In audio obtained by NPR, National Rifle Association leaders can be heard calling their members “hillbillies” and “fruitcakes” while trying to strategize how to deal with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
The audio, which is 2.5 hours long, is of reported private conversations that took place between NRA chief Wayne LaPierre and NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, who discussed possibly cancelling their annual convention and thought some members may embarrass them. The call took place after what, at the time, was the deadliest school shooting in the country, seeing 15 total deaths.
After PR consultant Tony Makris reportedly said that “fruitcakes are going to show up” in response to holding a meeting without an exhibit hall, Hammer responded.
“If you pull down the exhibit hall, that’s not going to leave anything for the media except the members meeting, and you’re going to have the wackos … with all kinds of crazy resolutions, with all kinds of, of dressing like a bunch of hillbillies and idiots,” Hammer reportedly said. “And, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna be the worst thing you can imagine.”