NRA News

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  • White NRA Radio Host Lectures John Lewis On “What The Sit-Ins Were About In The Civil Rights Movement”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    As civil rights hero and noted sit-in organizer Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led a sit-in on the U.S. House of Representatives floor to demand votes on gun violence prevention measures, the host of the National Rifle Association’s radio show gave a lecture on “what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement.”

    Shortly before noon on June 22, Lewis and other Democratic members of Congress sat on the House floor, refusing to return to regular order until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed to call a vote on background check legislation and legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. The sit-in lasted through the night and has continued today through posting time.

    During the June 22 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show, Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards said of the sit-in, “I don’t know what to call it” and proceeded to give a lecture on what a sit-in is, referencing famous lunch counter protests during the civil rights movement, before concluding “That’s what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement.”

    Lewis served as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and famously organized numerous sit-ins, including lunch counter protests, to protest racial discrimination during the 1960s.

    Edwards went on to attack the Lewis-led sit-in, characterizing it as “House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit,” a reference to the claim that Democratic legislation to prohibit gun sales to suspected terrorists violates the due process clause of the Constitution.

    In fact, any gun sale denials are already subject to a due process procedure. If someone, for example, is erroneously flagged as a felon and denied the purchase of a gun, they have the ability to have the denial adjudicated by filing an appeal. Democrats have also expressed willingness to ensure that legislation to prevent sales to suspected terrorist affords due process to individuals who have sales denied.

    Edwards closed out his lecture about sit-ins with a bizarre analogy that compared efforts to destroy ISIS to what he claimed Democrats are doing to the Bill of Rights, claiming, “These are House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit, to view the Bill of Rights as an impediment to lawmakers, to treat it as such and to try to degrade. Kind of like what they say with ISIS right? Degrade and destroy. We’re kind of witnessing the degradation and the destruction of the Bill of Rights right now.”

    From the June 22 broadcast of Cam & Company:

    CAM EDWARDS (HOST): Again, the pro-- I don’t know what to call it, a sit-in, again, generally speaking we saw the sit-ins in the civil rights movement that were advocating for individuals being able to enjoy the same rights that other Americans enjoyed, right? That’s what the protests were, that’s what -- we’re sitting at this lunch counter and we’re not leaving until we get served. Not we’re sitting at this lunch counter and we’re not leaving until you remove this item from the menu. We’re going to sit right here and we’re not leaving until you recognize us as human beings, as Americans who have the same rights that that guy has over there and that she has over there. That’s what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement. This, on the other hand, this isn’t Congress demanding more rights for Americans, this isn’t Congress demanding rights for themselves, this is Congress demanding power. These are House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit, to view the Bill of Rights as an impediment to lawmakers, to treat it as such and to try to degrade. Kind of like what they say with ISIS right? Degrade and destroy. We’re kind of witnessing the degradation and the destruction of the Bill of Rights right now. Where again you’ve got self-professed thought leaders who say it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment, the Constitution itself is outdated, and then you've got lawmakers who just want to ignore the Bill of Rights.

  • NRA Radio Show Compares Participants In Rep. John Lewis’ Gun Violence Sit-In To “Criminals And Terrorists”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s radio show compared participants in a sit-in in the U.S. House of Representatives being led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) to “criminals and terrorists” reasoning that like terrorists, the sit-in participants were not following the rules.

    While the House was in session on June 22, Lewis and other Democratic members of Congress sat on the floor of the House, refusing to return to regular order until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed to call a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence.

    CNN.com described the move as “a dramatic protest inside the House of Representatives” that was “rich with historic symbolism.” Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organized numerous sit-ins to protest racial discrimination during the 1960s, has been described as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.”

    During the June 22 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company, as the sit-in proceeded, host Cam Edwards claimed, “So in order to push legislation that the sponsors say would not have prevented the attacks in Orlando, Florida, they’re also going to flout the House rules. Kind of like, you know, criminals and terrorists flout the rules that we have in place right now and will continue to do so?”:

     

     

  • NRA Urges People To Buy Assault Weapons Days After Terrorist Uses Assault Weapon In Massacre Of 49

    Many AR-15 Manufacturers Are NRA Corporate Donors Including Company That Manufactured Gun Used In Orlando Attack

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Days after a gunman used an assault weapon in a terror attack that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others, the National Rifle Association released a video urging Americans to buy assault weapons to protect against terrorists and other threats.

    According to the NRA video, Americans should buy assault weapons to “protect their life, liberty, and happiness.”

    During the early morning hours of June 12, a gunman launched a terror attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, killing and wounding dozens before he was killed by law enforcement. According to law enforcement, the gunman used a Sig Sauer MCX assault weapon.

