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  • The National Rifle Association heads into its annual meeting amid reports of a fractured board and troubling finances

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN, this week on the heels of recent reporting about the group’s lawsuit against its own ad agency, ongoing budget problems, and a divided board of directors.

    The event kicked off with an evening banquet on April 25 at the Indiana Convention Center and will continue with three days of speakers, seminars, and workshops as well as an exhibition showcasing, guns, ammunition, and firearm accessories. The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the organization’s lobbying wing, is hosting the flagship event, the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 26 at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Speakers for the “stacked” event include President Donald Trump, giving the keynote address, Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). Several NRA officials, including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA President Oliver North and ILA Executive Director Chris Cox will also be speaking.

    This year’s annual meeting comes amid multiple reports of a troubling financial situation at the NRA and a fractured board of directors. On April 12, the NRA filed a lawsuit against its ad agency of nearly 40 years, Ackerman McQueen, which also produces the group’s media outlet, NRATV. According to The Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit alleges that the company “was obliged to provide access to records underlying its bills” to the NRA, but “rebuffed or baldly ignored” the group’s requests. The lawsuit also highlights a split between what the Journal described as the “pro-Ackerman McQueen faction” of the NRA’s board, which reportedly includes North and which argues that the law firm leading the lawsuit is charging too much, and those who claim it is money “well spent, because it’s for the survival of the NRA,” which reportedly includes LaPierre.

    The Trace, in partnership with The New Yorker, unearthed more than a decade of financial problems at the NRA, as described in a lengthy April 17 article, reporting that “in recent years, it has run annual deficits of as much as forty million dollars” to focus on “messaging” while spending less than 10% of its budget on firearms education, safety, and training. Tax documents mentioned in the article reportedly show “a small group of N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders” received “hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements.” One senior NRA employee went as far as to “describe a workplace distinguished by secrecy, self-dealing, and greed.” Meanwhile, the NRA, “in desperate need of funds, raised its dues for the second time in two years” and cut costs by eliminating “free coffee and water coolers at its headquarters” and freezing employees’ pension plans.

    Both of these articles come less than six months after layoffs hit NRATV, a little over a month after former NRA president and current board member Marion Hammer went on record to The New York Times that she and other board members "have questioned the value" of the network. According to a gun rights blog quoted in The Trace, “Hammer, ‘who hasn’t attended a Board of Directors meeting since hell froze over,’ is traveling to Indy to be there when the board meets during the convention: ‘It’s that bad.’”

    Here are some highlights from the 2019 NRA Annual Meeting:

    Speeches, seminars and other events:

    • Trump will give a speech at the meeting for the fifth year in a row.
    • The meeting will have a Women’s Leadership Forum on April 26, featuring Fox & Friends favorite Dean Cain as the keynote speaker. Previous speakers have included Fox’s Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
    • The NRA announced that pro-Trump conservative media pundit Candace Owens will speak at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. Owens recently came under fire for saying Adolf Hitler would have been “fine” had he focused only on Germany.    
    • NRA board member Ted Nugent will attend this year’s meeting. Nugent, a notorious misogynist who spoke during the 2018 NRA Women’s Leadership Forum, has previously blamed school shootings on unhealthy diets, said Parkland survivors “have no soul,” and pushed the conspiracy theory that David Hogg was a “crisis actor.”  
    • Discredited pro-gun researcher John Lott will give talks throughout the three-day event, with one offering “an in depth understanding about the debate over concealed handguns” and another supposedly debunking “gun control lies,” including “the facts relating suicides to gun ownership.” His organization, Crime Prevention Research Center, will also have a booth in the exhibition hall.  
    • NRA board member and Fox News contributor Allen West will host the event’s prayer breakfast on April 28. West has a long history of making controversial remarks, such as saying “the Black community was stronger” and “had better education opportunities” during segregation.    
    • The NRA said “firearms and firearm accessories … will be prohibited” in the stadium during the ILA’s Leadership Forum at the request of the Secret Service due to the president’s and vice president’s appearances. The NRA has long claimed that “gun-free zones” are more attractive for mass shooters than places without such a designation and that they make those in them unsafe.    

