NRATV host blames Obama for Parkland shooting, demands apology

Grant Stinchfield claimed the president put students in danger by implementing school discipline guidelines and refusing to arm teachers.

NRATV host Grant Stinchfield says President Obama owes Parkland students an apology for not providing each of them with Secret Service agents. (CREDIT: NRATV, screengrab)
NRATV host Grant Stinchfield says President Obama owes Parkland students an apology for not providing each of them with Secret Service agents. (CREDIT: NRATV, screengrab)

NRATV host Grant Stinchfield claimed in a segment on his show Friday that President Obama owes an apology to the survivors of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead.

“The left can rejoice — yes, the savior took some time away from his Hollywood friends to write an op-ed for the Time 100 [Most Influential] publication, and of course, just like the old days, he used the opportunity to slam gun owners, in his ultimate quest to destroy the Second [Amendment],” Stinchfield lamented, citing the former president’s heartfelt tribute to Parkland survivors Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Coryn, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, and Alex Wind.

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In the op-ed, the president slammed the gun lobby, praising the Parkland students for “see[ing] the NRA and its allies…as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay.”

After singling out Obama’s school discipline guidelines — which Stinchfield claimed prevented Stoneman Douglas educators from calling the police about the gunman, who was a former student — and blaming him for supposedly not allowing the NRA to arm teachers, the host continued, “Barack Obama, you owe the Parkland students an apology…. Had every child been given the same armed security [your children] were protected by there never would’ve been a Parkland massacre for you to weaponize in your Time 100 hit piece attacking the NRA.”

The lofty claims that Stinchfield laid out in his tirade on Friday are hardly new. Republican legislators like Marco Rubio have previously attempted to pass blame to the Obama administration for implementing a civil rights policy in 2014 aimed at cracking down on the disproportionately high number of suspensions and expulsions of minority students face in schools across the country, which often serves as a “school-to-prison pipeline.”

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As The New York Times notes, “When the guidance was issued, federal data found that African-American students without disabilities were more than three times as likely as their white peers without disabilities to be expelled or suspended, and that more than 50 percent of students who were involved in school-related arrests or who were referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or African-American.”

NRA advocates like Stinchfield and Rubio, looking to side-step any talk of gun control, have latched on to this policy, claiming it prevents teachers from reporting dangerous students to police.

“Disturbing reports have indicated that federal guidance may have contributed to systemic failures to report [Parkland gunman] Nikolas Cruz’s dangerous behaviors to local law enforcement,” Rubio wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on March 5. “…I strongly urge you to immediately revise the 2014 [Obama-era] directive and associated guidance to ensure that schools appropriately report violence and dangerous actions to local law enforcement.”

Stinchfield also blamed Obama on Friday for not allowing teachers to be armed — a criticism that’s been echoed by other NRA hosts, like Colion Noir, as well as by President Trump himself.

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Last month, in an attack ad against Parkland survivor David Hogg — a frequent target of the NRA and gun advocates — Noir blamed the Obama administration for ignoring a 225-page proposal drafted by the NRA in 2013, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, which suggested putting armed guards, police officers, or armed staffers in every school to protect students.

“What if we had put armed guards in every school in America five years ago when the NRA first pushed for it?” Noir said in the ad. Referencing Stoneman Douglas football coach Aaron Feis, who died protecting students during the Parkland shooting, Noir added, “What if the football coach who heroically sacrificed his life had an AR-15 instead of empty hands?”

Earlier in February, at a listening session with Parkland survivors and families of other shooting victims, Trump pushed the idea of arming teachers as well, saying, “We have to harden our schools, not soften them up. A gun free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that is like going in for ice cream.”

As countless studies have shown, the NRA’s theory that a “good guy with a gun” can stop potential mass shootings is actually a myth. According to analysis of FBI data by the Violence Policy Center in June 2015, guns are “rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes.” That analysis also found that, counter to popular gun lobby claims, during a five year span from 2007 to 2011, “the total number of self protective behaviors involving a firearm by victims of attempted or completed violent crimes…totaled only 338,700.” By contrast, researchers noted, “the gun lobby claims that during the same five-year period guns were used 12.5 million times in self defense.”

Likewise, a 2009 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that a person carrying a gun is approximately “4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault” than someone not carrying a weapon. “Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45,” researchers added.