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The NRA After Orlando: It’s Not Pretty

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The NRA After Orlando: It’s Not Pretty

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Donald Trump addresses members of the National Rifle Association's during their NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during their annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II

The National Rifle Association broke its silence on the Orlando mass shootings Monday afternoon with a storm of objections to gun control measures on its Twitter feed and in an op-ed piece in USA Today assailing president Obama and “political correctness” by Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Cox claimed that laws allowing civilians to purchase the military-style semi-automatic assault rifle allegedly used by lone gunman Omar Mateen to murder 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub early Sunday morning had nothing to do with the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. He claimed that “radical Islamic terrorists are not deterred by gun control laws.”

Mateen, a suspected homophobe and apparently ISIS-inspired terrorist who carried out the carnage, was killed by police. He has since been identified as a regular at Pulse.

The NRA had no official statement to offer Monday when The National Memo called its media relations office twice to inquire about the gun lobby’s response to the massacre and to the actions of Mateen, a U.S. citizen born of Afghan parents in New York who also injured 53 other people with his brand new Sigsauer MCX assault rifle. He was able to purchase the weapon (plus a Glock 17 handgun) from a Florida dealer despite having been interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 for his alleged extremist comments to colleagues and purported ties to an American man who acted as a suicide bomber in Syria.

It took NRA executive vice president Wayne La Pierre a week to issue a statement on the 2012 slaughter of 20 school children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut by deranged gunman Adam Lanza, who was also armed with an AR-15 assault rifle. He murdered seven others, including his own mother and himself.

 LaPierre incensed gun control advocates at the time by advocating for armed security guards at schools, just as there are for sports stadiums, government buildings and for the president of the United States.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre declared at a news conference. 

It was a line that Donald Trump, the NRA-endorsed presumptive Republican nominee for president, pretty much parroted and expanded upon during an interview aired Monday on NBC’s Today show, when he claimed that “millions” of innocent gun owners needed their guns for protection. “I absolutely wouldn’t [ban assault rifles] because people need protection; they have to protect,” he said, adding that, otherwise, “the bad guys will have the assault rifles and the people trying to protect themselves will be standing there with a BB gun.”

Trump wrote that he supported a ban on assault weapons in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, but he has taken a sharp turn to the right during the 2016 election season by appealing to fears of terrorism.

“Hillary Clinton says the solution is to ban guns,” Trump said in a prepared statement during a campaign stop Monday at Saint Anselm’s college in Manchester, N.H. “They tried that in France, which has among the toughest gun laws in the world, and 130 were brutally murdered by Islamic terrorists in cold blood.”

Speaking from a teleprompter, Trump claimed without substantiation that Clinton’s plan was “to disarm law-abiding Americans, abolishing the 2nd amendment, and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns. She wants to take away Americans’ guns, then admit the very people who want to slaughter us.”

The bellicose Manhattan businessman also noted he would be meeting with the NRA to discuss how to ensure that Americans “have the means to protect themselves in this age of terror.”

Hillary Clinton took the opposite position.

“We need to get these weapons of war off the streets,” she said Monday. “We had an assault weapons ban, it expired, and we need to reinstate it. From San Bernardino to Aurora, Colorado, to Sandy Hook and now to Orlando, we have seen the devastation that these military style weapons cause.”

Clinton drew sustained applause and several standing ovations when she spoke a pre-scheduled event in Cleveland, Ohio. She devoted most of it to the terror attack in Orlando and strongly called for stricter gun controls. “If the FBI. is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun.” she said.

She made no mention of Trump in her remarks.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is still running for the Democratic presidential nomination as an underdog candidate battling Clinton against near impossible odds, told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on Sunday that he has long supported a ban on “automatic” weapons — presumably meaning assault rifles, as the weapon used in Orlando was semi-automatic, meaning it fires as quickly as its operator can pull the trigger.

Calling the attacks in Orlando horrific, Sanders stated bluntly, “For 25 years now, I’ve believed that we should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people, and we’ve got to do everything we can on top of that to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them. Criminals and people who are mentally ill, so the struggle continues.”

