Anti-gun activists and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School met NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch head-on in a CNN town hall held in Florida.
The meeting on Wednesday, moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper, was attended by students from the Florida high school where last week’s shooting spree by a 19-year-old suspect claimed the lives of 17 people. The survivors and other students calling for weapons bans got a chance to question Loesch who unleashed on the failed system that allowed an “insane monster” to obtain a firearm.
“Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the way that you will not,” high school senior Emma Gonzalez said. “The shooter at our school obtained weapons that he used on us legally. Do you believe that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic and – – weapons and the modifications for these weapons to make them fully automatic like bump stocks?”
Loesch praised the student for speaking out and assured her that she was there to address their concerns.
“I don’t believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm, ever. I do not think that he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon. That’s number one,” Loesch said.
“This individual was nuts and I, nor the millions of people that I represent as a part of this organization, that I’m here speaking for, none of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm,” she added, noting how states failing to submit convictions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is one reason dangerous and mentally ill people are able to obtain weapons.
“Do you know that it is not federally required for states to actually report people who are prohibited possessors, crazy people, people who are murderers?” Loesch asked as the crowd began shouting. “It is not federal law for states to report convictions to the NICS system. It’s not federally mandated. That’s the big question and I wish that this network had also covered this more, as other media networks would have covered it.”
Gonzalez asked the crowd to quiet down so she could hear the NRA spokeswoman.
“How was he able to pass a background check? He was able to pass a background check because we have a system that’s flawed. The Sutherland Springs murderer was able to pass a background check because the Air Force did not report that record,” Loesch continued before Gonzalez interrupted to repeat her original question.
“I think I’m going to interrupt you real quick and remind you that the question is actually, do you believe it should be harder to obtain these semiautomatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic, such as bump stocks?” Gonzalez asked.
When Loesch began to re-explain the NRA’s position, Gonzalez stopped her.
“I’m asking your opinion, as a representative of the NRA,” she said.
“What’s yours?” Gonzalez questioned Loesch’s position.
“I’m talking for them,” Loesch said. “These are the 5 million members that I’m here representing. That is what that group’s position has been on that.”
At the same CNN town hall Wednesday, Loesch lit up Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his office’s failure to follow up on the many warning signs and tips on the shooter before the tragedy last week.
President Trump announced Wednesday that his administration is considering bump stock regulation as well as more extensive background checks, even suggesting that arming teachers might be another option on the table. The president spoke at the White House to a gathering of families and students who experienced the tragic shooting, as they shared their thoughts and often emotional experiences.
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