NRA still silent on Castile shooting, verdict

When Philando Castile was shot to death last July, many people expected the National Rifle Association to leap to the defense of Castile, who had a permit to carry the gun he was carrying. It’s what the NRA does, of course.

It issued a statement in the immediate aftermath of the Castile’s killing that was lukewarm at best.

Despite its promise to say more, that appears to be the last time the NRA weighed in on the shooting of Philando Castile, the Washington Post says. It asked the NRA why. It heard nothing back yesterday.

“It troubles me tremendously when I see a young man following the rules, doing what he’s supposed to be doing, and there’s still no accountability from a legal perspective,” Phillip Smith, who leads the National African American Gun Association, told the paper.

Slate’s Leon Neyfakh tried to get some sort of reaction from the NRA, too. Silence.

On its face, the Castile case would seem to have all the trappings of a cause célèbre for the NRA. The group’s most fiercely held belief is supposed to be that law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be burdened—let alone killed in cold blood—by repressive agents of the government just because they want to protect themselves and exercise their Second Amendment rights. Castile should be a martyr for the NRA, while Yanez—who reached for the holster of his service weapon as soon as Castile mentioned he was armed—should be its bogeyman.

It feels banal to even say it out loud: If Castile had been white instead of black, the NRA would have been rallying behind him and his family since the moment of his death, and fundraising off his memory for the rest of time. Yes, it’s true that the organization is aligned with law enforcement in certain ways that partially explain its reluctance to get in the middle of a police shooting case. (For one thing, most of the NRA’s 5 million members, like most police officers across the country, are white and conservative.) It’s also true that, while many law enforcement leaders view the gun lobby’s most extreme policy goals—like concealed carry reciprocity—with serious unease, most rank and file cops do seem to believe that having more people around carrying legal guns would reduce, rather than increase, crime rates.

Why the silence from an organization that is almost never silent on the issue?

“Your political calculation, I think, at the NRA is: Okay, so we can come to the rhetorical aid of a moderately despised contingent of a minority that already doesn’t like us,” said Nicholas Johnson, a black gun owner and author of “Negroes and the Gun.” “What’s the upside?”

“We should all carry a gun now,” Smith told the Post. “We all have that right. We’re not going to let a rogue officer or a rogue legal decision sway us.”

Related: Philando Castile verdict: Covering a wounded St. Paul turns into a long night in jail (City Pages)

  • Gary F

    Castile lied on his carry permit application about using illegal drugs. He also had marijuana in his system which is also illegal when carrying.

    It was watched very closely by most pro 2A organizations. First reactions were strong for Castlle, but as the news got out, it gets tougher making that stance.

    Carrying a firearm legally is a big responsibility, all your i’s needed to be dotted and t’s crossed. If you ever have to use it, you will be caught up in court for years, even if your use of that firearm use was justified. Every bit of your life will be gone over with a fine toothed comb to make you the bad guy. That’s why smart people carry USCCA or NRA insurance.

    If the NRA would have fully backed him, the left would have railed on them for backing someone who was illegally carrying.

    If anyone thinks the NRA is racist, just Google Otis MacDonald or Shaneen Allen.

    Play the race card.

    • jon

      “Castile lied on his carry permit-”
      Last I heard the NRA opposes the requirement of permits to carry.

    • I suppose an NRA statement could say any of those things. And yet, it hasn’t said a word. The NRA being worried about upsetting someone doesn’t seem like something the NRA has ever been worried about before. Why now?

      • Gary F

        They are in a no win situation. Whatever they say will be twisted by the left against them.

        • wjc

          Like they care.

          • jon

            Not at all about the left using their words against them for the left… or even about the left using their words against them when talking to the right.

            The fear is of the divided right hearing their words and becoming divided on the NRA. And they are increasingly a divisive organization, and many other pro-gun lobbies are gaining in popularity as the NRA goes on their anti any regulation kick.

        • And that’s bothered them before….when, exactly?

          • Gary F

            I think they are doing this because they know it bugs you.

          • And also, you know, Castile being a black guy.

          • The illuminating part that betrays the image you foster of the NRA is that it doesn’t bother you.

          • Mitch Berg

            “The illuminating part that betrays the image you foster of the NRA is that it doesn’t bother you.”

            It would bother me if I didn’t know the truth:

            – The NRA was fighting for African-Americans’ civil rights long before most of American society was.

