There have been a lot of stories lately regarding the NRA’s notable silence on the police shooting and verdict in the shooting of Philando Castile, a permit-to-carry holding driver who informed Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who pulled him over, that he had a firearm. Slate.com, looked at the NRA’s silence and, predictably, sees it is a matter of race.
“If Castile had been white instead of black, the NRA would have been rallying behind him and his family since the moment of his death, and fundraising off his memory for the rest of time.”
From The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah opined:
In a story about a man being shot because he was lawfully armed, you would think that one group, one powerful group in America would say something about it. This is a group you’d expect to be losing their goddamn minds about this: the NRA. But for some strange reason, on this particular case, they’ve been completely silent…
Noah then explained why he thinks the NRA has been silent:
The host played footage of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s speech at 2014’s CPAC, where he said there’s “no greater freedom” than defending oneself with “all the rifles, shotguns, and handguns we want.”
Noah added, “‘Unless you’re black,’ is what it should have said. …”
From our friends at HuffPo we get “The NRA, Champion Of Gun Rights, Failed Philando Castile” with reporter Andy Campbell stating:
The National Rifle Association loves to beat its chest after shootings in America. …
But don’t expect the same kind of treatment from the NRA if you’re a black man in America ― even if you’re a registered gun owner like Philando Castile …
Many of these reports cite other cases in which the NRA has come out strongly in favor of armed citizens and defensive gun uses. Andy C. points out:
[The NRA] has a page on its website dedicated to deifying gun owners who stand their ground. NRA reps comment on shootings all the time, with far less restraint.
Yet as is so often the case in situations like this, people are focusing on the trees instead of the forest. It actually took The Guardian, a paper from the United Kingdom, to bring up what I think is the key issue here; it isn’t that the NRA doesn’t like blacks, it’s that they love local law enforcement officers.
… But the circumstances of Castile’s killing, including the suggestion by Minnesota’s governor that it would not have happened were he white, puts the NRA’s allegiance to police in direct conflict with its gun rights mission.
Despite its fierce criticism of government overreach, the NRA is largely a pro-police organization: many of its more than five million members, who are predominantly white and conservative, are current or former law enforcement officials …
The NRA was originally founded to teach damn Yankees how to shoot straight. Over the years it has expanded its teaching role enormously, including teaching cops. Back in 1960 (before this OFWG was even born) the NRA established their Law Enforcement Division:
… specifically to provide the law enforcement community with a means to certify law enforcement firearm instructors. Over the last 55 years, we have trained more than 58,000 law enforcement firearm instructors and currently have over 13,000 active certified instructors.
Thus, for over 55 years they’ve been “training the trainers” as well as hosting many other schools and programs designed specifically for training cops. Given this practically incestuous relationship with the police, it’s no wonder that the NRA has chosen to remain quiet on this issue.
But for those who still maintain that this silence is because Castile was black, please explain their silence regarding Madison, Wisconsin PD’s abuse of the “Madison Five”; five white men who were accosted and charged with disorderly conduct for openly carrying at a Culver’s in Madison (this despite the Wisconsin Attorney General’s letter more than a year previous, stating that merely open carrying cannot be construed as disorderly conduct). If the NRA is supposed to only back white folks against police misconduct, where were they in that case?
In fact, where were they for white man Mark Hoffman, arrested 07/23/2013 for legally openly carrying a firearm?
Where were they for permit holding white man Jarrod Kuehn, charged with a felony for having an unloaded gun, encased and locked in his vehicle, in a school parking lot?
Where were they for permit holding white man Ethan Shepherd when he was unlawfully fired for having a gun in his car in the company parking lot?
And that’s just from one state.
So no, the NRA has many flaws, but their lack of support for Philando Castile and his family had less to do with the fact that he was black and much more to do with not wanting to piss off their LEO and former-LEO membership or upset their cozy relationships with cop-shops across the country.