Todd then asked Sanders if America could ever have a conversation about guns and terrorism without it becoming politicized. Replied the self-described democratic socialist, “I do, Chuck. Because I think that there is a very broad consensus in this country, not a hundred percent of the people, [but] overwhelming majority of gun owners and non-gun owners understand that we have got to do everything we can to prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who should not have them. That means expanding the instant background check. It means doing away with the gun show loopholes. It means addressing the strawman provision. I think there is a wide consensus to move forward in that direction.”

Sanders once earning an A rating from the NRA,. But during his campaign he has boasted of more recently receiving a D minus report from the gun lobby.

In the wake of last year’s deadly San Bernadino mass shooting by an ISIS-inspired couple, Sanders voted Dec. 3, 2015 for two bills that would bar suspected terrorists, felons and the mentally ill from getting guns. Republicans in the Senate almost unanimously rejected it. They recited familiar NRA arguments that such a provision would strip some innocent people of their constitutional rights to gun access.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the New York Daily News back then that he was “aghast” that Republicans blocked the bills. “To say it’s okay for would-be terrorists to buy guns after what happened in Paris and in California shows just a total disregard for public safety and a total fear of the NRA. and it’s hard to believe the NRA could be so unreasonable. They’re digging their own grave,” he said.

Photo: Donald Trump addresses members of the National Rifle Association’s during their NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during their annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II

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21 Comments

  1. Otto T. Goat June 14, 2016

    It’s hilarious how Democrats have forgotten gun control is a huge loser for them.

    Reply
    1. Insinnergy June 14, 2016

      Its hilarious how the GOP constantly ignores a majority of 80% of the American people (including over 70% of the NRA members) who are wanting background checks, terrorist buying restrictions, gun show loopholes closed, and assault weapons bans… just so their butt-buddies in the NRA can make more money… and think it’s a winning strategy. Or Democratic.
      It’s painting them over and over as the party that doesn’t give a crap about people… only money.

      Sad troll.

      Reply
        1. PrecipitousDrop June 14, 2016

          She dropped you, Otto.
          Fair and square.
          You’re toast. Like Trump. Loser.

          Reply
        2. Independent1 June 14, 2016

          One more time you’ve proven you’re a really sick puppy just like the rest of your right-wing nutcase buddies.

          Reply
    2. PrecipitousDrop June 14, 2016

      Otto! Hey, man!
      Made up any new crime “stats” lately?
      What’s up with your pals in the white pointy hats?
      When’s the next fish fry and gun raffle up at county Trump HQ?
      Dems aren’t afraid of gun law backlash.
      You are.

      Reply
        1. PrecipitousDrop June 14, 2016

          So, Otto…
          The answer is: No.
          Nothing new. Just the same old funny papers.

          Reply
          1. Otto T. Goat June 14, 2016

            You’ve never heard of the FBI. That’s funny.

            Reply
          2. PrecipitousDrop June 15, 2016

            No, Otto, it’s kinda sad.
            I can remember what I read.
            You post that FBI link every time you show up. The same one.
            You can’t remember what you read, and you can’t remember what you post.
            Would it help, you think, to begin making a handwritten entry log? Your motor-memory — using a pencil or a crayon — might be more durable than typing.
            Good luck!

            Reply
          3. Paul Bass June 15, 2016

            Anyone can click on their own icon to get a printout of their own comments.
            this is why all otto stats are a repeat, they are the “go to” lies he always posts.

            Reply
    3. 788eddie June 15, 2016

      Hey, Otto, I’m a registered Republican, and I support common-sense guncontrol.

      You’re outnumbered on this.

      Reply
  2. Daniel Jones June 14, 2016

    The NRA isn’t digging their own grave until people man up and stop them.
    Until that day comes, their murder-cult is digging **OUR** mass grave.