            – They’ve put their (and my) money where our mouths are, on the MacDonald, Allen and other cases. And won. Big.

            I’m not “bothered” because I know where the heart of the organization actually is, as shown by *sixty years of action*.

            Those of you who are trash-talking the group know nothing about it, outside Big Left’s narrative. Which, as I’ve shown, has bigger holes in it that Sonny Corleone.

          • KTN

            “The NRA was fighting for African-Americans’ civil rights long before most of American society was.”
            This is demonstrably false. The jihadist at the NRA decided, just about the time you are praising their work with the African American community, to change the laws in California, working along side then Governor Reagan to enact strict gun control (no irony there right). The establishment could not stand that black members of society were lawfully exercising their 2A rights by walking the streets with long guns.
            The NRA is such cowardly organization they cannot even include the full text of the 2ndA on their headquarters. Pathetic.

          • Mitch Berg

            “The jihadist at the NRA decided, just about the time you are praising their work with the African American community, to change the laws in California, working along side then Governor Reagan”

            The NRA and Reagan were both wrong on that issue.

            But your example is an evasion; the NRA worked for civil rights *before* 1969 (supporting not only King, but the rights of less-famous black gun owners, doing back to before Jim Crow and during Reconstruction), *and* after, up to and including the MacDonald and Allen cases, not to mention the 2nd Amendment rights of every black gun owner, especially in places like Chicago, NYC and DC.

          • KTN

            But they don’t support African American gun owners now – otherwise they might have said something about Castile – a law abiding, permit holding gun owner. Your excuses might ring a little hallow within the black community.

          • ELSEVAR

            No, KTN, Mr. Castile was not “law abiding” and therefore he was not a legitimate permit holder.

            Moreover, why would you say the NRA has any position on race, pro or con? What evidence do you have?

            Finally, this case was tragic, but it came from an event that Mr. Castile could have prevented if he had had his wits about him … which clearly he did not. He was told three times not to reach, and he kept on reaching. That is fact.

            And that was the unanimous conclusion of the multiracial jury who went to the trouble of examining the evidence … which you have not bothered to do. If you don’t care enough to do basic research, why are you feigning concern?

          • KTN

            That’s funny, you’ve mistaken me for someone who cares about what you think. But good try regardless.

          • Gary F

            Tell the family of Otis MacDonald the NRA is racist.

          • KTFoley

            I’m pretty sure everyone here recognizes what the NRA recognized there: gaining gun access for the whole city of Chicago was the agenda item of the day.

          • Gary F

            Chicago had plenty of guns before MacDonald. Now the law abiding people can own them.

          • Rob

            I feel safer already.

          • Mitch Berg

            ” Castile being a black guy.”

            And THAT is why the NRA is measuring its words carefully. Because the media will find some excuse to put that little bit of defamation in there.

            The board of the NRA is more ethnically diverse than, say, MPR’s executive board. Or audience.

            Bob, have you seen local RKBA groups’ responses to the episode? Have y’all bothered asking? It’s a rhetorical question; clearly you have not.

          • jon

            Do they know that their original statement bugged a lot of their members too?


            Just saying the blog writing media is probably not their largest concern…

        • Postal Customer

          That’s precious Gary. The NRA always wins.

    • Mitch Berg

      Just curious, Bob – do you know who Otis MacDonald is?

      Shaneen Allen?

      Were you aware that Martin Luther King’s bodyguards were supplied by the NRA, and trained at their firing range, because it was one of very few desegregated facilities in the area at the time?

      Any of those three stories would gut the narrative you (pl) are trying to push. Which is why they’ll never be heard on MPR, I suspect.

    • BReynolds33

      If they actually believed in the 2nd amendment as much as they say they do, they would be fighting against any regulation that prohibits owning and carrying a firearm, not hiding behind those regulations for PR cover.

      As for it pissing off the left, they rather enjoy that, so using that as an excuse seems relatively soft.

      There is a conflict here for the NRA. Most of their members are worshippers of the state. Police can do no wrong. They have a choice to make. Fulfill whatvtheir stated mission is, and protect the 2nd amendment, or allow the police to kill people simply for possessing a fire arm (which is counter to their stated mission).

      If I were President, if they refused to defend Castile’s rights, I would work to strip them of their non-profit status for failing to fulfill their mission.

      • Mitch Berg

        “Most of their members are worshippers of the state. ”

        And with that, your comment lost all reason to take it seriously.

        Have a nice day.

