Issues ››› Guns
  • As Election Approaches, NRA Hypes Horrific, America-Destroying ISIS Attack Scenarios

    NRA Tactics Include Showing Images Of Dead Children Before Calling For Leaders Who Will Say “Radical Islamic Terror”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    In the lead-up to the presidential election, the National Rifle Association is releasing a series of videos predicting increasingly deadly terror attacks, including one scenario that culminates with “urban street gangs” and Mexican drug cartels taking “control" of the United States.

    That hypothetical was described in an October 18 NRA Commentator video, with NRA News commentator Dom Raso saying he was going to “think like ISIS” before suggesting that the terror group could take down the United States’ entire power grid.

    According to Raso, as time passes after the power goes out, “food and water would be almost impossible to find and whatever stockpiles were left would become war zone. … I guarantee police would abandon their duty, to protect their own families. … Sewage would pile up in homes and run out into the streets. There would be no safe water for showers, and disease would inevitably start to spread. With their ruthless methods and superior organization, Mexican cartels and urban street gangs take advantage of everyone and take control.”

    Raso then said, “At this point, ISIS doesn’t have to kill anyone; they’ve already won”:

    In an October 11 video, Raso described another doomsday scenario, pre-emptively blaming President Obama for ISIS setting off a hypothetical nuclear device in Times Square. In this scenario, ISIS would smuggle the nuclear device across the U.S.-Mexico border.

    While showing images of Obama, Raso intoned, “If, God forbid, a massive attack is carried out on our own soil by terrorists who gained entry by crossing that border, it will be exactly because we decided to put the feelings and opinions of those politicians whose closest interaction with ISIS is watching the Paris attacks happen on CNN over the safety of the American people”:

    In an October 4 video, Raso claimed that Obama “talks about universal values we all share as if Islamic terrorists are just like us,” before predicting an ISIS terror attack against a school in the U.S. similar to the 2004 Beslan, Russia, hostage crisis that left hundreds dead.

    Without mentioning Trump by name, the video demanded that we elect federal leaders who will say “radical Islamic terror.”

    The NRA video is graphic and includes footage of dead and wounded children:

    The NRA most recently amped up its fearmongering with an “urgent message” to members from the group’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, in which he described the U.S. as an unlivable hellscape following eight years of Obama as president.

    Before the 2014 elections, the NRA’s election edition of its magazine fearmongered about terrorist attacks and "angry mobs" rioting "just for the sheer hell of it" in the U.S. before calling on supporters to "vote our guns" on Election Day. That magazine cover suggested that ISIS is at “our door”:

  • At His Most Unhinged, NRA’s LaPierre Sends “Urgent” Message To Members Describing America As A Hellscape

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The leader of the National Rifle Association insisted he wasn’t “crazy,” “paranoid,” or “nuts” before ranting to NRA members in an “urgent” video message where he made claims at odds with reality, including claiming that his widely ridiculed prediction that President Obama would come for Americans’ guns “came true.”

    During a six-minute get out the vote video, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre described America after eight years of Obama as president in hellish terms unrecognizable to anyone who actually lives here, claiming that the president has “laid waste to the America we remember” causing the country to “completely unravel.”

    After describing a calamitous America, LaPierre claimed, “I told you exactly what [Obama] would do. The media said I was nuts. But in the end, America knows I was right.” You decide whether LaPierre was right:

    • LaPierre said his prediction that Obama “would come for our guns and do everything in his power to sabotage the Second Amendment” “came true” following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when Obama “exploited a horrible tragedy to launch a blizzard of gun bans, magazine restrictions, and gun registration schemes against law abiding gun owners all across the country.” (Nothing proposed by Obama would have violated the Second Amendment as understood in the Antonin Scalia-authored Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller. The background check bill that was voted on in the Senate after the massacre specifically prohibited the creation of registries.)

    • Following terror attacks carried out by ISIS, LaPierre claimed Obama “attacked you harder than he attacked ISIS. He used the terrorism his own weaknesses and failures made possible to try to gut your right to shoot back at the terrorists he refused to kill.” (As commander-in-chief, Obama is actually carrying out a military campaign against ISIS which routinely kills the group’s leaders and fighters. Nothing Obama has ever proposed would bar citizens from shooting back at terrorists.)

    • LaPierre claimed that Obama “has transformed America into a sanctuary nation for felons, criminal gangbangers, drug dealers, repeat offenders, and illegal aliens” and that “our inner cities now rank among the most dangerous places in the world.” (Although there have been upticks as well as dips, violent crime has continued to fall under President Obama.)

    • LaPierre said Obama “handed nuclear bombs to the Iranian mullahs who dream of killing us all.” (In fact, the deal negotiated with Iran will make it much more difficult for that country to make a nuclear bomb.)

