NRATV

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  • NRATV calls London attack on Muslims a "maybe attack"

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Hours after police called an attack on pedestrians outside a Finsbury Park mosque in north London an act of terrorism, the National Rifle Association’s news outlet, NRATV, attempted to cast doubt on that determination. During the 10 am edition of his June 19 show, host Grant Stinchfield claimed that “something just seems odd” about the attack and referred to the violent incident as a “maybe attack.” London Metropolitan Police declared that the attack was an act of terrorism eight minutes after a 48 year-old-man drove a van into a crowd of people outside a mosque, killing one and injuring ten. Despite this, Stinchfield said that he would “like to get more information about what really happened there.” From the June 19 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): I was going to first ask you about the maybe attack in London, where again we had a van drive through folks it appears, in front of a mosque. What do you make of early this morning's events?

    DAN PERKINS: Well it's interesting, it’s 180 degrees from the last one. This attack was civilians on the Muslims. They ran into, right outside of a mosque as people were coming out from the worship services for Ramadan. And the guy was shouting, basically he was saying, "it's our turn, this is for the people [that] you killed earlier.” So he was specifically out after Muslims, not after British citizens, per say. But in retaliation for the recent attacks in London. One guy decided he was going to do something about it, and he ran his van, he killed one person and injured a bunch of others. But it was at a mosque in London.

    STINCHFIELD: Alright, so we see an escalating number of attacks, as that is still under investigation. And I would like to get more information about what really happened there, as it’s still very early in this investigation. But something just seems odd about the whole thing to me.

    Immediately after two previous attacks in London, in March and in June, Stinchfield used the violent events to advocate for increased gun ownership both in the U.S. and in the U.K. -- going so far as to calling unarmed victims “sheep.”

  • The NRA's "inappropriate" response to the congressional baseball shooting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association hypocritically used its news outlet to repeatedly assign collective blame to the "left" for a shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) critically wounded. When former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, the NRA was largely silent, claiming, “At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate.”

    On June 14, a 66-year-old gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice and shot five, including Scalise. The attacker, later identified as James Hodgkinson, was shot at the scene by U.S. Capitol Police and later died from his injuries. A Capitol Hill staffer, a man who helps organize the baseball practice, and two police officers were also shot.

    Based on his Facebook profile, Hodgkinson was an avid Bernie Sanders supporter with a hatred of conservatives and President Donald Trump. His numerous posts included one on March 22 in which he called Trump a “traitor” who had “Destroyed our Democracy,” adding, “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.,” according to CNN. In a February post, he called Republicans “the Taliban of the USA.”

    Sanders condemned the shooting, saying, “I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be — violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

    Just hours after the shooting, during the 10 a.m. edition NRATV’s program Stinchfield, which provides live news updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, host Grant Stinchfield said, “There is an atmosphere of violence being pushed across America by the left” that “motivates unstable people.” During the 1 p.m. update, Stinchfield said the “violent rhetoric being pushed by the left-wing elitists amounts to political terrorism” and claimed that this “motivates unstable people to do … unspeakable things.”

    The next day, Stinchfield jumped at the chance, during the 9 a.m. edition of the program, to partially blame “those on the left” and the “violent atmosphere” they have created “against conservatives” for the shooting. While he conceded that “the shooter has accountability in this,” Stinchfield claimed, “There is culpability on those on the left that push this violent atmosphere against conservatives”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Look, I want everyone to know that certainly the shooter has accountability in this. He gets the ultimate responsibility for his actions. But when you are unstable, when you are deranged, it only takes a little bit to provoke you to do something. There is culpability for those on the left that push this violent atmosphere against conservatives, against people that don’t believe in what they do. And that’s what’s got to stop.

    On June 15, Breitbart columnist AWR Hawkins wrote a piece for NRA’s magazine, America’s 1st Freedom, outlining how “the left incites violence.” Hawkins wrote that Democrats “push protests past the limit of decency” and that their “goal is to divide the country,” noting that “such division … grows into hatred that can erupt into the kind of violence” that took place in Alexandria:

    Trump haters push protests past the limit of decency, with media fanning the hateful flames. People like Kathy Griffin and those who produce New York Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park series, whose goal is to divide the country, then use the division to their political benefit. Such division births animosity, which grows into hatred that can erupt into the kind of violence we saw when 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on the GOP lawmakers.

    [...]

    The left has created a climate in which violence is imminent; the divisions they foster and maintain to be elected to office—or to preserve their Hollywood and media fiefdoms—are coming back to haunt us in real time. Shame on them for exploiting the very violence their ideology births; for seeking to spin a heinous crime into another gun control law.

  • NRA's news outlet blatantly lied about Comey hearing to protect Trump

    NRATV gaslights the public with a fake “direct quote” from Comey

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV spun former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate intelligence committee to President Donald Trump’s advantage by flatly lying about what Comey said.

    Comey testified in an open hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on June 8, almost a month after Trump abruptly fired him. Trump’s public statements on the firing have caused numerous legal experts to warn that Trump may have obstructed justice by improperly interfering with an FBI investigation.

    NRATV was quick to jump to Trump’s defense before and during Comey’s appearance. During the 11 a.m. edition of its program Stinchfield, which provides live news updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, host Grant Stinchfield said the hearing came down to one question: “Did [Trump] ever try to obstruct justice in any way?" He said Comey answered, "No": 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Now as I look and listen to this hearing, what I see is James Comey being questioned. One, being led by the Democrats to try to sink Donald Trump, and two, by the Republicans trying to get to the heart of what this hearing is all about. Did Donald Trump try to obstruct justice when it came to this Russian investigation in any way? A direct quote when he was asked about this by the chairman of the committee, a Republican, “Did Donald Trump ever ask you to stop the Russian investigation?” James Comey’s answer, “No.” “Did he ever try to obstruct justice in any way?” James Comey’s answer, “No.”

    In actuality, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the intelligence committee, asked Comey whether the president was trying to find a way for former national security adviser Mike Flynn to “save face” after having been fired, or whether he was trying to “obstruct justice” when he said he hoped Comey could “let [the investigation] go.” At the time, Flynn was under investigation for his ties to Russia. Comey didn’t respond “no,” but instead said, “I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense”:

    RICHARD BURR: Director, when the president requested that you -- and I quote -- “let Flynn go,” General Flynn had an unreported contact with the Russians, which is an offense and if press accounts are right, there might have been discrepancies between facts and his FBI testimony. In your estimation, was General Flynn at that time in serious legal jeopardy and, in addition to that, do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face given he had already been fired?

