Al Sharpton assails NRA on race
Does the National Rifle Association care about African Americans? If you ask Reverend Al Sharpton, the answer is no. Per Politico, Sharpton railed against the NRA’s apparent unwillingness to stand up for the Second Amendment rights of the black community.
Both of them were killed by police based on ‘they had a gun. Now I missed the NRA coming out and defending the gun rights they legally had. Where is the NRA? Where is [NRA president] Wayne LaPierre now? Do you have a Second Amendment right or did you not get down, Mr. Pierre, to the 14th, 15th and 16th amendments? Maybe you mean the Second Amendment is for whites only.
These harsh words come on the heels of two deadly police shootings where the victims, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were both carrying firearms when confronted by police. Questions still linger about whether Sterling and Castile presented a threat with their firearms, or were merely victimized based on the color of their skin.
While the NRA is usually the first to defend gun rights after national tragedies, they appear to be approaching these recent attacks in a more tepid fashion. They did break their silence on Castille, but it wasn’t quite the vigorous defense as seen after an event such as the Orlando shootings. “The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated,” they said. “In the meantime, it is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing.”
This certainly does not stand out as an impassioned defense, especially in light of how Castille’s girlfriend came out to say that he informed the officer that he was carrying a legal firearm before reaching for his wallet after the officer had pulled him over. For the NRA, who has presented themselves as an unequivocal ally of police officers in the past, there are no easy positions to take.
African Americans should not be denied their constitutional right to bear arms based on the color of their skin. Caucasians likely do not fear for lives when interacting with the police, whether they carry a firearm or not. It would be immoral to force black citizens to have to choose between carrying protection for themselves and risking even more heated exchanges with officers.
It’s not that the NRA ignores the right to bear arms of the African American community all together. Criticizing Democrats’ pushes for gun control, NRA News featured African American commentator Colion Noir to discuss the follies of their logic. This all being said, putting out such a video isn’t quite the same as rushing to a Castille or a Sterling’s defense after such an example of police brutality.
Cam Edwards, host of the NRA’s Cam&Co. podcast, came out to say, “Our right to keep and bear arms is not based on the color of our skin.” They would do well to emphasize such statements to keep up their credibility in African American communities.
It’s an exaggeration, for sure, to say that the NRA is a “white’s only” institution. However, the job of the NRA is keep Americans’ right to bear arms secure, no matter their skin color. The one positive thing that may result from Sharpton’s absurd statements is that it may force the NRA to be more open in their support of black victims of police brutality. Just because someone is exercising their constitutional rights doesn’t mean they should be suspect of a crime. Right aren’t based on skin color, and the NRA would do well to affirm that to the American public.