    The exhibition hall:    

  • NRA board member Ted Nugent makes bigoted post on Facebook just ahead of the group's annual meeting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent suggested in an April 24 Facebook post that if we’re going to remove Confederate statues “because of the Civil War,” we should “remove mosques because of 9/11.” Nugent’s comment is a reference to recent efforts and movements in several states to remove Confederate statues from public spaces.

    Nugent posted the comparison just two days before the NRA annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN, which he announced on April 22 that he’d be attending to “stand up loud and proud for the sacred second amendment and the mighty NRA.” Nugent has made inflammatory comments during previous annual meetings: In 2015 he used an analogy that involved him shooting former Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and in 2012 he called for members to “ride into that battlefield and chop [Democrats’] heads off in November.” The 2018 annual meeting featured a gun line sponsored by Nugent, who branded the product his “American spearchucker series,” a reference to a racial slur used to disparage Africans.   

    Nugent has a long history of making pro-Confederate statements and violent comments and using hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric. He received heavy criticism after he pushed the conspiracy theory that Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg was a “crisis actor” and called other Parkland survivors “pathetic” and liars with “no soul.”

    Earlier this month, Nugent was reelected to the NRA board of directors through 2022, receiving the second most votes behind NRA President Oliver North.

  • Major neo-Nazi website sees NRA’s recent hard-line messaging as its best hope to kill all Jewish people

    The Daily Stormer: “It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and join up with the country’s single effective pro-white organization intent on fully SMASHING THE JEW”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The Daily Stormer -- a major online hub for racists and anti-Semites that has followers who have committed mass murder -- has been telling its readers to join the National Rifle Association, as the neo-Nazis who run the website see a successful NRA as their best possible hope to see Jewish people subjected to another Holocaust.

    The Daily Stormer has been very pleased with the NRA’s hard-line messaging in the Trump era: As the neo-Nazi website itself notes, the NRA frequently singles out Jews as its political enemies and refuses to condemn anti-Semitic actions taken by members of its leadership. A February 2017 Daily Stormer article explained, “There is basically zero chance that [NRA leader Wayne] LaPierre and others in the top ranks of the NRA aren’t aware of the Jewish issue, especially as it relates to the second amendment. They’ve remained silent on this topic until now, scared of the media power that the Jews possess. But things are changing.”

    The Daily Stormer has frequently promoted NRA membership drives, including repeatedly linking to an NRA recruitment website and claiming,“The number 1 source of new recruits for the NRA has always been the Daily Stormer.”

    In articles posted on the website, Daily Stormer writers implore readers to join the NRA:

    According to The Daily Stormer, “The NRA is the country’s premiere pro-white and anti-Semitic organization. In fact, it is the only right-wing group of any kind in this country to have any success at all in the last 50 years.”

    The Daily Stormer clearly sees the NRA as a tool it can use to instigate wide-scale attacks against Jewish people. Here are a few pro-NRA threatening messages the site has posted:

    The Daily Stormer also posted a meme featuring NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch to threaten, “Our patience has its limits,” writing, “And guess what kikes? Your outrage machine is broken.”

    Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, The Daily Stormer backed the NRA’s calls for arming teachers, writing:

    The Daily Stormer is endorsing a plan to take it a step further, and arm the students as well.

    Say you’re in class, the teacher is writing something on the board, and a Jew pulls out a gun. The teacher has his back to the class and doesn’t see the Jew make his move – but you’re sitting behind him, and you’ve got a clean shot – why shouldn’t you be allowed to take it?

    The Daily Stormer is particularly enamored of five high-profile NRA employees: Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, President Oliver North, national spokesperson Dana Loesch, NRATV host Chuck Holton, and NRA board member Ted Nugent.