    JAMES COMEY: General Flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. There was an open FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves. And so that was my assessment at the time. I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense. [CSPAN, James Comey hearing, 6/8/17]

    The special counsel Comey referred to is former FBI director Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating “ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.”

    Before the hearing even began, Stinchfield tweeted that the “testimony will be a big ‘Nothing Burger!’”

    During the 9 a.m. update, Stinchfield claimed there was nothing wrong with Trump’s “demand for loyalty” from Comey and that in prepared testimony released before the hearing, the former FBI director “makes it clear in no way did Donald Trump ever obstruct justice.” (The prepared testimony reached no such conclusion. As Comey’s testimony during the hearing demonstrated, his view is that the question of whether Trump’s conduct could constitute obstruction of justice should be left to the special counsel.) During the 10 a.m. update, Stinchfield attempted to undercut Comey’s upcoming statements by claiming Comey was “almost posing for the camera” as he took his seat before the hearing and said, “There is no doubt in my mind that James Comey loves the spotlight. In fact, he relishes it. This is why he writes those memos, throwing Donald Trump under the bus.”

    The NRA was one of Trump’s earliest supporters, spending millions of dollars to help his campaign. NRATV has long since established itself as a pro-Trump propaganda outlet, previously calling any dissent against Trump “anti-patriotic” and an “assault against freedom and the Constitution.” Stinchfield and NRATV commentator Dana Loesch have praised Trump’s “tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media” and encouraged then President-elect Trump to continue his attacks against the press. In February, Stinchfield blamed Trump’s Russia scandal on a “concerted effort with Obama loyalists ... trying to undermine the president every step of the way.”

    In January, the NRA released a video promising that the group would be “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching ally.” That allegiance apparently extends to fabricating quotes from a public hearing for the benefit of the president.

  • NRATV uses London attack to push for more guns, all but ignores Orlando mass shooting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV used Saturday night’s terror attack in London to push a variety of conservative and pro-Second Amendment talking points, including calling for surveilling mosques and arming British citizens.

    Seven people were killed in London on June 3, after three assailants used a vehicle to run into pedestrians on the London Bridge and then got out of the van to attack other victims with knives in nearby Borough Market. About 50 people were injured before police shot and killed all three suspects. Saturday’s attack came 12 days after a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert which left 22 dead, and a little over two months after a March attack in London that left four dead.

    While NRATV program Stinchfield, which provides live news updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. EST to 1 p.m. EST, offered significant coverage of the London attack on June 5, the show ignored a mass shooting that took place that morning in Orlando, FL. (The Orlando incident was briefly mentioned on the NRA’s talk radio program, which airs later in the day.)

    Covering the Orlando attack would have brought the nonsensical nature of the NRA’s arguments surrounding guns and terrorism into clear focus: The United States has much more permissive gun laws and availability compared to the U.K. and as a consequence experiences much higher rates of gun homicide and homicide generally. 

    NRATV spun London attack to push for more gun ownership 

    While first reporting on the latest London attack during the June 5 9 a.m. edition of Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield said that just one armed police officer could have stopped the “carnage” and asked, “When is London going to wake up?” Stinchfield went on to fearmonger that it is “only a matter of time before these things start happening here on a regular basis” and blamed the attack on “politically correct politicians” before suggesting British citizens should carry guns to stop attacks. From the June 5 update:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): It took just eight minutes for three Islamic jihadists to kill seven people and wound nearly 50 more. Eight minutes. They didn’t use guns, but a truck and some knives. The reality of this attack is one police officer could have stopped this early on. What few people are talking about is that the attackers came upon the first officer just after exiting their van on the London Bridge, after running over so many unsuspecting Londoners. We have to assume the officer, like so many in England, was unarmed. The attacker stabbed him and then moved on to attack others. When is London going to wake up?

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: It is only a matter of time before these things start happening here on a regular basis. We already see them happening in the United States. Now, since March, in London there have been three attacks and 34 people dead. In Europe the terrorists are winning. Submissive policies by submissive, politically correct politicians are getting people killed. How many times does America need to be warned? Does the world need to be warned these evil jihadists are for real? And they are brutal killers? As I watched Londoners flee in panic, I thought in that crowd of thousands, not one citizen had a chance. Not one citizen had a gun because the government bars them from having one. It took eight minutes for armed officers to arrive and save the day with a simple tool called a firearm. Eight minutes of carnage that could have been stopped if only that first officer was armed in the early seconds of that attack. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 6/5/17]

    During the 11 a.m. update, Stinchfield again turned his attention to the citizens of England, who, he said, could not defend themselves “because the government disarmed them all.” He referred to this as “delusional” before slamming a British man as an “idiot” who was photographed “running away from the terror with a beer in his hand.” Stinchfield went on to claim that the British government has “made him this way” and “tricked” him into thinking he is safe, before rhetorically asking, “How sad is that?”

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): For too long, left-wing leaders failed to realize that radical jihad is a real threat. Now in Europe, attacks are nearly a daily occurrence. With Saturday night’s attack in London, terrorists have killed 34 people in England since mid-March, and wounded countless more. All of this should serve as a global wake-up call. For Americans, these daily attacks are soon to come here. Are you ready? England was not. Look at the people fleeing. Not one could stop the attacker or defend themselves because the government disarmed them all. Now in the height of English delusion, England is hailing a probable drunk as its national hero. Look at the man running from the terror with a beer in his hand. The people of England thinks the terrorist won’t deter him. To me, anyone under attack who hangs on to a beer is simply an idiot, not a hero. But his government made him this way. They tricked him into thinking he is safe. So safe, the attack he is fleeing couldn’t really be real to him or a danger. My guess is, he looks at all of this as it’s simply some kind of office fire drill. How sad is that? How sad is that’s their hero, not the first police officer to come face-to-face with a terrorist just seconds into the attack. That police officer couldn’t be a hero, because he never stood a chance. He was unarmed. The jihadist stabbed him and moved on to attack so many others. For eight minutes they had their way until what? An armed unit showed up and killed them. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 6/5/17]

    NRATV also took issue with London police’s suggested response to the attack. Police sent out a tweet on Saturday night advising people to “run,” “hide,” and “call” authorities in case of an attack. The strategy has previously been promoted by England’s National Police Chiefs Council, which said that during an attack, “people should first run to a place of safety,” or hide if they can’t, and call the police when it is safe to do so. (In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security recommends that in an active shooting situation, people first try to evacuate, then hide, and then confront the attacker as a last resort.)

