Conservative commentator S.E. Cupp has been such a staunch supporter of the NRA that she was once featured as an “NRA mom” in an ad campaign. But over the weekend and in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings in two American cities that left 31 people dead, Cupp said on her CNN show that she’d decided to quit the organization.
“I am so sick and tired of participating in this predictable cycle of politics, where a mass shooting happens, the left calls for new guns laws—some meaningful, some unproductive—and the right yells ‘slippery slope’ and hides behind the Constitution,” she said. “Nothing happens, nothing changes. And with the next mass shooting, we do it all over again.”
Cupp announced that she’d canceled her membership with the NRA and issued a call to action, proposing universal background checks, bans on 100-round ammunition drums, gun violence restraining orders, and mental health programs in schools. But above all, she demanded a new conversation about gun control in America and implored conservatives and progressives to engage in a more honest and even emotional discourse about how to solve the crisis. As she put it, “[I]n the wake of more mass shootings—senseless violence that sent innocent people running for their lives, leaving children orphaned, loved ones dead on the ground—we must do something about guns.”
Here Cupp explains what has (and hasn’t) changed when it comes to her perspective on guns and how she hopes lawmakers will react to renewed pressure to take action on the issue. Also, to the furious conservatives in her mentions: She’s still a proud supporter of the Second Amendment.
I didn’t discover hunting and shooting until later in life. But almost from the start, guns were political for me, because I was and am a political person. As a conservative, I aligned with Second Amendment arguments. That felt natural.
To be frank, a lot of the voices on the left weren’t honest in their arguments and were sometimes inaccurate about guns and gun owners. I was frustrated, and so I pointed that out. Calling out the mistakes that the media made in talking about guns, pointing out the mistakes that Democrats made talking about guns—that just became something I did. I’m still proud of the work, and to be clear, I’m still a supporter of the Second Amendment. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is I’m a mom now. I know it sounds clichéd, but it’s true. When I was pregnant, I wrote about what it felt like to hunt and shoot as a pregnant woman. I felt empowered and even like it taught me a lot about becoming a mother.
But of course now I am a mom and that’s made me, in some circumstances, even more pro–Second Amendment than I had been and also made me take a step back from how I once handled a number of political arguments. Because now it’s personal. Whether it’s gun control or immigration, when there’s more at stake and it’s personalized and contextualized, I see it in a different light. I would hope that’s true for a lot of people.
What frustrates me about the gun argument among conservatives is that we have done the same thing for as long as I can remember, which is give no ground. And the reason we did that is because we have felt that there’s a slippery slope on gun control. There was this imperative not to give an inch. But it just started to feel like the usual conversations after these mass shootings were getting us nowhere. And if I can help move that discussion a millimeter, then I need to do that. Instead of being part of the problem, I want to be a part of a solution. I don’t have a whole solution. I don’t even have a fragment of a solution. But the biggest point I want to make is that we all need to put down our weapons and just talk.