January 8, 2016

After CNN's Guns in America town hall Thursday night, Don Lemon had Van Jones and Suzanna Gratia Hupp on to discuss whether he had changed any minds.

The specific question in this segment concerned a rape victim who now carries a gun with her at all times to feel safe. This victim asked the President why he's making it harder to do that.

In the segment, Obama explained that he wasn't touching any issues with regard to carry laws -- open or concealed -- but was trying to make it harder for that rapist to ever get a gun again. He also pointed out that it's very difficult to use a gun in a situation where she's caught by surprise, and that most victims aren't successful at fending off rapists with guns in that situation.

That infuriated Hupp, who saw that comment as the most condescending thing ever, without actually thinking through what Obama actually said. It was almost as if she had a prepared answer without actually considering the question.

HUPP: I have to tell you, that was the one absolutely shocking point for me in the whole show. I thought he was incredibly condescending to that rape victim. He indicated, or insinuated to her that she wasn't capable of being able to take care of herself with her gun. I thought that was very clear and frankly I was genuinely offended by it.

I can tell you this. Over the last twenty five years or so, the one thing that's become crystal clear to me is that these mass shootings occur where guns are not allowed. I can't imagine how different it might have been in the Paris shooting if there had been just a few people in that room that had weapons. Maybe they wouldn't have come out alive, but it certainly would have been, it certainly would have changed the odds, and it certainly wouldn't have been as high of a body count in my opinion.

These things only happen where you take away people's rights to carry.

Here's the thing.

Suzanna Gratia Hupp is a survivor of a mass shooting in Texas. She lost both of her parents in the shooting, and reached for the gun in her purse only to realize she'd left it in the car because she was unsure of concealed carry laws in the state. That led her to become a leading advocate for concealed carry laws and broader gun ownership laws.

Her advocacy led her to the Texas statehouse in 1996, where she served 5 consecutive terms as a Texas state representative. During her time in the statehouse, she was a strong advocate for looser concealed carry laws and largely succeeded. For her efforts, the NRA honored her with a lifetime membership and the Sybil Ludington Women's Freedom Award.

It might have been nice for CNN to tell us that, given that she was speaking as a surrogate for the NRA.

As far back as 2007, Hupp was pushing the "gun-free zones" myth, too. After the Virginia Tech shooting, Hupp was interviewed by Time Magazine.

"I am saddened and sickened, my heart hurts for those people — I've been there," Hupp said. "But at the same time I am angry — even with the sadness — because this was largely preventable on the scale that it happened. The politicians haven't figured it out. They have created gun-free zones, and all of the dreadful things that have happened were in these gun-free zones."

If the NRA wanted to debate this question, they should have showed up to the town hall. President Obama would have welcomed the opportunity. As for CNN, how about if we accurately identify our speakers, instead of pretending they're just random victims who wrote books?

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