MSNBC ‘Shocked’ at ‘Incredible’ Thought of NRA Gun Auctions at Schools

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Despite Beto O'Rourke's best efforts, it is still legal in the United States to buy and sell firearms. This constitutional fact, however, greatly unnerved MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday as she devoted an entire segment to gun auctions and raffles hosted by the NRA Foundation's charitable arm, Friends of the NRA, at schools. The very existence of these of these auctions where deemed "shocking" and "incredible" in various teases throughout the hour, but the truth is far less nefarious.

Washington Post reporter Beth Reinhard co-authored the source material and joined Ruhle to discuss. Ruhle began by quoting Reinhard's article, almost immediately proving her own fear mongering wrong, '"only a small fraction of Friends of the NRA events take place at schools and such activities are conducted with the input, support and coordination of local officials.'" Ruhle then asked Reinhard how she came to discover the events in question.

 

 

Reinhard said that she had received an e-mail from a Kentucky woman "who had come across a flier" and "was particularly upset because there had been a mass shooting just 80 miles away last year at another school in Western Kentucky." In other words, there was no evidence of anything nefarious going on, but the location somehow made it seem that way, which the Post then determined warranted an investigation.

After discussing how the family-friendly raffles work, Ruhle asked, "Okay, the sales that take place at these gun shows, these raffles at schools, are they subject to background checks?" Reinhard did not have an answer to that, "That’s a very good question. I got a number of e-mails like that from readers yesterday. That's something I need to check on actually." According to multiple local news organizations who have previously written about the subject of Friends of the NRA raffles, background checks are performed. 

Ruhle, still perplexed why an auction or raffle would be held at a school, concluded by asking, "And the argument, for those who support the idea of having these events in schools, why do they think it's a good idea?" Reinhard finished the segment by stating the obvious, "I mean, I don't think they see it as, you know, anything nefarious, because their association with guns is a positive one. A lot of people grow up with guns, they grow up hunting, and doing shooting sports, and they raise their kids to do that. They give guns as gifts. They see it as a community type event, a fundraiser for a good cause." 

There were no accounts of this going on during school hours or that strangers were walking the halls with loaded firearms while children were present, as Reinhard's article itself mentions, but if you were to go by Ruhle's reaction, you would think just the opposite.

Here is a transcript of the November 5 show:

MSNBC
MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle

9:52 AM ET


STEPHANIE RUHLE: It is time now for Money, Power, Politics. Gun shows in schools. I know it sounds like an outlandish idea, but it is actually something that is happening all over the country. A new report in Washington Post details how the charitable fundraising arm of the NRA known as The Friends of the NRA is raising money by auctioning off handguns and semiautomatic weapons in schools. The NRA is defending the move telling the Washington Post “only a small fraction of Friends of the NRA events take place at schools and such activities are conducted with the input, support and coordination of local officials.” The investigative reporter behind this piece, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the Washington Post, Beth Reinhard, she joins us now. Beth, this story amazing. How did you find out about these gun raffles? 

BETH REINHARD: I actually got an e-mail from a woman in Kentucky, a parent who had come across a flier for Friends of NRA and they were hosting a gun raffle at her child's school and this woman was particularly upset because there had been a mass shooting just 80 miles away last year at another school in Western Kentucky. So she wrote to me because she saw that we had written some stories about the NRA and she said what can you do about this and I went from there. 

RUHLE: So explain how all these raffles work. 

REINHARD: So Friends of NRA is sort of the grass roots fundraising program of the NRA Foundation, that’s the charitable arm of the NRA. And their events are held all over the country. They did about 1,100 events last year they say. They're mostly organized by volunteers. They're held sometimes in schools, but also in civic clubs and community centers, even restaurants and they're essentially gun raffles. They bring in all sorts of weapons, also knives and camping and hunting equipment. These events are geared toward families, there are kids there and there are raffles and auctions of these weapons. The money goes to the NRA Foundation. It's used -- half of it is used for national educational and safety firearms programs. The other half goes to youth groups, 4-H clubs, shooting clubs, archery clubs that apply for the grants. 

RUHLE: Okay, the sales that take place at these gun shows, these raffles at schools, are they subject to background checks?

REINHARD: That’s a very good question. I got a number of e-mails like that from readers yesterday. That's something I need to check on actually. 

RUHLE: And the argument, for those who support the idea of having these events in schools, why do they think it's a good idea? 

REINHARD: I mean, I don't think they see it as, you know, anything nefarious, because their association with guns is a positive one. A lot of people grow up with guns, they grow up hunting, and doing shooting sports, and they raise their kids to do that. They give guns as gifts. They see it as a community type event, a fundraiser for a good cause. 

RUHLE: Alright then, Beth. Thank you so much. Really interesting reporting. Gun raffles taking place at schools.

 

 

NB Daily Guns MSNBC MSNBC Live Video NRA Beth Reinhard Stephanie Ruhle
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