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How the NRA hijacks gun control debates


It’s from a CNN town hall on gun violence held just days after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. On one side, you’ve got the parents, teachers, and students who survived the shooting, and on the other, you’ve got Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman for the NRA who’s famous for saying things like: They will perish in the political flames of
their own fires. This is what the modern gun debate looks like
in America. We’re so used to hearing from the NRA that we don’t really question it when we see them on TV anymore. But talking to the NRA has turned the gun control debate into a confusing, frustrating
mess. We don’t say that no one has a right to free
speech… I mean, are we talking about prevention or
not? Wait a second, wait a second! And that’s exactly what gun companies were
hoping for. Anything can be qualified as an assault weapon. If you stab someone with a spoon, it can be qualified as an assault weapon. If you go to the NRA’s website right now, you’ll see the group describing itself as “America’s longest-standing civil rights
organization.” We’re the largest and oldest civil rights
organization in America. The NRA really wants you to think of it that
way because it frames the organization as essentially a public interest group, alongside groups like the ACLU and NAACP. That framing is the reason the NRA pops up in every debate about gun control. If you think of the NRA as a group that represents gun owners, you can’t really debate gun policy without them. The problem is… The way they go about this is a charade. It’s a fraud. This is Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch. He represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional
District, which is where the Parkland shooting took
place. And he is tired of arguing with the NRA. This is an organization that receives millions
of dollars every year from gun companies directly, millions more through advertisements. Yeah, you’ve probably heard about the NRA giving money to politicians, but we should talk about how much money the NRA gets from gun companies. Every year, gun manufacturers donate millions
of dollars to the NRA through its corporate partners
program. Some of them sponsor specific NRA projects like “Empower the People,” sponsored by
Sig Sauer. Or “Love at First Shot,” sponsored by
Smith & Wesson. What is “Love at First Shot”? I don’t want to know. Other gun companies give money directly to
the NRA, and ones that donate over a million dollars get to be part of something called the NRA’s “Golden Ring of Freedom.” An honor given to those who make significant
contributions to the NRA’s defense of the Second Amendment. That “Golden Ring of Freedom” includes
companies like Beretta, Remington, Bushmaster, and Smith & Wesson, the manufacturer that
produced the gun that was used in the Parkland massacre. In exchange for their donations, the NRA gives gun companies these tacky golden
jackets. That’s more of a dirty yellow. Yeah, that is not gold. The NRA doesn’t disclose how much money it
gets from these donations. But a report by the Violence Policy Center
estimates the number was anywhere between $20 and $60
million from 2005 to 2013. The NRA makes millions more by selling ad
space to gun companies in publications like American
Rifleman. But maybe weirdest of all, some companies donate a portion of every gun
sale directly to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for every customer who buys one of their guns. In 2015, Sturm Ruger launched a campaign donating $2 to the NRA for every gun they sold, which explains why so much NRA programming looks like a gun ad. The AR-15 is one of the most effective tools
available to protect yourself and your family. What the… All of this makes the NRA less of a public
interest group and more of an industry lobbying group. And that’s a big distinction. We’re arguing about gun control with a group that makes money when people buy guns. They’re a lobbying group. I don’t know, frankly, that there’s another lobbying organization that drives
the debate on an issue the way that they do, So any time the NRA debates gun control, their priority is protecting the product. To deflect attention away from gun sales, they blame violence on things like video games …vicious, violent video games with names
like Bulletstorm… while blocking the CDC from actually studying
gun violence. Or they say we need to enforce existing gun
laws – We have all kinds of gun laws on the books
right now, John. We don’t enforce any of ’em. while lobbying to gut the agencies that would actually enforce those laws. They blame states for not using the background check system. Do you know that it is not federally required for states to actually report people who are prohibited possessors? And then aggressively oppose background checks because background checks “don’t stop criminals from getting firearms.” You know perfectly well the reason states aren’t mandated to go through that system is because of a lawsuit the NRA filed. Or, most obvious of all, they argue the solution to gun violence is buying more guns. To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun. Yeah, that’s a twofer. They get to talk about something other than all of the things that have broad bipartisan
support, and they get to talk about something that is ultimately going to benefit the gun companies that fund their entire operation. The annoying thing is these distractions work. A Vox study of cable news coverage after the Parkland shooting found that CNN
and MSNBC both devoted serious airtime to debating arming
teachers. How do you feel when you hear these proposals to arm the teachers, given what was going
on? That allegiance to gun companies creates a
warped view of the gun control debate. The truth is huge majorities of Americans agree on things like background checks and
restrictions on assault weapons. And most gun owners, including NRA members, support things like universal background checks. The NRA knows this too. Which is why they work so hard to convince
their members that the government is coming to take away
their guns. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment so they can eradicate all individual freedoms. It is always this attempt to whip people into
a frenzy. This is just the first step. We’re the only thing that stands between you
and tyranny. It’s nonsense. It’s a distraction. It’s also a smart marketing strategy. If you convince people the government is coming for your guns, they’ll buy more. Gun sales usually spike after mass shootings. Thankfully, not everyone is falling for it. This is Ryan Deitsch, a survivor of the Parkland
shooting. He was visibly frustrated at the CNN town
hall. And he says he’s started turning down invitations to debate NRA spokespeople like Dana Loesch. We know what happened at the town hall, and we just did not want to give her that
platform. Deistch isn’t afraid of debating gun control. I love to face the opposition. I’ve been told I’m too nice. But he says talking to the NRA is different. They’re never going to agree because the money flows one way. Please, God, no, not a new Dana. We’ve seen this exact thing happen before: with tobacco. In the ’50s, tobacco companies formed the
Tobacco Institute, a group that spent 40 years fighting against
tobacco regulation. Most of the Tobacco Institute’s work is with people who represent the public’s
interest. The group became one of Washington’s most
powerful, well-heeled, and effective political lobbies. And like the NRA, they did everything they
could to protect the product. They blamed lung cancer on air pollution and
food additives, tried to block government research on smoking, It’s inappropriate for any agency of government to take steps to try to eliminate a legal
product. and peddled junk science. Most smokers don’t develop lung cancer. We think it’s an open question. And believe it or not, lots of news outlets
took the bait. The Tobacco Institute charged that its findings were based on evidence that is not scientifically
conclusive. Looking back, it’s bananas that anyone included the Tobacco Institute in public health
debates. But that’s exactly what’s happening now with
the NRA. There’s no question that having the representative for the biggest gun companies raises all of those same concerns. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the NRA. It’s still an incredibly powerful industry
lobbying group. And we should take that political influence
seriously. But that doesn’t mean we need to take their
arguments seriously. Debates about gun control only work if both
sides are genuinely interested in finding a solution
to gun violence. But in this case, they’re not. If the way that you’re approaching this
is about either having guns or not having guns, then having the gun manufacturers there probably makes sense. But that’s not what the debate should be. That’s not what the debate is. It’s about taking action to keep our communities
safe. That’s a conversation most Americans agree
on. But it’s a conversation that falls apart every time the NRA gets a seat at the table. I want to thank Dana Loesch of the NRA for
being here to listen to your questions.

