NRA Sends Letter Condemning Gun-Control "Extremists" to Family of Parkland Victim

Fred Guttenberg and his daughter Jaime; a letter from the NRA sent to a member of Guttenberg's family.
Fred Guttenberg and his daughter Jaime; a letter from the NRA sent to a member of Guttenberg's family. photos courtesy of Fred Guttenberg
Update: Fred Guttenberg says the NRA letter was sent to a member of his family, not directly to him.

Since his 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Fred Guttenberg has been one of the nation's loudest voices for common-sense gun laws.

Guttenberg has supported raising the minimum age to buy guns, establishing longer wait periods after purchases, and banning bump stocks. Last month, he teamed with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to introduce Jaime's Law, a bill that would require universal background checks for ammunition purchases.

For some reason, though, Jaime's family was placed on the National Rifle Association's mailing list. Wednesday morning, Guttenberg posted a photo of the letter his relatives received from the NRA asking them to answer a survey "making it clear to politicians across America that you're not going to stand by while extremists threaten your individual liberties." The letter added that "freedom's enemies are on the march."

"My daughter was the only one to lose freedom," Guttenberg responded on Twitter.
The letter was sent to promote the NRA's 2019 National Gun Owner's Action Survey. The questions are clearly framed to elicit positive responses about gun ownership. One makes an emotional appeal to a person's right to defend his or her family ("Do you support laws that protect your fundamental right to use a firearm to defend yourself and your loved ones from a violent criminal attacker?"). Another evokes fear of the government taking away citizens' guns ("Do you support mandatory gun registration that would force you to surrender your firearms to federal or state authorities if you refused to submit your private information to be tracked in a government database?").

The NRA's shady tactics and relentless politicking are part of its ongoing strategy to whip up its members and increase fundraising efforts. The New Yorker and other media outlets have reported the organization is particularly focused on increasing its social media presence and online traffic.

"The NRA is not so much interested in winning," former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman told the New Yorker in 2017. "They’re interested in fighting, because fighting is great for fund-raising and membership recruitment."

The gun-rights group has also been accused of helping to spread conspiracy theories about school shootings. Just last week, HuffPost published emails from NRA official Mark Richardson to a prominent Sandy Hook hoaxer the day after the Parkland shooting.

"Just like [Sandy Hook], there is so much more to this story," Richardson wrote. "[The Parkland shooter] was not alone."

On Wednesday, Guttenberg and other anti-gun-violence activists sent letters to Apple, Facebook, Roku, Twitter, and YouTube asking the tech companies to remove the NRA's content from their platforms.

"Given the NRA’s history of repeatedly stoking conspiracy theorists who are dedicated to harassing the families of mass shooting survivors, we believe they have no place on your platform," the letter says. "We sincerely hope that you listen to our voices and immediately take action."
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Jessica Lipscomb is the former news editor of Miami New Times.