Inside The Sick Arrogance Of RMGO’s Non-Apology

UPDATE: Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

Lorusso, who hosts the two-hour program Common Nonsense on 1360 KHNC, a conservative talk radio show based in Johnstown, has testified on behalf of RMGO in community hearings throughout 2022, including in Boulder last August, where he said his group would sue over a handful of ordinances adopted in Boulder County communities on guns. In July, RMGO later obtained a temporary restraining order in July against the town of Superior over its ordinance banning so-called “assault weapons.”

Lorusso doubled down on his comments in an interview with KUSA Tuesday, describing Black children who are killed by guns as “gangland violence” and said those deaths are separate from gun deaths for children of other races.

On Wednesday, Taylor Rhodes, RMGO’s executive director, told KMGH that Lorusso is the group’s most junior staffer and that he was nervous during the committee testimony. Rhodes did not apologize for Lorusso’s comments.


Kevin Lorusso of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

We’ve been talking for a few days now about testimony from a lobbyist for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners in a Colorado House committee hearing Monday, in which under questioning from Democratic Rep. Kyle Brown, Kevin Lorusso asserted that Black children under the age of nineteen should not be counted in gun violence statistics. Again, here is the verbatim dialogue from the House State Affairs Committee:

REP. BROWN: According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms are the leading cause of death for American children. More than 5 deaths per 100,000 Americans between the ages of one and 19 were due to guns in 2020.

KEVIN LORUSSO: Uh, yeah, so if you remove Black males from that age group from that, it is not true. And that is a symptom of a different issue. The issue that is causing young Black males to be killed in their homes, on their streets, is a very different issue. [Pols emphasis]

When questioned by 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark, Lorusso acknowledged that his remarks “came off horrible” but insisted there would be somehow “no racial intent” behind removing–again, his words–“Black males from that age group” from gun violence statistics:

LoRusso stood by his statement over the phone. [Pols emphasis]

He described Black children being killed as “gangland violence” and a separate issue from gun deaths among other children of other races.

“There was no racial intent behind it,” LoRusso told 9NEWS. “I can understand how it can be taken out of context.” After a lengthy defense of his remarks, [Pols emphasis] LoRusso acknowledged his comments “came off horrible.”

The problem here of course is not with the well-known statistics on the racial distribution of gun violence victims, but rather the idea that Black children are somehow “skewing” gun violence statistics and should therefore be categorized separately. The only way you can do that is if you believe Black lives have inherently lesser value than children of other races. When given a chance to make clear that’s not what Mr. Lorusso believes, he chose to double down on the point that Blacks dying from gun violence is a “different issue.”

Last night, apparently becoming aware that Lorusso had rather seriously screwed up in letting slip this unscripted moment of alt-right “race realism,” Rocky Mountain Gun Owners released the following statement via Denver7’s Meghan Lopez:

Executive Director Taylor Rhodes said in a statement to Denver7, “Monday, I allowed Kevin Lorusso, our most junior staffer, [Pols emphasis] to testify on behalf of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners on two bills we knew were going to die in committee to get him experience in the public forum. If you have testified on behalf of a large organization, or even on behalf of yourself, this can be a very nerve-wracking exercise. In his testimony, he misspoke when discussing a heated topic surrounding the gun issue. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners will continually support and defend the Second Amendment freedoms of all law-abiding Coloradans.”

The statement went on to say that RMGO will not provide any more interviews or statements on the topic but will continue to fight for gun rights at the Colorado State Capitol.

No apology, not even a hint of regret. By characterizing Lorusso’s comments as having “misspoke,” RMGO fails to resolve Lorusso’s subsequent defense of his statements to 9NEWS. RMGO had the same opportunity that Lorusso did to acknowledge the problem with what Lorusso was proposing, intentionally downplaying gun violence statistics by excluding a certain race–and they chose not to address the question at all.

Because Lorusso meant exactly what he said. While it’s true that the fate of these ill-conceived pro-gun bills in the Democratic-controlled legislation was never in question, as RMGO carries out their latest legal campaign of suing local governments who take advantage of new Colorado law allowing for local gun control ordinances, it’s fair to say they don’t need the taint of overt racism accompanying them into the courtroom.

Once again, the “junior staffer” has messed up the whole program.

2 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    It would be a lot easier if people would just admit to being racist and be done with it. Too much pretending.

    • Chickenheed says:

      "There was no racial intent behind it" Says Lorusso who brought up race  entirely unprovoked in a conversation that had nothing to do with race.

      "Young people that join gangs deserve to be killed because all gang members and anyone associated with them are criminals and history shows that anyone we think of as criminals should at least be dragged behind pickup trucks or hanged from the neck until dead. As we all know, only black people join gangs in hellscape cities like Denver. So since young black people join gangs in shitty urban areas their deaths shouldn't be counted as firearm deaths. They should be counted as deaths caused by evil socialist liberals who ruin urban areas with communism, not gun-related deaths! There is no racial intent behind this at all." -Lorusso explaining himself (probably)

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