With the anti-gun media, the National Rifle Association is in the position of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Anytime the NRA speaks out on anything not indisputably linked to gun rights, they get blasted. In fairness, they get blasted when they talk about gun rights as well, but that’s a bit different.
If they veer off into anything tangentially related to anything else, they get criticized much differently. While the NRA gets hit for its comments on guns, it gets for just touching on anything else, regardless of the validity to what they might have said.
Now, though, they’re getting hit because they’re not speaking out on an issue that basically has nothing to do with guns.
The National Rifle Association has been conspicuously silent on police violence amid weeks of nationwide demonstrations, despite calling itself the “America’s longest-standing civil rights organization.”
The NRA’s leaders and social media accounts have made no mention of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, the protests, or the police violence against peaceful protesters.
“The NRA loves to talk about liberty, self-defense, and resisting ‘tyranny,’ but their actions suggest that they believe these concerns apply only to white people,” Kelly Sampson, the constitutional litigation and racial justice counsel at Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said in a statement to Salon. “When armed vigilantes and law enforcement infringe on Black and brown Americans’ civil rights — the NRA is silent.”
First, the law enforcement officers accused of infringing on anyone’s civil rights are being prosecuted. That’s conspicuously absent from Sampson’s tirade. In other words, the system isn’t rolling over and just letting this kind of thing happen.
The same is happening to those who tried to use firearms to intimidate black and brown activists who were protesting peacefully.
However, that’s not enough.
This is nothing new. Despite NRA chief Wayne LaPierre’s famous warning of “jack-booted government thugs” who want to “take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us,” the group said nothing when Louisville police broke into Breonna Taylor’s apartment and fatally shot her in bed after her boyfriend, a legal gun owner, fired a warning shot to prevent what he thought was a home invasion. It similarly stayed silent on the killing of Botham Jean, who was killed when an off-duty police officer mistook his apartment for her own, other than to suggest he might still be alive if he had been armed himself.
Except Breonna Taylor–as awful as that incident was–had nothing to do with gun confiscation. Neither did the death of Botham Jean, though the NRA’s position is certainly valid. If he’d had been armed, he might have been able to shoot back at his attacker, saving his life.
LaPierre’s warning–one that already existed within the gun rights community well before he uttered it–was about a specific threat, the threat of these same police being blasted by the left going door to door to take away our Second Amendment rights, the very rights. It’s a concern many of us have based on the words of anti-gun activists throughout the nation. These are the ones who admit that yes, they are coming for our guns.
Of course, they won’t come themselves. They’ll send the same police they describe as oppressors.
Until then, though, the NRA’s silence is warranted. This isn’t their fight and they know it.
But that’s not enough for Salon. It never is.
No, they have to paint any opposition to the current narrative as racist.
“The NRA uses rhetoric steeped in racism. You only have to look at their Twitter feed to see this,” Sampson told Salon. “On June 2, the NRA tweeted about apparent looting in Minneapolis and about reports that Black residents were purchasing firearms, calling the Second Amendment a ‘great equalizer.’ But the feed made no mention of the violence perpetrated against protesters or against Black Americans across the country. The NRA has used this tactic for decades and has created a culture of fear and paranoia that not only ignores the suffering of people of color but also actively threatens them. We see this in the NRA’s unremitting defense of Stand Your Ground laws, which are proven to be more likely to be used to justify the murder of a Black man by a white man.”
Oh, you mean the NRA isn’t singling out specific instances of people doing bad things? Kind of like how they rarely single out specific instances of crime unless it’s thwarted by an armed citizen?
They go on to pretend that every criticism of Black Lives Matter, the protests and ensuing riots, or any of that is somehow evidence of racism. Then again, in their mind, any criticism of any of these things simply has to be racist because they can’t fathom why anyone would take issue with a movement founded by at least one admitted Marxist.
Honestly, it’s getting harder and harder to take Salon and the anti-NRA left seriously anymore. While the NRA, like any organization, has room for improvement, the truth is that there was no way the anti-gunners would have cut them some slack. If they’d said anything other than the approved rhetoric, they’d have been blasted and we all know it.
So the NRA opted to stay silent.
Frankly, that was the right call in the first place.