    The Daily Stormer has labeled LaPierre “/ourlad/” and “Reichsmarschall,” the highest military rank in Nazi Germany, and favorably called the NRA leader an “anti-Semitic white nationalist.” In particular, the site likes LaPierre because of a speech he gave after the Parkland school shooting in which he called opponents of the NRA “European-style socialists,” which, as The Daily Stormer explained, “everyone acknowledges, means ‘Jews’” or “the gun-grabbing kikes.” The Daily Stormer has favorably mentioned that LaPierre “gave a speech calling out the Jews as gun grabbers,” noted that LaPierre “purposefully pushed for an open war with the Jews,” and written that “he literally put out a Jew list, showing that everyone who disagrees with gun rights is a Jew. And he has to know, too. There is no way you list off a dozen Jews – and not a single goy – without noticing that pattern.” Indeed, LaPierre has frequently targeted Jews during his public remarks.

    In May, The Daily Stormer heaped praise on North after he became president of the NRA. An article on the neo-Nazi website argued, “The NRA just made a great pick for their new head. Great, great pick.” The website described North’s involvement in the Iran-Contra arms trafficking scandal as a positive, writing, “This is one guy who definitely does not give a single fuck about having a license to buy and sell weapons. For those who don’t know – the Iran-Contra ‘scandal’ was a program of selling weapons to Iran and using the money from that to fund communist-killing death squads in Latin America.” The article speculated that as president of the NRA, North could help arm Iran with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that the country could then use against Israel.

    The Daily Stormer also has a lot of praise for NRA national spokesperson Loesch, whom it calls “Princess Dana.” The site praised the gun group for not firing Loesch for her recently resurfaced 2010 tweet that said, “I bet Rick Sanchez was fired by a Jew.” (Sanchez was fired from CNN after he made anti-Semitic remarks about comedian Jon Stewart.) Loesch said that her tweet was meant to be an appeal to poetic justice. The Daily Stormer wrote that instead of firing her, the NRA “doubled-down by giving her a show about how she is going to destroy the Jews,” referencing promotional material for her NRATV show Relentless in which Loesch has threatened members of the media that their “time is running out.”

    The Daily Stormer has also praised Chuck Holton, a correspondent for the NRA’s media operation NRATV. During a July 2017 appearance on NRATV, Holton suggested that Black people were poised to commit mass rape and murder against white people while referencing “what’s happening in South Africa.” In response, The Daily Stormer wrote, “Holy shit! The NRA cited the White Genocide in South Africa as a warning to America!” Holton has a lengthy history of promoting white nationalism and making racist comments, and he has repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that Jewish philanthropist George Soros is behind the migrant caravan traveling through Central America and Mexico -- a remarkably similar theory to the one that inspired a gunman to carry out an anti-Semitic massacre at a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue in October. The site is aware of NRATV and has disturbingly noted, “A NRA tv channel calling out ‘socialist corruption’ 24/7 would be the best thing ever, especially considering that all of these ‘European-style socialists’ are actually Jews.” (Three months after that Daily Stormer article was published and a day after an ISIS terror attack in Manchester, U.K., Holton argued on NRATV that “this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism.”)

    The Daily Stormer also lauded NRA board member Ted Nugent for sharing an anti-Semitic meme on Facebook without repercussions from the NRA, writing, “I’ve gotta give it to Ted. I expected an apology within hours. Instead he is just straight trolling these Jews. It’s fantastic.” In February, a Daily Stormer article defending the NRA as a friendly home for anti-Semites brought up the incident: “Remember another NRA spokesperson, Ted Nugent, posted that one meme a couple years ago… So, the NRA knows and the Jews know the NRA knows, and both sides want to escalate that.”

    The NRA’s recent adoption of more extreme messaging tactics is not lost on The Daily Stormer. As the neo-Nazis who run the website cheered in a March article, “The NRA is done with euphemisms.”

  • In the wake of mass shootings at schools, conservatives blame everything but guns

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE, SANAM MALIK & NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    After nearly every school shooting, right-wing media scramble to find reasons why guns should not be blamed for gun violence.