    During the June 5 1 p.m. update, NRATV commentator Bill Whittle called this strategy a “passive, weak kind of reaction” that only encourages the terrorists. During the June 5 10 a.m. update, Stinchfield said that “one armed citizen could have stopped the carnage early on” and that a better strategy for the people of England would be to “hide, fight, and fight,” before claiming, “Cowards always lose, sheep always get slaughtered. With the ever increasing threat we face, ... I refuse to become a coward or a sheep.”

    Stinchfield doubled down on his stance in a June 5 tweet, saying his message to England is to “be a fighter!”:

    [Twitter, 6/5/17]

    Beyond pushing more permissive guns laws, during the 9 a.m. update, Stinchfield said that the government in the United States should “surveil” mosques.

    NRATV hosts barely mentioned Orlando mass shooting

    During all of NRATV’s June 5 Stinchfield updates, neither Stinchfield nor his guests brought up Monday’s attack in Orlando, which left five people including the gunman dead. NRATV host Cam Edwards mentioned the attack briefly during his three-hour show, but used it to push for more gun ownership.

    UK actually has drastically lower rates of gun violence than US

    Despite Stinchfield’s repeated claim that the U.K. was unprepared for the attack because the government has “disarmed” its people, the country actually has drastically lower rates of gun homicide and homicide generally compared to the U.S. The U.K. also has much more restrictive gun laws.

    Firearms are used in more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. High gun availability has been linked to increased gun homicide rates, with one review of academic research finding that “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” (The same trend is seen in comparisons between high-income countries.)

    Academic research has also found that guns are used in the U.S. far more often to commit crimes than to stop crimes. A 2000 study by Harvard Injury Research Control Center found that as a ratio, "guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense. Most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society."

    In fact, the odds of people needing a gun to protect themselves are so low that it’s difficult to accurately measure the total number of defensive gun uses each year. Meanwhile, gun violence is so frequent in the United States that more than 100,000 gunshot injuries are recorded every year (a figure that does not include crimes committed with guns where no one is shot).

    In contrast to a lack of evidence that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings -- a frequent claim that the NRA makes -- terror attacks involving firearms in the United States, which often involve AR-15-style assault weapons, have been incredibly deadly over the years. A December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, involved a gunman shooting and killing 14 and wounding 22 with an assault rifle at an office holiday party. The perpetrator of a June 2016 terror attack in a nightclub in Orlando, FL, also used an assault weapon to kill 49 people and wound at least 53.

  • NRATV: "England has had [Manchester attack] coming for a long time" in part because it has “done away” with gun rights

    NRATV commentator also blames multi-culturalism and “gender-bending” for attack

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Following an attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and 59 injured, a commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet nonsensically claimed England “has had this coming for a long time” in part because of the country’s gun laws.

    ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena right after a May 22 Ariana Grande concert. The attack comes after a March terror attack in London near the House of Parliament.

    During the May 23 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, commentator Chuck Holton claimed England “has had this coming,” due to the country’s firearms regulations, open borders for refugees,“multiculturalism” and “gender-bending.” (The attacker was reportedly U.K. born.) Host Grant Stinchfield echoed Holton’s claims at the end of the segment, stating that European countries have “disarmed their citizens, so … terrorists operate with impunity”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): You bring up this whole point of putting the English flag as a silhouette over your profile on your Facebook page. I’m all for supporting them -- they need our thoughts and prayers right now -- but listen, if the only time they do something like that is when we have a heinous attack, and then we’ll go for a week and they’ll forget all about it. And they take down their little flag and they put their pictures up on the beach and they’re having fun doing whatever, going to the movies, and they forget that there are people that want to kill us. And so I’m a little tired of the hypocrisy from the left and it's almost always the liberal that goes and puts this up on the day of an attack, and then it quickly comes down, and then it just eradicates from their mind like it never happened.

    CHUCK HOLTON: Because they think that that actually counts as doing something. It doesn't. And you know in reality, England has had this coming for a long time in that they have -- look, they have opened their borders to so many refugees, they have done away with the personal protections, of their own people being able to protect their families with firearms. And so what we’re seeing is, you know what? Terrorists don’t need firearms to perpetrate their heinous crimes. They are weaponizing the European culture. That’s what they’re doing. They are taking advantage of this multiculturalism and the, you know, gender-bending -- we could go on and on about this. The European male is disappearing in Europe -- the actual men who will stand up and fight for their country. You could also talk about the fact that the Europeans need these people to come in to help support their massive social welfare program. Do you know that, I was reading the other day, nine European -- major European leaders now are absolutely childless, and that reflects the broader culture in Europe, that places like Germany, 30 percent of German women have no children and will never have children. In England it’s something like 20 percent, but that’s rising. And so when you’re not making babies, you need people to come in and work and pay taxes to support your massive social welfare programs. So this is, in some ways, this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism.

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: And we are seriously considering sending Chuck Holton over to England to get the real scoop for you, because I can tell you right now, you’re not going to get the real scoop on the mainstream media channels. They’re not going to talk about the immigration problems that Europe experiences. They’re not going to talk about the problem that Europe, all countries, have basically disarmed their communities, disarmed their citizens, so what happens that terrorists operate with impunity.

    Stinchfield made the same ridiculous claim after four people were killed in the March 22 London attack, suggesting that Europeans are “unprepared for an attack” because “the government has all but disarmed” its citizens. While the U.K. did enact highly restrictive measures on gun ownership after a school shooting in 1996, the European nation also has drastically lower rates of gun deaths, gun homicides, and homicides by all methods compare to America does.

    Firearms are used in more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. High gun availability has been linked to increased gun homicide rates, with one review of academic research finding that “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” (The same trend is seen in comparisons between high-income countries.)

    Academic research has also found that guns are used in the U.S. far more often to commit crimes than to stop crimes. A 2000 study by Harvard Injury Research Control Center found that as a ratio, "guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense. Most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society."

    In fact, the odds of needing a gun to protect yourself are so low that it’s difficult to accurately measure the total number of defensive gun uses each year. Meanwhile, gun violence is so frequent in the United States that more than 100,000 gunshot injuries are recorded every year (a figure that does not include crimes committed with guns where no one is shot).

    In contrast to a lack of evidence that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings -- a frequent claim of the NRA -- terror attacks involving firearms in the United States, which often involve AR-15-style assault weapons, have been incredibly deadly over the years. A December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, involved a gunman shooting and killing 14 and wounding 22 with an assault rifle at an office holiday party, and the perpetrator of a June 2016 terror attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, shot and killed 49 and wounded at least 53, also with an assault rifle.

