NRA Faces Internal Dissension for Slow, Weak Response to Death of Philando Castile, a Legal Gun Owner

After a Minnesota police officer fatally shot a black man on Wednesday, gun control advocates weren’t the only ones criticizing the National Rifle Association. Some of the blowback was coming from within the organization.

The NRA is facing internal division as its members argue that the group did not do enough to defend gun owners’ rights by speaking out on behalf of Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., who was shot to death during a traffic stop.

Castile had a valid permit to carry a gun. He also reportedly informed the officer who shot him that he was armed in an attempt to head off a misunderstanding.

Still, Castile was killed by police, prompting outrage that following the rules was not enough to save him from a violent death.

The NRA appeared to drag its feet on the Falcon Heights shooting, taking more than a day and a half to address it publicly. When a statement was posted on the NRA Facebook page, the group obliquely referred to “reports from Minnesota.” It neither named Castile directly nor took a position on the shooting.

“It is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing,” the organization said. “Rest assured, the NRA will have more to say once all the facts are known.”

From the NRA’s Facebook page:

As the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization, the NRA proudly supports the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms for defense of themselves and others regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. In the meantime, it is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing.

Rest assured, the NRA will have more to say once all the facts are known.

Unlike its reaction to the Minnesota shooting, the NRA released a statement hours after the attack in Dallas early Friday morning left five police officers dead. The Dallas NRA statement did not mention the officers killed in the line of duty, emphasizing instead the “right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms for defense of themselves and others.”

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SOURCE: Brian Fung 
The Washington Post

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