        • BReynolds33

          I wonder if I can get by without you liking my comment.

          Next time you’re at your local NRA meeting, ask how many people also have some sort of image posted on social media, a bumper sticker, or have made the argument that “Blue Lives Matter.”

          Maybe you don’t subscribe, but I’d bet a paycheck that more of them than not think cops can do no wrong. Save for the fact the cops would be the ones showing up to take their guns if the state ever told them to.

          But hey, dismiss it out of hand. Keep contributing money and effort to defend an organization that would sooner hang you out to dry than actually support you.

          • ELSEVAR

            Perhaps you should attend, or maybe take one of the many firearms courses offered by the NRA, BR. Then your speculations might have some oomph (i.e. credibility).

          • BReynolds33

            I wouldn’t attend an NRA meeting if I were paid to. However, I have taken about a dozen firearms training courses, some of which were sponsored by the NRA, some of which were not.

            What was that about being uninformed?

    • Dan

      “If the NRA would have fully backed him, the left would have railed on them for backing someone who was illegally carrying.”
      Hilarious as always.

    • Kassie

      I pulled up the application. No where does it say, “do you use illegal drugs?” It does say you must not be an unlawful user of controlled substances, but do you have proof that he was using unlawful drugs when he filed for the permit? Do you have proof he lied on his application? Have you seen his application? You should probably stop saying he lied on this application unless you somehow have proof that he did.

      • PaulMN

        Soooo…, you’re OK with Mr. Castile having marijuana in his system at the same time he is carrying a loaded firearm in public??? I am also amazed that MPR has not raised significant concern about him having marijuana in his system while carrying a loaded firearm… is MPR OK with that???… Why has MPR not made more of an issue regarding this?

        • Kassie

          Do you have any idea what “in your system” can mean? Marijuana can remain detectable on a drug test for weeks. While I don’t think anyone should be allowed to carry a gunin public, if as a society that is allowed then I think it is fine for someone to smoke marijuana on Saturday in Denver then on Monday carry a gun in St Paul.

          • PaulMN

            Diamond Reynolds (Philando Castile’s girlfriend) acknowledged that she and Castile smoked marijuana shortly before the shooting.
            Don’t you find it at least a little bit ironic… first the Left did not want carry laws passed in Minnesota, and now it seems they are defending a person who carries a firearm in public and has “marijuana in his system”. I guess you and I have differing value systems.

          • Kassie

            She did not acknowledge they smoked “shortly before.” Only sometime earlier that day. Totally different things.

            And, I think we shouldn’t allow conceal and carry, but if we do cops can’t shoot black people just because they have a firearm on them legally and “are afraid.”

          • ELSEVAR

            When they smoked is an open question, Kassie, but there is no question that a 4 year old child should have been nowhere near the use, nor the stash … and she was.

            Your second paragraph is a statement of opinion – police shouldn’t shoot people for no good reason – which is true enough, but which has nothing to do with the Yanez/Castile case.

          • MnTennis11502

            I think you are ignoring the fact that there was marijuana in the car with them at the time, as stated be his girlfriend on that video. Include the fact that marijuana leaves a very distinctive smell, and causes bloodshot eyes, and you can tell pretty quickly if someone is high.

            As for marijuana causing aggressive behavior, I have familial stories of this being true. Just as some people react differently with alcohol, some people react differently to marijuana. Read this:

        • Rob

          My concern is with the police officer who had so much fear in his system – by his own admission – that he unjustifiably killed a citizen.

          • PaulMN

            “Unjustifiably”??? That seems to be your opinion, which is contrary to the unanimous opinion of 12 jurors.

          • Rob

            Fear is the watchword.

          • Jay T. Berken

            How do you know that the police officer, within 74 seconds of stopping him, evaluated that Castile had marijuana in his system to shot him dead?

            Will you give me a resource indicating one of the side effects of marijuana makes people aggravative and erratic as you are inferring?

          • ELSEVAR

            The question was raised earlier in the thread, Jay, and answered correctly. Mr. Castile was not honest on his license application. But you are correct in stating that was not probative in the case and was not a direct factor in the shooting.

            However, Castile was under the influence of marijuana and that may have affected his judgement and good sense. He was told three times not to reach for his handgun but he kept on reaching down, to his right, and behind himself. Was he intoxicated enough to not understand the officer’s instructions? Apparently so. Was the result tragic? Yes indeed. However, that was no execution and the multiethnic jury unanimously acquitted Officer Yanez.

