The National Rifle Association has been on a tear these past few months, trying to convince the public and gun owners that the government is overstepping its boundaries with any sort of gun control reforms, including universal background checks. The organization has been running numerous ads across various states labeling efforts by President Obama, the Democrats, and other gun control advocates as “the single most devastating attack on the Second Amendment that this country has ever seen,” to use the words of the organization’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre.
Now the organization is beefing up its efforts to reach the African-American community specifically. The NRA has a new ad campaign that says the black community needs guns to protect itself from the government, using the Civil Rights movement as a jumping off point for its argument.
“The video is part of an effort by the gun lobby to grow the organization’s appeal beyond a mostly white, middle-class membership and attribute high rates of gun violence in some African American communities to “culture” rather than the prevalence of guns,” ThinkProgress writes.
The ad (available below) stars YouTube celeb and gun advocate Colion Noir, who rants for 1 1/2 minutes about the hypocrisy of the anti-gun violence movement and the need for firearms. This is “[t]he same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs, wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants and told us we couldn’t own guns,” he says at one point.
At the end of the video, he says,”Guy telling me to get rid of my guns when I need them the most, isn’t my friend, isn’t looking out for my best interests and doesn’t speak for me or the community that I’m part of.” But is the NRA a part of the black community? Or is this an opportunitistic appeal to the black community at a time when the NRA needs all the help it can get to advance its agenda? News site Salon turns the hypocrisy accusations back on the NRA, citing a 2011 article in The Atlantic that highlights the historical efforts by the NRA and others to enact gun restrictions. “The one time NRA wanted gun control was when Black Panthers took up arms. Now it wants black support,” reads the Salon sub-headline.
ThinkProgress points out some disturbing statistics. For instance, blacks made up about 13 percent of the population in 2010, but 56 percent of the people killed by guns. And highlights a Minneapolis program that focused on city programs that would divert young people in vulnerable communities from gangs and other activities that typically lead to gun violence.
What do you think of the NRA’s appeal to African Americans?