Apparently the only thing the National Rifle Association and the White House can agree on is that President Obama would smoke them in a debate on gun control.
CNN extended an invitation to the NRA, the nation’s most powerful gun lobby, to join Obama during a live town hall on Thursday evening in Virginia to discuss the issue of gun violence. They gracelessly declined.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam seemed willing to assume the NRA would come out of the debate looking very badly. He claimed the White House would rig the event and turn it into a “public relations spectacle.” In other words, the NRA believes it would lose and Arulanandam is desperate to think of a good excuse as to why that is.
Undermining this excuse, however, is the fact that it is CNN, not Obama, that is organizing the event.
A CNN spokesperson said that it was the network, not the White House, that proposed the idea of a town hall on guns, and noted the audience would be evenly divided between organizations that support the Second Amendment including NRA members as well as groups that back gun regulation.
The only ones too afraid to show up to this mixed crowd are NRA representatives.
And while it’s laughable that the NRA already threw in the towel before the debate even began, they are justified in being worried about what they would face if they were brave enough to show up. As Obama proved numerous times during his two presidential elections, he’s a formidable debate opponent. It is also clear that the issue of gun control is an area that Obama is fired up about. For years, Republicans in Washington and their pro-gun benefactors have stymied any and all attempts to address mass shootings. Entering his last year in office, Obama is done playing games. Earlier this week, he gave an emotional and powerful speech about the need for better gun control – and what he plans to do about it.
“Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying,” Obama said. “I reject that thinking.”
“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence,” he added.
The NRA seems content to fight against any conceivable campaign to stop needless gun violence. This includes floating reckless lies that Obama is a tyrant seizing people’s guns. On social media, the lobbying group regularly promotes misinformation to its gullible followers. They aren’t used to being called out on it.
Now that it is time to actually face Obama, it’s no wonder they can’t do it.
Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr