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NRA spokesperson faces questions from FL shooting students, families

Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 23:44:33-05

SUNRISE, FL (RNN) - A National Rifle Association spokesperson emphasized the need for more effectively functioning background check systems and preventative measures against dangerous individuals over gun control measures at a CNN town hall event on Wednesday.

Dana Loesch, a radio and television personality and vocal supporter of the Second Amendment, took questions during a kind of dialogue CNN hosted in Sunrise, FL, in the wake of the school shooting in nearby Parkland last week.

Loesch repeatedly invoked “red flags” and the need for more committed vigilance against potential shooters, from the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to other high-profile mass-shootings in Charleston, SC, and the Virginia Tech shooting.

“People who are dangerous should not have access to firearms without punishing law-abiding Americans who want to defend themselves,” she said.

One student, Emma Gonzalez, asked her if it should be harder to obtain semi-automatic weapons, such as the popular AR-15 rifle the Stoneman Douglas gunman used.

“I don’t believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm,” Loesch said.

The mother of a teacher killed at Stoneman Douglas, Scott Beigel, pointedly asked Loesch why her son’s inalienable rights – to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – were not “protected as fiercely as the right to bear arms.”

Loesch said it was not a matter of prioritizing one right over another.

“I think that all life should be protected, that’s why next week there’s going to be good guys with guns that are going to be in schools protecting lives, just as there’s armed security here,” she said.

The mother returned to the origins of the Second Amendment, saying “they were talking about muskets.” She called modern firearms “weapons of mass destruction that kill people.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel shared the stage with Loesch, in the second half of the event after Florida lawmakers took questions earlier. He encouraged students, who have advocated for gun control measures in the wake of the shooting at their school, to make their impact felt at the voting booth.

“What you’re going to have to do, this young generation, we need to get it done, and you’re going to get it done: Vote in people who feel the same way you do,” he said.

Israel also addressed Loesch at one point: “I understand you’re standing up for the NRA, and I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you just told this group of people that you are standing up, you’re not standing up for them until you say, ‘I want less weapons.’”

His comments received a standing ovation.

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