Recently, the NRA aired a new TV spot, which was meant to promote arming teachers and remove gun-free zones from schools. Admittedly, I first read about this in Upworthy, and was a bit dumb-struck by what I saw. Here’s what I mean:
This controversial piece has caught heat from The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Chris Christie, and nearly other news source around the country. The ad, which tells the nation to ‘stand up and fight’ not only brings the Obama children into the gun debate, but also brings more children into the spotlight again by expressing a clear dissatisfaction with gun-free zones.
Now, being heavily biased, I can’t speak fairly to the issue of gun control and my feelings for how gun laws in America should change; that being said, this ad is shaping up to be one of the biggest mistakes the NRA has made so far in its argument to date. Not only does it oversimplify the issue, show gratuitous images of guns alongside children, but it promotes the message ‘stand up and fight’ which I feel is highly offensive to anyone still in mourning after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Even worse, but unfairly ropes the Obama children and the nation’s children into the gun debate. Admittedly, the #DemandAPlan initiative was heavily based around school shootings and used a similar platform, and also utilized the death of children as part of its material, and played on our post-sandy reactions to motivate people towards a single solution.
However the fundamental difference between the two ads was that one asked us to approach congress and ‘demand a plan’ while another told us to ‘stand up and fight’. In my mind, this calls forward an image of a gun owners across the nations running to ammunitions stores, arming themselves with weapons, and marching on the government (I may be the only one with that image in mind). It is this author’s opinion that the NRA may have had a valid argument with arming teachers to protect children, however because of their choice of ‘ammunition’ they appear to have shot themselves in the foot.