{{show_title_date || "Honest conversation about gun control needed, 12/18/12, 7:00 PM ET"}}

Critics skeptical of NRA’s ‘meaningful contributions’ offer


The National Rifle Association may be insisting it’s prepared to “offer meaningful contributions” to make sure tragedies like the shooting in Newtown, Conn. never happen again. But skeptics aren’t so sure.

Hardball host Chris Matthews said on Tuesday that the gun-rights group, which has largely been silent until now, is “up to something.” He added, “I have a sense they’re not going to do nothing about gun control. They’ll probably talk about mental illness…a legitimate concern by the way, but nothing to do with guns.”

He pointed out a recent New York Times piece, which says that “over the years the NRA has perfected its strategy for responding to mass shootings: lie low at first, then slow-roll any legislative push for a response.”

The NRA insisted Tuesday it has refrained from commenting to give time for mourning and a full investigation. The group says it will hold a news conference on Friday.

Mark Glaze, from Mayors Against Illegal guns, agreed with Matthews that meaningful changes are unlikely. “What are they going to say–we’ve systematically whittled away even reasonable gun restrictions that NRA members want, to the point where there are more guns on the street than people? That’s not a very nice thing to say after a tragedy,” he said.

Glaze’s remarks come as most Republicans have stayed away from the issue of gun control. Some GOPers, including Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, argue that more guns are the answer to stopping the violence. On Monday’s Hardball, Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, repeated the claim. Pratt told Matthews that “nothing is 100%”–but if “teachers, janitors and principals were able to defend themselves with guns,” children like those in Newtown, Conn., “might have had a chance. It would serve you better than sitting like fish in a barrel.”

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter  slammed the notion on Tuesday, calling it an “absurdity.”

A claim like Gohmert’s “comes from watching too much television,” said Nutter, arguing that more guns will only lead to greater destruction.  ”He probably also thinks many people can shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot it across the floor and all this other kind of stuff like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”