Dana Loesch, a controversial spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, has ruffled feathers yet again.
Loesch was panned at a Feb. 21 CNN Town Hall for misleading the public on where the NRA — one of America’s most powerful gun lobbying groups — stands on gun control measures while going head-to-head with student survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after they were gunned down on Valentine’s Day. The tragedy left 17 people dead.
The NRA, of course, was quite happy with how Loesch represented its organization on the national stage.
After CNN’s Town Hall, the group tweeted a GIF of Leslie Knope — a character played by Amy Poehler on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” — telling Loesch “thank you for being the voice of over 5 million NRA members.”
Poehler was not happy about it.
About two hours after the NRA shared the GIF of Knope, “Parks and Recreation” creator Michael Schur asked the organization to “please take this down.”
“I would prefer you not use a GIF from a show I worked on to promote your pro-slaughter agenda,” he wrote. He also shared a message from Poehler.
Hi, please take this down. I would prefer you not use a GIF from a show I worked on to promote your pro-slaughter agenda.
Also, Amy isn’t on twitter, but she texted me a message: “Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said fuck off?” https://t.co/YXSdzCdvdd
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) February 22, 2018
“Also, Amy [Poehler] isn’t on twitter,” he continued. “But she texted me a message: ‘Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said fuck off?'”
Those two weren’t the only ones upset that the NRA was capitalizing on the popular TV series to promote their cause.
Actor Adam Scott, who played Ben Wyatt on the show, asked the NRA to “please stay the fuck away from Leslie Knope.”
Actor Nick Offerman, who played Ron Swanson, chimed in too: “Our good-hearted show and especially our Leslie Knope represent the opposite of your pro-slaughter agenda.”
Twitter beefs aside, it’s worth pointing out the content of the NRA’s tweet — and who the group is and isn’t speaking for.
Loesch may represent the organization’s members, but she doesn’t speak for all gun owners; only a fraction of of them belong to the NRA. Pew Research from 2017 shows a polled figure of 20% of gun owners who also said they were NRA members while a Washington Post article in 2015 calculates the percent of gun owners who are part of the NRA at 6-7%.
The group’s top priorities largely fall in line with gun sellers’ bottom lines — not gun owners’ views on public policy. And it shows.
The NRA doesn’t work for gun owners. They work for gun sellers.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) February 22, 2018
Through its immense lobbying power in Washington, almost exclusively among Republicans, the NRA has fended off commonsense and widely popular gun control legislation for decades.
According to a Quinnipiac poll released in February 2018, for example, a whopping 97% of Americans want universal background checks on gun purchases — a provision the NRA has fought for years (although it would want you to believe otherwise). An overwhelming majority of Americans also want assault weapons off our streets. The NRA does not.
“Parks and Recreation” may be a work of fiction, but the stars who brought it to life have a firmer grasp on reality than the NRA when it comes to guns.
Update 2/26/2017: Information has been added about the calculated number of gun owners who are also NRA members.