    • Under Obama, LaPierre claimed, “Our economy is on life support. Health care is an utter failure. Our schools have never been worse. You can see the despair in every parent's eyes.” (The economy is growing, the uninsured rate is an all-time low, and the high school graduation rate is at a record high.)

    • LaPierre claimed Clinton “will come for your guns, she will attack your right to carry, she will attack your most basic right to defend your family with a firearm in your home.” (Independent fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked the claim that Clinton opposes gun ownership or that she has indicated she would abolish the Second Amendment.)

    If the present-day America described by LaPierre is frightening, the scenario he describes if Clinton were to be elected is outright terrifying. According to LaPierre, Clinton’s election would harken “the creation of a new, post-freedom America that you won’t even recognize” as Clinton twists “a knife into the heart of the one freedom that separates us from the rest of the world.”

    Displaying his trademark paranoia, LaPierre -- irresponsibly and without evidence -- claims that guns would be “forcibly” confiscated during Clinton’s presidency and “if you refuse to witness the self-destruction of the greatest nation the world has ever known” then NRA voters must ensure Clinton’s defeat so that America “will be great again.”

    LaPierre offered one more falsehood in his video message: He said that NRA supporters “are the Special Forces that swing elections.” The idea that the NRA has the ability to determine election outcomes has actually been vastly overstated.

    LaPierre’s entire paranoid rant:

    WAYNE LAPIERRE: I spent my entire life fighting for the Second Amendment and I’ve got the scars to prove it. The media and many in the political class have reserved some of their most vicious, nasty insults for me. Because they truly hate the freedom that I stand for and they hate that I tell the truth. They’ve called me crazy, paranoid, evil, and far worse. But the media is so focused on me, they forgot about you, the tens of millions of gun owners all over America. The men and women who come up to me at guns shows in places like Tulsa and Harrisburg, the mechanics and taxi drivers and Waffle House waitresses who tell me, “Never ever back down.” You give me the strength to speak the plain honest truth in the face of all the hate.

    When I said Barack Obama would come for our guns and do everything in his power to sabotage the Second Amendment, they savaged me. They called me a liar. But every one of those predictions came true. As soon as it was politically convenient, he exploited a horrible tragedy to launch a blizzard of gun bans, magazine restrictions, and gun registration schemes against law-abiding gun owners all across the country.

    I stood in front of the country and said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I said our children deserve at least the same level of protection that surrounds our jewelry stores, banks, office buildings, celebrities, and the political and media elite. They attacked me like never before. But you stood your ground, and you told me to stand mine.

    While radical Islamic terrorists shot, bombed, and butchered innocent Americans on our own soil, Barack Obama attacked you harder than he attacked ISIS. He used the terrorism his own weaknesses and failures made possible to try to gut your right to shoot back at the terrorists he refused to kill. Thank God we stopped him in his tracks. But while his term ends in a matter of months, his two Supreme Court appointees, easily among the worst justices to ever sit on that bench, will come after our guns for the rest of their lives. Eight years of his policies have laid waste to the America we remember. Through a deliberate lack of prosecution, he has transformed America into a sanctuary nation for felons, criminal gangbangers, drug dealers, repeat offenders, and illegal aliens. Our inner cities now rank among the most dangerous places in the world. Teenage girls are trafficked in sex trade that begins south of our porous border and ends up right under the noses of the elites in cities like Washington, D.C.

    His foreign policy enabled and inspired ISIS, handed nuclear bombs to the Iranian mullahs who dream of killing us all, emboldened Russia, China and North Korea, and left Europe on the brink of absolute implosion. Even the weakest leaders of third-rate countries feel free to publicly mock and disrespect our president while the world’s most cunning, power-hungry negotiators played him for a fool.

    Our economy is on life support. Health care is an utter failure. Our schools have never been worse. You can see the despair in every parent's eyes. Eight years; that's all it took for our country to completely unravel. I told you exactly what he would do. The media said I was nuts. But in the end, America knows I was right.

    So feel free to mark my words: If, God forbid, Hillary Clinton is elected, she will launch an all-out war on the Second Amendment. She will come for your guns, she will attack your right to carry, she will attack your most basic right to defend your family with a firearm in your home. And she will continue the disastrous policies of this administration to their inevitable conclusion: the creation of a new, post-freedom America that you won’t even recognize.

    There is no red line President Hillary Clinton will not cross when it comes to attacking your rights and forcibly taking your guns. She dreams of twisting a knife into the heart of the one freedom that separates us from the rest of the world. The only thing that can stop her is you. The NRA's 5 million members are history’s most committed, most elite defenders of freedom. You are the Special Forces that swing elections, and I need you now more than ever.

    Fight with me; stand by my side like you have at all these years. If you cherish the freedom that was won for you at Lexington and Concord and on the shores of Normandy, if you believe that this freedom makes America better and stronger than every other country, if you refuse to witness the self-destruction of the greatest nation the world has ever known, then join me: Arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, we will fight for each other, for our children and for future generations, and for our shared dream that American can and will be great again. On November 8th, you are freedom's safest place.

