National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent claimed the heroic response to the Boston Marathon bombings “represents” the NRA before attacking the “anti-Americanism” of the Obama administration for allegedly seeking to eliminate the Second Amendment.
Nugent's comments occurred during the April 16 broadcast of NRA News where he described the heroics of people who ran towards the scene of the bombings before claiming “that represents what the NRA is”:
NUGENT: Those uniformed heroes of the military charged in with the uniformed heroes of law enforcement, the first responders, the EMTs, and quite relative to my opening statement today, citizens, just people, American citizens knowing that two bombs had gone off, limbs had been blown off of peoples' bodies, massive amounts of blood and terror and trauma. And where did civilians and heroes of professional organizations and law enforcement and military, where did they run? Straight into the danger. That's the America that I pray every day that represents what the NRA is.
Nugent then said that Americans “will charge into the most dangerous times when the top officials in the American government really want to eliminate the Second Amendment” and claimed that “anti-Americanism” exists in the Obama administration:
NUGENT: It's families, it's mom and pop America, working hard playing hard America who understand what makes America special and unique that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is the guiding light to the greatest quality of life in the history of the world and we will charge into the most dangerous times when the top officials in the American government really want to eliminate the Second Amendment, when [Sen.] Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] says I would take away all of their guns if I could. She said it on film, Cam.
CAM EDWARDS, HOST: Yeah.
NUGENT: Where the Attorney General [Eric Holder] says we need to brainwash people. I know that that kind of anti-Americanism exists, but why can't we communicate with those who we oppose on the gun control issue, on the tax issue, on the court system, on the welfare issue, ad nauseum? Why can't we somehow, and I believe we can if we continue to communicate and turn up our activism heat, why can't we create an America that is united constantly like we're united when terror strikes?
Nugent's use of the heroics of the Boston Marathon bombing as a platform to attack the Obama administration comes a week after he said on NRA News that not enough was done to stop the reelection of President Obama before asking, “When I kick the door down in the enemy's camp, would you help me shoot somebody?” Nugent clarified that his reference to shooting people was “a metaphor” and that he was “not recommending shooting anybody.”
Nugent also criticized a proposal to expand background checks on gun sales created by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), claiming that it is “the rudest thing we can do on the graves of those dead innocent victims of mass murder because it's not addressing anything that will save lives in the future”:
NUGENT: We've got to get the votes against Manchin-Toomey. It's a smoke and mirrors that disrespects dead victims of horrific mass murders because nothing in Manchin-Toomey addresses anything by any stretch of the imagination that will stop one crime, will stop one mass shooting, and will save one innocent life.
This smoke and mirrors is the rudest thing we can do on the graves of those dead innocent victims of mass murder because it's not addressing anything that will save lives in the future.
In fact, the Manchin-Toomey proposal, which would expand background checks to all commercial transactions, aims to address mass shootings and gun violence generally. Mass killers have avoided undergoing background checks by obtaining firearms from private sellers, whose customers would be required to undergo background checks under Manchin-Toomey if the seller advertised the weapon.
In October 2012, a Wisconsin man who was prohibited from buying a gun because he was subject to a restraining order bought a gun from a private seller over the Internet without undergoing a background check. Two days later he used that firearm to kill his estranged wife and two other women. Four other people were wounded in the attack. The perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre specifically sought out private sellers to obtain firearms so that their straw purchaser would not have to undergo a background check.
Private commercial sales of firearms without a background check have been linked to gun crime generally. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, gun shows are “a major venue for illegal trafficking” of firearms. The ATF specifically connected this assessment to private sales at gun shows, which have been taken advantage of by traffickers who supply weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
As an April 17 New York Times article notes, online “unregulated bazaars” where private gun transactions are completed are used by individuals who cannot pass a background check. According to 2011 investigation by New York City, online private sellers had a 62 percent “fail rate” in agreeing to sell a firearm to an undercover investigator who said that he or she could not pass a background check:
[City of New York, accessed 4/17/13]