          • Jay T. Berken

            “The question was raised earlier in the thread”

            Which question?

            I asked about evaluating a person within 74 seconds of a stop, with an adult woman and a 4 YEAR OLD CHILD, and shot him dead because the officer thinks Castile was on drugs and a danger.

            Secondly, please give me a published study that shows a person to be erratic and aggressive under the influence of marijuana. And why does it matter to shoot a person dead within a 74 second traffic stop?

          • theoacme

            The juror (I saw it on another TV station) that spoke out seems to have implied that if Yanez had shot Diamond Reynolds and her daughter to death while shooting Castile, he would still have acquitted Yanez, so just because 12 jurors were unanimous, doesn’t mean that they are either a) correct, or b) people that I would trust with a Salted Nut Roll, much less my life.

          • ELSEVAR

            Bob, perhaps do a little more research before leaping off the cliff of theatrical conclusions.

            Mr. Castile was pulled over in response to the Minnesota version of a BOLO. He really did closely resemble an armed robber who had recently attacked a store only a few blocks away from the police stop. Officer Yanez may not have perfectly followed department procedure in conducting the stop, but the recorded conversation clearly has him ordering Mr. Castile not to pull the pistol out. Perhaps twice. Mr. Castile was careless in his movements. Last time I looked, the dashcam video was still not available, and I have not had access to the trial transcript.

            If you have gone through that transcript, please share what you found. If not, then you are making uninformed speculations about some alleged failure of justice on the part of the jury. That would suggest you have little experience of jury duty. What we do know is that the jury agreed unanimously to acquit Officer Yanez. Therefore, the shooting was “justified”.

            And if it matters to you, that jury included two black members.

          • Jay T. Berken

            “He really did closely resemble an armed robber who had recently attacked a store only a few blocks away from the police stop.”

            Cause he fit the resemblance of being a black man…

          • Worth noting the BCA interview, which was never entered into evidence, revealed that Yanez couldn’t offer a description of the store suspect other than he was black and had dreadlocks.

      • ELSEVAR

        The Minnesota Uniform Application, Permit to Carry a Pistol clearly states that there are prohibitive restrictions …

        “The following restrictions apply to the possession of firearms, to purchase/transfer permits, and reports of transfer for handguns and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons. Individuals with restrictions shall not be entitled to possess a pistol or any other firearm. The legal basis for the restrictions may be found in federal law (18 United States Code § 922) or Minnesota law (Minnesota Statutes, §§ 253B.02, 624.712, 624.713. 624.7131 or 624.714”

        … and in the list of restrictions you will find that an applicant … “Must not be an unlawful user of any controlled substance as defined in Chapter 152 of Minnesota S”

        The applicant, after completing the form, signs the application with this affirmation …


        That is what Mr. Castile signed.

        I hold no brief with drug control laws and wonder why illegal drugs are treated differently from alcohol (or tobacco for that matter), but the form is pretty clear and Mr. Castile was not, strictly speaking, honest in signing it.

    • Kassie

      I also want to address “marijuana in his system.” While it is likely he had illegally used marijuana recently, having marijuana in your system does not necessarily mean you cannot have a permit to carry a gun. According to the application, it is the unlawful use of the drugs that are an issue and points to a Minnesota Statute. Three separate things can happen that would allow for marijuana to be in someone’s system and not violate the rule.

      One, they can have a legal prescription to medical marijuana.

      Two, they can travel to a state where it is legal and use it there. Since they point to a State law and not a Federal law, it seems to me it is legal to use in states in which it is legal. Additionally, there are a number of other countries where it is legal, like parts of Canada.

      Three, the use of Cannabis Oil, which is completely legal in the Minnesota and derived from Hemp and sold at co-ops and other stores can lead to a positive drug test if the test used is particularly sensitive.

      Having marijuana in your system does not mean you violated your right to a conceal and carry permit.

      • Mitch Berg

        “Kassie” is part right.

        If you DO have a permit, you’re not supposed to carry if you are impaired.

        With alcohol, “impairment” is defined in statute as .04% BAC – half the legal limit to drive, or “one beer, maybe, and probably less”.

        There is no such definition for marijuana. And there’s no way of telling whether / how much Castile was impaired at the time of the shooting. Post-facto opinions are just that.