  • NRATV Falsely Claims Nevada Gun Safety Bill Will Allow An “Anti-Gun Zealot” To Have Their Neighbors' Guns Confiscated

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield erroneously claimed that “anti-gunners out there could weaponize” a new gun violence prevention bill in Nevada in order to get law enforcement to confiscate their neighbors’ legally owned firearms.

    The legislation in question, a type of protection order that allows temporary removal of firearms from certain “high-risk” individuals, actually allows only household members to file a report requesting the removal.

    During NRATV’s May 17 10-minute update at 11 a.m., Stinchfield interviewed NRA Nevadans For Freedom’s Robert Uithoven, who said that under this bill, anyone “who owned or possessed a firearm” was classified as “high risk.” Stinchfield went on to theorize that anti-gun advocates would file complaints against their neighbors, “and the next thing you know, those guns are being confiscated off the word of an anti-gun zealot”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): All right, so the big issue at hand, we talked last week about this bill that would say that anybody who owns a firearm would be considered high risk. And if you’re considered high risk, anybody makes a complaint about you, the police can come in and take your guns away. Shortly after that interview, they pulled the high-risk component of that bill, for simply being a firearms owner?

    ROBERT UITHOVEN: Right at the very beginning of the bill -- I mean, there are a lot of things wrong with this bill -- but it defined what a high-risk person is, and it's anyone who owned or possessed a firearm. And we’ve got a lot of those folks here in Nevada, as there are across the country. Just simply by the ownership or possession, you were defined as high risk. The sponsor of the bill, I think at the urging of probably the committee chair, removed that provision. There have been some modifications that have improved the bill, but it is still, in our view, a pre-crime bill.

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: And so due process is what this country is all about. We have a right to keep and bear arms -- if you want to take away one of our freedoms, you’ve got to prove the reason of why you’re going to take away that right. This bill does none of that, but even beyond that, I believe the left and the anti-gunners out there could weaponize this bill to have anti-gun advocates simply go around their neighborhood, know what neighbors own guns, and simply file a complaint against them, and the next thing you know, those guns are being confiscated off the word of an anti-gun zealot.

    UITHOVEN: That’s true, and even some Democrats -- we had our hearing last week right after we concluded with this interview. Fortunately, we, on this assembly judiciary panel where this hearing was conducted, we even had some Democrats who we believe will be with us on the legislation.

    In actuality, the bill, which passed the Nevada Senate last week, defined a high-risk individual far more narrowly: As guns.com described it, the term covers “someone who owns a firearm, poses a danger to themselves or others and has threatened violence” within six months “or behaved violently.” The bill also specifies that it is “a family, or household member or law enforcement officer” who can file a “verified application” for an order of protection against the individual -- not “anti-gun advocates” walking around the neighborhood, as Stinchfield suggested. The bill states that any firearm confiscation is temporary, with a hearing to be scheduled for 21 days after the order is issued; it may be extended after the hearing for up to one year. According to Guns.com, an amendment to the bill would add the rule that “those who provide false information” in trying to temporarily remove someone’s firearm would be penalized.

    This is the latest conspiracy theory from Stinchfield, who last week claimed that ISIS terrorists are trying to “freak liberals out” so they pass more gun safety measures, which would allow the group to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.” 

  • Terrorists Have Praised The Gun Show Loophole, And A Furious NRA Now Has A Conspiracy Theory Why

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association's news outlet is pushing a conspiracy theory that alleges ISIS is attempting to “freak liberals out” so that they pass more restrictive gun laws, allowing the terror group to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.”

    The basis of this claim is a distortion of recent news reports about an ISIS magazine piece. The magazine, Rumiyah, urged its followers to buy firearms from private sellers at gun shows and online who, in many states, are not required to perform background checks on their customers.

    The Washington Post reported earlier this month that “in the most recent issue of Rumiyah, its glossy multilingual propaganda magazine, the Islamic State encouraged recruits in the United States to take advantage of laws that allow people to buy firearms without having to present identification or submit to background checks. Recruits should seek out gun shows and online sales in particular, said the write-up in the magazine, which was released Thursday.”

    The Post quoted the terror group’s magazine as saying, “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales -- by way of private dealers -- with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license”:

    “The acquisition of firearms can be very simple depending on one’s geographical location,” the piece read. “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license.”

    “With approximately 5,000 gun shows taking place annually within the United States,” it added, “the acquisition of firearms becomes a very easy matter.”

    A caption under a photo of what appeared to be a gun show read: “Gun conventions represent an easier means of arming oneself for an attack.”

    The exhortation by this ISIS magazine echoes similar calls in recent years from Al Qaeda.

    According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 32 states have no legislation going beyond federal background check requirements, meaning that individuals otherwise prohibited by law from buying guns can make purchases through private sellers at gun shows and in other locations without a background check. This state of affairs is commonly called the “gun show loophole” or “private sales loophole.”

    In 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the NRA used falsehoods to orchestrate the defeat of modest federal background check legislation that would have required background checks for all sales at gun shows and over the internet.

    NRATV program Stinchfield, which offers lives news updates at the top of the hour on weekdays, twisted reporting on the ISIS magazine article into a nonsensical conspiracy theory.

    During a May 12 broadcast, host Grant Stinchfield falsely claimed that “in a recent piece in ISIS’ online magazine, they go all out for gun control” and that “ISIS all but calls for liberals to shut down the so-called gun show loophole.” But the magazine did the opposite. Instead of calling for more gun laws, it called for current gun laws to be exploited.

    In Stinchfield’s evidence-free theory, the magazine’s supposed call for restrictive gun laws would then be used to “scare the left into issuing a call for more gun control,” allowing ISIS to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.”

    There is another obvious reason Stinchfield’s theory doesn’t make any sense: Closing the “gun show loophole” wouldn’t disarm legal gun owners. “Gun show loophole” legislation instead merely requires that potential gun owners be checked against the background check system to ensure that they are not felons, convicted domestic abusers, or other prohibited persons. Current Supreme Court precedent says the Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding Americans to keep a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense.

    The NRA is very sensitive to calls by terror groups to exploit loopholes in gun laws that the NRA fights to keep open. In 2013, an NRA News program smeared BuzzFeed as “approvingly citing Al Qaeda” merely because the site reported on the existence of an Al Qaeda video that called for supporters to exploit loopholes in U.S. gun laws.

    From the May 12 broadcast of Stinchfield:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The New York Daily News is a left-wing rag, a tabloid that now takes its cues from not just liberals, but from ISIS. Yes, ISIS is pushing for more gun control in America, yet the Daily News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post are all blinded to see that as they’re being used as terror pawns.

