The National Rifle Association has responded to criticism after its recent ad encouraging folks to stock up on guns and weapons amid the COVID-19 outbreak sparked the ire of top Democrats.
The pro-gun rights group posted a video to social media Sunday, March 22, featuring breast cancer survivor Carletta Whiting, who’s also disabled. Throughout the four-minute clip, Whiting explains the decision to arm herself during the pandemic and her worry that stockpiling food will not be enough should things “go from bad to worse.”
“What’s in my control is how I defend myself,” Whiting says, before firing off a round from her AR-9 rifle.
“I know from history how quickly society breaks down during a crisis,” she adds. “And we have never faced anything like this before, and never is the Second Amendment more important than during public unrest.”
The video triggered a response from Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who called it “sickening” that the NRA was urging Americans to hoard weapons during a public health crisis.
Several social media users agreed, and sounded off on the message pushed in the NRA’s video.
“They *want* a civil war,” one Twitter user commented. “Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a dream world.”
“Do they think they can shoot the virus?” someone else asked.
A user who identified as a first-time gun owner offered a different take on the issue, writing: “The reason I have a firearm is for a fighting chance against a possible future even. Like food and water in a pandemic, it’s always better to be well prepared in life than not ready.”
The NRA quickly reacted to Sen. Murphy’s barb, calling him disingenuous and accusing him of being part of a larger effort by the left to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
NRA spokesperson Amy Hunter told Fox News: “Sen. Murphy is either being intentionally disingenuous or is obtuse. Carletta Whiting is one of the millions of Americans who feel vulnerable and who know that when crime happens, the police are minutes away — despite their best intentions.”
Hunter further argued that “anti-gun politicians” were using the pandemic — which has impacted over 35,000 people nationwide — as a ploy to strip Americans of their right to bear arms, adding that, “gun sales are increasing because good people are worried their government won’t be able to protect them.”
Whiting echoes that same message in the video, highlighting that “even liberals in California” were “lining up because they know the government won’t be able to protect them.”
The U.S. has seen a spike in gun and ammunition sales in recent weeks amid growing fears of possible civil unrest. Online retailer Ammo.com published a report earlier this month showing a 68 percent jump in sales between February 23 and March 4.
Gun sellers across the West, including Martin B Retting, Inc. in Culver City, California, saw a similar surge in sales with customers lining the block. Some were there to purchase a firearm for the very first time.
“I just got a 9mm handgun this week,” Idaho resident John McEvoy told Fox News. “As this situation continues to unfold, I predict crime rates are going to increase. If food and basic necessities start to run out, I don’t want to be the victim of a break-in and not be prepared to protect myself and my family.”
Watch more in the video below.