    On June 15 the NRA directly responded to the Orlando attack with the release of an NRA News commentary video called “The AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime.” Sig Sauer is a sponsor of NRA News program “Defending Our America.” Numerous NRA corporate donors, including Sig Sauer, sell AR platform assault weapons.

    In the video, NRA News commentator Dom Raso criticizes President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for their advocacy of an assault weapons ban in the wake of the Orlando attack.

    The NRA video then made a number of arguments praising the abilities of the AR-15 -- which also serve to explain how the gunman was able to kill and wound so many people in a short period of time.

    Speaking to his experience as a firearms trainer, Raso claimed, “For the vast majority of people I work with there is no better firearm to defend their homes against realistic threats than an AR-15 semi-automatic. It’s easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable.”

    Raso went on to claim the Founding Fathers would have supported the AR -15. From the June 15 NRA commentary video:

     

     

    DOM RASO: I guarantee if the Founding Fathers had known this gun would have been invented, they wouldn’t have rewritten the Second Amendment, they would have fortified it in stone. Because they knew the only way for us to stay free was by having whatever guns the bad guys have. This firearm gives people the advantage they so desperately need and deserve to protect their life, liberty, and happiness.

  • Maker Of Assault Weapon Reportedly Used In Orlando Massacre Sponsors NRA News Show Called "Defending Our America"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The assault weapon used in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history was manufactured by Sig Sauer, according to law enforcement. Sig Sauer is an NRA corporate donor and sponsors the NRA News series “Defending Our America.”

    During the early morning hours of June 12, a gunman attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others before he was killed by law enforcement. According to law enforcement, the gunman purchased a Sig Sauer MCX assault weapon on June 4 that he used in the attack.

    Sig Sauer is a “James Madison” level donor to the NRA, meaning it has contributed between $25,000 and $49,999 to the gun organization. Sig Sauer is also the sponsor of the NRA News series “Defending Our America.”

    On its website, Sig Sauer markets the MCX as: “Built from the ground up to be silenced, light and short”:

    The gun is also described by Sig Sauer as “battle-proven”:

    A Sig Sauer video demonstrating the weapon’s rapid-fire capabilities notes, “The Sig MCX eclipses everything that’s come before it. It’s the start of a new era”:

     

     

    The weapon is sold in a semi-automatic version to civilians and also marketed to special forces with a selective-fire version. According to a review of the MCX on the website The Truth About Guns, “When it comes to getting shots on multiple targets quickly -- especially when shooting with a silencer attached -- an MCX-wielding rifleman will have a distinct advantage.”

  • NRA Host: "Even Children Aren't Short Sighted Enough” To Think Stronger Gun Laws Are A "Rational" Response To The Orlando Massacre

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Colion Noir, the face of the National Rifle Association's media efforts, reacted to the worst mass shooting in United States history by claiming, "Even children aren't short sighted enough to think gun control is a rational response to terrorism."

    During the morning of June 12, a gunman wielding an assault weapon killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. 53 other people were hospitalized following the attack. The death toll in the shooting has surpassed other infamous mass shootings in the United States, including the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school where 20 children and six educators were killed. 

    Noir, who is an NRA News commentator and host of the NRA's millennial-geared web series Noir, wrote on Twitter, "Even children aren't short sighted enough to think gun control is a rational response to terrorism. They say make the monster go away."

     

    Following the high-profile murder of two Virginia journalists who were shot to death during a live television broadcast in August 2015, Noir warned the victims' parents not to "become so emotional" in response to the shooting that they would advocate for stronger gun laws.

  • NRA News Says Katie Couric Isn’t A Journalist Because She Made A Documentary About Gun Violence

    Couric’s Documentary Demonstrated That Regular NRA Members Support Background Checks On All Gun Sales

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s media arm reacted to publicity surrounding Katie Couric’s new documentary Under The Gun by claiming that the project does not deserve to be called a documentary and by attacking Couric as dishonest and questioning her credibility as a journalist.

    During the May 11 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show, Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards mockingly suggested several times that Couric should come onto his program, neglecting to mention that NRA leadership was invited to be interviewed for the documentary but declined to do so.

    Couric was the executive producer and narrator for Under The Gun, a documentary that premieres May 15 at Epix.com. According to its website, Under The Gun “examines the events and people who have kept the gun debate fierce and the progress slow, even as gun deaths and mass shootings continue to increase.”

    During his show, Edwards trashed Couric and the “very, very, anti-NRA” documentary, riffing on Couric’s promotion of the film during her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Throughout his discussion of Under The Gun, Edwards said he would only call the project a “film,” pointedly refusing to call it a “documentary.”

