If NRA’s Chris Cox thought he’d get a walk in an NRA-loving, Democrat-bashing park by going on Fox News Sunday today, he surely came away with a different perspective after host Chris Wallace got through grilling him about gun control.
Cox’s efforts to make gun control legislation about demonizing Democrats failed
Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, repeatedly touted his pro-gun stance as a way to stick it to Democrats. First, he positioned his organization’s call for further regulation of “bump stocks,” the devices that allow semiautomatic rifles to function as fully automatic rifles, as a way of blaming Barack Obama:
COX: As you probably know, it’s illegal to convert a semiautomatic to fully automatic. ATF did approve this under Barack Obama.
And what the National Rifle Association has said is ATF needs to do their job, review these, and if there’s a further regulation, then we’ll work on further regulation.
Then, he used his stance to demonize other politicians:
COX: Unfortunately, with Dianne Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg, they want to exploit a tragedy from day. It’s shameful. But apparently, that’s the new normal and that’s why we’re talking to you today.
Wallace seemed to invite more partisan criticism by playing clips of favorite Fox demons Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi calling for more sweeping measures for gun control. “Now, I know that sets your teeth on edge,” Wallace continued. But rather than pause and wait for the inevitable round of attacks on them, as I'd expect from a Fox host, Wallace continued by questioning how long people really need to wait after such a tragedy. “What’s wrong with saying we need to address this issue?" he asked.
Instead of answering the question, Cox attacked Clinton, Pelosi and Feinstein as hypocritical elites for having armed security while arguing for gun control.
Wallace called out Cox’s deflection of turning a gun control debate into “class warfare”
Wallace really sprang into action responding to Cox's charges of "elite" hypocrisy (transcript excerpts via FoxNews.com, with my emphases added):
WALLACE: Is that a sensible way to have this conversation, to try to turn it into class warfare where you’re for gun control, somehow you’re part of an elite?
COX: It’s not class warfare. Chris, it’s what the American people want. The American people want to protect themselves. They want to be able to defend themselves. Yes, we’re willing to have a conversation—
WALLACE: But, wait, no—that’s actually—that’s not actually true. I mean, yes, Second Amendment, but if you talk about background checks, if you talk about automatic weapon—well, let me just say that. There are a lot of people, in fact a majority of people, according to the polls, would like to see those gun controls.
I’m just—I have to say I’m put off at the argument that if you believe in gun control, you’re an elite. I have to tell you, Mr. Cox, I know very few people outside of public officials—she was a former first lady, she was former secretary of state—who have armed bodyguards. One of the few people I know, private people, who has armed bodyguards is Wayne LaPierre.
COX: Chris, as a law-abiding gun owner, I am armed security. But I couldn’t bring a gun into Washington, D.C., because my license gun, because they won’t allow me to protect myself.
WALLACE: That’s not my point, sir.
WALLACE: My point is—no, my point is you cannot have a gun and you can believe in gun control because you think it’s dangerous. Now, we can argue about the merits of it, but I think to dismiss people and say, well, that’s just the elite and they have armed guards is, it seems to me, does a disservice to your argument.
Apparently unable to counter that argument, Cox reiterated his “It’s the hypocrisy” vituperism.
Wallace called out Cox’s lie about NRA support for making it easier for mentally ill people to purchase guns
Wallace moved on to background checks:
WALLACE: Let’s talk about background checks and let’s talk about specific issues, because you’re certainly right, [Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock] did pass them and he brought all these guns legally. There is a 72-hour limit on background checks, and as a result, some people call that the Charleston loophole because Dylann Roof, the man who bought a gun through a background check and then killed nine people in a church, you can see his picture there, he got the gun because the background check wasn’t complete in 72 hours even though he would have failed that background check.
Question for you, Mr. Cox, when it’s a matter of life and death, and I understand, you don’t want background checks to go on forever, that’s not appropriate. But when it’s a matter of life and death, couldn’t it be four days or five days and not three days and he gets his gun?
COX: Sure, the National Rifle Association has worked to include every mental health record, every court adjudication, every criminal record to make sure that people don’t fall through the cracks. The National Rifle Association—
WALLACE: That’s not—that’s not true, sir.
COX: That’s absolutely true, Chris.
WALLACE: No, it isn’t. Forgive me—in February, President Trump signed a measure that said that the Social Security Administration no longer has to provide information on mental disorders to the national background criminal check and the NRA supported that.
COX: That is a complete misrepresentation of our position, a complete misrepresentation of what President Trump did. What he said is you can’t arbitrarily deny a senior citizen their Second Amendment rights based on no finding of dangerousness. The only finding was that they asked somebody to help them manage their financial affairs.
If you think that somebody needing help with a checkbook should eliminate them from exercising their Second Amendment, then you under—
WALLACE: Mental disorders—now, I agree, it wasn’t everybody. It was some people with mental disorders and you backed that.
COX: Their definition of a mental disorder was someone who asked for help handling their finances. That is not a prohibitive category, Chris, and it shouldn’t be a prohibitive category.
That last comment from Cox was another lie. As Think Progress noted, thanks to Trump (with support from the NRA), the Social Security Administration is now blocked from reporting people who “lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs” to a national background-check database.
Wallace did not challenge Cox’s mischaracterization of the legislation but moved on to question the need for high-capacity magazines, as Paddock used.
Watch Wallace’s grilling below, from the October 8, 2017 Fox News Sunday.
Hey Cox, overwhelmingly the American People want some kind of stricter gun control. And you are right; We The People DO want to protect ourselves … from the madmen with guns shooting us up to the tune of over 2500 deaths per year in ’Murka.
So Cox — what exactly do you propose? More thoughts and prayers…?