  • NRA Passes Largest Pro-Trump Super PAC In Outside Spending Opposing Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association committees making independent campaign expenditures to oppose Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have spent more than $14 million on the race, surpassing the spending of the most active pro-Trump Super PAC.

    According to FEC filings collected by ProPublica covering spending through October 20, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action has spent $7,057,970 opposing Clinton and the NRA Political Victory Fund has spent $7,127,423:

    The combined $14 million is more money than Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Trump Super PAC, has spent. Additionally, the NRA has spent nearly $9 million so far on independent expenditures supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom the NRA endorsed at its annual meeting in May.

    While other conservative outside spenders have backed away from Trump, the NRA has thrown its lot in with him -- and continues to do so despite Trump’s ongoing collapse in national polling amid multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

    As of October 12, the NRA had already spent a record-breaking $21 million attempting to get Trump elected, nearly double the $12 million the group spent in its failed “all in” effort to elect Romney in 2012.

    The NRA is showing no signs of letting up either. This week, it released a $5 million ad that distorted comments Clinton has made on the Second Amendment and on her use of a private email server in order to falsely brand her as a liar. Other NRA ads have pushed the falsehood that Clinton opposes all gun ownership, an NRA claim that has been repeatedly rated false by independent fact-checkers.

    As early as August, The New York Times reported that conservative outside spenders other than the NRA were backing away from Trump. The Times article reported that “Donald J. Trump’s candidacy has driven away throngs of Republican elected officials, donors and policy experts. But not the National Rifle Association,” noting that the NRA is “the institution on the right most aggressively committed to his candidacy, except for the Republican National Committee itself” and that the NRA “has spent millions of dollars on television commercials for Mr. Trump, even as other Republican groups have kept their checkbooks closed.”

    According to the NRA’s November magazine, the group is touting itself as “the key” to electing Trump and claiming he is the only candidate who can “save our freedom.”

  • NRA Offers Double The Falsehoods With New $5 Million Ad Buy Targeting Clinton On Both Emails And Second Amendment


    The National Rifle Association is misrepresenting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s past statements on both the landmark Second Amendment decision District of Columbia v. Heller and the investigation into Clinton’s private email server in order to falsely brand her a liar on both accounts.

  • Trump’s Neo-Nazi “Alt-Right” Supporters Suggest “Violent” “Race War” Response To So-Called Rigged Election

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claim that the November elections will be “rigged” against him has resulted in suggestions of post-election violence from his “alt-right” supporters. Two leading neo-Nazi websites have suggested that if the election is rigged against Trump, there will be an “uprising -- violent or otherwise -- from the American people” and an “open race war” necessitating guns.

  • Seven Pressing Debate Questions We Never Heard

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Presidential debate season is officially over, and critical policy questions that directly impact millions of Americans remain unasked just 19 days before the election.

    Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump met last night in Las Vegas, Nevada for the final presidential debate, which was likely the last chance for the candidates to discuss specific policy issues face-to-face before November 8. Just as in the previous two presidential debates this year, moderator Chris Wallace chose to focus questions on a handful of familiar topics. Even within the context of six pre-announced debate topics, Wallace could have asked questions on major policy issues that deserve thoughtful and substantive prime-time discussion from the presidential candidates, like affordable health care, climate change, or tax plans.

    But that didn’t happen. When debate discussions did manage to turn to policy specifics on critical topics like reproductive rights or gun violence prevention, Wallace didn’t ask necessary follow-up questions or offer clarifications on the facts. (Prior to the debate, Wallace announced his intention to be a debate timekeeper rather than fact-checker.)

    All in all, last night’s debate largely covered the same ground as the previous two debates, both in topics discussed and in tone. If any of the three debates had focused more aggressively on what’s truly at stake -- what voters have said they wanted asked, what people actually believe is most important for their own families and communities -- the questions in this debate cycle would have looked very different. And the answers could speak for themselves.

    Let’s explore just how hard the moderators dropped the ball.

    This year, the United States began the process of resettling its first climate refugees. A bipartisan group of top military experts warned that climate change presents a “strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security and international security.” While Clinton wants to build on President Obama’s climate change accomplishments, Trump wants to “cancel” the historic Paris climate agreement, “rescind” the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, and dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency -- and he’s even called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

    Moderators did not ask a single question about the effects of climate change in any of the three presidential debates or the vice presidential debate.

