Guns

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  • Here’s How Conservative Media Commentators Are Excusing Trump’s Second Amendment Comments

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & CAT DUFFY

    Conservative media figures attempted to downplay and justify Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's comments about “Second Amendment people” being able to “do” something about  Hillary Clinton’s possible judicial nominees, blaming "the Clinton spin machine," claiming his comments were taken "out of context," and equating his "joke" to previous statements made by other politicians.

  • Following Trump’s “Second Amendment People” Comment, NRA Continues To Air Ad Politicizing Clinton’s Secret Service Protection

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new ad released by the National Rifle Association criticizes Hillary Clinton for being protected by the Secret Service with the false claim that Clinton receives protection even though “she doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.”

    The NRA ad launch coincided with comments made by GOP nominee Donald Trump that were interpreted as a call for political violence. During a rally in North Carolina, Trump said, “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is.”

    Clinton has never said she opposes gun ownership. In fact, 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 “legitimate” Second Amendment rights should be “protected” while she advocated for laws to keep guns from people prohibited by law from owning guns. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.”

    PolitiFact has rated the claim 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 the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite.”

    CNN.com reported that the NRA is spending $3 million on an ad that began airing the morning of August 9 in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina. In the ad, a narrator says that Clinton has been “protected by armed guards for 30 years, but she doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense,” adding, “An out-of-touch hypocrite, she’d leave you defenseless.”  According to CNN, the ad “shows the back of a woman who looks like Clinton walking onto a private airplane while what looks to be the US Secret Service surrounds her.”

    The NRA, which has endorsed Trump, quickly launched a defense of Trump’s controversial comments that involved rewriting what Trump said. While Trump seemingly made reference to “Second Amendment people” doing something about Clinton’s judicial nominations after an election, the NRA wrote that Trump was “right” that if Clinton is elected, “there’s nothing we can do” about her judicial picks. (The NRA previously stayed silent after organization board member Ted Nugent called for Clinton to be hanged and when he shared a fake video of Clinton being shot.)

    On July 28, the NRA released an online ad targeting Clinton with the same false attack on her protection by the Secret Service. That ad included stills that indicated who was part of Clinton’s security detail:

    The NRA’s last substantial ad buy, which totaled $2 million, was filmed in violation of federal policy at a military cemetery and attacked Clinton over the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks. Veterans groups slammed the ad, with a Veterans of Foreign Wars national spokesperson saying, “Don’t use our dead to score political points.”

    According to ProPublica, prior to the launch of the new ad, the NRA has made more outside expenditures opposing Clinton than any other group, totalling $4.85 million so far.

  • Trump’s Dangerous Embrace Of Right-Wing Media Insurrectionism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    For anyone stunned by Donald Trump’s apparent suggestion yesterday that “Second Amendment people” could prevent Hillary Clinton from appointing justices to the Supreme Court -- a remark widely interpreted as a veiled threat of political violence -- keep in mind that vigilante, insurrectionist rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the conservative movement and right-wing media in recent years.

    Not content to portray President Obama as misguided or wrong on the facts during his eight years in office, troubled portions of the far-right press embraced openly violent rhetoric to condemn the president of the United States. Especially hysterical regarding the topic of guns -- which was the topic that prompted Trump’s startling statement yesterday -- the far-right media have in recent years helped mainstream a type of violent rhetoric once considered to be outside the norms of American politics.

    Trump’s apparent embrace of that dark, dangerous side was on display on Tuesday when he said that if Clinton “gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people maybe there is, I don’t know.” (Trump and his campaign have since tried to claim that he meant NRA types would rally behind his candidacy and vote against Clinton in the election.)

    Following up his repeated claim that November’s election might be “rigged” to ensure a Democratic victory, Trump has layered onto that dangerous fantasy the idea of insurrectionism following Clinton’s inauguration.

    Longtime Trump adviser and guttural media player Roger Stone has been outspoken about the looming uprising if Trump loses. Stone recently appeared on a fringe-right radio show and warned about the massive tumult that would occur if Trump loses the election:

    “He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’”

    “If you can’t have an honest election, nothing else counts,” he continued. “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”

    Stone himself has a long history of making insanely incendiary comments. In July 2014, Stone tweeted that Hillary Clinton should be “tried” and “executed for murder.” He tweeted that Sen. Bernie Sanders should be “arrested for treason and shot,” and that philanthropist and businessman George Soros should be “executed.”

    Just this week, Stone went on Twitter and suggested the Clintons were responsible for the recent deaths of four people. So no, Trump’s “Second Amendment people” comment did not spring from a vacuum.

