NRA Ad Highlights Its Frustration With Current Gun Debate
On March 4, coinciding with the Oscars, the NRA released an ad attacking “fake news” and “every Hollywood phony.” The ad depicts Dana Loesch, one of their national spokespersons, stating “we [the NRA] have had enough of the lies” over a background of dramatic music. Although not mentioned, this ad comes as part of the NRA’s response to the criticisms they have received from the recent gun reform movement.
Since 2003, the organization has accused the media of biased coverage about mass shootings and the second amendment. This statement comes following recent media coverage, shifts in public opinion and celebrities’ calls for people to stand up to the NRA. This national attention follows the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, FL.
The NRA ad spread rapidly on twitter and even received a parody response from Sarah Chadwick, a student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, where the mass shooting occurred. In the video, she calls out the NRA and lawmakers to show that gun reform is necessary. She is part of effort that is driving this national conversation.
In response to the Parkland shooting and the national gun debate, the NRA is asking its members to contact their representatives and ask them to “oppose all gun control schemes that would only impact law-abiding gun owners.” The NRA opposes proposals that would ban “the most popular rifles in America.” The NRA holds this stance despite the fact that 67 percent of Americans support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, a 13 percent increase since March 2013, according to a Feb. 20 nationwide poll from Quinnipiac University.
The NRA also opposes limits on magazine capacity and mandatory waiting periods. The same poll demonstrated 83 percent support for these waiting periods compared to 79 percent in Oct. 2017. While the organization does advocate for the improvement of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, it offers little detail about how such improvements could be implemented. Support for universal background checks is 97 percent nationally, including amongst gun owners. Congress is yet to pass any bill addressing the issue.
Dana Loesch and the NRA are running out of options. As the public and several GOP lawmakers have shifted their views on gun reform. Most notably, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), during a town hall meeting, told the audience he would support efforts to raise the age limit for some gun purchases from 18 to 21. Despite these sizable shifts in public opinion, the NRA is still holding its position.
If one thing is certain, it is that Americans are ready for change. In the same Quinnipiac poll mentioned above, 75 percent said that Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence. At the same time, 66 percent now support stricter gun laws, a 14 percent increase from Nov. 2015. As the conversation continues, the NRA may need to adjust its views to cater to the public’s views. As of now, the NRA’s most recent call to action ends with this statement: “The NRA is resolved to stand up to whatever forces seek to erode our freedom. Stand with us. Together, we are freedom’s last, best chance.”
But will Americans and lawmakers stand with them?