The NRA’s new response to mass shootings: just pretend they didn’t happen

The NRA used to stay quiet right after mass shootings. Now it’s so common they can’t be bothered.

Yellow tags mark where bullet casings found at one of the scenes of a shooting spree at Rancho Tehama Reserve on Tuesday. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Yellow tags mark where bullet casings found at one of the scenes of a shooting spree at Rancho Tehama Reserve on Tuesday. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The National Rifle Association’s social media pages typically go dark after mass shootings. But that wasn’t the case following Tuesday’s shooting in rural Rancho Tehama, California that resulted in five deaths and could have resulted in many more at an elementary school had staff not reacted quickly after the gunman entered.

On Wednesday morning — less than 24 hours after the rampage, which was reportedly perpetrated by a 43-year-old man named Kevin Janson who was involved in a domestic violent incident on Monday — the NRA’s main Twitter account retweeted a post from NRAFamily about which guns it recommends people buy.

Meanwhile, the NRABlog account tweeted throughout the day on Tuesday and into Wednesday as if nothing had happened.

By contrast, after the mass shooting on November 5 in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the NRABlog account went silent until the following afternoon. And following the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas on October 1, the NRABlog account stopped tweeting until October 4.

While the NRA’s social media accounts didn’t directly address the shooting in Rancho Tehama in the hours after it occurred, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch did. On Twitter, she suggested that the appropriate response to gun violence is to impose “tougher penalties on repeat offenders,” not further regulate guns.

ABC, citing police officials, reports that Janson “went on an apparently random shooting spree in a remote area of Northern California” while “armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a military-style vest with clips.”

Nonetheless, late Wednesday morning, NRABlog tweeted out a post about “The One Rifle To Have If You Could Only Have One.”

President Trump — who the NRA spent $30 million to elect — hasn’t yet commented on the Rancho Tehama, though he did post a bizarre tweet on Tuesday night about the shooting that took place nine days earlier in Sutherland Springs. 

Confusion about where the last mass shooting occurred is somewhat understandable, given how often they happen. Even before Rancho Tehama, 2017 was already the most deadly mass shooting for mass killings in the U.S. in a decade.

But Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress have offered little more than “thoughts and prayers” as a solution, while the president has actually taken steps to make it easier for fugitives and mentally ill people to buy firearms.