'Just shame them': NRA scheme to respond to mass shootings exposed


Secret video caught the NRA revealing its strategy to attack citizens who spoke out after mass shootings.

A secret recording of the NRA caught the gun extremist group advising activists to "shame" citizens demanding a response to mass shootings and bragging that they ghost write pro-gun op-eds for local officials after those events.

Al Jazeera made the recording of the NRA's callous and cold-blooded propaganda tactics as part of an undercover sting, which the news organization released on Tuesday.

A hidden recording caught the NRA advising One Nation, a far-right Australian group. The NRA was giving the Australian group guidance on how to fight efforts to enact gun safety laws.

"Just shame them to the whole idea," NRA public relations official Lars Dalseide said, discussing the rhetoric that should be used against citizens pushing gun laws after a shooting. He told them to say, "If your policy, isn't good enough to stand on itself, how dare you use their deaths to push that forward. How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forward your political agenda?"

The NRA has used similar techniques after mass shootings in America, such as the Sandy Hook School massacre and the Parkland mass shooting. Aided by its allies within the Republican Party, the NRA has repeatedly insisted that the death of innocents during such shootings not be invoked to advocate for gun reform.

Immediately after a shooting, NRA media liaison officer Catherine Mortensen told One Nation to "say nothing," conceding that gun groups like hers often are at their weakest when a shooting is fresh in people's minds.

After American shootings the NRA usually goes silent, declining to make posts to social media and lowering its profile in the media in general.

The NRA also revealed its strategy of secretly writing opinion columns on behalf of people, designed to give the appearance of more support for the pro-gun position.

"A lot of the times, we'll write them for like a local sheriff in Wisconsin or whatever. And he'll draft it or she will help us draft it," Mortensen explained. "We'll help them, and they'll submit it with their name on it so that it looks organic. You know, that it's coming from that community. But we will have a role behind the scenes."

The NRA also advised the Australians to hire reporters to "print up stories" about crime victims "that could have been helped had they had a gun," and to produce videos for social media with pro-gun messages so "they kind of get you outraged."

"We call it like 'the outrage of the week'," Mortensen bragged.

The NRA playbook revealed in the video has been used time and time again as the organization's response to gun violence. Combined with their financial support for the Republican Party and through in-house propaganda, the NRA has worked to oppose efforts to protect citizens, even young children.

But voters have begun to push back against them. Teenage survivors of the Parkland shootings rallied at last year's March for Our Lives and in the fall millions of Americans voted against the NRA's slate of candidates, electing Democrats who have vowed to push gun safety.

Democrats in the House recently passed two gun-safety bills after years of Republican opposition, and while Senate Republicans beholden to the NRA continue to hold them up, the momentum is against gun extremism.

The video reveals the craven opportunism of the NRA and their pleasure and zeal in lying and deceiving while innocents are killed. The NRA's agenda enables mass death but their hold on power is fading.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.