    After 10 people were killed during a mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, TX, pro-gun proselytizers in the conservative media sphere insisted that gun safety laws would not have prevented the shooting and instead pointed to other aspects of American culture that they said required reform. Here are some of the excuses right-wing pundits offered for the May 18 shooting:

    In February, after the school shooting in Parkland, FL, claimed 17 lives, conservative media took the very same approach:

    • Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce claimed that talking about firearms doesn’t get to the “core issue” of “the human condition.” She and the hosts of Fox & Friends also blamed drugs, virtual reality, and video games for the shooting.
    • Radio host Michael Savage tweeted that “liberal judges and the ACLU” were to blame.
    • Fox guest Lou Palumbo blamed “the media, the entertainment industry,” and “the lack of parenting.”
    • Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson blamed “Leftist-run schools” and falsely claimed that the shooter was linked to antifa.
    • Fox News host Laura Ingraham blamed “mental illness”and “broken or damaged families” for the shooting on her show.
    • The Gateway Pundit suggested that the shooter supposedly being a registered Democrat was a factor. (He was not actually a registered Democrat; the blog was forced to correct the story.)
    • Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter blamed the FBI’s Russia probe for the shooting, tweeting, “The FBI was too busy trying to undermine the president to bother with doing it's (sic) freaking job.”
    • The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson suggested that the shooting was related to the shooter growing up without a father.
    • Liberty One TV’s Joe Biggs (formerly of Infowars) tweeted that the FBI was “too busy chasing Trump/Russia nothing burgers” to have prevented the shooting.
    • Pamela Geller falsely claimed that the shooter was connected to antifa and Islamic terrorist groups.
    • Laura Loomer shared a fake photo of the shooter and speculated that he was a “radical leftist” with potential ties to antifa and Islamic resistance groups.
    • Infowars claimed that the “MSM” (mainstream media) was “already covering it up” that the shooter was likely a “Democratic voter” and had clothing “similar to the style worn by ISIS fighters in Syria.”

    But as others have pointed out, most of the phenomena listed above are also present in other countries that don’t experience nearly as much gun violence as the United States does.

  • Notorious misogynist and accused child molester Ted Nugent spoke at the NRA Women's Leadership Forum

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent was allowed to address the Women’s Leadership Forum at this year’s NRA annual meeting in Dallas, TX, despite his history of misogyny and reports that he engaged in sexual misconduct involving minors.

    In a May 5 Facebook post, Nugent shared this picture of himself speaking at the Women’s Leadership Forum, writing, “A grand American freedom celebration was had by all at the mighty NRA party in Dallas”:

    Nugent has a long record of making profane attacks against women, including telling a CBS News producer that he would “fuck” her in a lewd off-camera remark, claiming “fat chicks” will kill you, defining the term feminist as “some fat pig who doesn’t get it often enough,” calling former Attorney General Janet Reno a “dirty whore,” and referring to Hillary Clinton as both a “worthless bitch” and a “toxic cunt.”

    Back in the 1970s, a 30-year-old Nugent became the legal guardian of a 17-year-old girl with whom he had a romantic relationship. The woman later said, “It just really wasn’t a terribly appropriate situation in most people’s eyes. And now, it would be criminal.” In 2004, singer Courtney Love said that she performed oral sex on Nugent when she was 12 years old. According to Mediaite, “Nugent apparently declined to comment” about Love’s statement when she made it.

    The Women’s Leadership Forum was held on May 4 and billed as an event for “philanthropic women united with the mission of infusing new enthusiasm, new excitement, new leaders and new opportunities into the fight for Second Amendment freedoms.” This year’s forum featured professional sexist Tucker Carlson as its keynote speaker.

  • A gun that looks like a cellphone isn't the only tone deaf thing on display at the NRA annual meeting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    The National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting in Dallas, TX, this year. The event kicked off on May 3 with an evening banquet and is now in full swing with a three-day exhibition at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. In addition to exhibiting guns, ammunition, gun accessories, tactical gear, and other merchandise, the event features speeches, seminars, and workshops.

    The preeminent event at the annual meeting will be the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, which will begin at noon CST on May 4. (The Institute for Legislative Action, or ILA, is the NRA’s lobbying wing.) NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, chief lobbyist Chris Cox, and national spokesperson Dana Loesch are scheduled to speak at the forum. Elected officials speaking at the event include President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and several conservative media figures will round out the lineup. The following day will feature the event’s official “Annual Meeting of Members,” where the election results for the NRA's board of directors will be announced and other NRA business will be conducted.

