Supporters are coming to the defense of Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, after the National Rifle Association seemingly encouraged followers to message her on social media. As a result of the posts shared by the NRA, Watts has been bombarded with death threats against herself and her family, and then mocked by the organization for deleting the threatening comments.
The conflict began when Watts shared a tweet featuring a recent NRA-ILA article, which the NRA Twitter account claimed was Watts "deceptively cherry [picking]" the article.
They're proud of this? "In response to claims that 'armor piercing ammunition' could penetrate police body armor, ... the @NRA stepped up, once again, and performance-based ammunition bans have been repeatedly defeated at the federal level." https://t.co/dlFMCAe2IH— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 7, 2019
A screenshot of the NRA's Twitter response was also shared on their Instagram account, in which they tagged Watts and wrote: "Tell Shannon Watts aka 'Bloomberg's chief lobbyist' what you think about ammunition bans."
NRA supporters began to flood Watts' comment sections and direct messages with death threats and other offensive comments.
“Maybe because you’re a f***ing imbecile lobbying to take unalienable basic human rights of your fellow citizens. Maybe you SHOULD receive death threats," wrote an Instagram user defending the threats on Watts’ life.
"Lmao, the NRA isn't threatening to kill you dips***t... You blocked my main account, but I have 300 more accounts lol. I guess you don't like hearing the facts, I guess because it's ur mental illness *cough* autism, and you are scared of a f***ing inanimate object. Seriously go check yourself into a f***ing mental institution," commented Twitter user funky_gandhi_memes.
Watts deleted a number of the threatening comments and ultimately turned off the comment section on her Instagram page. The NRA responded on Instagram (and again on Twitter), "@ShannonRWatts has disabled comments on Instagram because she couldn't handle the facts. This all started when Shannon deceptively cherry-picked from our article and left out that all centerfire rifle ammunition pierces soft body armor. So, Shannon, please answer our question: Do you want to ban all rifle ammunition used for self-defense, sport, and hunting?"
Watts responded that she disabled the comments after getting death threats against her and her children.
Yep - I disabled the comments after receiving several dozen death threats against me and my children, which is exactly why the @NRA tagged me in the first place.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 9, 2019
I - and @MomsDemand - have been the most effective at exposing their moral bankruptcy, and they don’t like it. https://t.co/qWzUN9G9L2
While Watts has received a plethora of threats and negative feedback from unhinged users, many have come to her defense.
No one “SHOULD receive death threats.” Autism isn’t a slur. Labeling a gun “an inanimate object” doesn’t change the fact that states with stricter gun-control laws have lower rates of murders and suicides. Thank you @shannonrwatts for your bravery & leadership. https://t.co/07Ekg5BBX2— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 9, 2019
The @NRA sent a message targeting @shannonwatts and now she's being targeted and harassed en masse. Platforms shouldn't be allowed to work this way. Look at the DMs she's been flooded with https://t.co/V2C66Um8Z0— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) May 9, 2019
Follow Shannon Watts. She is making mincemeat of the NRA for no pay, even as they encourage targeted harassment against her and her family. https://t.co/caXegELrov— Daniel Powell (@danieljpowell) May 9, 2019
Shannon Watts is a badass & a hero to all decent Americans of good will. No wonder she scares the living sh*t out of the corrupt death merchants masquerading as a non-profit organization.— Eric Levine (@ericmlevine) May 9, 2019
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