Conservative actor James Woods is no stranger to hot takes.
When House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement condemning the National Rifle Association in the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, Woods issued a scathing response.
On Thursday, Pelosi made the case there was a difference between the NRA and “gun owners”:
Let's be clear: there is a difference between the NRA & gun owners. Many gun owners want common sense efforts to #EndGunViolence.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) October 5, 2017
Woods replied with a pointed statement of his own:
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 6, 2017
Unsubstantiated reports, if not outright fake news reports, have claimed Paddock was a Trump-hating, Rachel Maddow-watching, left-winger who targeted a Las Vegas country music concert because it would be filled with Trump supporters.
Beyond the example of Paddock, email and social media lists have circulated claiming that a preponderance of assassins and mass shooters throughout U.S. history have been registered Democrats or left-wing socialists.
While it is possible to find dozens of examples of confirmed Democrats and left-wing mass shooters throughout U.S. history, such as JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and Congressional shooter James T. Hodgkinson, party affiliation can be nearly impossible to confirm, as Snopes points out, and any list is subject to the high risk of cherry-picking cases.
It is also irrelevant except for the purposes of stoking partisan animosity.
One thing that can be confirmed between the exchange of Woods and Pelosi is that the NRA remains a political force to be reckoned with. It is, thus, a major target of Democrats seeking election.
As The New York Times pointed out Thursday in a piece, “Nothing Divides Voters Like Owning a Gun”:
Over all, gun-owning households (roughly a third in America) backed Mr. Trump by 63 percent to 31 percent, while households without guns backed Mrs. Clinton, 65 percent to 30 percent, according to SurveyMonkey data.
The NRA will continue to be scapegoated for mass shootings in the future with politicized statements from Democrats. There may be a temptation among many to respond by blaming Democrats.
Ultimately, however, mass shootings are carried out by evil individuals; as such, it makes no sense to blame guns or entire groups of people for their depraved actions.