The NRA Tweets About The Democratic Debate Because It Isn't Happy With What It's Hearing, Of Course
Millions of people tuned into the Sunday night Democratic debate held at the University of Michigan in Flint. Candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were faced with powerful questions about gun violence and the water contamination crisis in Flint, as well as their own policies and voting records. It appeared as if one of the largest gun lobbying arms also tuned in. What the NRA had to say about the Democratic debate was critical. The NRA has raised many points about candidates' gun control policies, not all of which appear to be completely accurate.
What appears to be particularly contentious is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a bill enacted over a decade ago that drastically altered the ability of consumers to sue gun manufacturers. The organization cited a Forbes op-ed penned by Frank Miniter, whose ties to the NRA run fairly close — he is the field editor of American Hunter, one of the organization's official publications. Miniter fails to cite the conflict of interest in his piece, though Forbes does make it clear that his views are independent of the magazine. Miniter cites Politifact and states that gun manufacturers are not exempt from all lawsuits and thus still culpable for certain actions.
Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America countered the NRA with a TIME piece published in 2012 that calls the claim into question. Prior to the PLCAA being passed and put into law, it appears as if lawsuits were one of the only ways for gun companies to tighten up on safety in the face of public outcry. Legendary handgun manufacturer Smith & Wesson bowed to public pressure in 2000 following a string of lawsuits threatening to derail the business entirely. The company accepted an agreement that would allow for a code of conduct and more stringent rules regarding gun safety. Similar gains have been few and far between since.
The NRA continued to hammer Clinton's gun control policy, citing another op-ed from a journalist strongly associated with the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The organization sent out two more tweets with links to their own website. Such lobbying is par for the course with the NRA. Given the fact that the NRA has rated both Clinton and Sanders incredibly low in terms of catering to its interests, it's unsurprising what the NRA had to say about the debate that unfolded on Sunday night.