NRA Silent on Assault Weapons Ban

The National Rifle Association (NRA) made a strategic decision NOT to address the President’s call for a new Assault Weapons Ban or limits on ammunition magazine capacity or background checks for private firearms sales. Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre focused his remarks on videogame and Hollywood violence and a new initiative: the National School Shield program. The NRA also refused to take questions from the media, stating its intention to remain silent until Monday; at which time the gun rights group would engage in a “conversation” about their response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School spree killing. The NRA’s “accentuate the positive” strategy leaves the ban on the proverbial table, with gun rights advocates fighting the anti-ban battle without direct NRA support. At least until Monday.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

55 Responses to NRA Silent on Assault Weapons Ban

  1. avatarDrewR55 says:

    Maybe they believe that DiFi’s proposal will be DoA?

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      So dont do your job because you think your oposition is going no where?

      Ill put my money towards other causes.

      • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

        No response from the NRA about a possible AWB says that executive management:

        (i) can not reach consensus,

        (ii) wants to wait and see which way the wind blows,

        (iii) believes an AWB will not happen or will not withstand legal challenges, or

        (iv) is taking a “wait and see” approach that could be beneficial — to let emotions subside and also to wait for the gun prohibitionists to be more clear about their position before announcing a more forceful position.

        If (i) or (ii) is in play, then anyone pro-2A should not expect much help from the NRA if this gets any more heated.

        Choosing (iii) would be the “ostrich option” and, as I’ve said before, “hope is not a strategy.”

        I would be encouraged by (iv) as I believe it is sound strategy to wait for an opponent to commit while preserving my options, provided I have the time and other resources to develop an appropriate response. At the same time I’m looking for an opening which could be useful for a surprise offensive.

        If there is a (v) that I missed, please post.

        • avatarAnon in CT says:

          (v) is keeping an eye out but realizes that bringing the scary black guns into the conversation at this time will rub raw emotions and distract from their other points and proposals – they want to keep the discussion focused on non-firearms related causes, not get into a discussion on the deadliness of pistol grips and the merits of various magazine sizes.

          And I agree with their choice of tactics here.

        • avatarTommy Knocker says:

          How about is still gathering congressional supporters? I wouldn’t doubt that the turncoats that have popped up have a put a scare into NRA leadership.

        • avatarRobert M says:

          Tommy Knocker,

          Most of the turn coats are already back paddling and even the Postus Press Secretary is stepping back the AWB language some a likely a sign that the AWB isn’t going any where.

          Thanks
          Robert

    • avatarRob says:

      One should never assume that when the incident that brought this on has cut so deep into the psyche of a large amount of Americans.

    • avatarJon says:

      There are probably multiple reasons they did not address an assault weapons ban specifically. One is that there isn’t a bill yet. Once an AWB bill makes it out of committee (if it makes it that far), then the NRA will likely have something to say.

      LaPierre did specifically mention gross deceptions about “machine guns” and “the .223″, and that the media didn’t know what it was talking about in regards to such things. So I wouldn’t interpret no specific mention of an AWB as the NRA selling us out.

  2. avatarsdog says:

    Mr. Lapierre is going to be on meet the press this Sunday, gonna be interesting indeed.

  3. avatarCraig M. says:

    I think they wanted to keep the press conference about preventing school violence, and save the politics for another conversation. Trying to throw as little fuel on the fire as possible.

    • avatarrossi says:

      Since press conferences are reduced to nothing but soundbites after they’re processed through the media, I can understand the strategy. This helps to ensure that the soundbites that will echo through the news for the next few days are the ones you want to have people hear. Leave the less palatable soundbites for later.

  4. avatarKris says:

    I think it was very smart and correct to focus on a rational solution, rather than just another press conference decrying your political opposition. They will have more than enough opportunity to address the AWB. Their first response should be about solutions. I’m extremely pleased with the NRA’s response.

  5. avatarPulatso says:

    I think I like that they didn’t mention it, gives the MSM less to focus on besides his main point of protecting schools.

  6. avatarSanchanim says:

    He isn’t tipping his hand. The last thing you want going into a weekend news cycle is to give them any sound bytes that the media can run with over the weekend.
    He is using a good strategy. They are pointing our the school shield program. They are talking about violence in our games, Hollywood and media. He is leaving alone the obvious until we know more. Biden and his ilk are going to be running this to ground. My thought is the NRA SAF, and GOA will STFU until they know what they are up against. they might speak in general terms, or not giving specifics, but in reality you need to shift the focus as much as possible away from an AWB to other reforms in other spaces. Then the AWB seems like an after thought, and the house will be able to vote against it with far less flack.

  7. avatarDavid W. says:

    I think not addressing an AWB was a great idea.

    Think about it, if the NRA stood up and decried an AWB, then the conversation would be about guns.

