In predictably repugnant form, executives from the National Rifle Association frantically cast about for anything to blame after Las Vegas — except themselves and their organization's dangerous ideology.
The gunman who killed 58 people and injured over 500 others when he opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas was able to do so in part because of a device called a bump stock, which allows semi-automatic weapons to mimic fully automatic ones.
After this horrific incident, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced a bill in the Senate to ban these devices, while Republican Rep. Carlos Cubelo of Florida and Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts have done the same in the House.
In addition to Cubelo, a number of Republicans have voiced support for these gun safety measures. Even top executives from the National Rifle Association indicated that they backed tighter regulations on bump stocks — though of course, in doing so, they had to lash out at President Barack Obama.
“Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox said in a statement.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” they continued.
But despite that moment of decency, both men went quickly back to the usual NRA gambit of blaming anyone and anything for gun violence other than their own dangerous, stubborn ideology.
Cox, the NRA’s executive director, told Fox News host Chris Wallace that, while his company does support a “review” of bump stocks, it is also necessary to look at the “broader picture” of violent means in the country, including box cutters and cars.
“Our concern is that all this focus on devices takes away the attention from the underlying behavior,” he continued.
And when Wallace asked him point blank if he would be okay with banning bump stocks, he demurred.
“We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything,” he declared, only allowing that a device that like “ought to be regulated differently.”
Cox also lashed out at those even discussing gun safety as violating “common decency” — people like Hillary Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
On Clinton in particular, Cox was callous. “She gets an award for hypocrisy” because she talks about gun safety while having her own armed guards, as part of her permanent Secret Service detail — as though there is no difference between professional bodyguards for highly public figures and lone madmen who murder dozens of people at random.
And of course, later in the interview, when Wallace brought up the topic of high-capacity magazines, Cox had to return to his “broader picture” and turn his blame game onto the evergreen targets of Hollywood and video games.
“People can own things safely and responsibly and be a danger to no one, and that’s a part of this conversation,” Cox insisted. “It can’t be a fair and balanced conversation if you’re not willing to discuss the broader problems that we have, with a violent culture coming out of Hollywood, with video games that have fundamentally changed how military simulators work.”
Later, in a clear continuation of the “Hollywood” and “hypocritical elites” talking points, LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, whined to CBS host John Dickerson on Face the Nation about the “elites” who were “trying to politicize this tragedy” and who “protect themselves with armed security.”
And he oddly named the “Hollywood television gaming industry” is the true villain in this situation.
“We spend millions teaching responsible use of firearms. They make billions every single day, John, teaching irresponsible use of firearms,” he groused. “They’re so hypocritical, it’s unbelievable.”
No, support for gun safety from Hollywood is not what is “unbelievable” here.
It is the sheer callousness of the NRA in response to such a massive tragedy. Their tepid support for “review” and “regulations” of dangerous devices like bump stocks aside, clearly the people in charge at the organization are still entirely unwilling to ever allow for the possibility that their cheerleading of violence and their push for a society armed to the teeth from coast to coast might just have something to do with the epidemic of gun violence.
Hollywood movies and video games are not real.
The NRA and their twisted version of “freedom” is all too real. But as calls for banning bump stocks continue to come even from the Republican side of Congress, perhaps the NRA’s ability to inflict their sickness on the rest of us is finally nearing its end.