Brady Campaign: NRA Uses Fear and Paranoia to Protect 'Shoot First' Law

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Common Dreams

Brady Campaign: NRA Uses Fear and Paranoia to Protect 'Shoot First' Law

NRA breaks its silence on Zimmerman, 'stand your ground' in campaign to support gun sales

by
Common Dreams staff

Protesters hold images of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin while demanding justice for his killing during a march through New York April 10, 2012 (Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif)

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the largest lobby of citizens against gun violence in the US, has now condemned the NRA for their latest campaign to strengthen 'stand your ground' legislation in response to the blow-back from the murder of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who has now been charged with second degree murder, was originally released by police due to 'stand your ground' laws.

Since the controversial case, the NRA has kept silent despite charges that it had encouraged street violence through the crafting of this legislation.

The NRA broke its silence this week, calling 'stand your ground' law a 'natural right'.

"Since George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin, America’s outrage over the gun lobby's deadly "Shoot First" laws forced the NRA into a two-month self-imposed silent exile. The darkness and danger of their vision was exposed with unusual clarity. Their reaction was to remain unusually silent," Brady Campaign President Dan Gross stated.

"Unfortunately, it seems they are now back to their usual business of using fear and paranoia, tinged with racism, to justify their agenda of political extremism and selling as many guns to as many people as possible."

"The NRA has now issued another ridiculous and misleading statement saying "Shoot First" laws are needed to protect the “innocent.” We wonder whether Trayvon Martin’s parents would agree with that."

This week, a 19-member task force appointed by the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has begun deliberations over the stand-your-ground law in response to the Martin case. The members of the panel are largely pro-gun.

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Dennis Henigan/Brady Campaign: Why The NRA Wants The Trayvon Martin Case To Go Away

When the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre finally spoke out about the Trayvon Martin shooting, it was to decry the media’s coverage of the tragedy as “sensational reporting from Florida.” It’s understandable that the NRA would be uncomfortable with the intense media attention to this particular shooting tragedy.

For one thing, the shooting has thrown a spotlight on the real-world impact of the “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” (aka “Stand Your Ground”) laws the NRA has pushed in Florida and other states across the country that are allowing dangerous individuals to literally “get away with murder.” But the NRA’s discomfort has even deeper roots. In a real sense, Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman exposes the mythology of the NRA’s core narrative about guns and self-defense.

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The Brady Campaign: Brady Campaign Statement on the NRA’s Defense of Dangerous “Shoot First” Laws

This time, the American people are not going to let the gun lobby just go back to business as usual -- using lies and deception to sell more guns to people like George Zimmerman. They claim they are supporting our freedom and our right to bear arms. A convicted felon or a terrorist can walk into a gun show in most states and buy a gun without a background check. The NRA has fought to keep it that way. Those are the only rights they are protecting – and just to make a profit.

Brady will continue to expose the deadly consequences of the gun lobby’s agenda, will shine a spotlight on those elected officials who choose to protect gun industry profits over Americans’ lives. We will make sure that voters know which candidates are not public servants, but servants to the gun lobby and, as a result are true accomplices in the unnecessary tragedies for which their policies are directly responsible.

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The Guardian/UK: NRA ends silence and comes out fighting for stand-your-ground laws

The National Rifle Association has begun a rearguard action to shore up the controversial "stand-your-ground" laws that it has promoted across America, in the wake of the eruption of public anger over the killing in Florida of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Since Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a self-declared neighborhood watch leader invoking the stand-your-ground law, on 26 February the NRA has kept uncharacteristically silent. Numerous requests by journalists for the association to answer charges that it had encouraged violent vigilantism were met with "no comment".

But the NRA has now come out fighting in favour of laws that it helped draft. In a statement put out by its lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA said that what it called self-defense laws were a "natural right"[...]

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