Following the horrific events in Las Vegas Sunday night, in which more than 50 were killed and over 500 wounded, social media channels and soundwaves were full of outpourings of “thoughts and prayers.”
But one group has been noticeably silent—the National Rifle Association.
The NRA, which regularly posts to its social channels and website, went dark Monday. The group has not acknowledged the shooting on Twitter, has not put out a statement, and has refused numerous journalists’ requests for comment. What’s more, HuffPost notes that the group canceled a full week of advertising in Virginia, which was due to start today ahead of next month’s state elections.
This pause is par for the course for the NRA. The group has a well-oiled PR machine with a long-standing crisis communications strategy; according to Politico, the NRA starts with “aggressive fact-finding and long strategy sessions before any public statements.”
Following the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, the NRA waited four days before issuing a statement. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, it took the NRA one week to respond. When it did, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre suggested that more guns were needed to stop such events, saying, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” Last year, after the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the NRA broke its silence a little quicker. Two days after the massacre, a top NRA official blamed the Obama administration’s “political correctness” for allowing the shooting.
Nevertheless, Nevada’s gun laws are not at all strict—the state allows the possession of machine guns, and carrying such a weapon in public spaces is legal. Only time will tell if the NRA suggests that a “good guy” with a machine gun could have stopped Sunday’s shooting.