    Of course ISIS wants gun control. Disarm its enemy, then wage war. In a recent piece in ISIS’ online magazine, they go all out for gun control. ISIS all but calls for liberals to shut down the so-called gun show loophole. How do they do it? By urging ISIS supporters to buy guns at gun shows. ISIS knows the call to do that would freak liberals out. So those liberals would push for more gun control.

    Now you and I know there is no such thing as a gun show loophole. It’s a scare tactic created by the anti-gunners to limit your rights to keep and bear arms. ISIS issues this calling not just to arm jihadists, but to scare the left into issuing a call for more gun control, and that’s exactly what these liberal papers are now doing. They fell for the terror trap. It’s bias by omission and it’s deception at its worst.

  • No, The NRA Is Not Actually The United States’ “Oldest Civil Rights Organization”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association is holding its four-day annual meeting April 27-30 in Atlanta, GA.

    In promotional materials for the meeting, the NRA wrote: “Georgia was a pivotal location in the civil rights movement. So, it is fitting that the NRA, the oldest civil rights organization in the country, is holding its 146th Annual Meeting of Members in Atlanta.”

    The NRA has repeatedly hyped itself as both the oldest and the largest civil rights organization in the country. But in fact when the organization was founded in 1871, its primary goal was to “‘promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.’” It did not actively begin lobbying for gun rights until nearly six decades later in 1934, when its Legislative Affairs Division was formed “‘in response to repeated attacks on the Second Amendment Rights,’” according to an analysis by the National Association for the Deaf (NAD). Both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909 and NAD founded in 1880 are older civil rights organizations than the NRA.

    Although the NRA praised Atlanta as the location for this year’s meeting because of its history with the civil rights movement, the NRA has previously lobbed multiple attacks against Atlanta-based congressman and civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). On June 22, 2016, following a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, Lewis led a sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to protest gun violence and push for gun safety legislation. During the sit-in, NRATV host Cam Edwards compared Lewis and other participants to “criminals and terrorists," because like terrorists, the sit-in participants were not following the rules. During a subsequent broadcast, Edwards lectured his audience on “what sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement” in an attempt to separate Lewis’ actions from the civil rights movement.

    In January 2017, Lewis took a stand against President Donald Trump, calling him illegitimate and said he planned on skipping the inauguration ceremony. During the January 16 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield claimed, “Dr. King would be ashamed of John Lewis” and said that Lewis has “forgotten what Dr. King stood for.” During an interview with NRA commentator and spokesperson Dana Loesch, Stinchfield called Lewis' refusal to attend the inauguration “anti-American,” “unpatriotic,” and “sad.” Loesch agreed with him and called Lewis’ comments “unfortunate” and “a threat to democracy.”

    Despite targeting a civil rights hero, the NRA has routinely attempted to co-opt the civil rights movement by, among other things, calling gun regulations “equally as unconstitutional” as Jim Crow laws and bemoaning that “too many Americans don’t think of the Second Amendment as a civil rights issue.” In August 2015, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action media liaison Lars Dalseide compared a Seattle ordinance that would fund gun violence research by imposing a tax on the sale of guns and ammunition to Jim Crow-era poll taxes.

    In March 2014, NRA board member Ted Nugent wrote in a column for conspiracy website WorldNetDaily that gun owners “must learn from Rosa Parks and definitely refuse to give up our guns,” in response to a law that banned assault weapons following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Nugent went on to call Rosa Parks his “hero” and has previously called himself “Rosa Parks with a Gibson.” 

  • Meet The NRA’s Resident Academic Racist

    NRATV’s Bill Whittle Has Promoted “Scientific” Racism On Intelligence And Crime

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

    Bill Whittle, a newly hired commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV, has promoted the racist notion that black people are inherently intellectually inferior to people of other races and suggested that races could be divided along the lines of "civilized man" and "barbarian."

    Whittle is a commentator for the NRA who appears on a daily basis during the NRA’s live updates, which are broadcast at the top of the hour between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. He typically appears during the 1 p.m. hour, where he discusses issues of the day with host Grant Stinchfield.

    According to his website, Whittle began his gig with the NRA on January 3. “Since then, he has guest-hosted for Grant and [NRATV host] Collion (sic) Noir” and co-anchored the NRA’s afternoon coverage of the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, the site notes. The NRATV website lists more than 80 appearances by Whittle on NRA programming this year. In addition to his employment with the NRA, Whittle is a longtime conservative commentator who is best known for his work with conservative outlet PJ Media.

    Whittle will be part of NRATV’s broadcast crew during the outlet's live coverage of the NRA’s annual meetings, which will be held this year in Atlanta, GA, from April 27 through 30.

    During a 2016 appearance on libertarian-turned-“alt-right”-commentator Stefan Molyneux’s webshow, Whittle revealed his acceptance of theories commonly called “academic” or “scientific” racism that tie together IQ scores, race, and crime. He also positively cited a white nationalist to claim people in inner cities “don't have access to cognition.”

    In the February 12 broadcast, which was released with the title “Why Liberals Are Wrong About Inequality,” Molyneux premised his discussion with Whittle with claims that in terms of average IQ scores, Ashkenazi Jews “clock in at about 115” and “after the Jews come the East Asians, right, the Koreans, the Chinese, the Japanese, and so on. They clock in at 105, 106, but very good on visual-spacial skills and very, very fast reaction times, which is another way that they measure intelligence. Caucasians come in at about 100 and then below that are Hispanics, clocking in at around 90, and then American blacks, clocking in at around 85 -- partly because they have 20 percent European mixture in their gene pool -- and then sub-Saharan Africans, clocking in at around 70, which is obviously very tragic, but this is the reality of what's happened. And slightly below that are the aboriginals in Australia, clocking in around 67 or whatever.”

    The attempt to classify certain races as genetically inferior on the basis of IQ scores is a classic example of academic racism promoted by white nationalists like Richard Lynn, and it has served as the premise for widely denounced “research” by writers like Charles Murray in The Bell Curve and Jason Richwine in his infamous proposal on Latino immigration.

    This type of sorting of the races by supposed genetic differences relating to intelligence has been widely discredited by scientists and anthropologists, even as white nationalists have increasingly attempted to revive the theories to push a racist agenda.

    During his conversation with Molyneux, however, Whittle accepted and promoted ideas based on these discredited theories.

    INDEX:

    Whittle Cited A White Nationalist To Promote "Scientific" Racism

    Neo-Nazi Website Feted Whittle's Appearance

    Scientists And Anthropologists Have Rejected Whittle's Claims

    Whittle Has A History Of Racism

    What Is NRATV?

