One day after a California school shooting left two dead and three injured, the National Rifle Association issued a tweet that misleadingly credited the NRA and legislation it pushed with saving lives.
On November 14, a 16-year-old gunman opened fire with a .45-caliber pistol at his high school just outside of Los Angeles, killing two students and injuring three others before turning the gun on himself. The victims and survivors were all Saugus High School students, and the gunman remains in hospital in “grave condition.”
In a November 15 tweet, the NRA highlighted that the first responders on scene were off-duty police officers, before applauding itself for being “the driving force in the passage of LEOSA, allowing qualified off-duty current/retired officers to carry.”
Originally passed in 2004, the Law Enforcement Safety Act (LEOSA) gave current law enforcement officers in good standing, and former officers who retired in good standing, a government ID to carry a concealed weapon.
While the first responders at Saugus High School were off-duty police officers dropping their children off, and they did “likely” save lives according to authorities, they did not use firearms -- like the NRA tweet suggests -- and instead issued first aid. According to CNN, three off-duty officers “entered the school within seconds” of hearing gunshots, saw the gun, and “figured the threat was likely over and focused on saving victims.” The shooting unfolded in 16 seconds after the gunman’s firearm jammed and he ultimately turned it on himself.
This is not the first time the NRA has altered the details of mass shootings in order to credit guns with saving lives. Then-NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch ran with an inaccurate report that the Christchurch mass shooting in New Zealand was stopped by a “good guy with a gun.” In actuality, a man inside the mosque where the shooting took place chased the gunman out and took his firearm but did not fire any shots.