    Several tragic mass shootings -- including the single deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, at the LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, FL, in June -- have shaken the nation since the beginning of the election season. Gun deaths in the United States, both in instances of mass shootings and in more common day-to-day violence, vastly outnumber gun deaths in other Western democracies -- so much so that the American Medical Association has declared gun violence a public health crisis. And Americans are overwhelmingly ready for lawmakers to take action. Seventy-two percent of voters say gun policy is “very important” in determining their vote this year, and an astonishing 90 percent of voters -- representing both Democrats and Republicans -- think that strengthening background check requirements for firearm purchases is a good place to start, as does Clinton. Trump recently told the National Rifle Association -- which has endorsed him  -- that he opposes expanding background checks. 

    Moderators failed to ask a single question about specific policies for gun violence prevention in the first two presidential debates, and they failed to ask a question about background check policies specifically in any debate. In the final debate, Wallace asked about gun policies in the context of the Supreme Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision about the scope of the Second Amendment, but he failed to follow up when Trump skirted questions about the case and about his specific positions on several gun policies like his opposition to an assault weapons ban and his oft-repeated false claim that "gun-free" zones are responsible for public mass shootings. The entire exchange lasted just under five minutes.

    Though seven in 10 Americans support legal abortion and one in three American women report having had an abortion procedure, states have enacted 288 anti-choice laws since 2010. These laws are creating a crisis by preventing women from low-income families -- many already parents who are struggling to keep families afloat -- from receiving the health care services they need. Some evidence even suggests greater numbers of women are contemplating dangerous self-induced abortions due to a lack of access to care. Trump has espoused support for these types of restrictive laws, and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), wants to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history.”

    But moderators did not ask a question about the candidates’ stances on reproductive rights until the final debate -- when Chris Wallace asked about Roe v. Wade. Again, Trump repeatedly lied about abortion policy, and the misinformation was left hanging as Wallace pivoted to a new topic after about five minutes of discussion.

    How about tax policies? Tax rates are a critical issue that directly affect all Americans, and the candidates’ respective tax policy proposals could not differ more. Clinton’s plan would benefit low- and middle-income families most and hike tax rates only for the wealthiest earners and for corporations. Trump’s plan has been called “a multitrillion-dollar gift to the rich” that “screws the middle class,” and has been panned even by conservative economists and The Wall Street Journal. One analysis concluded that Clinton’s plan  “trims deficits,” while Trump’s plan could add $6.2 trillion to the national debt. These numbers directly impact  the short-term and long-term financial health of families and communities, and 84 percent of voters say the economy is “very important” in deciding their vote in 2016.

    Substantive questions about the candidates’ specific tax plans were missing from the debates, though Trump still managed to lie about his tax proposals on several occasions. When the candidates mentioned their tax plans briefly in the final debate when asked about the economy, Wallace again lived up to his promise not to fact-check.

    A record number of anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, and LGBT students face significantly more violence than their peers, but the debates did not include a single question about policy positions related to LGBT equality.

    About 70 percent of today’s college graduates leave school with student loans, and more than 43 million Americans currently have student debt. This economic squeeze is changing how Americans plan their families, buy homes, and spend their money. Clinton has responded by making college affordability a signature issue of her campaign, while Trump’s newly described plan could “explode the student debt crisis.” Neither candidate was asked to address this issue either.

    The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world -- we account for 5 percent of the world’s population but a whopping 25 percent of the world’s prison population. Inmate organizers recently launched what could be the nation’s largest prison strike to draw attention to deplorable prison conditions. The majority of Americans want to see changes to a federal prison system they believe is “too large, too expensive, and too often incarcerating the wrong people.” Moderators didn’t ask about criminal justice reform policies at all.

    The presidential debates instead largely focused on statements made on the campaign trail, whichever offensive comments Trump had made most recently, and -- again, always -- Hillary Clinton’s email use as secretary of state. Viewers might now  know a lot about these topics  -- or at least what each candidate has to say about them -- while still having very little information on the candidates’ starkly contrasting policy positions on issues with direct and immediate consequences to citizens’ daily lives.

    Americans relied on moderators to raise the questions they think about every day, to help them understand how the next president can help ensure that their families are safe, secure, and set up to thrive. It’s a shame the debates did not deliver. 

  • NRA Doesn’t Know What’s In Landmark Second Amendment Decision It Constantly Touts

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association is claiming that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lied during her debate answer about the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller. But the NRA, which called the Heller ruling “a great moment in American history,” needs to revisit the decision.

    During the final presidential debate, Clinton explained that she previously called Heller “wrongly decided” because she disagrees “with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case, because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.”

    The NRA responded on Twitter, writing, “So now [Clinton] says Heller was abt toddlers? Another lie; was abt the right to defend yourself w/ a gun in your home”:

    The NRA should revisit the text of the Heller decision. The case was about the right to keep a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense. But it was also about safe gun storage -- specifically a trigger-lock requirement. Indeed, the court issued a ruling on two issues, striking down, on Second Amendment grounds, both D.C.’s law banning handgun ownership and D.C.’s law about gun storage that was meant to safeguard people -- specifically children -- from accidents:

    In fact, contrary to the NRA’s false claim that Heller wasn’t about gun accidents involving children, Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent highlighted the accidental firearm-related deaths of children seven times.

