In video, prankster at NRA convention thanks Wayne LaPierre for ‘thoughts and prayers’ after shootings

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Fed up, Jason Selvig grabbed a microphone at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting this weekend and — just days after a shooter massacred 21 people at a Texas elementary school — 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 in the United States. He has done plenty, Selvig told them — namely, by offering his thoughts and prayers after each tragedy.

Then Selvig addressed LaPierre directly.

Except it was a prank. Selvig, half of a two-comedian act that often targets conservative politicians, was merely posing as a LaPierre supporter to implicitly criticize him to his face and in front of NRA attendees at the gun lobby’s largest meeting of the year. HAS video capturing Selvig’s speech posted on Twitter had been viewed 8 million times as of early Tuesday.

Selvig did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

Organizers carried on with the four-day event in Houston, even though it was in the state where two days earlier a gunman killed 21 people, including 19 schoolchildren. That mass shooting happened as the country was reeling from another 1½ weeks earlier, when a shooter killed 10 people in a racist attack at a grocery store in Buffalo.

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 Columbine High School, a suburb of the Mile High City.

Neither the NRA nor LaPierre immediately responded to a request for comment from The Post late Monday.

LaPierre, who was reelected Monday as the group’s 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,” the Associated Press reported.

Instead, the NRA pledged “to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure” in a statement released after the shooting, according to AP. That lines up with the position the group took after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. — advocating for more armed staff members inside schools.

Against the backdrop of being at a convention for the country’s most prominent gun rights group in the wake of two mass shootings, Selvig approached the microphone and declared that he was “sick and tired of the left-wing media,” and even some convention attendees , claiming that LaPierre “isn’t doing enough to stop these mass shootings and even implying [he] has played a part in making it easier for these shooters to get guns.”

Then Selvig launched into a long list of those shootings.

“You heard [the criticism] after Las Vegas, you heard it after Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, you heard it after Columbine, you heard it after Parkland, you heard it after Virginia Tech, you heard it after Sandy Hook, you heard it after El Paso, you heard it after Buffalo. You kept hearing that Wayne LaPierre isn’t doing enough.”

But that’s not true, Selvig said. The NRA, under LaPierre’s leadership, had given victims’ family members thoughts and prayers, “and maybe these mass shootings would stop happening if we all thought a little bit more and we prayed a little bit more.”

Then he addressed a confused-looking LaPierre.

“I want to thank you … for all your thoughts and all your prayers — thank you.”

Selvig turned and walked away.

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