    Now OUR side is talking about protecting the children, while the other side is talking about banning guns.

    Just from that sentence, which do you think the local soccer moms care about more? Protecting their children? Or banning guns?

    We actually have a chance to protect children, AND stop an AWB at the same time. That’s just awesome right there.

    • avatarBob says:

      Agree completely. They made it about protecting children, people will now associate the NRA spending it’s own money to protect children. All the talk of certification training and retired military and police and such will also help put people at ease. It makes anyone who now decries the NRA appear to be against protecting children.

      Shame he had to through video games and movies under the bus, but I’d rather be able to compete with my guns in the real world than in an imagainary one.

      And what complete wack jobs those people doing all the yelling must be. Can someone put a watch on those people?

      Bob

      • avatarJim Barrett says:

        He’s not throwing video games and movies under the bus for no reason. There is a definite relationship between the rise in the culture of violence (video games, television, movies, etc.) and the increased violence in youth. There is a former army psychologist who has studied this in detail. Col. Dave Grossman is a recognized leader in the field of the psychology of killing. Check out his work on this subject:

        http://www.killology.com/article_trainedtokill.htm

        • avatarmatt says:

          There is a definite relationship between the rise in the culture of violence (video games, television, movies, etc.) and the increased violence in youth.

          Before video games, there were violent make believe games like Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, etc.

        • avatarRobert M says:

          Matt,

          You miss one thing, Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, there was almost always a good guy in the white hat and a bad guy in the black one. Now we have the black hats getting projected as the hero. Many of today’s movies you are getting directed by the story line to cheer for some pretty violent and rotten bad guys. Adults as a whole can understand the difference but children many times can’t tell the difference.

    • avatarjwm says:

      I would like to hope that you’ve hit the nail on the head, David W.

      • avatarspeedracer5050 says:

        +100
        I think he has hit the nail on the head.
        By adressing a fix at the root of the problem and not bringing guns being good or bad into the speech, plus the NRA paying the bill with it’s NRA School Protection Initiative(political sounding titles help!!), the media and the liberal left Anti’s will seem like the bad guys if the media or the liberal left Anti’s start screaming and yelling right now about guns in schools or malls, etc. Plus leaving the possibilities of an AWB out of the conversation until either a later date or the Finkenstien Road Show brings it up first should boost our’s and the NRA’s standing as being the good guys we are trying to show the world we really are.
        As an aside anyone who has received death threats from the Anti’s on FB or Twitter or any other social media needs to copy/ forward them to your respective States Attorney General. Whether or not you or they choose to prosecute it will give us more ammo in the long run because we are being villified and threatened with death and injury from people who don’t know us.
        Although some might want to retaliate and threaten those who threaten them it is better to just be calm and quiet at this time.
        “Patience is a virtue” and “Good things come to those who wait”!!
        Cliches…yes, but true for now at this point in our fight.

    • avatarsdog says:

      david W FTW! exactly, they are using their tactics agaisnt them. i am home sick from work and i was flipping between channels during the nra press conference. msnbc, did not even play the whole speech before attacking it. smh.

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      In that perspective David W. I see a better light and can agree. Thanks for saying that.

      I am still a little slow to interprit politics but as you put it, I can get on the NRA’s side

    • avatarBrandon says:

      Agreed.

  8. avatarRalph says:

    The NRA can’t attack Obama’s “plan” because nobody knows what it is. DiFi’s bill would be a nonstarter if POTUS has his own, so there’s nothing to talk about there, either.

    If the NRA’s playing the “wait and see” game, it’s because there’s nothing to see — now.

    • avatarPascal says:

      +1 Agreed

      They needed to speak out and they needed to change the conversation. There will be more to the fight just not today.

  9. avatarTony says:

    Unfortunately, the majority of our once great country now firmly place themselves on the left side which is anti-gun, anti-NRA. They are unwilling and unable to blame themselves and take responsibility. They’re only response is to blame someone else. Their focus is on removing guns, not removing the bad guys. I guess they believe a bigger sign would help, after all, these bad guys probably don’t read very well and are missing the little sign that says “gun free zone”.

    • avatarAnonymous says:

      A plurality of Americans are actually not in favor of stricter laws. Have a bit more faith.

      • avatarDavid W. says:

        I know it feels that way Tony, but it’s not that way in real life.

        If all 80 million gun owners showed up in D.C. and protested a AWB, the news people would say a few hundred showed up.

        If a few dozen anti gun people showed up saying an AWB was a good thing, it would be pro claimed as 80 million.

        The numbers are on our side, we just don’t have control of the TV, Radio, and Newspapers, whereas they do.