    As Clinton alluded to in her answer, D.C.’s brief for the Supreme Court argued that the gun storage law “is a reasonable regulation designed to prevent accidental and unnecessary shootings,” while noting, “In 1991 the U.S. General Accounting Office found that 8% of accidental shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six, which could have been prevented by child-proof safety locks.”

    When the decision came down, the NRA itself explained at the time of the ruling, the decision was about both D.C.’s handgun ban and “possession of functional firearms” in the home.

    In the same debate answer, Clinton also added, “I also believe there's an individual right to bear arms. That is not in conflict with sensible, commonsense regulation.”

    During the presidential campaign, the NRA has based its opposition to Clinton on its claim that she opposes allowing people to own guns -- a charge that has been repeatedly rated false by independent fact-checkers.

  • NRA Risks Complete Disaster Following Unprecedented Spending On Trump

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The NRA has gone out on a limb for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but the candidate is in the process of sawing it off as his campaign flails amid a rapidly increasing number of new sexual assault allegations.

    While other outside groups that traditionally spend a lot on elections have taken a more measured approach in backing Trump, the NRA has already spent nearly twice as much on independent expenditures in this presidential race as it did in 2012, when it attempted to elect Mitt Romney.

    The NRA’s outsized promotion of Trump began during its May 2016 annual meeting. Previewing the group’s endorsement of Trump, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre told a roaring crowd, “The revolution to take America back starts here, it starts on this day, and by God we will elect our next president, we will save our freedom, and America truly will be great again.” Moments later Trump joined the stage to receive the NRA’s official endorsement from NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox.

    Such an early endorsement of a presidential candidate was “virtually unprecedented” for the NRA, which did not endorse John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 until October.

    The NRA has backed its enthusiasm for Trump with massive spending -- even as other conservative groups have backed off. In August, The New York Times reported that “Donald J. Trump’s candidacy has driven away throngs of Republican elected officials, donors and policy experts. But not the National Rifle Association.” Calling the NRA “the institution on the right most aggressively committed to his candidacy, except for the Republican National Committee itself,” the Times reported, “The association has spent millions of dollars on television commercials for Mr. Trump, even as other Republican groups have kept their checkbooks closed and Mr. Trump’s campaign has not run any ads of its own.”

    Indeed, according to FEC filings viewed on October 13, the NRA has spent the second most of any organization on independent expenditures opposing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and supporting Trump, behind only pro-Trump super PACs:

    Because the NRA spends with two committees -- the NRA Institute for Legislative Action and the NRA Political Victory Fund -- the figures above do not even represent total NRA spending on the 2016 presidential race. According to NBC News, the committees have spent a combined $21 million so far attempting to elect Trump. In contrast, the NRA spent  $12 million trying to elect Romney in 2012 in a spending campaign the gun group termed “all in.”  

    The largest pro-Trump NRA ad buy to date -- reportedly worth $6.5 million -- could not have come at a worse time. On October 5, the NRA released an ad that falsely claimed Hillary Clinton opposed the notion that “every woman has a right to defend herself with a gun if she chooses.” The ad featured a woman who defended herself with a gun against a violent attacker.

    On October 6, the NRA predicted the ad would give Trump a “big boost” in an article in its online magazine, touting “the largest advertising push to date for the National Rifle Association’s support of the Trump campaign":

    The next day, The Washington Post released a video of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, sending his campaign into a free fall. Following the release of that tape, numerous women have come forward accusing Trump of more sexual assaults.

    Following these revelations, it is unclear what the NRA will do, having already invested so much money into the race and already touted themselves as "the key" to delivering the election for Trump. According to the NRA’s upcoming election edition of its magazine America’s 1st Freedom, the gun group shows no sign of backing down, with the group’s leadership setting Trump up as necessary to “save our freedom”:

  • Second Presidential Debate Will Provide Prime Opportunity To Ask Candidates About Background Checks For Gun Sales

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    As the second presidential debate approaches, the issue of expanded background checks for gun sales is leading in a poll of viewer-submitted questions that will be considered by the moderators. While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton supports expanding background checks, Republican nominee Donald Trump recently told the NRA, which opposes expanded background checks, that he also opposes the policy -- and he has also pushed extreme and inaccurate talking points on guns in GOP primary debates. 

  • VA Reiterates That NRA Violated Ban On “Partisan Activities” By Filming Political Ad At Military Cemetery

    VA’s National Cemetery Administration: Political Ads Filmed At Cemeteries “Are Not Compatible With Preserving The Dignity And Tranquility Of The National Cemeteries”


    As the National Rifle Association continues to use footage it filmed at a national cemetery in political attack ads, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration (NCA) reiterated to Media Matters that had the NRA asked permission to film, the request would have been denied.