    There are many notable facts about the event, but none highlight the disconnect between the NRA and public sentiment on firearms regulation and the role of guns in society more than a pistol featured in the exhibition hall that can be disguised to look like a cell phone:



    The pistol is manufactured by Ideal Conceal, whose website says, “Smartphones are EVERYWHERE, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment.” A demonstration video shows that the weapon can be pulled from a pocket, unfolded, and fired in just seconds.





    The display comes less than two months after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police in Sacramento, CA, after the cops mistook the cellphone he was holding for a gun. As Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the mass Parkland, FL, shooting, noted on Twitter, the existence of the firearm could be used as a pretext to justify police shootings of unarmed people:

    Here are some other highlights of the NRA’s annual meeting:

    Speeches, seminars, and other events

    • Trump’s will give a speech at the meeting for the fourth year in a row. The Kremlin reportedly sought to use the 2016 annual meeting as a venue to attempt to make “first contact” with Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • The meeting will have a “Women’s Leadership Forum” and the keynote speaker will be white nationalist favorite Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host. This isn’t the first time a Fox host has keynoted the event; Sean Hannity was the featured speaker in 2013.

    • The NRA announced that pro-Trump media figures Diamond and Silk will speak at the event’s NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. The announcement came just days after the duo appeared before Congress and made false statements under oath.

    • NRA board member Ted Nugent will be attending the meeting. Nugent has made several controversial statements this year including saying the Parkland shooting survivors are liars who “have no soul.” Nugent has been a regular figure at NRA annual meetings, where he’s talked about shooting former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called then-President Barack Obama “Osama Obama” and offered to “pilot” a boat to send him to Kenya.   

    • Discredited gun researcher John Lott will give a seminar on “false and misleading claims that will be made to advance gun control this year” ranging from “claims about Australia’s and the UK’s gun laws to … the true costs of expanded background checks to mass public shootings and gun-free zones.” His group, the Crime Prevention Research Center, will also have a booth.  

    • During the meeting’s “Youth Day,” the NRA will introduce children to firearms by using “nerf guns.” The NRA was previously criticized for pushing an ineffective program to teach kids gun safety and for rewriting children’s fairy tales to include pro-gun narratives.

    • The NRA has stated that no guns will be allowed in the arena during appearances by Trump and Pence at the behest of the Secret Service, undermining the NRA’s frequent claims that so-called “gun-free zones” imperil people’s lives, enable mass shootings, and draw terrorists.

    The exhibition hall

    • Smith & Wesson, the maker of the assault weapon used in the Parkland, FL, school shooting, will exhibit several products in the “Featured Product Center & Demo Area.” Smith & Wesson has donated more than $1 million to the NRA.

    • Aagil Arms, a sister company of TuffZone and the “official manufacurer (sic) of the Ted Nugent Signature Series upper assemblies,” will have a booth on the exhibit floor that will feature a line called “Ted Nugent’s American Spearchucker Series AR15-style Upper kits,” which reference an obscure racial slur.

    • Trump-supporting Liberty University, conservative Hillsdale College, and right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation -- entities with no direct connection to the gun industry  -- will all have booths at the meeting.

    • U.S. Border Patrol will also have a booth at the meeting, even though members of NRA leadership routinely demean and attack immigrants.  

    • There will likely be a lot of men. Eighty-five percent of attendees last year were men, according to information posted on the NRA annual meeting website for potential exhibitors.

    • According to The Texas Tribune, the NRA is “getting a free ride” for this event and will not pay the usual $410,000 rent for the space.

  • NRA annual meeting to feature Ted Nugent’s racist “spearchucker” gun line

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The 2018 National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Dallas, TX, will spotlight a gun line sponsored by NRA board member Ted Nugent, who branded the product his “American spearchucker series,” a reference to an obscure racial slur used to disparage Africans.

