As the crowd in Indianapolis at the annual National Rifle Association convention was whipped up into a frenzy, an anti-NRA protest was going strong.
“I’m a gun violence survivor,” Kate Ranta told NBC6’s Ari Odzer via Skype.
Kate survived a bullet-riddled nightmare 18 months ago in Coral Springs. Police said Ranta’s estranged husband, Thomas Maffei, ignored a restraining order and shot her and her father while their little boy watched.
“My son was saying, ‘Don’t do it Daddy. Don’t shoot mommy,’” Kate said of the fateful night. Her son chimed in, “I stopped him.”
Kate and her son have joined those protesting the NRA in Indianapolis. They’re part of a group called “Everytown for Gun Safey” and Ranta is featured in the group’s television ad in which gun victims speak quotes from gun lobby leaders.
One of the quotes used, “There’s no victory until we get guns in school to protect ourselves. We will buy more guns than ever. These words were said by the gun lobby, but they don’t speak for us.”
Kate said what she’s fighting for is simple, “Universal background checks, it’s just a no-brainer.”
Ranta said her husband shouldn’t have had a gun the night he shot her and her father.
“Something like common sense gun laws would’ve prevented him from getting a gun and possibly taking out three generations of my family,” Kate said.
The Everytown for Gun Safety group is being bankrolled by billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made gun control his cause after leaving office. Bloomberg has pledged $50 million towards supporting gun control.
Still, at the NRA convention, a who’s-who of Republicans lined up to speak to the gun group. Florida Senator Marco Rubio was among the speakers and said the media and gun control advocates use tragedies to push an anti-gun agenda.
“Meanwhile, these anti-gun zealots use these tragedies to further their agenda, we neglect to pursue the thing that would actually make our people safer,” Rubio said.
Other key GOP figures expected to speak include former Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.