Politics & Policy

Media Falsely Accuse NRA of Banning Guns at Mike Pence Speech

A number of media outlets this weekend accused the National Rifle Association of banning guns at an upcoming speaking event, ignoring the Secret Service security protocol that required the ban due to Vice President Mike Pence’s attendance.

A range of media outlets reported the false charges of hypocrisy leveled by gun-control activists who survived the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., despite the group’s having said explicitly that the ban was the result of the Secret Service security parameters required at any event attended by the vice president or president.

“Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security at the NTA-ILA Leadership Forum. As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance,” read an NRA statement accompanying a list of items barred from the annual meeting in Dallas on Friday.

Cameron Kasky, a survivor of the Parkland shooting and founder of the gun-control advocacy group March for Our Lives, accused the NRA of becoming a “hilarious parody of itself,” presumably for failing to overrule longstanding Secret Service security policies.

Matt Dietsch, Chief Strategist for March for Our Lives, responded to Lasky’s tweet, citing the prohibition on guns as evidence that the NRA “wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.”

HuffPo responded to the hypocrisy charges with the headline “NRA Convention Bans Guns To Protect Mike Pence. Parkland Survivors’ Jaws Drop,” while Slate went with, “Parkland Survivors mock NRA for banning guns during the Pence speech at convention.” The accompanying articles did briefly note that the gun ban was required by the Secret Service, but only after a thorough accounting of the Parkland survivors’ charges of hypocrisy.

Politico published the headline “Parkland students criticize the NRA for banning guns at upcoming Pence event” while CBS News opted for the slightly more measured “Parkland survivors call out NRA over gun ban at Dallas event with Pence.”

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said the media’s willingness to parrot false claims of hypocrisy was a prime example of the “fake news” that erodes the public’s trust in the media.

“NRA banned nothing. The media does this every year. It’s Secret Service SOP and they supersede all start [sic] and local control. Don’t complain about your eroding credibility and people calling you ‘fake news‘ when you publish things like this,” Loesch wrote on Twitter.

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