grief-inspired advocacy can be extremely effective and powerful and I say run full speed to find a way to end violence like this. However, sometimes in a fight we can become so emotional everyone and thing starts looking like the enemy, even if they're there to help us. I'm deeply sorry for your loss.
Noir wasn't as diplomatic throughout the rest of the video, saying at one point, “Turning this murder into a gun control dog-and-pony show minutes after the shooting because you can't make sense of what just happened is ridiculous.”
He also claimed that Hillary Clinton, President Obama, “and the rest of the gun control Wu-Tang Clan are so full of it” because “they try to take advantage of people's ignorance about guns and their emotional response to horrible events to win votes and push an agenda that fosters an unhealthy dependence on the government...”
Claiming that arguments in favor of stronger gun laws rely solely on emotions is a major strategy the NRA employs to try and shut down the debate over gun laws every time a shooting captures national headlines.
In a June 2014, a post on the website of the NRA's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), claimed that gun safety groups “use grieving victims to invoke an emotional response and spread misinformation falsely claiming that enacting their agenda would have prevented these tragedies and will prevent future tragedies.”