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NRA Statement on CNN Town Hall Forum

Thursday, August 8, 2019

We want to express our deepest sympathies to the families and victims in El Paso and Dayton. 

As always, the NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the violence we witnessed this past weekend. Real solutions save lives – televised, choreographed spectacles don’t. 

In support of this goal, we appreciate the need for honest and open dialogue on how to stop these horrific murders. As a group that has advocated for Second Amendment freedoms for almost 150 years, we stand for only the safe and lawful use of firearms.

Sadly, El Paso and Dayton were not the only communities affected by gun violence last weekend. According to press reports, in the city of Chicago, there were 32 separate shootings, 52 wounded, and seven deaths in the city’s worst weekend for gun violence this year. In a grim scene recreated in urban centers across America, it was another 48 hours of murder and mayhem. Chicago is on pace for nearly 3,000 people shot and over 500 killed this year.

The point is, addressing violence in our society is an extremely complicated issue – violence tears at the fabric of our communities every day in unthinkable ways. 

There are many factors that contribute to these tragedies.  There are no soundbite solutions to this problem. Rather, a number of thoughtful steps must be taken to achieve positive outcomes.

Unfortunately, aspiring presidential candidates immediately took to the airwaves this past weekend to politicize these tragedies, and to demonize the NRA and its 5 million law-abiding members. 

We all know the truth: the answers we seek lie far beyond statements neatly packaged for TV programs and the political campaign trail. We must identify what is at the root of the problem.

We must invest in law enforcement, demonstrating a real commitment to the job they do to protect us, and we must prosecute those who commit crimes with a gun under the federal gun laws to the fullest extent possible.

It is the NRA's long-standing position that those who have been adjudicated as a danger to themselves or others should not have access to firearms and should be admitted for treatment.  But, there needs to be real evidence of danger – and we cannot sacrifice anyone’s constitutional rights without due process.

Finally, we must commit to more advanced, robust security measures – using layers of protection to help prevent violence in places where madmen might roam.  The NRA has been at the forefront to protect children, with a completely free-of-charge program that assesses school security and advises how each school can be hardened and secured.  

It is not enough anymore to simply say that “we need more background checks.” Considering both suspects in El Paso and Dayton passed them, that is rhetoric for billionaire activists and campaign rallies – not a call for constructive progress. The vast majority of gun sales, including internet and gun show sales, are already subject to background checks.  In fact, none of the current background-check proposals would have prevented these tragedies.  

On behalf of our five million law-abiding members, the NRA’s commitment today, as always, is to identify and support measures that will confront violence with real solutions. 

There is no place in our society for the unhinged lunatics who commit these evil acts. We must not let their ungodly behavior effect the unity we share – or the constitutional freedoms in which we all believe.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.