Multiple mainstream media outlets have propagated a claim over the last 24 hours that the Florida school shooter was “trained by the NRA.”
However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
What are they saying?
The New York Daily News, a notoriously liberal newspaper, pushed the claim on its front cover on Saturday. “Trained By The NRA: School shooter excelled in marksmanship program sponsored by gun group,” the cover said.
The Florida shooting suspect was on an NRA-funded school rifle team https://t.co/6pZqrtZMRD
An early look at Saturday's front… pic.twitter.com/kqi7fd6G9J
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 17, 2018
Meanwhile, progressive outlet Think Progress further claimed: “The NRA donated $10,000 to help train the Parkland shooting suspect to use a rifle.”
At face value, the outlets appear to position the National Rifle Association as culpable in the horrific shooting. But in reality, the NRA had nothing to do with the shooting or the shooter.
What’s the truth?
What the stories don’t mention is that NRA monies helped fund a program for the JROTC program the shooter was a member of when he attended high school. The NRA gave the school’s JROTC program more than $10,000 in non-cash assistance to help build its air-rifle team.
The Associated Press explains:
Records show that the Stoneman Douglas JROTC program received $10,827 in non-cash assistance from the NRA’s fundraising and charitable arm in 2016, when Cruz was on the squad
What the NRA did not do — in any way, shape or form — is help “train” the shooter.
The NRA provides millions of dollars, via its Friends of the NRA program, to youth programs nationwide each year to build enthusiasm for shooting sports.
To that end, the air-rifles that JROTC shooting teams use are incomparable to AR-15s. They are lightweight and shoot small pellets propelled by compressed air in a controlled environment, mostly in small indoor ranges. JROTC shooting programs, and the air-rifles they use, do not “train” a person to use an AR-15, which fires a 5.56mm bullet at extremely high velocity.
What story did the outlets fail to tell?
Those of the school’s quick-thinking JROTC cadets who helped save dozens of students.