    Edwards mocked Couric’s credibility as a journalist, sarcastically referring to Yahoo’s global news anchor as a “serious news person” and suggesting that in using the term “gun safety,” Couric “can’t be honest about what [the documentary team is] really all about. That’s kind of bad if you want to call yourself a respected and unbiased journalist.” (While Edwards' holds himself out as the host of a "news" show, he is listed as an employee of the NRA's public relations firm Ackerman McQueen.)

    Throughout the segment, Edwards mockingly invited Couric onto his show, saying, “So anyways, Katie’s making the rounds. … If she will go on Stephen Colbert, do you think maybe she’ll go on Cam & Company?” and stating, “Well, we will try to figure out who is doing the publicity for her new film because I would love to have her on the show. I think it would be fascinating, don’t you?”

    Though Edwards is now complaining about the content of Couric’s documentary, he does not acknowledge that the NRA previously turned down the opportunity to participate in the film. At the film’s conclusion, on-screen text lists several members of NRA leadership, including executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who were contacted for interviews but declined to participate.

    The film does feature interviews with NRA members, though. In two scenes, the majority of a group of self-identified NRA members interviewed on the street, seemingly outside the NRA’s annual meeting, are shown supporting background checks for all gun sales and expressing concern that individuals on the terror watch list are not prohibited from buying firearms. According to polling, 74 percent of NRA members support requiring a background check for all gun purchases.

  • NRA Attack On Clinton Accidentally Makes The Case For Background Checks

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A National Rifle Association video attacking Hillary Clinton for the State Department’s approval of arms exports during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state unwittingly makes the case for background checks for weapons sales.

    The NRA video falsely claims that during Clinton’s tenure, the State Department based decisions on arms export permits on whether a country had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the State Department’s statutory role in deciding when to grant arms export permits is “to promote our national security interests and foreign policy objectives.” As explained by the State Department, The United States’ controls over arms exports are considered the “gold standard” throughout the world, meant “to prohibit the transfer or transshipment of capabilities to rogue states, terrorist groups, and groups seeking to unsettle regions.”

    As a function of its permitting responsibilities, the State Department operates a program called the Blue Lantern that conducts investigations into entities receiving U.S. arms exports to ensure that arms transfers are within the U.S. national security interest.

    In a video promoted on the NRA’s news website, NRA News commentator Dana Loesch attacked Clinton by claiming that according to the International Business Times, “during the first three fiscal years of Clinton's term as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 countries whose governments gave money to the Clinton Foundation. Do you think that they underwent background checks?”

    Loesch went on to claim, “when Hillary Clinton isn't trying to disarm women and prevent us from the equal opportunity exercise of our pro-choice right to self-defense, she is approving billion-dollar arms sales to countries with horrendous human rights records. Countries where women have little to no rights, countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and others.”

    According to Loesch, the State Department approved arms exports to Qatar and other countries in exchange for monetary donations to the Clinton Foundation and to members of Clinton’s family.

    Loesch’s claims about the Clinton Foundation are conspiratorial. Despite discredited claims in conservative media, stemming from Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash,” there is no evidence that the Clinton family charity organization existed as part of a quid pro quo scheme used by foreign countries hoping to influence U.S. policy.

    In the video, Loesch asked whether countries that received arms exports “underwent background checks,” seeming to suggest that in exchange for donations, Clinton would approve arms exports to dangerous world actors.

    In fact, because of the State Department’s statutorily mandated responsibility, arms can be exported only after the State Department, and in some cases other federal agencies, grants a permit. The reason for the permit is to avoid the proliferation of arms.

    In 1976, Republican President Gerald Ford signed The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) into law, legislation that gave the president broad latitude in approving or disapproving arms sales for the purpose of preserving national and international security. Ford soon signed an executive order delegating this responsibility to the Department of State. Subsequent executive orders during the Bush and Obama administrations have clarified and streamlined this delegation of authority.

    Under the AECA and related laws, the U.S. has what are considered the highest standards in the world for deciding whether to approve arms sales to foreign nations. While the NRA video attempts to scandalize the State Department’s approval of arms exports during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the agency’s actions during her tenure merely indicate that it carried out its statutory duty, as it has done for 40 years.

    In the NRA video, Loesch also misleads by suggesting that Clinton is opposed to women’s rights because of sales approved to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman. Left unsaid is that Clinton and the State Department routinely condemned human rights abuses, including those that targeted women, in those countries.

    While one role of the State Department is to promote human rights around the world, another facet of U.S. foreign policy is to promote national security interests. (And the NRA must have a keen interest in that goal, as it routinely raises concerns about terror in the Middle East.)

