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Gun Owners “Express Dismay” over the NRA’s Silence on Police Violence

July 10, 2020

According to a new report by The Trace, the NRA “styles itself as a bulwark for liberty and an essential check on state power, but its interest in confronting government abuses comes to a hard stop at the thin blue line.” This results in an organization that “treats [police] criticism as a sign of moral decline, and has gotten downright apocalyptic in response to protests of police abuses.” 

The NRA’s silence on police violence has led some gun owners and NRA members to speak out: 

  • The NRA’s failure to defend Kenneth Walker––Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend and a licensed gun carrier who was arrested for firing his gun when three police officers forced their way into his apartment unannounced––has “led some in the gun rights community to express dismay.” 
  • Michael Cargill––a Black Texas gun store owner, NRA-certified firearms instructor, and NRA member––is also fed up with the NRA’s refusal to stand up to law enforcement. His request for the NRA: “What I would like is for the NRA to stand up and say, ‘You know what, that was wrong, the police officer was wrong, and the police officer has to be prosecuted. Don’t be a coward.’” 

The report, written by Will Van Sant, also notes the NRA’s unhinged responses to criticism of police. For example, the NRA has repeatedly denounced taking a knee to protest police brutality, and in 2017, NRATV host Chuck Holton said that the “blatant racism and violence” of the “Black Lives Matter crowd” could lead to the massacre of white people. 

The Trace’s piece came out the same day as a Salon report that exposed racist comments from NRA officials in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd––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. The Salon report also noted the NRA’s long history of silence after the police killings of Black people.

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