    So far, the NRA has used footage it filmed at Alexandria National Cemetery in political ads targeting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Florida Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy. In the ad targeting Clinton, which was released in June, Mark Geist, a survivor of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks, criticized Clinton’s handling of the attacks while walking next to gravestones. Footage from the same cemetery again appeared in a September Benghazi-themed ad targeting Murphy that the NRA is spending nearly $900,000 to air.

    Asked about the NRA’s continued use of the footage, NCA spokesperson Jessica Schiefer told Media Matters, “NCA did not receive a request from the NRA to film the subject advertisement. If we had received such a request, we would have denied it based on the partisan content. Partisan activities are prohibited on national cemetery grounds as they are not compatible with preserving the dignity and tranquility of the national cemeteries as national shrines.”

    As Schiefer explained, “As always, our Veterans, their families and survivors are our top priority. To maintain the sanctity and decorum of VA National Cemeteries as national shrines, our filming policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints, or for uses that are (or may be interpreted as) an endorsement of a commercial entity.”

    According to NCA filming rules, “Political activities, including filming of campaign ads, are not permitted on cemetery grounds.” also criticized the NRA’s continued use of the footage, telling Media Matters that “the NRA is doubling down” on “this despicable approach to campaigning.” In its full statement, encouraged people to sign its petition asking for the NRA to pull its ad:

    Earlier this year, the National Rifle Association ran a television ad attacking Hillary Clinton that was filmed inside of a veterans' cemetery.

    It was a disgrace. The Veterans of Foreign Wars even took steps to condemn the ad by saying they "don't want any candidate using our dead to score political points."

    But the NRA is doubling down, and this week they released a second ad in Florida featuring military graves, but this time in addition to attacking Hillary Clinton, the spot also trains its sights on Democrat Patrick Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign.

    This is deplorable, and we hope that if we can bring light to this despicable approach to campaigning we can get the NRA to pull the spot.

    Sign VoteVets' petition calling on the National Rifle Association to apologize for their ads featuring military graves, and to pull them from wherever they're running on television and the internet.

    When John McCain's ad team did the same in 1999, the Senator admitted wrongdoing and removed the footage. Further, the spots violate Veterans Affairs policies. Hopefully by making our voices heard, the NRA will pull the spots from the air.

    Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Veterans of Foreign Wars repeated its past criticism of the NRA for filming in military cemeteries, which stated, “Don’t use our dead to score political points. We fought for everybody’s First Amendment rights and everything, but we don’t want any candidate using our dead to score political points.”

  • New NRA Attack Ad Falsely Claims Clinton Opposes Gun Ownership For Women

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association falsely claims that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “disagrees” with the proposition that “every woman has a right to defend herself with a gun if she chooses.”

    The ad is false because Clinton has repeatedly said that she favors law-abiding gun ownership -- for men and women alike -- and that she supports the Second Amendment while also calling for measures to prevent dangerous people from accessing weapons. Fact-checkers have ripped a previous false ad that claimed Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.”

    According to Politico, the NRA plans to spend $6.5 million on the new ad, its largest ad buy of the 2016 presidential race. The NRA has endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Politico reports that the gun group is “one of the only outside groups spending money on airtime in support of his candidacy.”

    The October 5 ad features Kristi McMains, a woman who shot a man after he tried to rob and stab her during a January attack. In the ad, McMains says, “Every woman has a right to defend herself with a gun if she chooses. Hillary Clinton disagrees with that. Don’t let politicians take away your right to own a gun. Donald Trump supports my right to own a gun.” The NRA’s release of the ad comes as the gun organization is under fire for victim-shaming and ridiculing Kim Kardashian West after she was robbed at gunpoint.

    The inaccurate claim in the ad echoes prior NRA attack ads on Clinton. A September NRA ad depicted a woman whose home is being invaded as a narrator says, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense.” An August NRA ad claimed Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense,” a false claim debunked by multiple independent fact-checkers.

    Clinton’s campaign website says she “knows that gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities.”

    And in recent months, Clinton has repeatedly said that Second Amendment rights should be protected while she advocated for expanding background checks on gun sales and other measures. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.” (According to PolitiFact, Clinton’s legal view of the Second Amendment appears similar to the Bush administration's position of “recognizing the right but allowing reasonable curtailment.”)

    During her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton said, “I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

    In May, PolitiFact rated the claim that Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment” false, finding “no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment” and noting that “the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite.”