    One way the country promotes these interests is by helping to arm countries that are engaged in the war on terror. For example, as a March State Department fact sheet explains, the department has approved arms sales to Oman because the country is “a vital U.S. partner on a wide range of regional, political, and security issues facing the Middle East” including “cooperation on maritime security, military preparedness, arms transfers, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism.”

    The NRA’s video gets many things wrong, including its simplistic approach to foreign policy and conspiratorial claims about Clinton. But the video also inadvertently acknowledges the value of background checks in ensuring that weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands -- a point that counters the NRA’s usual position.

  • Trump Parrots Right-Wing Media’s Bogus Claims About Clinton’s Gun Policies

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump echoed conservative media and the National Rifle Association by baselessly claiming that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton wants to “abolish the Second Amendment” and “take your guns away.” In fact, Clinton says that Second Amendment rights can be "protected" while the government also implements "common-sense" measures like universal background checks to keep guns from dangerous people.

  • What To Know About The NRA And Smart Guns

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    On April 29, the Obama administration released a report on what federal agencies can do to further develop smart gun technology that prevents anyone other than authorized users from discharging a firearm. With the gun industry already attacking Obama’s technology push, it is important to note that while the NRA claims it doesn’t oppose the technology’s development, its media and lobbying arms routinely make false claims about its reliability and promote conspiracy theories about the federal government wanting to use the technology to spy on gun owners.

  • NRA Spins Primary Results With False Claim Clinton’s Support For Gun Safety Laws Is Hurting Her Campaign

    NRA News On CT Primary: “Hillary Clinton Did Not Win Newtown, Donald Trump Won Newtown”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s media arm offered a faulty and misleading analysis of Connecticut’s presidential primary results to suggest that Hillary Clinton’s support for stronger gun safety laws is a detriment to her campaign, while arguing that she somehow lost the primary to Donald Trump.

    During the April 27 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards attacked a Huffington Post article headlined “Hillary Clinton Wins Newtown, After Making Gun Control Central To Her Campaign.”

    Newtown was the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which claimed 26 lives.

    Clinton won a seven point victory over Bernie Sanders in Newtown, beating her overall state victory margin of five points during Connecticut’s April 26 primary.

    Edwards attacked the notion that Clinton’s focus on gun safety and subsequent win was “significant” by fallaciously arguing that “Hillary Clinton did not win Newtown, Donald Trump won Newtown” because Trump received more total votes in the primary:

    EDWARDS: On the Republican side, in Newtown, Connecticut, Hillary Clinton didn’t beat Donald Trump in terms of the vote numbers. … So in terms of all of the candidates that residents and voters in Newtown could vote for, no, Hillary Clinton did not win Newtown, Donald Trump won Newtown. I don't think you’re going to see that headline at Huffington Post. ... So if Hillary Clinton's win in Newtown in the Democratic primary is significant, well then what is the significance of (a) a Republican candidate actually getting the most votes of all of the candidates on the ballot there in Newtown, (b) one who has expressed support for the right to keep and bear arms. What's the significance there ya think?

    Trump received 1,654 votes in the Republican primary in Newtown while Clinton received 1,362 votes in the Democratic primary.

    Edwards also said, “It's worth noting that statewide, Hillary Clinton actually did get more votes than Donald Trump, she got about 50,000 more votes than Donald Trump, but not in Newtown, Connecticut. ... I just think it's worth pondering what the significance of the fact that Hillary Clinton did not actually get the most votes in Newtown might be.”

    Edwards’ comparison between vote totals for Clinton and Trump is nonsensical. By definition, primaries are not contests between candidates of different parties -- and Connecticut has a closed primary system meaning voters can only vote for candidates of their registered party.

    Edwards claim that “Clinton did not win Newtown, Donald Trump won Newtown” also doesn’t make sense when voter trends in Connecticut are analyzed:

    • For a variety of factors, far more Republicans have voted in 2016 primaries compared to Democrats.
    • Newtown has more active registered Republicans (5126) than active registered Democrats (4358). Mitt Romney easily won Newtown in the 2012 presidential election.
    • Even so, Democratic turnout was higher (58%) compared to Republican turnout (56%) in Newtown.
    • Edwards argued it was significant that Trump received more votes than Clinton in Newtown, even though Clinton “got about 50,000 more votes” than Trump statewide. But in Newtown there are 768 more active registered Republicans than Democrats, while statewide there are 303,635 more registered active Democrats compared to active registered Republicans.
  • New NRA Talking Point Falsely Equates Gun Owners With LGBT People

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The host of the National Rifle Association's radio show drew a false parallel between being LGBT and being a gun enthusiast while discussing a controversy involving a college professor.

