Let’s start with the tragic case of Philando Castile. Why didn’t the NRA instantly jump on the bandwagon? Perhaps because charges weren’t even brought against Officer Jeronimo Yanez until five months after the shooting? Or maybe it was because Officer Yanez was acquitted of all charges last June?
Or could it simply be because the NRA didn’t have enough facts to make a comment that might not blow up in its face later?
Unlike the happy campers in the media, social media and advocacy groups like Black Lives Matter that can get away with saying pretty much anything, the NRA has no journalistic immunity and it has deeper pockets than BLM. Had it gone on record attacking Officer Yanez and calling him a criminal, Officer Yanez could have retired quite comfortably on the proceeds of a lawsuit.
How about if the NRA had gone the other way and criticized Castile for failing to follow Officer Yanez’s orders. What if the NRA said that Castile was complicit in causing his own death?
About the only thing that the NRA could safely say would have been: “Philando Castile was killed during a traffic stop by St. Anthony Police Officer Geronimo Yanez on July 6, 2016. An investigation is ongoing.”
Think anyone would have been satisfied with that?
In any event, click here to watch NRA’s Colion Noir talking about the Philando Castile incident.
The NRA is not a shill for the gun industry. The industry has its own shill, the 8,000-member National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which is the industry’s trade and lobbying group.
Unlike most of the gun-control advocacy groups, the majority of the NRA’s annual income comes directly from its members in the form of dues, subscriptions and purchases of NRA-branded merchandise.
Most of the industry money comes in the form of paid advertising in NRA media. Other industry money, including support from specific manufacturers, grants, member bequests, special member gifts and such amount to about 18% of the NRA’s total.
It’s not like this is a secret. It’s all contained in the NRA’s Form 990, which has to be filed with the IRS every year.
Casey Sharp asks, “Why do we not see the NRA and their supporters setting up charity drives for inner city residents to train them in how to properly use firearms and provide them with guns after proper training?”
The question is why must it be the NRA? Why not ask Everytown for Gun Safety? After all, “gun safety” is part of the group’s name, right? Michael Bloomberg has more money than the NRA and he and some of the other big-money supporters could easily band together and fund the training and pass out the guns (subject to all applicable firearms laws, of course). If not Everytown, how about the Giffords Law Center or the Brady Campaign?
How about teaching gun safety in the schools? Beats disciplining kids for biting their Pop-Tart into a gun shape.
In 2016 the NRA Foundation spent $33,703,179 on more than 3,000 grants for safety and marksmanship training, youth and family programs and law enforcement training. The NRA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. It is prohibited from political advocacy including gun politics. It doesn’t contribute to politicians, soft money, dark money or PACs. There are no highly paid officials; in fact, no one gets a salary at all.
If Black Lives Matter wanted safety training, the NRA Foundation would be the place to start. In fact, it’s the only place to start because none of the gun-control advocacy groups offers anything like the safety and training programs offered by both the NRA and the NSSF. In fact, none of them offer anything more than lip service to firearms safety. The one time that Everytown tried to make a safety video, they actually demonstrated dangerously poor gun handling.
So perhaps Black Lives Matter could approach Michael Bloomberg and ask him to provide funding for the NRA to come in and provide no-cost safety training. He could take gun orders at the same time.
If it’s real safety you’re talking about, the National Shooting Sport Foundation offers free gun safety tips and a free gun lock. It’s part of Project ChildSafe and the kits are free for the asking from most law enforcement agencies. To date, the NSSF has distributed more than 37 million kits.
I do realize that the NRA is a popular punching bag. But you always run the risk of it punching back and this time you got hit. As the saying goes, “I am the NRA.”