        “Having marijuana in your system does not mean you violated your right to a conceal and carry permit”

        And if we ever DO get to a point where “doing something negates a civil right” without even an accusation, much less any form of due process, then we’ll have a reached a point in this country where all “rights” are meaningless.

    • phred01

      very well put.

    • kennedy

      Your arguing both sides with your comments here. On one hand you complain that legal use of a firearm will result in every bit of your life being gone over with a fine tooth comb. Then on the other hand you proceed to demonize Mr. Castille for a variety of alleged legal infractions, delegitimizing his right to carry. And he didn’t even use his firearm, but merely mentioned he had one.

      • ELSEVAR

        Mr. Castile did quite a bit more than mentioning a gun, kennedy. You missed that, a casualty of watching 3 minute tv reports and reading excitable headlines.

    • NG

      It’s interesting to contrast this with James Hodgkinson. He also had legally purchased guns and a concealed carry permit.

      • Gary F

        But his story went away because it didnt fit the media’s narrative.

        • NG

          That’s a rather large and unsupportable assumption. Competing and more viable proposals are easy to produce. For instance: less drama – there was no perception of innocence for the dead firearms enthusiast. He had a legal right to own his weapons, which were for the purpose of… protecting himself from burdensome government? (Apparently he wasn’t a hunter according to the Illinois DNR.)

          • ELSEVAR

            “less drama”. Interesting choice of emphasis, NG.

            The rest of your post is answered by the Castile/Yanez evidence and jury verdict.

          • NG

            That’s part of the contrast. Like a cat chasing a mouse, it’s only interesting so long as it is still twitching; the American populace has an incredibly short attention span.

            Castile was not firing upon a group of people and he was presumed innocent. Yanez’s irrational fear (though it was really fear and why he was acquitted) prompted him to preemptively shoot a man carrying a gun. If Police had reasonable fear of every person carrying a gun (instead of just a subset of them), there would be many more preemptive shootings by police of people with legal conceal/carry permits. Had the police or congressional security officers preemptively killed James Hodgkinson for having a hand gun, the shooting at the baseball field wouldn’t have happened.

        • “Ah, the strawberries. That’s when I knew I had them.”

          • Gary F

            Listen to last Friday’s “(almost) All things considered” its a journalism joke.

          • NG

            :), maybe it’s just me, but that seems like an incredibly obscure reference to a movie from the 1950s?

  • AL287

    I suppose we could take some comfort in knowing that Officer Yanez will no longer be policing Falcon Heights.

    He should have been convicted on the weapons charges.

    These tragedies keep happening because police can claim ” I was in fear for my life.” and that seems to make everything okay.


    We have a fascination with firearms in this country. Carrying a gun doesn’t make you a man. It’s your interactions with others and how you conduct yourself in everyday life that proves you’re a decent human being.

    I am sure there are plenty of gun permit owners who go out to bars to drink. Alcohol is far more disinhibiting than marijuana.

    Philando Castile was just trying to get through life the best he knew how. His socioeconomic situation made that difficult as it does for far too many people of color.

    These officer involved shootings of people of color are sending us a message.

    Are we going to listen to the message or just shoot the “messenger”?

    It appears to me that we would rather shoot the messenger than deal with the real problem.

    • jon

      “I suppose we could take some comfort in knowing that Officer Yanez will no longer be policing Falcon Heights.”

      Funny thing about that… he is being kicked off the st. anthony police force, but nothing is stopping him from getting a job else where… and Falcon heights, they are dropping the st. anthony police force too, in favor of police from elsewhere… there is a possibility (though I suspect it’s extremely slim for political reasons) that he could in fact be policing the streets in Falcon heights again.

      • Gary F

        Yanez would be a target and a distraction for any police force to have him as a street cop. I presume at least his beat cop days are over.

        • Or he can just move to another state, let this blow over, and become a cop in his new home town.

          • RBHolb

            He can also legally change his name, in case he’s afraid of being recognized.

          • He should change it to “George Zimmerman”…oh, wait…

        • Barton

          I doubt it: he wouldn’t be a target in certain communities: he’d be a “hero.”

        • RBHolb

          One would have thought that being discharged for being emotionally unstable and unfit for duty would derail a law enforcement officer’s career, but if he leaves that off his job application, it’s not an issue.

          Yanez will work again, I’m sure.

        • Rob

          Anyone that lets fear rule their actions should not seek to be a cop. Yanez said at the trial that he feared for his life; thanks to his fearful reactions, Castile is no longer here.

