According to a new report from Salon, the “National Rifle Association has been conspicuously silent on police violence amid weeks of nationwide demonstrations, despite [falsely] calling itself the ‘America’s longest-standing civil rights organization.’” Worse still, NRA officials have made outright racist comments in the past month––including comparing Black Lives Matter to Nazis and ISIS, defending Rayshard Brooks’ killers, and complaining that Black people never said “thank you” to white people for freeing them from slavery.
John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown, denounced the NRA in the article: “The NRA claims to be a ‘civil rights’ organization, but their officials have spent the last month defending Confederate monuments while comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to the Nazi Party and ISIS. That tells you everything you need to know about whose ‘civil rights’ the NRA really cares about.”
The Salon report, written by Igor Derysh, tells the full story:
The NRA’s long history of silence after police killings of Black people: According to Salon, the NRA has been silent after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Jason Washington, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., Atatiana Jefferson, Harith Augustus, and Siwatu-Salama Ra.
NRA officials’ racist response to recent Black Lives Matter protests:
- NRA board member Ted Nugent compared the Black Lives Matter movement to ISIS and “complained that Black Americans have never said ‘thank you’ to white people for, as he put it, freeing them from slavery.”
- NRA board member Allen West argued that Black Lives Matter was “no different” from the Nazi “Brown Shirts that used to roam the streets,” suggested sending in the military to suppress protestors, and said, “I’m tired of this Black Lives Matter organization. They don’t care about Black lives.”
- NRA board member Dean Cain shared a video which argued that the officers who killed Rayshard Brooks were “unlawfully charged.” He also shared a video that called protesters “rioting thugs” and said, “You do not have a right to be offended by stereotypes that say Black people are inherently violent, when that is exactly the way you act when given the first opportunity.”
- NRA board member and former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr argued that the “riots” had “nothing to do with the death of George Floyd.” He further suggested that Black Lives Matter was a front group for Marxism that has “little, if anything, to do with racial justice.”
- NRA board member Mark Geist called Black Lives Matter a “rancid evil trying to take over our country.”
NRA officials criticized Michael Brown and Philando Castille while “downplaying the role race plays in police shootings.”
- Last year, Ted Nugent said that Michael Brown––the Black teenager killed by Ferguson, Missouri police 2014––was no better than “mass shooters and criminal thugs.”
- Former NRATV host and spokeswoman Dana Loesch defended the killing of Philando Castille, saying that “that Castile was not, in fact, a legal gun owner because he was carrying marijuana ‘simultaneously.”
- Colion Noir, another former NRATV host, downplayed the role race plays in police shootings, saying, “I know one thing is for sure: It has never been safer to be black and armed in this country than it is right now.”
This is far from the first report to uncover racism at the NRA. The organization’s own officials called NRATV “distasteful and racist”; the NRA recently partnered with BlazeTV, Glenn Beck’s media outlet that has featured transphobic, homophobic, and racist content; and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NRA associates and board members have furthered the racist “Chinese virus” narrative.