NRA criticizes 'aspiring presidential candidates' for politicizing shootings

NRA criticizes 'aspiring presidential candidates' for politicizing shootings
© Greg Nash

The National Rifle Association (NRA) came out swinging against Democrats who have called for gun control reform in light of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, saying “aspiring presidential candidates” are seeking to politicize the attacks.

“Real solutions save lives – televised, choreographed spectacles don’t,” the NRA said in a lengthy tweet thread.

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“Unfortunately, aspiring presidential candidates immediately took to the airwaves this past weekend to politicize these tragedies, and to demonize the NRA and its 5 million law-abiding members.”

Democrats, including many running for president, have come out in force following the weekend’s pair of mass shootings that took 31 lives, saying the attacks underline the need for a slate of reforms including universal background checks and bans on high capacity magazines and assault rifles. 

Many have called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer tees up key Thursday vote on debt deal House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Ky.) to end the August recess early so the Senate can vote on two measures the House passed this year that would, among other things, impose universal background checks on gun buyers and lengthen the amount of time a gun seller has to wait for an FBI background check to clear from three days to 10 days. 

While President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE Wednesday threw his support behind expanding background checks, saying he’s “all in favor of it,” Republicans instead appear more enthusiastic about so-called red flag bills that would make it easier for law enforcement to identify people who may pose a danger to themselves or others and should be banned from purchasing or owning guns.

The NRA hinted at support for such legislation but doubled down on its opposition to expanding background checks, saying it would not have stopped either of the most recent attacks.

“It is the NRA’s long-standing position that those who have been adjudicated as a danger to themselves or others should not have access to firearms and should be admitted for treatment,” the advocacy group said.

“But, there needs to be real evidence of danger – and we cannot sacrifice anyone’s constitutional rights without due process,” it added. “It is not enough anymore to simply say that ‘we need more background checks.’ Considering both suspects in El Paso and Dayton passed them, that is rhetoric for billionaire activists and campaign rallies – not a call for constructive progress.”

The statement comes after reports that NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre warned Trump against backing expanding background checks, saying the move would be unpopular with his political base. 

However, a Quinnipiac University national poll released in late May found that 94 percent of American voters and 90 percent of gun owners support requiring background checks for all gun purchases.