    The NRA has a lengthy history of comparing the treatment of gun owners to the treatment of people with immutable characteristics, including drawing false parallels between legal regulations on guns and Jim Crow-style laws that discriminated on the basis of race.

    Cam Edwards, the host of the NRA's radio show Cam & Company, compared gun owners to LGBT people while discussing an April 18 opinion piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In the piece, an anonymous college professor grappled with mixed feelings and asked for advice after being asked to write a letter of recommendation to a teacher-credential program for a student who is a "gun enthusiast." The anonymous professor wrote:

    I lay all of this out here now because I don’t know what to do about the recommendation.

    It’s so complicated. On one side are all of my ideas about supporting students, honoring their individuality and their journeys, creating a safe space for them (and myself), not taking things out of context, not overinterpreting. On the other side are my memories of growing up in a situation where guns, people, and bullets had to be rigorously kept apart, lest they find each other in a tragic moment of instability.

    Edwards responded to the opinion piece by attacking the anonymous professor and drawing a false comparison between gun owners and LGBT people, claiming during the April 19 broadcast of his show, "Now imagine this piece written but instead of a gun owner, they’re talking about, I don’t know, any other group out there. ... Member of the LGBT community. A transgendered [sic] student. Any other identifying factor":

    CAM EDWARDS (HOST): Now imagine this piece written, but instead of a gun owner, we're talking about, I don’t know, any other group out there. Vegetarian. Member of the LGBT community. A transgendered [sic] student. Any other identifying factor -- I don’t want to help this person because I don’t agree with them. Well this professor is in for a world of controversy, aren’t they? Probably have students demanding to know who this professor really is. Professor would probably worried about being dismissed from her job for being so intolerant. But when it comes to a woman who wants to own a firearm for self defense, nah it's OK for this professor to try to treat that student like dirt. As long as the student is not aware of it, mind you.

    Edwards and the NRA have a well-established track record of comparing conditions placed on gun ownership to the experience of racial discrimination. In June 2013, Edwards compared gun owners in Colorado to victims of “segregation” following Colorado's adoption of stronger gun laws after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and Aurora movie theater shooting. Edwards has also claimed that a requirement that Colorado students who own guns on campus must live in a designated dorm means "we are back to segregation now."

    A July 2014 commentary video from the NRA compared modern gun regulations to “Jim Crow laws,” claiming current gun laws are “equally as unconstitutional” as laws that codified racial discrimination.

    And in January 2013, former NRA president Marion Hammer compared Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) then-proposed ban on assault weapons to racial discrimination, claiming on the NRA's radio show, "Well, you know, banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics."

    The NRA is now expanding this inaccurate and offensive comparison to the LGBT community.

  • NRA Commentator: People Who Hate Guns Should Own Body Armor As A “Passive Way To Protect Yourself From Being Shot”

    NRA's Colion Noir: “You Don’t Have To Watch The News Longer Than An Hour To Realize That The Structure Of Society Can Go Downhill In A Heartbeat”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A bizarre video released by an NRA News commentator touted several reasons to own body armor, including the claim that “if you don’t like guns and want nothing to do with them, you have every right to make less than smart decisions with your life, but I can’t think of a more passive way to protect yourself from being shot than owning body armor.”

    The video was published on April 20 by Colion Noir, who is an NRA News commentator and host of the NRA’s supposedly millennial-geared web series Noir.

    The video, “5 Reasons You Should Want Body Armor,” offers several arguments in favor of buying a plate carrier vest -- a piece of tactical gear that holds body armor -- and body armor plates to keep at home or carry while in public.

    While most of Noir’s suggestions were apparently geared toward gun owners, he also recommended people who make “make less than smart decisions with your life” and “want nothing to do with” guns should still own body armor because he “can’t think of a more passive way to protect yourself from being shot”:

    NOIR: Look, if you don’t like guns and want nothing to do with them, you have every right to make less than smart decisions with your life, but I can’t think of a more passive way to protect yourself from being shot than owning body armor. I’m not saying you have to channel your inner 50 Cent and wear a vest general purpose. But have armor in your home or bag, you have nothing to lose. You may not like guns or me for liking guns, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about your safety.

