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.
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.
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:
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.