    Reply
  3. angryspittle June 14, 2016

    I had a dream the other night that the next mass shooting with assault rifles like the AR-15 takes place at the NRA convention………

    Reply
    1. Otto T. Goat June 14, 2016

      Then you woke up and realized you still had GRIDS.

      Reply
      1. PrecipitousDrop June 14, 2016

        No, Otto.
        Honey, that’s YOUR disorder, remember?
        Remember what the doctor said?

        Reply
  4. Siegfried Heydrich June 14, 2016

    I think there’s another approach that can be used . . . the way around this is to look at the type of ammo, rather than the weapons themselves. A defining characteristic of ‘assault rifles’ is that they all use military rounds (5.56, 7.62, .308, 30.06, etc), which have heavy bullets and very large powder charges that are in bottlenecked cartridges, They have great range and stopping power. In short, they can shoot clean through schools. These are useful for either hunting or range shooting. But not for personal defense use.

    The way to deal with this issue is to require that any rifle that fires military ammunition be manually chambered. Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire military rounds, restricting them to military or police use only. That is, if you want a weapon that fires military ammo for civilian use, it’s either a manual bolt action or lever action chambering system. No more one-pull-one-shot rifles with high capacity magazines.that can be emptied in a matter of seconds (you can fire 30 shots in around 10 – 12 seconds). Semi-automatic weapons that use military ammo are designed for military use and thus have only one purpose – to kill large numbers of people, quickly. The rounds they fire are massively overpowered to domestic use.

    You fire a shot, work the bolt, and you’re ready for your next shot. Unless you’re very highly trained, that’s at least a couple of seconds, and messes up the shooter’s sight image having to work the bolt. It means that instead of just squeezing off shots from the hip literally as fast as you can twitch your finger, you have to take the time to eject the old round and chamber a new one. This slows your rate of fire enough that your intended victims have time to swarm you, or seek cover. It’s easy to hose down a room full of people with a semi-automatic. Hosing down a room with a bolt action simply doesn’t work.

    If you want to use those rounds for hunting or sport shooting, fine. But no more sustained semi-automatic fire. If you want to fire a military rifle round, it just needs to be manually chambered. round, the same as hunters and sport shooters have done for well over a century.

    Reply
    1. Otto T. Goat June 14, 2016

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever even used a firearm?

      Reply
      1. Siegfried Heydrich June 14, 2016

        Yes I do, and yes I have. I own several, though they’re back at home right now. (europeans are twitchy about that sort of thing) Rather than get into the semantics of ‘what is an assault rifle’, you simply restrict semiautomatic rifles that fire military ammo to police or military use, for which they are designed and intended. Civilian firearms that shoot military ammo are restricted to manual feed (bolt / lever action). That allows sport shooting and hunting and deters their use in mass shootings, or if they’re used, at least the victims have a fighting chance.

        How you implement this would be to reclassify military grade weapons (semiautomatics with insertable magazines that fire military ammo) to class 3, make them subject to the same regulations as full auto weapons,and require an FFL if you want to own one. For those not wanting to get a license, implement a buyback system or an exchange for a bolt / lever action rifle.

        Anyone refusing to give up their weapons would then, by definition, no longer be ‘law abiding gun owners’, and therefore subject to confiscation of the weapon, heavy fines, and prison terms for non compliance. I don’t think this would come about any time soon, but I can see this occurring in perhaps 20 years or so.

        The courts have already found that the gov’t can place common sense regulation on the types of weapons you may own. This is why you can’t just go buy a full auto machine gun, mortar, cannon, or surface to air missile. This is not ‘confiscation’. This simply requires that weapons capable of mass murder be regulated more carefully than weapons which are not. This is, by definition, a ‘common sense regulation’ which the courts would uphold.

        Reply
    2. 788eddie June 15, 2016

      Hey Seigfried, I like your thinking! Sounds like middle ground to me. Those who get boners from owning a “military-style” weapon can get their jollies, but it makes the high-body-count harder to achieve.

      Thanks for thinking creatively!

      Reply

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