Shortly after the Virginia shooting deaths of a reporter and a videographer, the Star ran an editorial and this column about the murders.
The National Rifle Association has offered a response. Here it is:
Hours after two Virginia journalists were murdered while conducting a live interview last week, Governor Terry McAuliffe went on the radio and demanded what he called “common-sense gun legislation.” The identity of the alleged killer was still unknown. The motive was still unknown. The type of gun and the killer’s method of acquiring it was still unknown — it would take more than a day for that information to come out.
McAuliffe wasn’t alone. The Obama White House and Hillary Clinton weighed in the same day with similar calls for gun control, also before learning of the facts involved.
It was difficult for all of us to watch the news that day. It was emotional and you'd be hard-pressed to find a single person who wasn’t touched by the tragedy. Unfortunately, McAuliffe, Clinton and Obama chose to exploit a heart-wrenching situation to push their political agenda – and even worse, they did so before knowing all the facts. Also unfortunately, the national media refused to call them on it because that agenda fits their shared gun control narrative.
The deranged individual who committed this heinous act bought his gun legally, months before he used it, through a federally-licensed dealer. He passed Barack Obama’s federal background check and Terry McAuliffe’s state background check. He did not have a criminal record nor had he been adjudicated mentally ill or been committed to a mental institution, either voluntarily or involuntarily, in-patient or outpatient. The fact is that no piece of legislation championed by gun control advocates would have stopped him from committing this brutal crime.
Gov. McAuliffe knows this, as does Hillary Clinton. The White House even admitted — later —that gun control legislation, including so-called “universal” background checks, would not have stopped this. But to them, that’s beside the point. They will use any tragedy as an excuse to push their agenda regardless of the facts involved. They’re not interested in solving problems. This is politics, pure and simple. What’s most egregious about it is by exploiting tragedy to push gun control, McAuliffe, Clinton and Obama deflected the conversation away from real solutions that would solve our nation’s pressing problems – like fixing our broken mental health system.
Most people rightly believe that it’s inappropriate to use a tragedy to push a political agenda moments after the tragedy occurs. But that doesn’t ever seem to stop, or even slow down, proponents of gun control. As a matter of fact, that exact strategy was laid out in their 2012 guide “Preventing ‘Gun Violence’ Through Effective Messaging.”
For decades, the National Rifle Association has been calling for meaningful mental health reform, so those suffering from mental illness who are found to be a danger to themselves or others will not have legal access to firearms. In recent months, we have supported the legislative efforts of Sen. John Cornyn that would do just that.
If anti-gun politicians were really interested in solving problems instead of using tragedy to push a political agenda, they would have to address the underlying issues. Once again, unfortunately, they couldn’t help themselves.