100 thoughts on “How the NRA hijacks gun control debates

  1. Even the title is a lie. The NRA doesn't represent the "interests of gun manufacturers". The NRA protects the 2nd Amendment rights of its 5 million members.
    Why do Libs hate the truth so much?

  2. I'm pro liberty, pro gun, and anti NRA. NRA does not represent me. I believe military weapons in the hands of civilians is essential to the freedom of those civilians and that current restrictions are an infringement.

  3. Where do you get your statistics from!!!!

    All the gun owners that I know, do not support what what you say they support!!
    We already have background checks, universal background checks equals confiscation!!!!!

  4. How can the government ban in product!!!

    I bought it with my own money!!
    I know where it is at all times!!
    It's locked up in my safe or it on me!!

    Banning guns or they are AR 15 is not going to do anything, but start a war!!

    Gun owners are do not support gun control!!

    These politicians want to take guns from us so they can take the power from us.

    We control the government not the other way around!!

  5. Its funny, if the NRA actually represented its members it would listen to their feedback when 72% say that they are in favour of background checks…

  6. Oh Vox will never tell you this,NRA is struggling in 2019 due to the Trump Slump!!!

    People buy WAY fewer guns ,under Republicans..

    They the NRA was doing much better,during the Barack Boom….

    Barack Obama the Greatest gun salesman in world history,please check this!!! 🙂

  7. If the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, when a mass shooter turns the gun on himself does this mean he dies a hero?

  8. Walmart, Amazon, Google, Facebook! All evil companies that take away from the peoples(citizens) independent income sources and sustainability!

  9. I’m afraid criminals and political gangs will hurt me, so I bought a gun. Wait, I thought the government and their supporters were here to protect me? Communism is compassion right?

  10. how much does Hillary Clintons foundation get from foreign interest group I wonder, and how much does planned parenthood give to democrats

  11. When I was young people who had guns weren't fascinated and obsessed with them. Today a gun is an extension of your biceps or the Washington monument. They buy a Ferrari when all they need is a bicycle. It's a sad joke. Speaking about guns used to be frowned upon by parents. Now it's a handy tool for rage in public. The worst idea is to have a gun on everyone's hip. Everyone will be their own cop . Kiss humility, caution, mercy and charity goodbye.
    Load all of us with suspicion. Everywhere a vice to challenge. Who can draw faster ?