    In the video, Noir explains, “When people come to my place, it’s not the Rifle Dynamics AK-47 sitting on a coffee table that gives them pause; it’s my body armor,” before describing several other scenarios where he recommends owning body armor:

    • “Home Defense”: Noir said, “Along with my gun and flashlight, I keep a plate carrier with AR-500 armor plates in close proximity to my bed. If I’m incredibly unlucky and hear that bump in the night, it doesn’t take much effort to slip on the plate carrier or soft body armor and grab my gun. Sure that THOT [That Ho Over There] you just met and brought home from the club will likely look at the plate carrier sitting next to your bed a little funny, but you shouldn’t be dealing with THOTs without protection anyway.”
    • “Active Shooter – Conceal Carry”: Noir said, “Yes, you read that correctly, I conceal-carry body armor. … Since I’m usually carrying a bag of sorts, why not slip one of the AR-500 soft body armor plates into the bag. If I’m out and about and there happens to be an active shooter, I can just throw on the bag and use it as a shield, or give the bag to someone I love to do the aforementioned.”
    • “Civil UnRest/Apocalypse/SHTF”: Over footage that included the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the televised beating of trucker Reginald Denny, Noir said, “Please believe, if the fall of society happens at two o’clock on a Tuesday, and for whatever reason I have to go outside, I’m walking outside like this. You don’t have to watch the news longer than an hour to realize that the structure of society can go downhill in a heartbeat. It may just be a temporary breakdown in society, like a crazy protest or looting after a major storm. But very permanent things can happen in temporary situations.”
    • “Road Trip”: Noir said, “I already have a rifle in my vehicle when I’m traveling. It was kind of a no-brainer to throw my carrier in as well. God forbid I’m stuck on a highway watching a terrorist go from car to car shooting at people. That carrier could come in pretty handy.”

    Noir often intertwines his commentary on guns with his commentary on women. In recurring segments on his show Noir, he narrated videos that appeared to be praising the appearance and personality attributes of an attractive woman, but at the end it is revealed that instead he was talking about the features of a high-end military-style assault weapon.

    Noir’s pro-gun commentary is often inflammatory. In February, Noir said that a tax that he had to pay on a firearm purchase was “rape.” He later apologized for the claim.

    Following the high-profile murder of two Virginia journalists who were shot to death during a live television broadcast in August 2015, Noir warned the victims' parents not to "become so emotional" in response to the shooting that they become advocates for stronger gun laws.

  • Apparently, The NRA Is Now OK With Illegal Gun Possession

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    New York City has cracked down on an alleged scheme to circumvent local gun licensing requirements, and the National Rifle Association’s media arm reacted not by calling for enforcement of gun laws but by falsely calling NYC’s laws unconstitutional. The NRA also downplayed the danger the scheme posed to the public and excused the alleged crimes by saying NYC’s law invited corruption.

    The scheme involved a man allegedly bribing New York Police Department officers to obtain up to 150 gun licenses, including licenses to carry a gun in public. The NRA repeatedly excused the alleged crime in segments on NRA News, in a departure from its oft-repeated talking point that instead of passing new gun laws, officials should enforce the laws on the books.

    On April 18, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest of Brooklyn resident Alex Lichtenstein for allegedly masterminding a scheme to bribe police officers in order to obtain gun licenses. According to a press release from the office, “As alleged, Lichtenstein offered the officer $6,000 per license, bragging that he had already used his NYPD connections to obtain 150 gun licenses.”

    The New York Times reported that Lichtenstein is accused of obtaining licenses that included “full- and limited-carry permits, which are difficult to obtain in New York City.” The prosecutor in the case asked for Lichtenstein to be held without bail, calling him an “arms dealer” and a “danger to the community.”

    The April 18 and 19 broadcasts of the NRA’s radio show, Cam & Company, used news of the scheme to attack gun laws in New York City -- which has strict laws and very low rates of gun violence compared to other big cities -- and to downplay the seriousness of the allegations and the threat the scheme posed to public safety.

    NRA News host Cam Edwards repeatedly downplayed the alleged scheme by falsely suggesting that the gun licensing systems in NYC and elsewhere violate the Second Amendment and by claiming that the alleged bribery was a natural result of the city’s gun laws.

    But in making his argument, Edwards dismissed the reality that the alleged bribery scheme let people possess guns illegally.

    During the April 18 broadcast of Cam & Company, Edwards claimed gun permit laws violate the Second Amendment: “You don’t have this problem if you actually recognize the right to keep and bear arms. … Here’s a simple proposal: Get rid of the gun permits in New York City. Don’t require a permit to own a firearm in New York City. Abide by the words of the Second Amendment, and then you don’t have an opportunity for corruption.”

    In segments posted on April 18 and 19, Edwards said, “If you don’t need permission to exercise a fundamental individual constitutional right, then you can’t bribe someone in order to exercise said fundamental individual constitutional right,” and, “When you see a right as a privilege to be doled out, guess what happens? Corruption, I think, inevitably follows.”

