Jason Selvig grabbed a microphone at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston and applauded the gun lobby’s longtime leader for his efforts to stop mass shootings. Selvig told fellow convention attendees that he was “sick and tired” of critics blaming NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre for not doing enough to stop the decades-long scourge. He has done plenty, Selvig told them, offering his thoughts and prayers after each tragedy. It was a prank, reports the Washington Post. Selvig, half of a two-comedian act that targets conservative politicians, was posing as a LaPierre supporter to implicitly criticize him to his face and in front of NRA attendee. A video capturing Selvig’s speech posted on Twitter had been viewed 8 million times as of early Tuesday.
Organizers carried on with the four-day event though it was in the state where two days earlier, a gunman killed 21 people, including 19 schoolchildren. The NRA’s decision to forge ahead with its annual meeting echoed a similar call 23 years ago when it held a shortened version of its 1999 convention in Denver about a week after the deadly shooting at nearby Columbine High School. LaPierre, who was reelected Monday as the NRA chief executive, started the convention by addressing the shooting in Uvalde, lamenting the “21 beautiful lives ruthlessly and indiscriminately extinguished by a criminal monster,” but he said “restricting the fundamental human rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been." Instead, the NRA pledged “to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure. That echoes the position the group took after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Ct. — advocating for more armed staff members inside schools.