In the weeks following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the survivors have been vocal in interviews, at rallies, and on social media about their call for gun control amid their grief. Stoneman student Emma Gonzalez, having delivered an impactful speech last week calling out Trump and the NRA directly, took to last night's Parkland Town Hall on CNN with a hard-hitting question for NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
"Do you believe that it should be harder to obtain these semi-automatic weapons and the modifications to make them fully automatic like bump stocks?" Gonzalez asked, surrounded on stage by fellow students and teachers from the school. "I don't believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm," she said. "I don't think he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon."
Loesch insisted the NRA wants to ensure that those with past criminal convictions and mental illnesses are unable to obtain firearms. She went on to insist that she is "fighting for all of [them]" and highlight the apparent work the organization is doing to fix the "flawed system" that currently exists. "It is not federal law for states to report convictions to the NCIC [National Crime Information Center] system," Loesch explained. Despite the crowd's disapproving shouts, she continued. "Do you guys want to stop mentally insane individuals from getting firearms? Yes? They have to be in the system if they are convicted. If a state does not report them to the NCIC, when you run that form this madman will pass a background check. The Sutherland Springs murderer was able to pass a background check because the Airforce did not report that record."
Loesch continued by adding that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was currently deciding on the use of bump stocks after President Trump ordered the Department of Justice to look into it, but Gonzalez sensed Loesch veering away from the straightforward inquiry, restating the question and specifically asking for her opinion on the matter. "That's what the NRA's position has been. I'm talking for them, these are the 5 million members that I'm here representing. They spoke about that before the President made a move, and they spoke about that before attorney general Jeff Sessions made an announcement about that too."
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who was seated next to Loesch, would eventually step into the conversation, citing his nearly 40 years in law enforcement as expertise. "I understand that you're standing up the NRA, but you just told this group of people that you're standing up for them," he said. "And you're not standing up for them until you say 'I want less weapons.'"