Emma Gonzalez Responds To The NRA Saying It's Going Broke & It's A First Degree Burn
In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting earlier this year, survivors of the shooting centered the National Rifle Association in their fight for more stringent gun control legislation. At the same time, lawmakers attempted to put increased political and financial pressure on the gun-rights group — and all of these efforts seem to have paid off. The NRA reported in a recent court filing that it is in financial jeopardy, and when Parkland survivor Emma González heard the NRA was losing money, she had a fiery critique in response.
In court filings obtained by Rolling Stone last week, the NRA claimed that it had been subject to a state-led “blacklisting campaign” in New York that caused “tens of millions of dollars in damages.” The filings came from a lawsuit the NRA is filing against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose Department of Financial Services issued a letter in April warning the state's bank and insurance companies to stop doing business with the NRA. The NRA suggested in the filing that it may soon “be unable to exist… or pursue its advocacy mission," according to Rolling Stone.
When BuzzFeed asked González to respond to the news that the NRA may be going broke, she reportedly coughed deliberately before taking a sip of tea.
"They are, and I'm happy about that," Gonzalez replied. She appeared on BuzzFeed News' morning show this week alongside fellow March For Our Lives activists Bria Smith and Matt Post, and had some strong words for the NRA.
"Because the National Rifle Association used to stand for safety," González told BuzzFeed. "And now it's like, 'We're going to take money from the gun companies, the companies that manufacture weapons of this caliber, and when there is mass shootings, we're going to make more money, so we're going to encourage politicians to say what we want them to say, so that we will continue to get more money in the long run and not be the company that people used to think we are.'"
For months, González, David Hogg, and other Parkland survivors have been vocal in their criticism of the NRA. Back in February, for example, González tweeted her gratitude to all the companies that had severed their ties with the NRA, remarking that she and other people who have survived mass shootings have been personally affected by the group's influence.
More recently, González has spent the summer traveling the country on the March for our Lives Road to Change, a national tour designed to engage young voters in conversations about ending gun violence. On Sunday, the tour will come to an end in Newtown, Connecticut — the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Although she has been outspoken against gun violence and the NRA, González has demonstrated that silence can be equally as powerful in the fight for gun control. Earlier this year, during the March for our Lives in Washington, D.C., González delivered a speech that lasted six minutes and 20 seconds — the amount of time it took the Parkland shooter to kill 17 people at González's high school. She remained silent for the majority of the speech, looking out over the crowd without saying a word. During her conversation with BuzzFeed, González explained that the silence gave people space to grieve, because the aftermath of the shooting was a "low place for everybody."
"The whole point of that silence was to create an environment where people could be upset because it was a rough time period," González told BuzzFeed." And I'm getting emotional talking about it now because I'm remembering that mindset. But it was important to do."
González also told BuzzFeed that she has experienced significant harassment on various media platforms in light of her activism. As The Washington Post reported earlier this year, the NRA itself used its propaganda network NRATV to undermine the Parkland students' message, telling them ahead of the March for Our Lives that "no one would know your names" if a gunman hadn't killed their classmates. Despite this, González continues to speak out, and has openly criticized everyone from Donald Trump to the NRA in an effort to combat gun violence.