  • jon

    I was wondering what the NRA was going to say about some one being shot for legally carrying… and then the police officer doing the shooting not being convicted… I started looking for their comments right after I heard there was a verdict…

    Did not take long to find that there wasn’t one.

    Nice to hear some one else noticed that too…

    • Mitch Berg

      They “noticed” that, but not the fact that the NRA was putting its money where its mouth was re civil rights a solid decade before most of society, or supporting Otis MacDonald and Shaneen Allen and protecting the rights of law-abiding black people in places like DC, Chicago and elsewhere, you didn’t?

      This is verging on “fake news”.

      • jon

        You are trying really hard to convince people that the NRA isn’t racists… my comment here did not suggest that the NRA is racists… What makes you feel that you need to defend the NRA from a claim that wasn’t made?

        Also what makes you think that this is fake news? Did the NRA comment and the media is covering it up? Because THAT would be fake news… the fact that they didn’t comment and the media reports it makes it REALITY, I know a lot of people confuse those two things with opposite meanings (like the word “literally”).

        Any how back on the topic, Why do you think that the NRA opted not to comment on this verdict? Because that is the topic… not ANYTHING else that the NRA is doing… that is changing the subject to stop talking about an uncomfortable truth (one that you try to deny by calling it fake news…)

        • Mitch Berg

          “Why do you think that the NRA opted not to comment on this verdict? ”

          I’ve given my opinion on that elsewhere in this thread. They have a history of not allowing the media to logroll them into making comments on fractious issues until they’re ready.

          “an uncomfortable truth”

          As I’ve shown, it’s less a “truth” than “an element in a prejudicial and largely groundless narrative”.

          • jon

            So they said they’d have more to say when the facts were known… enough facts now to settle a murder trial… no more from the NRA…
            So you are saying that the NRA doesn’t let people hold them accountable…

            Not exactly holding the NRA in a positive light… (though I’m sure you see it differently… since you’ve been defending their lies this whole time.)

        • Mitch Berg

          “Also what makes you think that this is fake news”


          Trying to turn “not commenting yet” into a narrative point?

          You don’t see why that’s wrong?

          • jon

            No I don’t see what is wrong with that.
            Because the NRA said they’d have more to say, and they haven’t.
            That is a fact.

            What part of it is fake?

            What is made up there?

            Please Please tell me because I want to know what the NRA said that you heard in your head that no one else did.

            When the president says he’ll announce if there are tapes on tuesday, and then weeks later still no announcement, that is also news.
            When the NRA says they’ll have more to say when they have more facts, and we now have enough facts to settle a murder case, and they still haven’t commented… That calls into question the credibility of the NRA (and organization that is losing credibility all over the place as they sell out their members in favor of the weapons manufactures IMHO)

            Tell me what information you have that none of us have that you can’t present so far in the comments about what the NRA has said that makes the idea that the NRA hasn’t commented not true.

  • Mitch Berg

    Bob – I’d love an answer to my question below.

    Also – one of the things the NRA has done that annoys some of its detractors is that they *don’t* allow themselves to get logrolled into giving answers when they’re not ready.

    The NRA has put its money where its mouth is defending the gun rights of Black Americans (vide MacDonald Vs. Chicago, the Shaneen Allen case, other cases going all the way back to their support for Martin Luther King’s bodyguards in the ’50s and ’60s and their indirect support for blacks in the rural south defending themselves against violence during the Civil Rights era).

    But the NRA will gain nothing by pissing off every police organization in America, either.

    I get it – the leftymedia would love to have something to bash the NRA with; a statement that doesn’t balance those valid, competing interests would be red meat for you (plural).

    It’s gotta be frustrating when they don’t oblige.

    • “Rest assured the NRA will have more to say once the facts are known.”
      — NRA

      • Mitch Berg

        i.e. “We’ll talk when we’re ready”.

        There was a story like this sometime in the last year; the NRA didn’t respond on cue; BigMedia tut-tutted and asked What It All Means; the NRA released the response it wanted to; the story disappeared.

        Care to place a little wager?

        • KTFoley

          It’s been a year.

          • Mitch Berg

            It’s been days since the verdict.

            The NRA chose not to comment on a criminal case that was in court at the time. That’s not racism, that’s legal prudence.

          • Rob

            Hard to imagine that a huge, well-oiled lobbying machine like the NRA wouldn’t have had a prepared statement about the trial ready to go for immediate release as soon as the verdict was known.

