The National Rifle Association was named one of the “biggest Pinocchios of the year” for an “over-the-top” ad that “stretches the facts with its images” to attack Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s stance on gun control.
The ad shows a loving wife texting her husband after putting her baby in a crib for the night. An intruder then breaks into the home and does something awful as it ends with officers closing off the house with yellow police tape. The narrator says, “Senator Mary Landrieu voted to take away your gun rights.”
In April 2013, Landrieu voted in favor of the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment that would have prohibited private sales listed online, in print or at gun shows, but not between friends and family. However, the NRA contends that the measure would lead to infringements on an individual’s gun rights.
When The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” blog asked how Manchin-Toomey would take away gun rights of the woman in the ad who lives under ideal conditions, the blog said the NRA failed to defend its argument.
“The ad suggests that Landrieu, in voting for enhanced background checks, made such a tragedy more possible,” the blog wrote. “But even the NRA’s own lawyers acknowledged that nothing in the bill would have prevented the mother in this ad from buying a weapon to defend herself, even on short notice.”
For the ad, Fact Checker awarded the NRA four Pinnochios, and the publication’s competitor, PolitiFact, also awarded the NRA its lowest rating of “pants on fire.”
In response to the scrutiny, the NRA posted a piece on its blog titled “Fact-checkers appoint themselves arbiters of what constitutes ‘gun rights.'” While the NRA agreed that the Manchin-Toomey amendment reached only so far, it raised concerns with regulating private sales and transfers in general.
“Contrary to what many at the Post or PolitiFact might think, background checks can be a significant burden for gun owners,” the NRA wrote. “Unlike the picture painted by gun control supporters, the background check regimes operated by the federal government and several states are not the picture of efficiency.”
The gun lobby cited instances where lawful individuals are flagged for additional scrutiny due to the federal system currently in place and in turn delaying a gun purchase. The group also said requiring background checks for private sales adds additional costs as the parties must utilize the services of a Federal Firearm Licensee, which would inhibit those in lower economic classes from buying a gun.
While the groups are splitting hairs over the inflammatory commercial, at the end of the day the Manchin-Toomey amendment failed to get enough votes in the Senate and Landrieu was not reelected, and both are credited to the NRA.