    • avatarTony says:

      At 64 years young I’ve watched the pendulum swing several times. At no time have I ever seen the it stuck on the left side of the clock for so long. The papers and news media are already deriding Wayne and the NRA for the lack of sensitivity and ruthless pursuit of more guns. Our beloved President :) has most of the media (not all thank God) and way too many people convinced that if you adamantly say something often enough (the facts really don’t matter) people began to believe. P. T. Barnum also espoused this mindset just for a different objective. My faith isn’t a question, reality is what it is, keeping in mind that my reality is just my perspective. Unfortunately, the people reading this post and this site typically don’t need to be convinced. The ones that do, seldom show up.

  10. avatarDisThunder says:

    If everybody plays their cards right, this could be a major turning point. By having a well-thought out (even if unlikely) possible solution in hand, and forming a group to look into other solutions, he single-handedly outdid the Brady Campaign’s one size fits all “BAN STUFF!” solution in search of a problem.

  11. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    The NRA did it absolutely right. Today was not the day to address any of that other stuff. From both a tactical and strategic perspective,the way the conference was handled was near perfect. Bravo NRA!!

  12. avatarGunNut says:

    Even though the NRA didn’t come out in direct opposition to a ban (at this time), LaPierre made a few references to “ineffective gun legislation” or some such thing. For whatever that’s worth.

    Maybe the goal here was to redirect the Do-Something crowd’s attention to a solution that can be put into place now… regardless of what some think about an AWB, it’s hard to disagree that police officers in schools won’t make people safer. Even the most rabid anti-gunner will concede that any ban would take a while to get through, whereas police and volunteers in schools can be put in place RIGHT NOW. Once the public’s appetite for immediate action is sated, they’ll be more receptive to an NRA media blitz.

    I see the NRA hitting three things consistently when they start going on the talk shows:
    1. Connecticut already has a very strict AWB, which Lanza’s mother’s guns were in compliance with.
    2. Background checks would have made no difference, and the gun wasn’t even acquired at a gun show.
    3. After considering points one and two, it’s obvious that the Brady Bunch and associates are using this tragedy as sheer political opportunism– nothing they’re proposing would have stopped the atrocity. But an armed responder, on the other hand, might have.

  13. avatarAaronvan says:

    they only thing they could have said that would have made me happy was where i can buy an ar in NJ

  14. avatarST says:

    I called the office of my representative yesterday, and felt stupid when the office manager responded that while my rep supports the 2nd Amendment rights of her constituents , right now there’s no bill up for consideration, so there’s nothing for her to oppose yet. Right now the ships of the Greeks are amassing on the horizons of Troy, but there is time yet before the boots of the anti-gun brigade land on the beaches of the 2nd Amendment. The NRA and every pro-gun organization are using the time to sharpen swords and collect shields for the battle to come.

  15. avatarAharon says:

    I think the approach was a wise one. The NRA drove to the core of the problem attempting to reposition things. I just received an email from OFF Oregon Firearms Federation:

    “NRA CHANGES GEARS, FINALLY.

    This is a long overdue and welcomed response by the National Rifle Association and mirrors what have been saying and suggesting since the Sandy Hook massacre.

    Welcome aboard NRA.”

  16. avatarThrawn says:

    The NRA is wisely going to wait for that argument to become relevant.

    Right now, there’s nothing officially happening, just Obama talking out of his ass. It would be unwise for the NRA to show their strategy this early in the game. There will be plenty of time, I assure you all, for the debate about an actual AWB2: Electric Boogaloo.

  17. avatarIn Memphis says:

    Have to say I really appreciate how knowledgable everyone here is, the TTAG staff and commenters. I admit, I a bit of a “knee jerk” type. Im trying to break that habbit.

    Other sites I have been to are more of the knee jerk type, maybe more so than me. Reading the posts here is helping me keep some faith however.

    Thanks everyone.

  18. avatarJustAJ says:

    This is the NRA – since they know they’re going to get shit on no matter what, why not focus on the actual issue at hand (keeping whackos like this from killing our children) and be as brief as possible? Even pro-gunners were criticizing the NRA for not speaking out sooner. Look at it from their perspective though – noone in the media is going to give them a fair shake, so why speak when noone actually wants to hear what you have to say (the NRA is, after all, the devil, right?). If only politicians would be so smart.

    • avatarBob says:

      I thought it was pretty strong for him to point out how he remained silent out of respect while the anti’s used the slaughtered kids for their political agenda.

      I’ve seen the media today complain how NRA “lacked civility” for speaking out like this after the tragedy.

      Funny how it’s uncivilized to wait a week, but civilized to start only hours after the shootings.

  19. avatarmofo says:

    If i had to guess, id say the NRA has been quietly making the rounds of politicians that are potentially on the fence. I can make a good guess as to what that conversation sounds like:

    “you know, its quite a long time before your next election in ’14 (or’16). People will have long forgotten sandy hook by then, but the NRA has a long memory.”