  • These Are Five Issues Latinos Will Be Expecting Elaine Quijano To Ask Pence About

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    CBS’ Elaine Quijano will moderate the debate between the Republican and Democratic vice presidential nominees, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

    Since no debates will feature a Latino moderator, Hispanic voters are relying on the journalists who were selected to challenge the candidates on issues that matter most to their communities. Pence has a problematic record on issues that are important to Latinos, including the minimum wage, gun violence prevention, climate change, immigration, and access to reproductive rights. Will debate moderator Elaine Quijano challenge him on these topics?

    Minimum Wage

    Pence Signed Law Capping Indiana Minimum Wage, Employee Benefits. In 2013 under Pence’s governorship, the Republican State House rejected a proposal that would have increased Indiana’s minimum wage to $8.25 per hour, at a time when national support for raising the wage to $9 was at 76 percent. According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, Pence had previously signed legislation “prohibit[ing] local governments from requiring businesses [to] pay a higher minimum wage, or offer any working condition or benefit, such as paid sick leave, if it's not mandated by state or federal law.” On May 6, 2015, Pence signed another bill ending a system in which workers on publicly funded construction projects earned a prevailing wage.

    Hispanics Support Raising The Federal Minimum Wage And Would Benefit Greatly From The Change. According to Pew, 84 percent of Hispanics support increasing the federal minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage was raised, “nearly 6.8 million Latino workers would benefit” and the wages of Latinos would increase by $8.5 billion, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.

    Gun Violence Prevention

    The NRA Praised Pence For Adopting Its Radical Agenda. The NRA endorsed Pence’s run for governor in 2012, awarding him an “A” rating while noting in a statement, “Mike Pence has a proven record of defending the Second Amendment.” The statement praised Pence for several votes he cast while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, including to support a controversial immunity law that makes it difficult for victims of gun violence to sue gun dealers and manufacturers that arm dangerous people through negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct.

    Latinos Favor Gun Safety Measures. Polls conducted by Pew Research Center demonstrate that, by a wide margin (71 percent to 25 percent), Latinos “prioritize gun control over gun rights.” The numbers are backed by findings from the organization Latino Decisions, which confirmed in a poll that “a solid majority of Latino voters support gun control measures,” according to The Huffington Post. A majority of Latinos also support background checks, a national database of gun owners and a ban on mentally ill people purchasing guns. The Hispanic community has a reason to be concerned about this issue, as a July 2015 study from the Violence Policy Center found that “Hispanics are disproportionately affected by firearms violence in the United States,” with a “homicide victimization rate for Hispanic victims” that is “nearly twice as high as the murder rate for white victims.”

    Climate Change

    Pence Has Been A Climate Science Denier And Has Opposed Governmental Action To Combat Climate Change. Asked on the February 21, 2014, edition of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown about climate change, Pence said, “I don’t know that that  is a resolved issue in science today,” adding, “Just a few years ago, we were talking about global warming. We haven't seen a lot of warming lately. I remember back in the ‘70s we were talking about the coming ice age." In 2014, he sent a letter to Indiana’s congressional delegation encouraging them to defund the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which combats climate change by placing the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. On June 24, 2015, The Associated Press reported that Pence said that “Indiana won't comply with President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change unless there are significant changes” and that he“threatened to use any legal means available to block the plan.”  Pence tried to soften his denial of climate change on the September 27 edition of CNN’s New Day, saying that “there’s no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate” -- but rather than offer solutions, Pence advocated “end[ing] the war on coal” and “continu[ing] to develop clean coal technology.”

    Latinos Support Governmental Action On Climate Change, Understand That It’s Caused By Human Action. Latinos are “significantly more likely than whites to say the Earth is warming because of human activities,” and a significant share favor governmental action to protect the environment. Moreover, because the Hispanic community is more likely to be affected by the consequences of climate change, a majority of Hispanics rate climate change as “extremely or very important to them personally,” and 63 percent support governmental action to address this issue.


    Pence’s Record Isn’t Favorable To Undocumented Immigrants, Children Of Immigrants, Or Comprehensive Immigration Reform. According to La Opinión, Pence’s record on immigration issues is “worse than Trump’s” because he has a legislative history on the issue. Pence supported a 2009 measure that would have limited birthright citizenship to children of citizens, people who immigrated legally, and and non-citizens serving in the military.  He also pushed for “self-deportation,” and, as governor of Indiana, he joined a lawsuit to halt the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

    A Majority Of Latinos Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Pew has found that the number of Latino voters that say it’s important that immigration reform passes soon has risen, with 66 percent saying it’s either extremely important or very important in 2014 compared to 60 percent in 2013.

    Reproductive Rights

    Pence Signed “Kitchen Sink” Anti-Choice Bill That Would Place Multiple New Restrictions On Abortion, And He Opposes Planned Parenthood. In March, Pence signed Indiana’s House Enrolled Act 1337, a controversial bill that both banned certain abortion procedures and placed new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill banned abortion if the reason the pregnant person gave for the procedure was the fetus’s race or gender or a fetal abnormality. In addition, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill, which The New York Times called “exceptional for its breadth,” days after the Supreme Court released its decision in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt.

