Guns

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  • Host Of NRA's New Pro-Trump Show: "Blame Minorities" For Gun Violence

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Grant Stinchfield, the host of a new venture from the National Rifle Association called NRATV, has written on social media that minorities should be blamed for gun violence and promoted conspiracy theories that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered and that “maybe Israelis” shot down a Russian passenger aircraft.

    Launched earlier this month, NRATV plays material from the NRA’s video archive 24 hours a day, with Stinchfield breaking in to give live updates. Many of the updates involve promoting the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and are branded with a graphic that says, “ELECTION COUNTDOWN: SAVE THE 2ND.” (Though Stinchfield, a conservative Texas-based radio host and former Republican candidate for Congress, previously authored a column in which he said he regretted voting for Trump during the GOP primary.)

    Commenting in October 2015 on a New York Times article about the 30-plus gun homicides that occur on an average day in America, Stinchfield wrote on Twitter, “Blame minorities killing each other not law abiding conservatives. Let's look harder at broken families not gun laws.”

    Stinchfield also suggested that Justice Scalia, who died in February, was murdered by President Obama:

    In November 2015, Stinchfield speculated about whether Israel, MI6 or the CIA may have been involved in downing Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger plane that exploded over Egypt in October 2015. ISIS has claimed credit for placing a bomb on the plane.

    Stinchfield has also asked on Twitter, “Does #ISIS have Tranny Jihadis?”:

  • NRATV Complains That Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump Are Getting Too Much Attention

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A new media effort from the National Rifle Association is attacking the press for covering allegations of sexual assault against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    During a broadcast of the recently launched NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield complained that national media were not talking about news stories where people defended themselves with a gun, but instead “they talk about Donald Trump's sexual allegations and all the like to get us to look some place else because they don't want to talk about the real issues that matter to America, because if those issues are talked about, there's no way Donald Trump loses.”

    The NRA, which has endorsed Trump, has spent more than $26 million on the presidential race, far surpassing the amount the group spent in 2012. The largest NRA ad buy of the election cycle featured a woman who defended herself against a male attacker with a gun, and the NRA has shown no signs of letting up in the wake of increasing allegations of misconduct against Trump.

    From the October 27 edition of NRATV:

    CAM EDWARDS (NRA NEWS HOST): We're going to be talking in our Hero of the Day segment today about an off-duty deputy in Massachusetts who is out to dinner with his wife when all of a sudden a guy runs in, he's got a knife, and he starts stabbing people in this restaurant. Nobody could have anticipated this attack. Thankfully that off duty deputy had his personal sidearm with him, and that off duty deputy was able to respond to that threat, was able to neutralize that threat, and save lives in the process. It's those types of stories, they never make the national news headlines, Grant, but they happen every day when you have citizens who are prepared to protect themselves, the people that they love, and those around them, if need be. 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD  (NRATV HOST): And instead what the media does, instead of talking about stories like that, because that is a story that affects women, gun ownership affects women, they talk about Donald Trump's sexual allegations and all the like to get us to look some place else because they don't want to talk about the real issues that matter to America, because if those issues are talked about, there's no way Donald Trump loses. 

    Previously:

    NRA Risks Complete Disaster Following Unprecedented Spending On Trump

    The NRA Is Trying To Reach Out To Women, But This Is How It Talks About Campus Sexual Assault

  • Trump Surrogate Ted Nugent: Hillary Clinton Is A “Devilbitch,” “VOTE TRUMP!”

    Nugent, A Member Of The NRA’s Board, Has Called For Clinton To Be Hanged

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton a “devilbitch” moments after promoting a Donald Trump presidential campaign video that he appears in.

    In an October 27 post on his Facebook page, Nugent wrote of Clinton, “The devilbitch hates everything good about America! VOTE TRUMP!” while promoting an NRA attack on the Democratic nominee. The post came moments after Nugent shared a Trump campaign video, which he is featured in, that discusses hunting and the Second Amendment:

    In the Trump campaign video, which features a message from Trump and statements from a variety of gun regulation opponents, Nugent claims Clinton “will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American. Donald Trump will safeguard the things that make America the greatest place in the world.” Nugent has frequently called Clinton a bitch. Here is footage from an August concert where he said of Clinton, “That’s one toxic bitch, now why isn’t that bitch in jail?”:

    Earlier this year Nugent called for Clinton, as well as President Obama, to be hanged for treason. During primary season, Nugent promoted a fake video of Sen. Bernie Sanders graphically shooting Clinton, and added his own message, “I got your gun control right here bitch!” He has also called the former secretary of state a “toxic cunt.” In a 2007 concert video, an assault-rifle-wielding Nugent called Clinton a “worthless bitch” and said that she should "ride" on his machine gun.

    Nugent is associated with the Trump campaign despite his long history of making racist and inflammatory commentary. In 2016 alone, Nugent has promoted anti-Semitic content, used a racial slur against a Latino critic, promoted misogynist reasons why guns are better than women, and shared a racist meme advertising the fake moving company “2 niggers and a stolen truck.” In 2015, Nugent devoted an entire column to praising the use of the word “nigger,” even in a racist context.

    Nugent often uses his Facebook page to write testimonials for Trump that have sometimes included inflammatory commentary. For example, in an August post he called for “federal agents” to “coordinate the mass arrest they know they are sworn to make” -- presumably in reference to politicians he doesn’t favor -- and added, “When will America be America again? Trump November 2016 & WE THE PEOPLE raising hell onward!”

  • 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

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    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”

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    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.”

    VoteVets.org 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, VoteVets.org 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.”