NRA's Dana Loesch in Denver on what's to blame for school shootings

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch speaks at the Western Conservative Summit Saturday night in Denver. (Photo courtesy of the Centennial Institute via YouTube)

The National Rifle Association’s media-star spokeswoman Dana Loesch spoke Saturday night in Denver about failures in the system, local and national, that she believes led to the shooting at a Florida high school in February.

“There were things that led up to this,” she told the crowd Saturday at the Western Conservative Summit, which wrapped up its two-day run at the Colorado Convention Center.

Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, “and it’s all the fault of the NRA and Dana Loesch,” she told the audience, to boos.

Instead of full-throated defense of gun laws, she spoke about double standards about offensive statements and emasculating the male culture in America. (“They treat every man like he’s a potential rapist, and men and boys do not get the benefit of a doubt in our society anymore,” she said, adding that equal pay is a myth.)

She cited cases of people with guns stopping criminals, a favorite talking point of the NRA.

“Think how much more that would be if not every area was a gun-free zone, if we treated criminals like criminals and law-abiding Americans like law-abiding Americans and stop protecting criminals at the expense of the innocent,” she said to applause.

The Second Amendment is red-meat politics for the right side of political spectrum. It was a clear applause line for the nine-year-old summit billed as the largest conclave of conservative activists, politicians and media outside the Washington, D.C., beltway.

Gun-violence protesters gathered outside the convention center Saturday night. Loesch said she granted them their First Amendment rights, so they should grant the summit-goers their Second Amendment rights.

The blogger turned syndicated radio host and TV talking head became the national spokeswoman for the NRA last year. Loesch was a familiar name and face already as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and other networks who spoke up for gun rights and other conservative positions.

RELATED: Parkland student to conservatives: Gun control isn’t the solution to school shootings

Friday nigh,t Kyle Kashuv, a student who survived the mass shooting in Parkland, told the crowd why he supports gun rights and opposes gun-free zones.

He spoke of his mistrust of the government and blamed his local school board and school security for doing nothing when they should have known the shooter was a threat. Kashuv visited the White House in March to share his views on school safety with the president.

Loesch wrapped up her speech with a story about a CNN Town Hall in February with students from Parkland High. She faced an angry crowd and said she was escorted away quickly after for her safety, but wouldn’t back down from what she believes in.

“If I can do it, you can do it,” she said. “Never bow to a rage mob, ever.”

During Saturday’s program, Loesch answered a question from student Emma Gonzalez about the NRA’s opposition to banning semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons.

Loesch’s answer reflected what later would become an issue in Colorado: a failed red-flag gun bill to temporarily remove guns from those deemed a danger to themselves or others. The bill was supported by Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial, and Aurora theater shooting prosecutor George Brauchler, now the lone Republican candidate for attorney general.

Other legislative Republicans and conservative activists turned on the pair of the party’s rising stars over it. Wist attended the summit, and Brauchler was a speaker Friday morning.

“None of us want people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm,” Loesch told Gonzales. She blamed states for not reporting information to a crime database that would prevent “crazy people” from getting guns, noting that Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz passed a background check to get the weapon he used to kill 17 people.

Loesch added, “We have to start … following up on red flags.”

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