    Edwards’ excuse for the alleged crime -- that gun licensing laws violate the Second Amendment right -- is unfounded. Courts have repeatedly found permitting and licensing systems to own guns or carry guns in public to be consistent with the Second Amendment. In 2015, a federal court upheld New York’s licensing system.

    Edwards also claimed on April 19 that leaders in NYC “would rather deal with corruption probes every year than put in place a policy that recognizes and acknowledges the Heller decision … and the very words of the Second Amendment."

    Edwards’ argument is nonsensical in light of the Heller decision he mentions, the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller, where a conservative majority struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban. In response to the ruling, D.C. changed its law to comply with the Second Amendment by implementing a system similar to New York City's that requires licensing to own a firearm.

    During his NRA News segments on April 18 and 19, Edwards also repeatedly downplayed the danger to the public the alleged scheme posed by distorting the allegations surrounding it.

    On April 18, Edwards said, “I assume, by the way, this is a pistol permit, not a permit to carry. We’ll try to get more details here.” The details were already available. The April 18 U.S. Attorney’s Office press release that kicked off news reports of the scheme indicated that the case involved licenses to carry guns in public. The New York Times reported this same fact on April 18.

    Edwards repeatedly described the scheme as a matter of merely expediting license requests. He claimed on April 18, “There are no allegations at this point that anybody got a permit who wasn’t legally eligible for one,” suggesting instead that the alleged mastermind of the scheme was someone who could just “help you get your permit a little bit faster.”

    In fact, the U.S. attorney’s April 18 press release stated that one person who obtained a permit through the scheme “had been arrested for forgery, received approximately 10 moving violations and three vehicle-related summonses, and had been the subject of at least four domestic violence complaints, including one in which he was accused of threatening to kill someone,” while noting that “the NYPD License Division indicates that it may reject applications if the investigation reveals a history of arrest, driving infractions, or domestic violence incidents, among other reasons.”

    On April 19, Edwards had apparently become aware of this fact, but he continued to downplay it, stating that the man “had been the subject of at least four domestic violence complaints, but not even arrests, but much less a conviction here.” Edwards never mentioned that one of the domestic violence incidents allegedly involved a threat to kill somebody, as the article he said he was referencing during the segment explained. He also misleadingly claimed, “And this is the one guy that was supposedly the worst of the worst” of Lichtenstein's alleged customers.

    In fact, the U.S. attorney’s press release indicates that a review of Lichtenstein’s application files “is ongoing,” meaning at this time it is unknown if licenses were given to other problematic people. As the press release explained, the scheme allowed individuals who wanted a gun "to forego the full investigation typically conducted before the NYPD License Division approves or disapproves an application."

    This is not the first time Edwards has attacked New York’s gun laws rather than the people who violate them. In March 2013, Edwards called for the dismissal of an illegal gun possession charge faced by New York linen mogul George Bardwil, who was caught with a gun while on trial for domestic violence charges. In July 2014, Bardwil was convicted on charges of slamming his ex-wife's head into the ground after she refused to have sex with him. In June 2015, Bardwil pleaded guilty to the gun charge and was sentenced to two years in prison for domestic assault and illegal gun possession.

  • NRA Falsely Claims That Obama Gave “El Chapo” A Sniper Rifle

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A National Rifle Association video falsely claims that President Obama gave Mexican drug trafficker “El Chapo” a .50-caliber sniper rifle in order to claim that the president may be on the “side” of drug cartels.

    But the NRA video never mentioned that the gun in question was manufactured by an NRA board member or that the NRA has strongly opposed efforts to ban the sale of .50-caliber sniper rifles. The class of firearm is “among the most destructive weapons legally available to civilians” and has been linked by law enforcement to “terrorism, outlaw motorcycle gangs, international and domestic drug trafficking, and violent crime.”

    In an April 15 video, NRA News commentator Dana Loesch criticized President Obama over news reports that a .50-caliber sniper rifle associated with Operation Fast and Furious was recovered at the hideout of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who is widely known as “El Chapo,” following the narcotrafficker’s January arrest.

    Fast and Furious was a failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation to track firearms sold to traffickers at retail stores in the United States to high-level drug cartel figures in Mexico. The ATF lost track of many of the guns after they crossed the border, and the operation, which was terminated in 2011, became public knowledge after one of the guns was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Fast and Furious was spun off of the botched Bush administration Operation Wide Receiver, which also failed to track trafficked guns to high-level targets.

    While an independent investigation found that the failure of Fast and Furious was due to “flawed” tactical decisions on the ground, the NRA has long conspiratorially claimed that Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder hatched the operation as a secret plot to cause violence in Mexico and thus justify more restrictive gun laws in the United States.

