The National Rifle Association (NRA) generated a lot of controversy over the last week after running an ad that called President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for sending his kids to a school with armed guards. Many criticized the NRA for bringing the Obama daughters into a heated political. Other pointed out that the Obama daughters are under a much larger threat of kidnapping than the average child. It was simply assumed by many, including this author, that the armed guards claim was true. In fact, Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post found out that the Obama daughters’ school does not have armed guards, which makes the NRA not only morally questionable, but factually wrong as well.
The confusion stems in part from two versions of the NRA ad. The shorter version of the ad, which most viewers have seen, simply references “armed guards” at Sidwell Friends School, where the Obama daughters attend. Many believed this could have been a reference to Secret Service protection since they are technically “armed guards.” However, the longer version of the ad references NBC newsman David Gregory and his kids who attend the same school. Gregory’s kids do not have Secret Service protection, but the ad claims that Sidwell Friends School has “11 armed guards.”
Kessler proceeded to factcheck this claim by calling the Sidwell Friends School. He found that Sidwell Friends does list 11 people in their “Security Department.” However, parents have of children at Sidwell Friends said they have never seen a guard on campus with a weapon. Ellis Turner, associate head of Sidwell Friends, “emphatically” told Kesller that, “Sidwell Friends security officers do not carry guns.”
So as it turns out the Obama daughters’ school does not have armed guards as the ad claims. In addition, unless the NRA is asking President Obama to forego his own family Secret Service protection over his gun control stance, the basic premise of the ad fails.