    The multiday meeting, which begins May 3, will feature exhibits in which manufacturers of guns, ammunition, firearm parts and accessories, and tactical gear can showcase their merchandise. Additionally, the meeting will feature several speaking events, including a May 4 “Leadership Forum” where President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will speak.

    Aagil Arms -- a “sister company of Tuff Zone and the official manufacurer (sic) of the Ted Nugent Signature Series upper assemblies” -- will be featured in the meeting’s exhibit hall. According to an image of the product's packaging Nugent posted on Facebook in December, the line is officially called “Ted Nugent’s American Spearchucker Series AR15-style Upper Kits.” An "upper," terminology for an upper receiver, is a firearm component that is used, along with other parts, by enthusiasts to assemble their own custom weapons.    

    A product ad posted on the annual meeting website includes an image of a Facebook post by Nugent that calls the series “Custom Ted Nugent zebra and red white & blue American spearchucker artwork”:

    Nugent is no stranger to using racial slurs. He has repeatedly used the N-word, called then-President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel” in 2014, and once defended apartheid in South Africa while calling African people “a different breed of man” who “still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands.” 

    Nugent on April 30 tweeted that he will “see you all in Dallas standing against tyranny.” He has caused controversy during past annual meetings for comments he has made, including his 2012 statement that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was re-elected, and his 2015 comment about shooting then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) during a speech and offer to “pilot” a boat that would take Obama to Kenya.

  • The NRA is running ads on Parkland conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel

    UPDATE: The NRA’s media operation, NRATV, is also running ads on Jones’ channel

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While many major brands are ensuring that their ads do not appear on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel, the National Rifle Association is continuing to advertise with Jones.

    CNN reported on March 3 that it had “discovered ads on InfoWars' channels from companies and organizations such as Nike (NKE), Acer, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Network, the Mormon Church, Moen, Expedia (EXPE), Alibaba (BABA), HomeAway, Mozilla, the NRA, Honey, Wix and ClassPass.” Many companies that were running ads on Jones’ YouTube channel told CNN that they terminated the ads after being made aware of them.

    The NRA, however, is continuing to run ads, like this one that appeared before a video of NRA board member Ted Nugent’s February 26 appearance on Jones’ show:

    Jones has pushed conspiracy theories about numerous mass shootings, including calling the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School “fake” and a “giant hoax.” Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, last month, Jones has waged a campaign against several student survivors who have spoken out about gun violence, claiming that the students are “Democratic Party operatives” and are “scripted.”

    Jones has become a vocal supporter of the NRA since the gun group’s release of a 2017 ad that critics say was an incitement to violence against critics of President Trump. Following the Parkland shooting, Jones invited Nugent on his show to make an NRA membership pitch. This past weekend, Jones visited Nugent at his house; he says he will broadcast footage of that interview this week.

    UPDATE:

    NRATV, the NRA’s 24/7 online media outlet, is also running ads on Jones' channel. This ad featuring NRATV commentator Dom Raso was observed on March 6:

  • NRA board member Ted Nugent pushes conspiracy theory that Parkland school shooting survivors are actors

    Nugent “liked” Facebook comment calling student David Hogg a “crisis actor”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that the Parkland school shooting survivors who are currently calling for gun regulation are “coached” actors.

    In a February 20 Facebook post, less than a week after the shooting, Nugent shared a February 19 Natural News article claiming “these kids were coached to repeat scripted lines, just like actors reading lines for a movie production.” The article claims that “It’s all scripted, in other words, to push a gun control narrative rooted in emotional reaction rather than constructive solutions" and includes the tags “false-flag” and “hoax.” The bulk of the article is a reprint of Lucian Wintrich’s post at The Gateway Pundit, which first started spreading the conspiracy theory.

    Nugent then “liked” a comment left below his article claiming that one of the students, David Hogg, “is a paid crisis actor” who “has been at multiple shootings as a 'survivor'.”

    Nugent promoted similar conspiracy theories after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, CT, claiming that no assault weapons were used in the elementary school shooting despite the fact that authorities confirmed the shooting was carried out with a Bushmaster AR-15 assault weapon.

