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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom blasts National Rifle Assn. recruitment video, saying it could lead to violence

 (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom called on the National Rifle Assn. to take down a controversial new video that he argued villanizes political rivals and could lead to violence.

“Come after politicians. Come after policy makers. Come after ME,” Newsom wrote on his Facebook page Thursday. But “do not implicitly call for demonstrations of force against your fellow Americans in a country that is already reeling. You are powerful. People are listening to you. And your message could lead to tragedy.”

The NRA video, which urges people to join the organization, was posted earlier this month and features conservative commentator Dana Loesch talking about political rivals who she argues use the media, schools and Hollywood for sinister purposes.

The video features footage of police clashing with protesters and a bloodied Trump supporter, and flashes images such as the Hollywood sign, Disney Hall and the Los Angeles Times building as Loesch repeatedly invokes an unnamed opponent she refers to as "they."

Loesch’s concluding remarks in the minute-long video have drawn the most ire.

“The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” Loesch said. “I’m the National Rifle Assn. of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.”

Newsom is a longtime foe of the NRA.  He was a primary sponsor of Proposition 63, a ballot measure voters approved in November that requires background checks to purchase ammunition, bans possession of high-capacity magazines and other gun-safety efforts.

On Thursday, the NRA claimed victory when a federal judge, at their attorney's request, granted a preliminary injunction blocking a related law that would have required Californians to get rid of large-capacity magazines by Saturday or face fines and potential jail time.

Newsom, the state's lieutenant governor, wrote that he felt a “chill down my spine” when he watched the video.

He said while he and the NRA have long disagreed, the video crosses the line of appropriate political debate. He described it as "dangerous" because it tells viewers “that our fellow Americans are to be feared … and even worse.”

“How does this video advance debate? How does it bring people together for common ideals? How does it do anything but cast Americans as ‘enemies’ to be defeated in a cynical ploy to sell as many weapons as possible?” he wrote.

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