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The Hypocrisy of the NRA

The National Rifle Association usually doesn’t mince words when defending the right of Americans to arm themselves. But we now have a case where a person, legally licensed to carry a concealed weapon, was stopped by the police for a broken taillight. He informed the officer that he had a firearm. The officer asked him for his driver’s license and he reached for his wallet, and the officer shot and killed him.

Normally, I suspect the NRA would be howling. But this case is different. The dead man is an African American. I guess they believe that the second amendment doesn’t apply to black people.

The NRA released a statement expressing “deep anguish” about the killing of police in Dallas, but that statement did not even mention the reasons for the protest there, nor anything about either Alton Sterling or Philando Castile. On the NRA’s Facebook page, NRA members have taken them to task for their silence. Here’s just one example of many:

Why the silence on the Philando Castile’s shooting? As a member I expect you to support and speak out when a person’s rights are viloated. A man was killed for exercising his second amendment rights. If you don’t speak out on this, then why should I bother to be a member?

Probably in response to the complaints, the NRA did belatedly release a statement about the “reports from Minnesota” (Castile, whose name was not even mentioned, was killed in Minnesota), but all they said was that they would not comment “while the investigation was ongoing”.

Not surprisingly, America has a long history of racial disparity regarding guns. In fact, the first gun control law in this land, even before it became the United States, was passed in Virginia in 1640. It explicitly prohibited blacks from owning guns, even if they were not slaves.

Two hundred years later, in 1857 the Dred Scott case denied constitutional rights to slaves. One of the main reasons stated was because doing that would give them the right to “keep and carry arms wherever they went.” Even after slavery was abolished, many Southern states enacted laws that prohibited former slaves from owning guns.

In 1956, Martin Luther King Jr was denied a gun permit even after his house was bombed and he received numerous death threats. And in 1967, in response to Black Panthers openly (but legally) carrying their guns into the State Capitol building in California, then-governor Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill sponsored by Republicans that banned the open carrying of firearms. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (the first major gun-related law since the 1930s) was passed mainly to outlaw the cheap handguns owned by blacks and poor people. In both cases, the NRA supported those laws.

There are lots of other examples. The NRA claims to support the second amendment, but is silent when the person exercising that right is not white. Indeed, if the firearm-toting ranchers who illegally took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge at gunpoint had been black, do you think the response might have been a little bit different?

Also published on Medium.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Ah, come on. You don’t realize how much of the population have no idea that Obama’s mother was 100% white? That he was raised white? You can even tell them, but people like to think there are people below them. Obama being President still is below them because he has a good tan.

    When the second amendment was written the black people were 3/5 a white person. In southern states, they still are. I read comments on-line in the local paper.

    You have lived in the West too long and traveled to Europe where all people were created equal. Not in this country and especially with Christians. Christians are better than anyone else. I was raised Christian and I know.

    Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    I just read about the Protest in Rochester NY where 70 people were arrested. Many reporters were covering the event. Two were handcuffed with no warning. One male, one female. And both black. The other reporters were white. No racial profiling in Rochester NY, NOPE.

    the mayor of Rochester was on hand for the protests. She is black and immediately had these two reporters released. And this in Frederick Douglass country. Will this ever end? Not in my life time.

    Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 5:32 am | Permalink
  3. Jonah wrote:

    The gunman was also killed by a bomb delivering robot. The point of the 2nd amendment ie defense against an authoritarian government, is kind of moot at this point. Rifles and even machine guns are useless at this point against bomb delivering robots. Time to stop using the 2nd amendment as a crutch against gun safety. The alternative is that everyone can legally own bombs and missiles.

    Monday, July 11, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  4. Ralph wrote:

    Surely we don’t expect the NRA to be a stalwart of racial harmony and progress in this country. They are, pure and simple, a lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers. Period. If people happen to get shot and killed along the way – black, white, yellow, brown, blue – it doesn’t really matter. Whatever the circumstances, there’s always a boilerplate statement handy they can repeatedly trot out about protecting the 2nd Amendment, or the slippery slope of onerous regulations, or the good guy with a gun, or blah blah blah. This has been more than obvious for years, even before they had Congress in their back pocket and started making pink colored rifles for little girls.

    And I’m sure the likes of La Pierre and Nugent and Guiliani will spout more of the same standard drivel at the Republican Convention to placate their base and demonize Obama et. al.

    Even more discouraging, it’s hard (for me anyway) to imagine our obsession with firearms changing anytime in the foreseeable future, regardless of the continuing carnage we see in the news almost daily. Even if we were to mandate an end to all gun manufacturing in America starting today (yeah, as if), there would still be more guns around than people, and plenty of people more than eager to use them for better or worse, for generations to come. Or to paraphrase former Senator Zell Miller (D, Geo), “I have more guns than I need, but less guns than I want.”

    I mean you’re liable to find a loaded gun practically anywhere these days!

    Monday, July 11, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

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