    Whittle Prefaced His Racist Claims On Molyneux’s Show By Citing A White Nationalist And Indicating An Acceptance Of Academic Racism

    At the top of Whittle’s appearance, he cited The Bell Curve in indicating his acceptance of the notion there are differences in intelligence between races while offering an analogy he said Molyneux has used -- that “you can’t put somebody on a basketball team to make them taller” -- and linking race and intelligence to crime:

    STEFAN MOLYNEUX: We, of course, have had a whole bunch of experts from both the left and the right on talking about IQ differences between ethnicities, and I think that helped to bring the issue more to the forefront of your thinking, is that fair to say?

    BILL WHITTLE: Yeah, I mean obviously that's the controversial part of The Bell Curve is the IQ difference between ethnicities, but I think the deeper issue is since IQ seems to -- general IQ, g, right is the term they use -- since it so closely correlates to both poverty and crime on one hand and generally success and wealth on the other, it would be useful to be thinking about what a society that was recognizing these differences looked like. You can't -- I just love your example, I’ve used it every time with attribution, although it’s hard for me because it’s such a damned good analogy, but it’s like you said, you can’t put somebody on a basketball team to make them taller.

    Later in the broadcast, Whittle turned to the “enormous societal problems” we have “to solve,” and said of research claiming to show differences in intelligence among races: “It's not a question of whether or not this is true; it's a question of what do we do with what appears to be overwhelming information that IQ correlates to a lot of our social problems.”

    Whittle then cited Linda Gottfredson, saying, “She said that when you really get down to it, it's not that we have a -- that in terms of like really rigid poverty, it's not that we have a money problem; we have a cognitive problem. They don't have access to cognition, I think is what she said.”

    Gottfredson is a well-known white nationalist who has received funding from the Pioneer Fund. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “Gottfredson argues that racial inequality, especially in employment, is the direct result of genetic racial differences in intelligence.” SPLC notes that the Pioneer Fund’s “original mandate was to pursue ‘race betterment’ by promoting the genetic stock of those ‘deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.’” It says the organization “still funds studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the ‘science’ of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities.”

    In his appearance, Whittle also made a racist characterization of aboriginal Australians, claiming that members of that ethnicity would be unable to learn how to do a job such as Molyneux’s to make the point: “That’s the thing about intelligence is it can adapt down, but you can’t adapt beyond your ability”:

    WHITTLE: Well it's interesting when somebody would say that a bushman in Australia survives in the desert much better than you could -- that's undoubtedly true -- but the part that they're leaving out is that with several months or weeks or a year of being with the Aborigines, you could learn those techniques about as well as they could or certainly well enough to survive. The question is could they learn the techniques that you use in order to do what you do for a living and the answer apparently is not. That’s the thing about intelligence is it can adapt down, but you can’t adapt beyond your ability. 

    Arguing that an IQ difference among the races “certainly seems to be real,” Whittle also offered an analogy to a Star Trek episode in suggesting his claims of IQ differences among races is like comparing a “civilized man” to a “barbarian”:

    WHITTLE: If this IQ difference is real -- certainly seems to be real -- then it is not a two-way street. Forgive me for going back to my entire studio, which is nothing but a museum of Star Trek, right, but I mean there was a really fascinating point and I remember hearing it when I was probably 7, 8, 9 years old when I heard it. And it's from the classic, classic episode called Mirror, Mirror where they teleport into the alternate universe and Spock has a goatee … and Kirk in the alternate universe succeeds because of his savagery and his ruthlessness, right? Here's the whole line -- they finally solve all the stuff, they beam back to their own ships and the universes go their separate ways and Spock says to Kirk, he says, “You as a civilized man had a much easier time portraying a barbarian than a barbarian ever could as a civilized man.” And I thought yeah, yeah, yeah that's it, right?

    Perhaps most disturbingly, Whittle made clear that his beliefs about intelligence differences among races should inform public policy, claiming during his appearance that “if we don’t understand, as you said, that this cognitive ability has an impact on society in the same way that a height ability has an impact on the society of the NBA, for example, we’re going to just be throwing money at problems.”

    Neo-Nazi Website The Daily Stormer Feted Whittle’s Appearance

    The week following Molyneux’s broadcast, Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi operator of The Daily Stormer, celebrated the episode with an article headlined “Stefan Molyneux has Gone Full Shitlord.” (Although “shitlord” seems like an insult, neo-Nazis have appropriated the term as a compliment.)

    The Daily Stormer is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic website. For example, it recently characterized offensive claims about the Holocaust made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer by saying Spicer “confirms Hitler never gassed anyone” while joking (warning: disturbing image) that Nazis instead drowned Jewish babies “in buckets.” Anglin was recently sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for allegedly orchestrating a harassment campaign against a Jewish woman.

    In his write-up of Molyneux’s broadcast, Anglin said, “Here’s a good interview with Bill Whittle,” and wrote, “As I predicted would happen, Stefan Molyneux has pretty well entirely abandoned his libertarian claptrap and family counseling nonsense and gone full shitlord. Ultimately, everyone who is honestly looking for the truth is going to come to the same conclusions that we have, and he has, for the most part, come to these conclusions.”

    Real Scientists And Anthropologists Have Rejected The Claims About Race And Intelligence That Whittle Promoted

    Claims that genetic differences make certain races inherently less intelligent, often linked to the IQ test -- like those pushed by Whittle and Molyneux -- have been discredited by mainstream science.

    To begin, race is no longer viewed as a biological phenomenon by the majority of scientists. As explained in a 1992 article in peer-reviewed academic journal Ethnicity & Disease, “For some time, biologists and anthropologists have overwhelmingly rejected the partitioning of modern humans into biological ‘races.’ An examination of recent human evolutionary history suggests that the zoological definition of race, based on significant genetic differences, cannot be legitimately applied to contemporary humans.”

    As Ta-Nehisi Coates explained at The Atlantic, claims that are premised on supposed racial differences in intelligence proceed “from a basic flaw -- no coherent, fixed definition of race actually exists.” The leading view among scientists is that race is a “social construct without biological meaning.”

    On race and intelligence specifically, research published in 2012 found that “heritability of IQ varies significantly by social class,” and that “almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation in IQ in the normal range.” Put another way, the findings offered strong evidence that non-genetic factors are primarily responsible for intelligence.

    According to the late Robert Sussman, who worked as an anthropology professor at Washington University, “There is no indication from any scientific evidence that different populations have any specific physical or intellectual attributes, or abilities. Those characteristics relate back to one’s socialization or upbringing (or nutrition).”

