Two years ago, the NRA wouldn’t even meet with President Obama and the group’s CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre warned that he would confiscate “our firearms” and undermine America’s greatness. In a statement following Thursday’s meeting, the group demonstrated that it’s still not interested in reducing gun crimes, offering three misleading claims about its intentions:
1. The NRA was “prepared to have a meaningful conversation.” The NRA claimed that it’s willing to consider “school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.” The glaring omission in that list is any action involves the sale of guns and ammunition. It’s the same tactic they tried in their widely-panned press conference where they went so far as to blame hurricanes, but not guns. The resistance to any gun violence prevention measures that involve actual firearms shows that the NRA really wasn’t interested in a “meaningful conversation” where all options were on the table.
2. The White House has “an agenda to attack the Second Amendment.” Despite LaPierre’s paranoid insistence that the White House was lulling gun owners into a false sense of security by not passing any gun laws during his first four years, the Obama administration actually expanded gun rights in its first four years by loosening restrictions for concealed carry on federal grounds. Both Biden and Obama have insisted that they have no intention of changing the right to bear arms — rather, they simply want to create restrictions that make it harder for murderers to acquire their weapon of choice.
3. The “Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions.” There’s really no proof that universal background checks, restrictions on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and expanded mental health services are “failed solutions.” In fact, evidence points to the opposite: Since the repeal of the assault weapons ban, mass shootings have drastically increased and studies show that the firepower of gunmen (how many rounds they shoot, and how quickly they shoot them) has jumped significantly.
Biden plans to deliver his suggestions for possible gun violence prevention laws to Obama on Tuesday. On Friday, he will meet with the entertainment and television industries. It’s likely that will be a more positive meeting, since representatives have signalled they will be more receptive to Biden’s case. In a statement, they wrote, “We welcome the opportunity to share that history and look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions.” That’s despite that videogames and movies, unlike guns, can’t kill people.