Student Emma Gonzalez: Do you believe it should be harder to obtain semi-automatic weapons?— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2018
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch: "I don't believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm" https://t.co/V50uSUR7r8 #StudentsStandUp https://t.co/P5Sioleoss
In a heated CNN town hall, an NRA’s spokesperson heard some tough questions by the Florida shooting survivors, parents of the victims, teachers and a Broward County Sheriff — all of them who were against guns.
Dana Loesch’s responses were sugarcoated but lacked anything concrete; mostly she was booed by the audiences who were frustrated with the government’s position on guns.
Parkland shooting survivor, Emma Gonzalez, who has been very vocal about how pro-gun politicians, who have received massive funding from the National Rifle Association (NRA), have been trying to shift the focus away from gun control and onto mental illness, asked a hard hitting question to Loesch.
“The shooter in our school obtained the weapon that he used on us legally. Do you believe it should be harder to obtain semi-automatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic, such as bump stocks?” asked Gonzalez.
After telling the young woman how she is against people who have criticized these students, even those who were “on her side,” Loesch gave a very roundabout response to the question. She first praised the student for voicing her beliefs, and then compared Gonzalez to herself:
“I was a very politically active teenager. And I am on the stage as a result of that. Think of how far you all could go as a result of voicing your own beliefs.”
Her response was booed by the audience, and a person in the audience could be heard yelling, “We will kill 17 people.”
“This individual was nuts. And I, nor the millions of people that I represent as a part of this organization that I’m here speaking for, none of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others getting their hands on a firearm,” Loesch said. “Do you know that it is not federally required for states to actually report people who are prohibited possessors, crazy people, people who are murderers?”
At this point, the crowd refused to stop yelling after Loesch’s expected response, blaming everything on mental illness.
Her response is also completely absurd. According to Nikolaz Cruz’s neighbors, the teen’s disturbing behavior was reported to the police 30 times. A vlogger also tipped the FBI about how Cruz wanted to become a “professional school shooter.” So, Loesch’s answer does not, in fact, factor into Gonzalez question.
Gonzalez had to ask the audience to be quiet.
“How was he able to pass a background check? He was able to pass a background check because we have a system that’s flawed. The Sutherland Springs murderer was able to pass a background check because the Air Force did not report that record,” Loesch continued.
Gonzalez interrupted reminding Loesch of her original question. “I think I’m going to interrupt you real quick and remind you that the question is actually, do you believe it should be harder to obtain these semiautomatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic, such as bump stocks?” she asked.
The NRA spokeswoman reiterated the position of her organization, which is allowing the ATF to reconsider a ban on bump stocks.
However, none of what Loesch said answered Gonzalez question.
Later another survivor, Cameron Kasky, slammed the spokeswoman while he was questioning Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) asking him to stop taking funds from the NRA. He wished that Loesch could have answered his question.
“I would ask her how she could look in the mirror considering the fact that she has children,” he said. “Maybe she avoids those.”
A history teacher at the town hall asked Loesch to define a “well-regulated militia” and how “an 18-year-old with a military rifle" is well-regulated.
The spokeswoman’s response was unsatisfactory.
A teacher asks the NRA spokeswoman explain how she defines a “well-regulated militia” and how “an 18-year-old with a military rifle" is well-regulated— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2018
Dana Loesch: He should have been barred from getting a firearm https://t.co/k8U0ap8QAt #StudentsStandUp https://t.co/XmR7ysiAem
Broward county sheriff Scott Israel also slammed Loesch. “I understand that you’re standing up for the NRA,” he said. “And I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you just told this group of people that you’re standing up for them. You’re not standing up for them until you say ‘I want less weapons.'”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel: "We do need to have some gun control and reform. ... Anybody who says different, I don't know about other people, but Emma (Gonzalez) and I -- we're calling BS on that" https://t.co/13dzuzJYRm #StudentsStandUp https://t.co/FsdoRCoQNG— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2018
It seems the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have found a surprising ally in the Broward County sheriff. However, it doesn’t look like it will have any effect on Loesch herself, who makes money working for the gun lobby.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Michael Laughlin