On Wednesday, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch took to the stage of CNN’s gun control town hall, which was packed with student activists and survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, to present some arguments from the other side of the issue. But many in the increasingly unruly crowd made clear that they weren’t interested in hearing from her, heckling her repeatedly, including a few students decrying her as a “murderer.”
Loesch’s appearance began with a question from one of the more vocal student gun control advocates, Emma Gonzalez, who lead into her question by telling Loesch that she and the other students “will support your children in a way that you will not.” She then asked if Loesch believes it should be more difficult to obtain semi-automatic weapons and modifications to those weapons to “make them fully automatic.”
Loesch began by thanking the students for speaking out and slamming those who have spoken critically of them.
“Well first off, Emma, I want to applaud you for standing up and speaking out. And for anyone who has ever criticized you or any of these students up here, including people that have been on my side of this issue, I don’t think that anyone should deny you your voice or should deny you your position because you are young,” said Loesch, a comment for which Gonzalez thanked her. “I was a very politically active teenager, and I’m on this stage as a result of that. Think of how far you all could go as a result of voicing your beliefs.”
“If they let me do it!” yelled one student, another yelling something about 17 people being killed, as the crowd began to get rowdy.
“I want to be allowed the opportunity, which is why I am here, to talk and have this discussion with you all and answer these questions. This is why I came down here,” said Loesch, trying to keep the conversation civil amid more heckling from the crowd.
“I don’t believe that this insane monster should ever have been able to obtain a firearm. Ever,” said Loesch. “I do not think that he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon. That’s number one. 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.”
Loesch then highlighted an issue that she has been “screaming about” for “over 20 years.” She asked, “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? No. We have been actually talking about that for a long time.”
It was at this point that the crowd once again became unruly.
“Let me answer the questions,” Loesch told the crowd. “Let me answer the question. You can shout me down when I’m finished, but let me answer Emma’s question.”
“You’re a murderer!” yelled a female from the crowd. “Murderer!” others echoed. The moment sparked many responses online, including this one from HotAir’s Allahpundit:
Loesch continued, noting that she wished “this network would have covered” the issue of the mentally ill loophole more. At that point, the crowd erupted in a chorus of boos. It got so out of hand, Gonzalez felt compelled to chide her fellow students.
“You guys, if I can’t hear her statement I can’t come up with a rebuttal,” said Gonzalez.
“Wait a second, do you guys want to stop mentally insane individuals from getting firearms?” Loesch asked. “They have to be in the system if they are convicted.” She then explained the process and noted that both the Parkland and Sutherland Springs shooters should never have passed background checks.
Gonzalez interrupted to reread her question, and Loesch noted that the NRA supports banning bump-stocks. The crowd, however, was clearly uninterested in hearing much more from Loesch. Undaunted, Loesch went on to call out authorities for failing to flag the shooter as a threat, despite being called about him a reported 39 times.