    In NRA video, Loesch claimed, “El Chapo did not get that .50-cal from a [concealed handgun license] holder in Texas; he got it from Barack Obama and Eric Holder,” before asking, “Who's side are they on?”

    It is well-established that Obama and Holder were not aware of Fast and Furious while the operation was underway. While the NRA continues to push conspiracies about the operation, even Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the primary congressional investigator into the failed sting, has said it is “important” to acknowledge that an independent investigation found that Holder was unaware of the program during its existence.

    The independent investigation, undertaken by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, found that “ATF's Phoenix Field Division, together with the U.S. Attorney's Office, bore primary responsibility for the conduct of Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.” The investigation also debunked the NRA’s conspiracies about the purpose of Fast and Furious, finding “no evidence that the agents responsible for the cases had improper motives or were trying to accomplish anything other than dismantling a dangerous firearms trafficking organization.”

    The NRA video also failed to mention the organization’s own role in making the .50-caliber sniper rifle -- a gun whose round “can penetrate structures and destroy or disable light armored vehicles, radar dishes, helicopters, stationary and taxiing airplanes” -- easily available to the public.

    According to pro-gun blogs and groups, the rifle recovered at El Chapo’s hideout was a Barrett .50-caliber M82 sniper rifle. The Barrett rifle can be seen in a still from the NRA’s video:

    There is no federal law that specifically regulates .50-caliber rifles, meaning they can be purchased by anyone aged 18 or older who passes a background check at a licensed gun dealer (and in many states the rifle can be bought without a background check through the private sale loophole).

    The NRA has long opposed proposals in Congress to ban the sale of the .50-caliber rifle, falsely arguing that .50-caliber weapons pose no danger to the public. In 2013, the gun organization successfully urged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to veto a .50-caliber rifle ban. The NRA also lobbied against a 2005 U.S. House of Representatives bill to restrict .50-caliber rifle ownership -- which it misleadingly labeled as a "hunting rifle ban" -- and has opposed state efforts to regulate the .50-caliber rifle in California and Hawaii. Other material from the NRA-ILA has falsely claimed, ".50 caliber rifles are not used in crimes -- .50 caliber rifles are too large and heavy to be employed in normal criminal behavior," and attacked critics of the .50-caliber sniper rifle as engaging in "phony terrorism hype."

    The NRA has a financial interest in promoting access to the .50-caliber rifle. The inventor of the .50-caliber rifle, Ronnie Barrett, sits on the NRA board of directors. Barrett has maintained a close relationship with the NRA, and his company has donated between $50,000 and $99,000 to the gun group. In 2010, the NRA gave Barrett an award that recognized "exemplary achievement by individuals who were responsible for the development, introduction, and promotion of equipment that has made a profound and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt."

  • NRA Fakes CDC Statistic To Attack Cosmopolitan For Calling Attention To Women And Gun Violence

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A commentary video from the National Rifle Association (NRA) falsely claimed that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found there were up to 3.3 million defensive gun uses each year in the United States. But the CDC has never released a study with that conclusion. 

    Moreover, the CDC is actually prevented from researching gun violence due to decades of NRA lobbying efforts.

    In an April 7 video, NRA News commentator Dana Loesch, who is also a radio host for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, criticized Cosmopolitan for running recent features on women and gun violence, claiming the magazine is “sexist” and believes “women are less valuable than their potential rapists, and its rapists' feelings which we should prioritize rather than women’s safety.”

    To support this claim, Loesch fabricated a statistic, stating a “CDC report commissioned by Barack Obama … shows that there are anywhere from 500,000 to 3.3 million instances of defensive gun use annually” and that the “CDC said that concealed carry is ‘a great deterrent to crime.’”

    Loesch is likely referring to a 2013 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council (NRC) report requested by Obama in order to provide the CDC a possible research agenda should the agency be allowed to research gun violence.

    One of the contributors to the report was criminologist Gary Kleck and included in the report is his repeatedly discredited research that claims that there are between 500,000 and 3 million defensive gun uses each year. The citation of Kleck's research in an NRC report is not indicative of the CDC’s conclusions about defensive gun uses, as Loesch falsely claimed.

    The consensus view among gun violence researchers is that guns are used far more often to commit crimes than they are used to prevent crimes. Research has also found that defensive gun uses are so rare they are difficult to measure.

    The NRA’s claim that the “CDC said that concealed carry is ‘a great deterrent to crime’” is also fabricated. Loesch may have been referring to more Kleck research in the NRC report which found “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,” although the words quoted by Loesch do not even appear in the NRC report.

    Loesch previously included fake historical Second Amendment quotes in her 2014 book about firearms, Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America.