    Trump’s campaign and his media allies are increasingly embracing the dead-end view of right-wing politics where violence is justified to right a perceived wrong; where violent political action might need to be taken by private citizens to curb a dangerously powerful federal government.

    Sadly, this kind of irresponsible, doomsday chatter isn’t new. The sewer runs quite deep, Trump’s simply riding the currents. But having a presidential candidate who will give it credence is new and alarming.

    As the rampant anti-government rhetoric of the tea party movement swelled in 2009 and 2010, and activists marched around with Swastika posters, brandished guns, and gave speeches about the need to wage bloody war against the federal government, one Newsmax columnist determined that a military coup "to resolve the 'Obama problem'" was not "unrealistic." (Newsmax later pulled the column.) Meanwhile, Glenn Beck landed a show on Fox News and gamed out bloody scenarios for the then-looming civil war against the Obama-led tyranny. (Beck later insisted Obama might throw his political opponents into internment camps.)

    A Breitbart.com writer branded Obama "suicide-bomber-in-chief." Rush Limbaugh announced, “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate." And appearing on Fox News, Dick Morris essentially endorsed armed insurrectionism against law enforcement: "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the UN's going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case."

    Years later, amid Obama urging new gun safety legislation in the wake of the school gun massacre in Newtown, CT, Fox's Todd Starnes warned there would "a revolution" if the government tries to "confiscate our guns." Fox News’ Pat Caddell claimed the country was in a "pre-revolutionary condition," and "on the verge of an explosion," while Arthur Herman declared on FoxNews.com that the U.S. is "one step closer" to a looming "civil war." 

    Trump himself responded to Obama’s re-election by sending out (and later deleting) two tweets invoking the need for a “revolution,” including saying, “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!” (Obama actually won the popular vote by nearly five million votes.)

    Trump's favorite professional conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, warned that year, “Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns, Fidel Castro took the guns, Hugo Chavez took the guns! ... And I am here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!”

    That reactionary mindset has been embraced by Trump’s fervent followers, who chant “Lock her up” at rallies, and much worse. (“Hang the bitch!”) Al Baldasaro, an adviser to the Trump campaign for veterans issues, announced that Clinton “should be shot” for treason. And West Virginia lawmaker Michael Folk agreed, suggesting Clinton should be “hung on the mall in Washington, DC.”

    The doomsday, Armageddon rhetoric about Democratic criminality and the party’s supposed traitorous desire to tear down America carries with it an implicit suggestion to aggrieved listeners and viewers.

    Back when Beck first started broadcasting this brand of insurrectionist rhetoric on Fox News, Jeffrey Jones, a professor of media and politics at Old Dominion University, explained the significance: "People hear their values are under attack and they get worried. It becomes an opportunity for them to stand up and do something."

    Now we have a wildly irresponsible presidential candidate who has adopted that same dangerous rhetoric and is sending the same ominous message: Do something.

  • Bloomberg's Mark Halperin: Bonafide Trump Apologist

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Bloomberg host Mark Halperin repeatedly defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after his remark that “Second Amendment people” could retaliate against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appointing liberal Supreme Court judges by equating Trump’s statement to remarks Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden made in previous elections.

    Following Trump’s widely criticized comments, Halperin immediately defended Trump, suggesting a “parallel” between Trump’s remarks and comments made by Biden and Clinton on the 2008 campaign trail, ignoring that neither Biden or Clinton’s statement could be reasonably interpreted to suggest inciting violence.

    Halperin has previously defended Trump against criticism for his controversial remarks. In June, Halperin claimed that Trump’s racial attack on a Hispanic-American judge wasn’t “racial” because “Mexico isn’t a race.” Halperin also criticized Democrats after Trump called on Russia to spy on the U.S., claiming that “both sides” were behaving badly.”

  • Trump’s Violent Claim About The Second Amendment And Hillary Clinton Echoes What The NRA Has Said For Years

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Outcry over GOP nominee Donald Trump’s claim that “Second Amendment people” could do something about Supreme Court nominations made by Hillary Clinton follows years of National Rifle Association efforts to normalize the notion that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to overthrow a “tyrannical” government. As NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has put it, “The guys with the guns make the rules”

  • Shocked Media Figures Condemn Trump’s “Second Amendment People” Remark

    Media Also Criticize Trump Campaign’s "Nonsensical" Explanation For Remark

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said at a rally that if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people maybe there is, I don’t know.”

    Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser and ally, previously called for Clinton to be “brought to justice - arrested, tried, and executed for murder.” Another Trump adviser, Al Baldasaro, has said that Clinton should be "shot for treason"; the Secret Service subsequently investigated him.  

