Meghan McCain: Another NRA Supporter Not Onboard With Extremist NRA Policies

May 10, 2011 12:49 pm ET — Chris Brown

At the beginning of this month, Rachel Maddow attended the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual convention at the invitation of columnist Meghan McCain. After being delayed by the death of Osama bin Laden, Maddow has now aired segments of her trip to the convention. In a departure from the NRA's extremist no-compromise line, McCain identified a handful of areas where she thought changing some of our nation's guns laws was appropriate.

McCain began the interview by expressing her enthusiasm and support for the 2nd Amendment and identified herself as a NRA member. The conversation quickly turned to high-capacity magazines, such as the one used by Jared Loughner in his attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Loughner was able to fire 33 rounds, injuring 19 people, six of whom were fatally wounded. Loughner's shooting spree ended after he was tackled trying to reload. Following the lead of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Weekly Standard editor Will Kristol, and Cato Institute scholar Robert Levy, McCain said it was time revisit the assault weapons ban that from 1994-2004 prohibited the sale of high-capacity magazines.

McCain and Maddow also discussed background checks and McCain's belief that Loughner "should have been flagged by police officers and law enforcement a long time ago, this is somebody that should have never got his hands on a gun." Later, Maddow asked McCain if people on terror watch lists should be allowed to purchase guns. McCain also supported closing the 'terror loophole.'

Whether it's renewing the assault weapons ban, fixing the background checks system, or preventing people on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms, the NRA makes opposing even the most common sense policies their number one priority. This is despite a poll by Republican pollster Frank Luntz showing that 69 percent of the NRA's members support requiring all sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks and 82 percent of their members support prohibiting people on terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns.

Regardless of the popularity or reasonableness of reform proposals, politicians that embrace them have found the NRA eager to attack. When none other than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) supported expanding mandatory background checks to include gun show sales, the NRA's response was to label him "one of the premier flag carriers for the enemies of the Second Amendment." Sen. McCain was able to get back into the good graces of the NRA eventually, but his example shows that even modest reform efforts are incompatible with the NRA's extremist agenda.

See the entire interview below.

Print