    Strong evidence that intelligence is a product of environmental factors rather than genetics is found in the Flynn effect, which is “the observed rise over time in standardized intelligence test scores, documented by [psychologist James] Flynn ... in a study on intelligence quotient (IQ) score gains in the standardization samples of successive versions of Stanford-Binet and Wechsler intelligence tests.”

    Rejecting claims that linked race and intelligence on the basis of IQ scores, science journalist John Horgan wrote in 2013 that “to my mind the single most important finding related to the debate over IQ and heredity is the dramatic rise in IQ scores over the past century. This so-called Flynn effect, which was discovered by psychologist James Flynn, undercuts claims that intelligence stems primarily from nature and not nurture.”

    Whittle Frequently Makes Racist Commentary About Black People And Middle Easterners

    Whittle has offered racist commentary during appearances on Molyneux’s other broadcasts, in videos released under his own brand, and on NRATV:

    • Whittle claimed that there is a “Muslim invasion” of Europe during a November 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show. Whittle’s comments came during a discussion of r/K selection theory. The theory posits that r-selected species emphasize having large numbers of offspring, and investing few resources in each offspring, while K-selected species have fewer offspring to which they devote more resources. Humans are a K-selected species under the theory, although Whittle and Molyneux attempted to brand Muslim immigrants as an r-selected species.
    • While discussing “black America” during a December 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s program, Whittle described African Americans who support the Democratic Party as literal slaves who prefer to remain in captivity. He said that that the party has “30 million” slaves and the “terms of their slavery are very simple -- there’s a word for somebody who is fed, and clothed, and housed, and whose health care is taken care of by another person, and that word is slave.” Whittle then suggested that African Americans commit voter fraud on behalf of Democrats as a condition of their slavery, claiming, “On the voting plantation that the Democratic Party has set up in America, we demand two hours of work from you every two years. Every two years we demand that you go down to the voting places and vote, once, twice, three, four times, however [many] times as you can imagine, or manage, and that’s the work we expect for you in exchange for keeping you in bondage.”
    • During another 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show, Whittle compared the “Islamic invasion of Europe” to “inner cities” in America “that are absolutely toxic, violent, enraged, bitter, [and] racist.” He went on to claim Black Lives Matter is “the street muscle” of the Democratic Party and that the group will make sure “everything’s gonna burn” if welfare is reduced. Again drawing a comparison between Europe and the United States, Whittle said, “We have the exact same problem here with these same kind of communities. They’re unemployable -- unemployed and unemployable -- they’ve been on assistance their entire lives, they’ve never had to work before,” and he said that these people should get jobs because a job “beats the laziness” out of people and “disciplines” them into “civility.”
    • Whittle called President Obama an “unqualified, unknown individual” who was elected “specifically and only because he is black” and said that electing Obama was “atoning for our slavery” during a January 2016 appearance on Molyneux’s show. Moments later he said, “I didn’t own any slaves, and therefore I’m not responsible for slavery. I’m not benefiting from slavery because I never owned any slaves,” and he said, “There’s nothing in this country that survived the Civil War that was the result of slavery.” Continuing to discuss the Civil War, Whittle said the “greatest tragedy in American history” is “not slavery, it’s not the Civil War, it’s what happened after,” before complaining about the philosophy of W.E.B. DuBois.
    • In 2013, Whittle published a video for PJ Media with the title “The Lynching” that discussed the February 2012 shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Whittle suggested that George Zimmerman, who killed Martin, had an experience tantamount to a lynching. Whittle said that text messages found on Martin’s phone, which he said were “not ‘airable’ here for extreme graphic content,” showed that Martin was “violent and highly sexualized.” What was “airable” on Whittle’s video, however, was an image (warning: disturbing image) of Martin’s body after he had been shot, which Whittle left on the screen for several minutes.
    • Whittle bizarrely labeled CNN anchor Don Lemon “racist” against white people because Lemon pointed out that President Donald Trump sounds different when he is using a teleprompter, as compared to when he speaks without one, during a March NRATV appearance.

    What Is NRATV?

    Whittle’s outlet, NRATV, was launched in October 2016 as a rebranding of the NRA’s long-running news outlet NRA News with the aim of offering more live programming created by the gun group and its advertising firm Ackerman McQueen.

    While NRA News flagship program Cam & Company, which continues to air on NRATV, serves as a font of misinformation about the debate over guns in the United States, new NRATV programming, such as the live updates on which Whittle appears, are better characterized as pro-Trump propaganda with a heavy dose of xenophobic commentary, particularly on the topic of Islam.

    NRATV is strident in its defense of Trump, and the overall NRA organization has said that it will serve as “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching ally.” For example, shortly after launching NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield attacked the media for covering numerous reports of sexual assault against Trump, saying outlets should instead cover instances where guns were used in self-defense.

    While the NRA has long claimed that the media are part of a conspiracy against everyday Americans, the group’s attacks against the press in defense of Trump have entered new territory in recent months, with the gun outlet labeling both dissent against Trump and protected-speech reporting about Trump and his administration as oppositional to the U.S. Constitution and American values.

  • NRA Spokesperson Pushes Gun Group's Top Legislative Priority On Fox News Without Disclosure

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Fox News hosted National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch where she advocated for the organization's top legislative priority, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, though Fox failed to disclose her NRA ties and identified her only as a “syndicated radio host.”

    After spending over $30 million during the presidential election to support Trump, the NRA has made the concealed carry reciprocity bill its top legislative priority. Federal reciprocity legislation mandates that states recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other state.

    Loesch, who has worked as an NRA commentator, recently started working for the gun group as a spokesperson. On February 21, the NRA put out a press release which stated that Loesch “will serve as a major national spokesperson for the National Rifle Association.” She was also named special assistant to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre “with direct attributable authority on NRA matters.” LaPierre “reiterated that Loesch now has full authority to represent the NRA on a broad range of issues” in the press release.

    During the April 17 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer asked Loesch to “grade” President Donald Trump’s first 100 days, and gave the NRA spokesperson a platform to push for national concealed carry reciprocity without disclosing any of her ties. Loesch said she would give Trump “between a B++ and an A-,” but said she is “waiting for national reciprocity.” At the end of interview, she said that if Trump can push national reciprocity through, she’ll give him an “A with a sticker”:

    BILL HEMMER (HOST): So the clock is ticking down on President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Already the critics and the pundits are weighing in. Here to give him a grade, Dana Loesch, national syndicated radio talk show host with me now. [...] We found an editorial in the New York Post. Here is the headline, you ready? “Trump's first 100 days have been better than you think.” And then we found a headline in the New York Times and it said “100 days of horror.” So you go ahead and choose. Which would you like to address, Dana?