    If you are a pol facing that kind of heat, my guess is you would be looking for some kind of out (kill the bill in committee or some kind of procedural move or something). Im not the biggest NRA fan in the world, but they do no how to play the game and play it well.

  20. avatarAragorn says:

    I believe the NRA is finally getting the part about loose cannon media online and off and saying only enough at this point. The gun grabbers are actually sounding far more radical then any legal gun owner I know.

    I just renewed my membership plus a little extra instead of waiting to see how it plays out.

  21. avatarJAS says:

    The press conference was excellent. It was on target, it is selling the point: to hell with Washington and long legislation, to hell with the media. We are going to fix the security of our schools and we were going to do it for FREE.

    Gun legislation… Not relevant. The NRA is going full blast on the security of our schools and children the AWB will be a battle for another day.

  22. avatarPaul W. says:

    Screw you NRA.

    You’re blaming a boogeyman that most people have moved on from, but…

    If video games caused violence, why are we LESS violent now than we were 40 years ago, or even 20 years ago? Despite the fact that they’ve grown in popularity immensely.

    Quit pandering to the OFWG demographic or become irrelevant. You’re acting like it’s OK to piss on the 1st amendment to save the second. Screw that.

    • avatarRob says:

      Good point. I remember when I was a kid parents were saying games like Contra were the downfall of humanity and because I played it I would be killing monster.

      Today’s games dwarf Contra in violence and the number of the games in circulation have increased considerably.

      • avatarIn Memphis says:

        Contra, oh the good childhood memories.

        I grew up watching movies like Terminator and Robocop. They came out around the same time I was born and have litteraly watched them from the craddle. I have been playing video games since I was probably five. I am now 27 and a responsible gun owner.

        While I believe that violent games and movies are (mostly) harmless on their own it comes down to the mindset and maturity of the child and parents. It should not be about media censorship but responsible parenting.

        I do agree with the hypocricy of modern television media outlets however, that they demonize guns but put the latest action flick. But I also dont have cable. I wont pay over $100 a month for a service that is regularly available but is otherwise pure crap. I will learn from living real life and pay to see uncensored movies how they were intended.

  23. avatarCarl says:

    The NRA’s approach is a very sound one.

    In order to solve a problem, effective solutions are needed.

    One of the problems to be solved is lack of protection and security for school children.

    Providing more protection and security is an effective solution.

    Even discussing a non-effective solution is a waste of energy and resources.

    Gun control is a non-effective solution.

  24. avatarDyspeptic says:

    All in all, a weak response, but not as bad as I feared. Using video games as a scapegoat is politics as usual and definitely lame. The NRA needs a better public face than The Waynester. So do the Republicans. It’s a big problem for both groups because they don’t understand a huge demographic they could own if they weren’t so clueless about contemporary popular culture.

  25. avatarLance says:

    I think NRA will oppose a AWB this press confrense was about the murders itself. So in the they did say attacks on law abiding citizens the NRA would oppose so a AWB would be part of that.

  26. avatarRob says:

    I agree with most of the points being made regarding the violence of games and movies being an issue, but a weak response.

    The fact that he used titles like Mortal Kombat and Natural Born Killers just prove how outdated his script was. MK is not the franchise it once was, and it does not train me to be a shooter. Maybe Call of Duty, War Inc. and Killzone would make better comparisons.

    Natural Born Killers as a reference is a big mistake. Movies today make NBK look so tame in comparison.

    Not to mention, if you actually paid attention to Natural Born Killers instead of fixated on the violence, you’d have seen that the movie is a direct statement regarding the media’s love and attention with spree killers and how murderers are considered celebrities in today’s society. If anything, it strengthens your argument against mainstream media!

  27. avatarAharon says:

    Earlier, I read the complete transcript of Wayne LaPierre’s speech. I just read the CNN story “NRA: Gun bans at schools create dangerous places” that covered it. The CNN coverage of it was actually fine and did not misinform or state anything out of context. I was surprised.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/21/us/connecticut-school-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      Agreed. As I mentioned in another thread, CNN has been the best of the major news sites in their coverage of this issue. It’s almost like they’re back to being the original carefully-neutral/high-integrity news source of the 80s and 90s.

  28. avatarCasey T says:

    I am impressed. The NRA framed the discussion and went on offense in the most tactful manner possible. They tried to change the perception of the issues. By taking about how guns protect the President, they made the whole guns are evil argument moot. They offered a known tactic for security that has been proven effective before Biden or Obama can make a suggestion. Now, all proposals will be compared to the NRA’s and will look bad if they don’t include security. The NRA looks smart and responsible. As a result, I will be buying my life membership soon.

  29. avatarshark says:

    I agreee that framing the conversation is an appropriate response at this time. Meanwhile, write your congress critters.

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