    A Majority Of Latinas Would Support Candidates Who “Protect Abortion Rights.” Recent data contradicts the idea that Latinos lean conservative because of deeply held religious beliefs (more than half are Catholic), and that because of this they have “presumed conservative views on abortion.” The data shows that close to three-quarters of Latinas lean Democrat and 63 percent would back candidates who would “protect abortion rights.”

  • NRA Continues To Victim-Shame And Ridicule Kim Kardashian West: “Maybe [She] Should Butt Out Of Our Lives”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association continues to ridicule and attack Kim Kardashian West for being the victim of a robbery at gunpoint.

    Over the weekend, several men broke into the apartment Kardashian West was renting in Paris, France, making off with millions of dollars worth of jewelry. The men bound her with duct tape and placed her in a bathtub during the robbery, and she reportedly thought they were there to rape her.

    On October 3, the NRA mocked Kardashian West -- who has previously called for Congress to take action on gun violence -- on social media, drawing widespread condemnation for attacking the victim of a crime.

    The NRA and members of the group’s leadership frequently blame victims of crimes, including victims of mass shootings, for supposedly failing to protect themselves from violent attacks.

    In an October 4 article, the NRA’s magazine, America’s 1st Freedom, doubled down on the NRA’s attacks on Kardashian West, calling her an “anti-gun zealot,” and offered a false attack on her past comments about gun violence. The NRA article claimed that Kardashian West is a “gun-banner” and said, “If an out-of-touch millionaire elitist like Kim Kardashian isn’t safe from crime, despite being able to afford 24/7 security -- even in a place like Paris, whose gun bans she would presumably like to see imposed on all of us -- can any of us mere mortals feel safe?”

    “Maybe Kardashian should butt out of our lives and worry about her own security,” the article concluded.

    Along with continuing to lob an offensive attack on the victim of a crime, the NRA is making a false representation of what Kardashian West has said about the gun issue.

    Following the massacre of 49 people at gay night club Pulse in Orlando, FL, Kardashian took to Twitter to call for stronger gun laws:

    In August, Kardashian West expressed her support for gun safety laws at several events, attending a lunch organized by the groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and speaking about the need for stronger gun laws at an annual conference for women bloggers. Kardashian West wrote on social media that at the lunch she met with “families of loved ones who were killed by gun violence” and “learned a lot from listening to their stories. Life is so precious! What will it take for this to stop?”

    In no instance did she call for the type of gun ban that the NRA is claiming she supports. And this isn’t the first time the NRA has misinterpreted her advocacy: After Kardashian West wrote about attending the lunch, the NRA’s radio show attacked her as a hypocrite for supporting gun safety laws while employing a bodyguard,  and suggested that she “get rid of her armed security.”

  • NRA Once Again Uses Footage From Military Cemetery In Campaign Attack Ad

    VFW’s Response to Previous Ad: “Don't Use Our Dead To Score Political Points”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association targeting Florida Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy features images of military graves at Alexandria National Cemetery.

    In a September 27 ad, the NRA attempts to link Murphy to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over supposed malfeasance related to the 2012 terror attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. (Without evidence, the ad claims Clinton “lied” about the attacks.) Murphy is facing Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in the race.

    The ad features several shots of Alexandria National Cemetery that the NRA filmed for a previous attack ad. It is a violation of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs policy to film political ads at national cemeteries.

    From the ad:

    The footage from the ad comes from a June ad in which the NRA attacked Clinton over Benghazi in support of Republican nominee Donald Trump, whom the gun group has endorsed.

    Media Matters identified the cemetery in that ad as Alexandria National Cemetery in Virginia. The cemetery, which is primarily made up of Civil War-era graves, is located near Old Town, Alexandria, which is home to the headquarters for NRA News and an office of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm.

    At the time, veterans groups slammed the NRA for using a military cemetery in an ad. A national spokesperson for Veterans of Foreign Wars told Media Matters, “Don’t use our dead to score political points. We fought for everybody’s First Amendment rights and everything, but we don’t want any candidate using our dead to score political points.”

    Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and chairman of, responded with a statement that said, "This ad should be taken down immediately. It is insensitive to those buried at the cemetery -- most, if not all, of whom died before Benghazi, and many of whom may not have been NRA supporters. Further, it violates Veterans Affairs policy. It should be taken down."

    And yet the NRA continues to use the footage in its attack ads. In contrast, several  organizations other than the NRA that had aired images and footage from national cemeteries in political ads either altered or removed them. In 1999, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign aired an ad featuring unauthorized footage filmed at Arlington National Cemetery, and  the campaign admitted fault and recut the ad to remove the footage. More recently, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) pulled a 2014 ad that was filmed at a North Dakota veterans cemetery.