Ex-NRA chief tricked into giving grad speech to empty chairs, his wise words end up in anti-gun propaganda

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A far-left anti-gun organization thinks it’s scored a victory by tricking a former NRA president and a renowned crime scholar into delivering pro-Second Amendment speeches to an empty audience.

The group, Change the Ref, was started by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, the parents of one of the teens killed during the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

According to BuzzFeed, the group reached out to former NRA president David Keene and renowned scholar John Lott and asked them to deliver pro-Second Amendment speeches to the graduating class of James Madison Academy on June 4th.

The problem is that James Madison Academy doesn’t exist, and the group’s request was part of a deceitful plot to trick Keene and Lott into unwittingly participating in their latest anti-gun campaign.

The group reportedly set up 3,044 chairs in a stadium in Las Vegas to represent the would-be 2021 high school graduates who were killed by gun violence, though they didn’t tell that to Keene and Lott.

Instead, they asked them to deliver their speech to the empty chairs by claiming it was the dress rehearsal for James Madison Academy’s graduation.

After they delivered the speech, they were told that the graduation had been canceled, and so they went home completely unaware that they’d been duped.

Not until this Wednesday, when Change the Ref dropped an advertisement featuring them speaking, did it dawn on them that they’d been tricked.

Watch part one of the fake advertisement below:

Throughout the advertisement, Keene could be heard delivering his speech as Change the Ref’s propaganda was played in the background.

“Let me begin by telling you what an honor it is to be here to help celebrate your graduation. Picture for a minute the young James Madison, for whom this school is named. This year you focused on one of the most important of Madison’s amendments, the Second Amendment,” he said.

“There are some who continue to fight to gut the Second Amendment, but I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent them from succeeding. Defending it is a challenge and a duty that Americans like your high school who understand what has made the country the envy of the world must accept as their own,” he added.

His points were accurate, which raises the question of what exactly Change the Ref was trying to accomplish. Assuming the people who watch its advertisement are smart enough to see through the propaganda and actually listen to Keene’s words, it doesn’t seem like they’d walk away wanting to gut the Second Amendment.

Now watch part two of the fake advertisement below:

Throughout this clip, Lott could be heard delivering his speech as Change the Ref’s propaganda was played in the background.

“Your school is named after James Madison, and he proposed what became the Second Amendment to the Constitution — that there’s an individual right to people be able to keep guns for protection,” he said.

“Can you name me one place in the world, any place in the world, that’s banned either all guns or all handguns and seeing murder rates go down? I can’t find a single place like that,” he added.

This is true. Lott’s research has consistently shown that banning firearms only increases crime.

“Gun control advocates and Democrats will fight you tooth and nail. They want to go and say we’ve stopped three and a half million dangerous people. I look at it as we’ve stopped three and a half million law-abiding citizens who wanted to get a gun,” he added.

Indeed, the evidence has also consistently shown that gun control laws have a minimal effect on criminals, who are inherently prone to not following any law.

While everything Keene and Lott said was actually accurate, the Olivers take issue with it and think their valid speech is “part of the problem.”

“These two guys are part of the problem. We need to call them out, we need to show everyone — this is how they process the logic behind the gun industry. We need to show we’re brave and we’re not afraid of these guys. We’ve already felt the worst possible situation. There’s no threat that can make me feel different,” Manuel, the husband, said to BuzzFeed News.

But critics would argue that “part of the problem” are lies — such as the lie that the Olivers used to trick Keene and Lott into speaking at their fake event.

It raises the question, what else are they willing to lie about? They’re certainly willing to lie about the Second Amendment, which they appear to believe has no merit:

“Unfortunately, the fact they lied to me many times is kind of illustrated by the way they edited and chopped up the video that’s there. Is that the way we want to have political debate in the country? Where people lie and creatively edit what people say?” Lott said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

He also noted that all gun control will do is make it harder for victims to protect themselves. Nothing more.

“You want to stop dangerous people from getting guns, but you don’t want to stop the people who are potential victims from getting guns?” he asked incredulously.


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Vivek Saxena


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