NRA co-opts ‘Times Up’ in new video, has history of protecting domestic abusers

"Your time is running out."

National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch speaks during CPAC 2018 February 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. CREDIT: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch speaks during CPAC 2018 February 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. CREDIT: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The National Rifle Association (NRA) released the latest in a line of vaguely threatening videos on Twitter Sunday afternoon, this time twisting the #TimesUp slogan for their own cheap gain ahead of the evening’s Academy Awards ceremony.

“We’ve had enough of the lies, the sanctimony, the arrogance, the hatred, the pettiness, the fake news. We are done with your agenda to undermine voters’ will and individual liberty in America,” NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch says in the video.

“To every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phony, to the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents, to the politicians who would rather watch America burn than lose one once of their own personal power, to the late night hosts who think their opinions are the only opinions that matter, to the Joy-Ann Reids, the Morning Joes, the Mikas, to those who stain honest reporting with partisanship, to those who bring bias and propaganda to CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, your time is running out,” Loech says, as cliched Western-style music plays.

“The clock starts now,” she says, flipping over an oversized (and unnecessary) hourglass.

Putting aside the irony of the fact that the NRA is claiming to be tired of folks who override the will of voters — a majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, support a number of sensible gun control reforms — the choice to co-opt the #TimesUp slogan raises an interesting question.

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Founded in response to the fallout of October 2017 reports in the New Yorker and the New York Times which documented numerous accusations of sexual harrassment and violent abuse allegedly carried out by famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, #TimesUp has emerged as potent voice against sexual misconduct and violence. Loesch’s attempt to co-opt the movement’s message should thus provoke an examination into whether the NRA has done enough to sufficiently address the role of guns in domestic violence incidents.

As it happens, their record makes Loesch’s wan attempt to attach the NRA to the #TimesUp cause look rather foolish.

In 2000, the NRA filed an amicus brief in the case of U.S. v. Emerson, a case that involved a challenge to a federal statute that aimed to prevent anyone subject to a court order prohibiting the use of physical force against an intimate partner or a child from transporting firearms or ammunition as a part of interstate commerce.

In the brief, the NRA asserted that disarming the man in question — who was the subject of a such a court order — would be a “radical extension of federal power,” boiling down the domestic dispute at hand to mere “divorce proceedings.”

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“The government is now asking for a radical extension of federal power when it insists on disarming law-abiding American citizens simply because they are involved in divorce proceedings,” the brief said. “After briefly reviewing the meaning of the Second Amendment, we will demonstrate that the case law on which the government relies does not compel this Court to adopt an interpretation of the Constitution that is at odds with its text and history.”

In 2010, the NRA lobbied against two bills in Wisconsin that would have expanded the definition of “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence,” contending that the bills were a problem because they would “add more types of relationships to” the definition of domestic violence.

In 2014, the association quietly backed away from domestic violence cases and bills, as The Huffington Post noted at the time, but their decision to keep their distance from such matters didn’t last long. Just two months after the Post wrote about their quiet departure from domestic violence issues, they were back — fighting for the rights of convicted stalkers to have guns.

A bill introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) would have added convicted stalkers to that group of offenders as well as expanding the definition of those convicted of domestic violence against “intimate partners” to include people who harmed dating partners. (The Huffington Post’s Melissa Jeltsen, who has spent years documenting the connection between gun violence and domestic violence, reports that the “men who commit mass-casualty atrocities are almost unfailingly abusers” with a history of domestic violence.)

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Despite this, the NRA called Klobuchar’s measure “a bill to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions” and argued that “stalking” was too broad a term to indicate a danger against women.

The bill went nowhere.

So has the NRA done enough to sufficiently address the role of guns in domestic violence incidents? The answer is decidedly no.