Eugene Scott, Washington Post, March 8, 2018
But no other demographic group seems to have a lower view of the gun rights association than black Americans.
In a Quinnipiac poll released after the Florida shooting, Americans were asked: “Do you think that the NRA, or National Rifle Association, supports policies that are good for the U.S. or supports policies that are bad for the U. S.?”
More than half — 51 percent — of all Americans chose “bad.” But black voters were especially pessimistic about the NRA with eight in 10 calling the group’s policies bad. That number was 72 percent in October 2017.
To be fair, many black Americans have not been convinced that the NRA had their best interests in mind long before last month’s shooting, especially in the aftermath of shootings of black gun owners. The organization went through an internal struggle over the police killing of Philando Castile, who was carrying a licensed firearm. It waited a day and a half to comment, then promised “more to say once all the facts were known.” Later it said Castile was carrying illegally because he was also in possession of marijuana.
But black conservatives like Candace Owens, director of urban engagement for Turning Point USA, a conservative student movement, have defended the NRA, claiming it has always been invested in helping black Americans protect their civil rights. The NRA often refers to itself as the “oldest civil rights organization.”
However, activist Brittany Packnett said that not only does the NRA not have a history of defending black Americans, but the group only seems to reference gun violence in black and Latino communities to further its own narrative.
“Every time we talk about gun violence in this country, we hear the same racist dog whistles that try to blame America’s fascination with guns on black and brown communities,” she said in a Mic opinion piece. “At the end of the day, the NRA has had plenty of opportunities to care about black and brown communities, but they don’t really care about Chicago or Baltimore or people that look like me. They’re using us as political pawns.”
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch did address Chicago in her CPAC speech, but maybe not in the way activists wanted: “Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back. And notice I said crying white mothers because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend, and you don’t see town halls for them, do you?”