  12. Democrats exploit mourning children and families to villianize honest hard working patriotic Americans. Dems are all emotion and NO logic. Disarming law abiding Americans makes us less safe. When good Americans are armed society is safer against the criminal element.

  13. The 2nd Amend is not UP for debate and Neither is the foundation of this Country: I'm sure the Left will keep trying to create Venezuela tho

  14. I considered selling my weapons back to the government, but after a background check and thorough investigation into the buyer, I determined the buyer has a history of violence and mentally unstable. Big risk to the general population.

  15. Notice Wal mart nor the anti gun groups nor the politicians ever ask mass shooters to not carry their guns just good people.

  16. I am one of the 5.5 million ARMED citizens that are also NRA members. I welcome any liberal to come take my constitutional right, it will be the last decision you make.

  17. The thing wrong with the picture is that its CNN, its Vox, and the shooter bought it from an individual not a seller, in which an FBI check is not done. And assault weapons are banned in america. I can't buy a fully automatic AK-47 from anywhere in america LEGALLY. Criminals dont follow gun laws, we do. A country disarmed is a people subjugated to the will of the government

  18. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety"

    -Benjamin Franklin

  19. The NRA has questionable reliability in the fight to preserve the 2A. It’s funny how Vox and other libs think they are so hardline when so many members have been dissatisfied with the NRA’s flimsy stance of late

  20. so CNN set up a debate …… and you expected what? virtually ALL NRA members are sympathetic to the victims and want mental health to be the focus on stopping future occurances. When the same mental issues are prevalent in elected and un-elected officials as in the shooters, this will always be a fight. personally I want to disarm USA just to see how long before it descends into being Venezuela.

  21. Look taking away guns from law following citizens is like taking away their freedoms. Even if it is semi-automatic-guns.
    Pro-gun activist are bring in solutions like a "good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun" who are these good guys police officers. Anti gun control want to take away semi-automatic-guns how does stop people from buy them from Black market or the deep web and some can even smuggle them into the boarder semi-automatic-guns. Gangs members sell them on the street. So why take them out of people who follow the rules? Tell me how you can stop criminal from getting a semi-automatic-gun anti-gun activist? "background checks" will not stop criminals from obtaining semi-automatic in other ways with out your background checks. Anyone in the comments have a better solution instead of background check or taking away guns that gang members can easily buy from illegal gun dealers?

  22. Gun control, like laws banning certain usage and guns, we HAVE THAT! And guess what, that's a violation of the second amendment also. NRA started in 1870 training freed slaves how to use and maintain a weapon for self preservation. They are literally the first and largest civil right organization, and get this! That second amendment you tyrants are trying to dismiss is a CIVIL RIGHT

  23. Don’t let ANYBODY mislead you about the NRA. This man is a straight out lier.The NRA is the one organization that is protecting all other rights.

  24. Why does the murder of 11,000 ppl per yr (shootings) take center stage over every other type of murder? There r 4x as many texting driver murders! The nra receives millions from members. What’s wrong with u vox?

  25. Isn't keeping jobs in America part of every Democrats agenda see if we do ban guns think about of the millions of jobs were going to be losing

  26. Just a polite reminder: every American's right to keep and bear arms is both natural and unalienable. These rights were neither granted by government, nor can they be repealed by government. The highest foundational laws of our nation clearly prohibit government – federal, state and local – from acting in this matter. CONGRESS HAS NO POWER WHATSOEVER to enact any law, no matter how seemingly "reeeeezonable" – if that law even infringes upon our rights

  27. you can say its the gun companies all you want….where do they get the money? from people who buy their guns….

  28. you could say that they are a bissness put I think of it as a agency that protects my right but also making money while doing it which I do not mind. (I can not spell bissness)

  29. The second amendment is what makes me feel safe in this country. Being able to defend myself and family is extremely important. This channel is awful.

  30. The funny thing is their opening example of that town hall was anything but a "hijack" by the NRA. That town hall was literally everyone against one NRA spokeswoman.

  31. The NRA lies all the time. No one wants to take your guns away. Name a bill that any Democrat has introduced to reverse the 2nd amendment. I will save you some time. It's never happened.

  32. The US Constitution IS the supreme law of the land. If you don't believe in the US Constitution, YOU are part of the problem.
    This video is full of lies. Shame on you!

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