During a heated CNN-hosted town hall event on Wednesday night, National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch told survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that she was “fighting” for them. But Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was quick to shut her down.
Interrupting Loesch’s response to a question about assault weapons, Israel stressed that she was “not standing up” for survivors of gun violence.
“I understand that you’re standing up for the NRA … but you just told this group of people that you’re standing up for them,” he said. “You are not standing up for them until you say, ‘I want less weapons.’”
The sheriff’s words were met with cheers and a standing ovation.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch: “You just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. You're not standing up for them until you say, 'I want less weapons'” https://t.co/Z1Yni5mWFU#StudentsStandUphttps://t.co/OcM90XPz7a
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) February 22, 2018
Loesch was roundly lambasted at the town hall and on social media for various comments she made about gun control, many of which were misleading.
She repeatedly said that 19-year-old school shooter Nikolas Cruz, who legally purchased an AR-15-style assault rifle and other weapons, should not have been able to buy the firearm because he was an “insane monster” and “nuts.”
“People who are crazy should not be able to get firearms,” Loesch said, echoing a common misconception that mental health issues are a primary cause of gun violence. Her remark also ignores the fact that the NRA has also vocally advocated against gun bans on people with mental illness.
Netizens took to Twitter to challenge her remarks.
A teacher asks the NRA spokeswoman explain how she defines a “well-regulated militia” and how “an 18-year-old with a military rifle" is well-regulated
Dana Loesch: He should have been barred from getting a firearm https://t.co/hYEOdUIo5q#StudentsStandUphttps://t.co/fHGpZYLJDy
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) February 22, 2018
Even though NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said on CNN's town hall that the gun group doesn't believe dangerous people should possess guns, it opposes expanding background checks to include private sales, which account for an estimated 22% of gun transfers. https://t.co/FOf7wRCT3Lpic.twitter.com/gyHt2FpGl4
— The Trace (@teamtrace) February 22, 2018
Loesch’s answer ignores the fact that Cruz was not adjudicated mentally unfit. He was not a prohibited purchaser.
— Alex Yablon (@AlexYablon) February 22, 2018
Kids shout "STOP SAYING CRAZY!" at Loesch. I love these kids standing up to ableism #CNNTownHall
— Talia Bracha Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) February 22, 2018
I'd like to refer Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) to her own words now that the @NRA party line is "mental health" in the wake of the most recent mass shootings. #StudentsDemandActionpic.twitter.com/fFWpWIyiE5
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) February 22, 2018
Loesch was repeatedly booed by the audience at the town hall, including at this moment when she suggested that the legal age to buy a gun should not be raised so young people can protect themselves from sexual assault:
Oof. Loesch gets big boos after she tells high school students that they should be able to buy AR-15s because otherwise they might get raped. pic.twitter.com/NWSsOuzbwJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 22, 2018
Loesch was also roundly criticized on social media for suggesting that “fully-automatic firearms” existed during the time of the founding fathers.
Responding to a comment made by a grieving mother that the Second Amendment was written during a time of “muskets” and not the weapons of today, Loesch responded that “at the time there were fully-automatic firearms that were available, the Belton gun and the Puckle gun.”
Twitter did not hold back their ridicule.
Hey Dana Loesch you don’t show up to a sensible gun law fight with a puckle gun. The friggin puckle gun is your go to for the second amendment argument?? Wow. pic.twitter.com/jJGRnRbPvf
— Katie Bevins (@kadbevins36) February 22, 2018
The Puckle Gun (the “machine gun” from 1718) had a 3 foot long barrel, had to be set up on a stand, required a crew of two or three men to reload, and shot 9 rounds a minute.
Good argument… pic.twitter.com/iXZ1T845l1
— Kevin Fippin (@kfippin) February 22, 2018
PSA: this is a puckle gun. You can compare this to a modern AR like you can compare a horse and buggie to a Porsche. pic.twitter.com/NRcl6SVEja
— Autumn Chiklis (@AutumnChiklis) February 22, 2018
Dana Loesch referenced the Puckle machine by way of justification for modern semi-automatic assault weapons, or at least to undermine the criticism that the common weapon was the musket. Seriously, @DLoesch? pic.twitter.com/kHtTiGuRPS
— Jim Beale (@laleumen) February 22, 2018
The 18th century "Belton" gun Dana Loesch mentioned is a long-running NRA lie. It was a mere design that was floated, and there's no known evidence that one was ever so much as created: https://t.co/p0NGGwq8g5#StudentsStandUp
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) February 22, 2018
— David Gura (@davidgura) February 22, 2018
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.