    [...]

    HEMMER: How would you grade what you have seen from this White House in the first three months , Dana?

    DANA LOESCH: I would say that I would give the grade of -- right now, I'm going between a B++ and an A- , only because I'm waiting for national reciprocity. I get that national reciprocity, the country gets that national reciprocity, I think that bumps right up. But I think the first 100 days, I think he has done incredibly well and I think that he has kept his promises. And I know the media wants to look at the healthcare reform. The healthcare reform failed ultimately because this was something that was rushed through. There wasn't a general consensus before they took it to the floor. I think a lot of this was -- have to put it down on Paul Ryan. I think congressman -- Speaker Ryan was really trying to push it out there and I think that they needed a little bit more time and they needed to look at some of the previous plans which passed including Jim Jordan's in 2015 which also allowed a two-year grace period to make sure that a market based plan could be implemented. The House Freedom Caucus which is the representation of the Tea Party, that same momentum that launched Trump into the White House I think held its ground and I think that it actually will serve Trump well and the Trump administration. So I think the failures that the media wants to put upon him really are media projections. And of course the media has been drip, drip, dripping, leak, leak, leak. We have to think about a Susan Rice using an apparatus that was designed to protect America from terrorism and using that same apparatus potentially to spy on free Americans over dissent. I think that that's incredibly huge and it's being buried by the very media like The New York Times, Bill.

    HEMMER: All interesting. I'll put you down for a B+ and you do know this White House --

    LOESCH: B++. I know they’re watching right now, if President Trump can put that national reciprocity, I’m happy to put an A with a sticker.

    One version of concealed carry reciprocity introduced in the House by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) would “dramatically alter the way states regulate who can carry concealed firearms within their borders,” according to The Trace. States that do require concealed carry permits have varying standards, but under Hudson’s bill “states that set high bars for concealed carry would be compelled to welcome gun-toting visitors” from any state, regardless of carry requirements.

  • How The NRA Is Using The Opioid Epidemic To Distract From Gun Violence

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Cam Edwards has repeatedly highlighted the country’s raging opioid epidemic while arguing that gun violence gets too much media attention by comparison. While both crises require major media attention and public health resources, Edwards’ commentary on the issue serves the the NRA’s interest in downplaying the toll of gun violence.

    NRATV Host Frequently Uses Opioid Epidemic To Downplay Gun Violence

    During his three-hour weekday NRATV show Cam & Company, Edwards regularly discusses the opioid epidemic that “is hitting Americans all across the country” and points out the increase in deaths from opioid overdose from 2014 to 2016 in states including Ohio, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and West Virginia. At the end of his monologues, however, Edwards often uses the drug overdose epidemic to downplay pervasive gun violence in the United States.

    During the March 15 edition of Cam & Company, Edwards alleged that gun violence prevention activists, organizations, and the media are “much more interested in researching reasons why we should go after the Second Amendment rights of Americans” than in fighting the opioid epidemic.

    CAM EDWARDS (HOST): The media, the anti-gun activists out there, deep-pocketed billionaires like Michael Bloomberg -- Bloomberg has his own school of public health at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. And they seem sadly much more interested in researching reasons why we should go after the Second Amendment rights of Americans than they do in fighting this epidemic.

    During another broadcast the next week, Edwards read a list of opioid overdose rates compared to homicide rates in several states. He then claimed that the “mainstream media tries to tell us that we need to be more concerned about things like The Hearing Protection Act or national right to carry reciprocity,” both NRA legislative priorities that would weaken gun laws nationally. Edwards went on to emphasize the opioid overdose epidemic, saying that is “what we need to be concerned about. … Not bills that are out there respecting and restoring and strengthening our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

    During another March broadcast of his show, Edwards complained that the national media is “not talking much about … the staggering spike in overdose deaths” and that the gun violence epidemic “gets more attention.”

    In addition to these examples, Media Matters' regular monitoring of Edwards’ programming and writing has identified commentary that uses the opioid epidemic to downplay gun violence as an emerging talking point for the NRA.

    For example, in a March 15 article titled “The Real Epidemic” on the online edition of NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom, Edwards compared West Virginia’s opioid overdose death rate to Chicago’s homicide rate and claimed that the media is too busy pushing stronger gun laws to “pay more than scattered attention to the unfolding devastation caused by opioid overdoses.”

    He also claimed that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “has his own Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, but they seem to be much more interested in doing research on why we supposedly need more gun control laws than in finding solutions to the soaring overdose death rates.”

    Contrary to Edwards’ claims, Bloomberg has taken significant steps to battle the opioid epidemic. While serving as mayor, Bloomberg created the Mayor’s Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse to address a six-fold increase in overdoses in New York City between 2004 and 2010. In September 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that Bloomberg “is donating $300 million to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore to finance an ambitious effort to target opioid addiction, gun violence and other issues that are shortening lives and disrupting communities across the U.S.” 

    Both Guns And Opioids Are Creating Serious Epidemics

    The opioid epidemic is undoubtedly a growing problem that is devastating communities nationwide. But it is unfair for the NRA to use one epidemic to downplay another.

    In February 2013, the National Physicians Alliance declared gun violence to be “a public health issue that has reached epidemic proportions.” In a December 2015 opinion piece for U.S. News & World Report, the chief medical officer of the New York State Office of Mental Health Dr. Lloyd Sederer called gun violence “a deadly infectious disease” which “know[s] few boundaries.”

    On average, roughly 100,000 people are shot annually in the United States, and this figure does not include incidents that don’t result in physical injury, such as using a gun to threaten or intimidate someone. In 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 385 mass shootings, and 672 children ages 11 or under were killed or injured by guns.

    The NRA Is In Lockstep With Donald Trump, Whose Health Care Bill Would Have Worsened The Opioid Crisis

    NRATV has effectively served as a propaganda arm for President Donald Trump since he was elected. In a January video, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre declared that his group was “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching, ally.”

    As a consequence, the NRA threw in its lot with Trump as he led congressional Republicans in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite evidence that doing so would actually make the opioid epidemic much worse. According to Vox, the ACA expanded health care coverage to about “2.8 million Americans with drug use disorders,” and repealing the legislation could leave millions of addicts “stranded without potentially lifesaving care. If the Republicans’ attempt to replace the ACA had been successful, it would have “flatly reduce[d] coverage” and “water[ed] down coverage requirements for addiction treatment.” But that is something you aren’t likely to hear about on NRATV.