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NRA’s reputation hangs on post-Sandy Hook gun control debate December 27, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, put the NRA in a defensive position in response to calls for gun control. After a week of silence, NRA executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, held a live press conference in which he blamed video games for a culture of violence in America, and advocated for armed police in every school in America to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. LaPierre’s speech was roundly panned. Public relations experts called the remarks ignorant of the changing context. As one strategic communications expert claimed, “It was worse than if the NRA had not spoken at all. The same message about the culture in another time and place might have made sense, but in context of tragedy, it seemed mean-spirited, cold and misguided.”

Pollsters are now indicating that the NRA is clearly making a mistake by rejecting demands for regulation. Republican pollster Frank Luntz recently came out on CBS’s This Morning to suggest that the NRA isn’t even listening to its own base of supporters. As Luntz stated, “The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools, and they’re not asking for a security official or someone else. I don’t think the NRA is listening. I don’t think that they understand. Most Americans would protect the Second Amendment rights and yet agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun, not every gun should be available at anytime, anywhere, for anyone. That at gun shows, you should not be able to buy something there and then without any kind of check whatsoever. What they’re looking for is a common-sense approach that says that those who are law-abiding should continue to have the right to own a weapon, but that you don’t believe the right should be extended to everyone at every time for every type of weapon.”

For more on Luntz’s work on gun control, and the changing tide for the NRA, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why do many people believe that Wayne LaPierre’s statement was tone deaf?

2.  What is “common sense” gun control, according to Luntz? Why might the NRA reject it, even if Republicans support it?

3.  What are the consequences that the NRA will likely face if it continues to reject reasonable attempts to regulate firearms?

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