    Following the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nugent appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show and backed his baseless theory that the massacre was “scripted by deep state Democrats.”

    As recently as February 2016, there were calls for Nugent to resign from the NRA board after he shared a Facebook image claiming prominent Jewish figures were the ones “really behind gun control.”

    UPDATE:

    The post no longer appears on Nugent’s Facebook page.

  • 8 ridiculous NRA defenses of the AR-15

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In the wake of yet another massacre carried out with an AR-15 assault weapon, here are eight ridiculous defenses of the murder machine from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a major recipient of donations from assault weapons makers:

    1. Banning assault weapons is like racial discrimination

    Discussing Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) bill to ban assault weapons following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, past NRA president and current NRA board member Marion Hammer said, “Banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again: the color of a gun, the way it looks. It's just bad politics.”

    2. The NRA put on demonstrations of the AR-15 that downplayed the weapon’s capabilities by highlighting how it makes smaller bullet holes than some other guns​

    In 2013, the NRA held two AR-15 demonstrations at the shooting range it has at its national headquarters, one for Fox News show Hannity and the other for its own media outlet, then called NRA News. Each demonstration dishonestly highlighted the small bullet hole the weapon makes compared to some other guns in order to to downplay the weapon’s lethality. In fact, the AR-15 inflicts grievous harm on human bodies, even in comparison to other commonly owned firearms.

    3. The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was carried out with handguns (it was carried out with an AR-15)

    Months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, NRA board member Ted Nugent cited a conspiracy theory surrounding the tragedy to claim that “no so-called assault weapon was used in the grisly murders of the children and teachers in Newton,” but that instead “NBC has reported the butcher used four handguns.” The day after the shooting NBC had reported that only handguns were recovered at the site, but corrected its reporting the same day. The weapon used in the attack was an AR-15 manufactured by NRA donor Bushmaster.

    4. Blaming AR-15 manufacturer Bushmaster for Sandy Hook is like “blaming Kleenex for the flu​"

    Then-NRA News commentator Natalie Foster made the claim in a 2014 video released by the NRA:

    5. If the Founding Fathers had foreseen the invention of the AR-15, they would have “fortified” the Second Amendment “in stone”

    Days after a gunman used an AR-15 to massacre churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, TX, (and weeks after a gunman used assault weapons to carry out a massacre in Las Vegas), the NRA released a video that encouraged people to buy more AR-15 weapons. NRATV commentator Dom Raso said in the video, “I guarantee if the Founding Fathers had known this gun would have been invented, they wouldn't have rewritten the Second Amendment -- they would've fortified it in stone. Because they knew the only way for us to stay free was by having whatever guns the bad guys have.”

    6. The AR-15 is “easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable” and more people should buy it as protection from terrorists

    The NRA released another video days after the Pulse nightclub shooting also narrated by Raso. The video made a number of arguments praising the abilities of the AR-15: “It’s easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable." All these characteristics also inadvertently explained how the Pulse gunman was able to kill and wound so many people in a short period of time:

    7. The AR-15 as a good defense against the government

    On June 15, 2017, one day after Rep. Steve. Scalise (R-LA) was shot and others were wounded in a mass shooting, then-NRATV commentator Bill Whittle said, “I personally think it is a mistake for people to say [the AR-15] is used for hunting, or it's used for target shooting. I have my AR-15 to kill people.” Whittle added, “I am not worried about a deer breaking into my house at 4 o’clock in the morning and coming through the window and maybe murdering me or raping my wife, or anything. I am not worried so much about a coalition of deer marching people into extermination camps.”

    He also added, “My weapons are here to defend me against my government.”

    (Whittle left NRATV in September 2017. He was recently uninvited to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for an Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate after his history of making racist comments was raised.)

    8. Regulating the AR-15 “is a war on women”

    During a discussion of assault weapons days after the Pulse massacre, Dana Loesch appeared on Fox News to claim proposals to regulate the AR-15 were “about disarming women” and were a “war on women.” Earlier that day the NRA had announced Loesch had been hired to be the group’s “Special Adviser on Women’s Policy.” She is now the NRA’s national spokesperson.