    Numerous media figures reacted with shock, condemning Trump's remarks and questioning whether the Secret Service would investigate him. Media figures also took issue with the Trump campaign’s “spin” that Trump was just talking about Second Amendment people “voting.”

    Here is a sample of the media reaction from across the political spectrum:

    UPDATE: This post has been updated with additional reactions.

  • The NY Daily News Just Apologized For Their Stop And Frisk Defense. When Will Bill O'Reilly?

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Daily News recently abandoned its longstanding support of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) now-unconstitutional stop and frisk program, acknowledging that their doomsaying predictions that crime would spiral without it were incorrect. Will Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, another ardent supporter of the program, continue clinging to his fact-free defense, or will he follow suit?

    After a federal judge ruled the program, which gave police officers wide-ranging authority to stop people on the streets, to question and frisk them for suspected weapons and other contraband, unconstitutional in 2012, the Daily News editorial board warned that the ruling “threatens to push the city back toward the ravages of lawlessness and bloodshed.” In an August 8 editorial, the board admitted that this has not happened. The board wrote “we are delighted to say that we were wrong,” and explained that on the third anniversary of a federal judging ruling the program unconstitutional, “New York is safer while friction between the NYPD and the city’s minority communities has eased.”

    As the Daily News has now acknowledged, violent crime in New York City has continued to fall since stop and frisk was ended. That shouldn’t be a surprise -- since the program’s inception, research had consistently shown it was not only ineffective in stopping crime, but was also discriminatory. The federal judge who ruled the program unconstitutional in 2013 determined that "at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion," which "resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause." Between 2003 and 2013, 86 percent of stops were of black and Latino New Yorkers, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). Despite the high number “of young black and Latino men stopped,” the NYCLU reported, “89.7 percent were innocent.”

    But the Daily News editorial board wasn’t alone in defending the policy -- O’Reilly was a leading advocate for stop and frisk, warning that “it's a fact that if you take stop-and-frisk away, more black Americans and more Hispanic Americans are going to die."

    Now that the New York Daily News has admitted its fault in previously endorsing New York’s stop and frisk policy, noting that crime rates in New York City have hit record lows since the program was scaled back -- will O’Reilly continue to buck the facts or follow suit?

  • NRA Radio Show Tells Kim Kardashian West To Shut Up About Stronger Gun Laws

    NRA News Host Cam Edwards On Kardashian West: “Maybe She Should Get Rid Of Her Armed Security”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s media arm is attacking Kim Kardashian West for calling for stronger gun laws, nonsensically claiming that she is a hypocrite because she employs armed security.

    Kardashian West in the past week has expressed her support for gun safety laws at several events, attending a lunch organized by gun safety 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 “I learned a lot from listening to their stories. Life is so precious! What will it take for this to stop?”

    The NRA’s radio show, Cam & Company, criticized Kardashian West’s advocacy, trotting out a well-worn and deeply flawed NRA talking point that anyone who employs armed security is a hypocrite if they advocate for gun safety laws.

    During the August 8 broadcast of Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards asked Jenn Jacques of the gun blog Bearing Arms if she felt Kardashian West was employing a “double standard” and was in effect saying, “‘I can protect my family, but Jenn [Jacques] can’t protect hers.’” Jacques responded,“I think it’s disgusting that at the same time [Kardashian West is] calling for strengthening gun laws in America she’s utilizing her celebrity status to have armored tanks and armored vehicles carry her family around with teams of armed body guards. It’s just flat-out hypocrisy.”

    Edwards, who “found it a little hypocritical” himself, hoped his discussion with Jacques would “prompt some thinking and some soul searching on the part of Kim Kardashian West and if she is really that opposed to guns and if she really is that paranoid and freaked out, then maybe she should get rid of her armed security.”

    However, this poorly reasoned “hypocrisy” theory does not make sense. It would be logical only if Kardashian West were calling for laws that would prevent law-abiding people from buying guns to protect themselves. That isn't what she's advocating.

    The organization she met with, Everytown for Gun Safety lists on its website expanding background checks, preventing domestic abusers from accessing guns, promoting the safe storage of firearms, and preventing illegal gun trafficking as its policy objects. 

    A recent NRA ad used the same false attack against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, asserting that Clinton is a hypocrite for calling for stronger gun laws while receiving protection from the Secret Service. Like Kardashian West, Clinton has expressed support for further regulations of firearms, such as requiring background checks for gun sales, but not for a ban on gun ownership that would allow only hired security guards to have guns.

