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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The last time someone asked the NRA to change

by digby

Trump says he's meeting with the NRA to discuss whether people on the Terror Watch list and the No-fly list should be allowed to buy guns.

Here's what happened the last time we had a horrific mass shooting and people thought the NRA would change its tune. From a piece I wrote last August for Salon:

Unfortunately, even the shock of a man gunning down rooms full of first graders was not enough to get us to face up to our problem. And there’s really one man who bears most of the responsibility for that: the head of the NRA Wayne LaPierre. After the Newtown massacre, most Americans believed it was inconceivable that nothing would be done. There was tremendous momentum to start making some necessary changes. But as a recent PBS Frontline documentary called “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA” put it, LaPierre would have none of it:

NARRATOR: His advisers wanted him to lie low, but LaPierre had a very different idea. Expecting trouble, he hired personal security guards, and headed into Washington.

ROBERT DRAPER, The New York Times Magazine: Without telling anyone, LaPierre himself staged a press conference in Washington, D.C.

NARRATOR: The media gathered. Many expected a chastened and conciliatory LaPierre.

ROBERT DRAPER: I think there was an assumption that, surely, he’s going to throw the gun safety advocates, and for that matter the Newtown parents, some kind of bone.

NARRATOR: But LaPierre had something else in mind.

WAYNE LaPIERRE: The only way — the only way — to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

ED O’KEEFE: And he almost immediately goes right back to what they usually say, which is that the answer to this is more guns.

WAYNE LaPIERRE: What if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook elementary school last Friday, he’d been confronted by qualified armed security?

SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, The New York Times: His comments are aimed directly at the gun owners of America, to rile them up, to get them behind the NRA’s no holds barred, never say die, you know, no compromise position.

WAYNE LaPIERRE: Our children— we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it.

NARRATOR: In Washington, they said the speech was a political disaster.

PROTESTER: The NRA stop killing our children!

NARRATOR: In New York City, LaPierre was called the craziest man on earth and a gun nut. But those who know LaPierre say the speech was no miscalculation.

PAUL BARRETT: This was not off the cuff. He didn’t lose it. This was very thought out. And they decided on a strategy and they executed the strategy.

JOHN AQUILINO: Because the people that it resonated with gave more money, and this is what you need to do in order to keep that— that tough persona.

PAUL BARRETT: And we’ve got to send the signal that this is not the time to compromise, that Obama is the enemy, and they want to take your guns away. Yes, it’s too bad about the kids, but we are not going to back down.

And that was that.

(The documentary is well worth watching in full if you are unfamiliar with LaPierre’s history with NRA and the dramatic influence this one man has had on our country.)

Maybe Trump will have more clout. But I'll be surprised.