“For years, your group has blocked new gun safety laws and pushed for the most relaxed rules on firearms,” Acosta opened the interview with Kansas Republican Judge Phillip Journey. “Isn’t some of this blood on the NRA’s hands?”
Journey told Acosta “I don’t believe the supposition of your question is accurate,” and argued that the NRA and he as a former Kansas state senator had “worked to tighten the laws.”
Acosta interrupted, advising that he was cutting him off because he was “saying things that just aren’t true.”
“The NRA for years, for decades, has pushed for the most relaxed rules possible in this country and that’s why we have mass shooting after mass shooting,” he said. “Please if you could answer the question that I asked you at the beginning of the interview. Isn’t this blood on your hands?”
Journey replied: “I’m not the one that pulled the trigger and neither are the members of the National Rifle Association.”
He cited the shooter who killed ten people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month, as an example, noting that the “alarms were going off” that the shooter was a danger to himself or others, but “nobody did anything.”
Acosta used those same facts to argue in favor of tighter laws.
“Well, if he’s a troubled young man, should he be able to go out and buy an AR-15 assault rifle … which is what happened in Buffalo,” he said.
Acosta then pressed the NRA board member to explain why the organization decided not to cancel its annual convention in Houston, Texas, days after 19 children and two teachers were massacred by a gunman in Uvalde, just a few hours away.
“How is any of this at all appropriate?” he asked, noting that there was a “celebratory atmosphere” at the event and former President Donald Trump was seen dancing on stage after his speech.
“He was not. I was there. He was not dancing,” Journey said of Trump.
Trump did dance. It was on video. It came at the end of a lengthy speech that included a tribute to the dead children in Uvalde, whose names Trump mispronounced.
Journey appeared to miss the point, arguing that Acosta was only “telling part of the story” because Trump did a “very memorable memorial for the victims” at the start of the speech and made “did make comments that were very appropriate.”
Even after the Uvalde shooting, the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, most elected Republicans have refused to blame guns and lax gun laws on the United States’ astronomically high number of mass shootings compared to its peers.
Many hundreds of people gathered outside the Houston NRA convention over the weekend to protest and call for gun law reform.
Watch the rest of the interview on CNN.