  • NRA: “We Highly Recommend” Racist Newsletter That Frequently Defended Slavery

    NRA Magazine: Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries Were “Insightful,” “Laugh-Out-Loud Funny,” And “Remain Astute And Timely” In Light Of 2016 Election

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom celebrated racist former NRA board member and NRA Executive Council member Jeff Cooper and recommended that people read the late Cooper’s newsletter -- which was peppered with racial slurs and defenses of slavery -- before the 2016 election.

    In an August 3 article, America’s 1st Freedom feted the upcoming 40th anniversary of Gunsite, a shooting academy founded by Cooper. The article lavishes praise on Cooper’s “well-known erudition,” calling him “a formidable historian and philosopher of broad, eclectic taste.”

    The article concludes with a note suggesting, “For further reading, we highly recommend Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries” before linking to where the newsletter can be read online. Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries were a monthly to bi-weekly publication that ran from 1993 until Cooper’s death in 2006.

    According to the NRA, the commentaries “are insightful, wide-ranging and quite frequently laugh-out-loud funny” and “Even 10 or more years later, many of his observations remain astute and timely, particularly in advance of the 2016 presidential election.”

    Cooper often used racial slurs in his newsletter, including calling people of Middle Eastern descent “ragheads,” black children “pickaninnies” and “goblins,” Japanese people “nips,” Vietnamese people “gooks,” American Indians “pesky redskins” and “Injuns,” and black South Africans “kaffirs” -- a term equivalent to the slur “nigger” in the United States.

    After the Transvaal Province in South Africa was renamed to the Gauteng Province during the 1994 post-Apartheid elections which were open to all races, Cooper suggested that the province's inhabitants should be referred to as “Oranggautengs.”

    In response to a 1999 speech by Nelson Mandela, Cooper put forward the racist idea that “Equality is biologically impossible, and liberty is only obtainable in homogeneous populations very thinly spread.” Years later, he also wrote, “Sorry, Mr. [Thomas] Jefferson, but all men are not created equal. ('All ya gotta do is look.')”

    A recurring theme in Cooper’s newsletter was defending the institution of slavery. In one instance, Cooper claimed that “slavery has been the normal condition of mankind for most of history. What do you do with the losers? You either kill them outright or put them to work”:

    We reflect, in this period of racist agitation, that slavery has been the normal condition of mankind for most of history. What do you do with the losers? You either kill them outright or put them to work. If you pen them up you have to feed them, and you have enough trouble feeding yourself. Despite this a large number of semi−literate types in the States seem to think of slavery as a unique invention of the southern states of the US over a period of a few generations.

    Cooper mused that abolishing slavery in the United States was “a mistake” in another commentary, suggesting the institution of slavery is as inevitable as “gravity,” and argued that “Without the institution of slavery, civilization would never have been achieved, for no one could ever have done anything intellectual if he had to spend all his time hewing and digging and fighting.” According to Cooper (emphasis original), “Colonial Africa was a far better place for both black and white before the colonists gave up.”

    Cooper was an anti-gay bigot who praised Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe for calling LGBT people “perverts who do not deserve civil rights.” He also wrote that “lesbians make lousy shots” compared to “normal girls.”

    The NRA article praising Cooper’s commentaries was published the day before an NRA representative appeared on Fox News to discuss NRA efforts to appeal to a more diverse audience:

     

  • Bud Light Appears To Pull Sponsorship Of Ted Nugent Concert

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Bud Light’s name has been removed from promotional websites for an upcoming concert featuring National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent.

    The beer brand had been promoting an August 6 Peoria, IL, Nugent concert as a part of its Bud Light Concerts series.

    On August 2, Media Matters reported on Bud Light’s sponsorship, noting that it was sponsoring Nugent even though in 2016 alone the NRA leadership figure promoted anti-Semitic content, used a racial slur against a Latino critic, promoted misogynist reasons why guns are better than women, shared a racist meme advertising the fake moving company “2 niggers and a stolen truck,” and called for Hillary Clinton to be executed.

    Following publication of Media Matters’ post, Bud Light’s name has disappeared from promotional materials for the concert.

    Here is how Bud Light was promoting Nugent’s concert:

    Now the webpage says “Sorry, something went wrong. We could not find the event”:

    The concert was previously promoted on the Bud Light Concerts homepage:

    But it has since been removed:

    Limelight Eventplex, the venue for the concert, previously listed Bud Light as a sponsor of the concert:

    Now only Limelight Eventplex is listed as a sponsor:

    A local radio station, 95.5 GLO Peoria's Classic Rock, had an article that advertised the Nugent concert:

    That article has been deleted:

    Media Matters has reached out to Bud Light for comment.