            The fact that they haven’t responded isn’t due to legal prudence, it’s due to hypocrisy.

      • Mitch Berg

        And again, Bob – any comments on Otis MacDonald? Shaneen Allen (whose attorneys were paid for in large part by the NRA)?

        Martin Luther King’s bodyguards?

        The NRA’s *actions* in those cases pretty much undercut your point.

        • Kassie

          Martin Luther King died 50 years ago next year. I don’t think you can take something that happened 50 years ago and say, “look, they did this one thing then therefore they are good now.” As for your other two examples, I’ve tried googling Otis MacDonald and get no information. So you have one recent example, Shaneen Allen, where the NRA has ever stood up for a black gun owner. Not exactly a great record there. Even if you can point to the other guy, then you only have two.

          • RBHolb

            Otis McDonald was the hand-picked African-American plaintiff in a lawsuit to overturn Chicago’s gun ban. Gun litigators chose him to be the face of the suit they were promoting.

          • Mitch Berg

            “Gun litigators chose him to be the face of the suit they were promoting.”


            I mean, why does that matter?

            And when you’re done with that, tell me how it applies to the Allen case.

          • RBHolb

            Kassie posed a query born of the failure to spell your object lesson correctly. I responded.

            I’m not sure what the problem is. I am sure, however, that I no longer care.

          • Mitch Berg

            “I’ve tried googling Otis MacDonald and get no information.”

            Huh. Wierd. Here are several articles I found through the PhD-level research technique of typing “Otis MacDonald”




            “Even if you can point to the other guy, then you only have two.”

            Can you point to prominent cases of individual black gun owners needing legal help regarding their gun rights in the past 50 years that the NRA turned down (leaving aside the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions whose rights have been upheld as a group via NRA action?)

            Because you’ve only got zero so far.

          • Kassie

            All the articles you point to are for a man named Otis McDonald. You wrote Otis MacDonald, which is a different name. I couldn’t find anything under that name.

          • Mitch Berg


            OK. Now that your dogged researching tenacity has been set straight. what do you have to say about the NRA’s support of a black man in one of the most important civil rights incorporation cases of recent years?

            Or the Shaneen Allen case – about a black single mother with a Pennsylvania carry permit (aka a life-long law-abiding citizen) whose life was destroyed by a wrong turn into New Jersey?

            These are the cases that people have to ignore to try to get to the “conclusion” that “The NRA is racist”.

          • BReynolds33

            Was Mr. McDonald shot and killed by a police officer? This is a salient detail you’re choosing to leave out. Mostly because the fact that the state murdered a man for having a firearm shouldn’t be taken seriously, right?

      • >>”Rest assured the NRA will have more to say once the facts are known.”
        — NRA<<

      • ELSEVAR

        Now that the facts ARE known, Bob, there is not a lot to say that the jury did not say already. It was an unfortunate event, exacerbated by Mr. Castile’s poor judgement of ignoring three warnings from Officer Yanez.

        Based on the trial evidence, do YOU have anything further to say?

        • The facts that are known and the trial evidence,aren’t the same thing. You know that, right?

          The very illuminating BCA interview was never admitted in court, which is … interesting, in a Minnesota way.

    • Barton

      Here is a history on the “leftymedia” of the NRA and when they changed from promoting education and training to their modern militancy (my word) on the 2nd amendment. Maybe that will help answer your question Mitch (which isn’t much of a question, just a stance of a few examples from the past that don’t negate the majority of the situations). Just as today’s Republican Party little resembles in actions/deeds the Republican Party of Pres. Lincolns time, and the same with today’s Democratic Party resembling the Dems of that same time, the NRA today – since the late 70s – is not the same organization that supported MLK and the others. Yes, they are the same organization that helped Mr. McDonald.

      • rover27

        100% correct.

      • Mitch Berg

        Not sure what point you’re getting at with that Salon piece. I’m not sure the Salon writer was, either. The NRA has changed positions over the years on some parts of the RKBA issue; none of that affects either Bob’s point, or mine.

        The NRA supported civil rights 60 years ago, and they support them today.

    • BReynolds33

      “But the NRA will gain nothing by pissing off every police organization in America, either.”

      But nah. They probably don’t worship the state.

  • MnTennis11502

    Castile’s permit was issued in a different county. He NEVER updated it for the county in which he was living prior to his death.

    • Once issued, Minnesota permits are valid throughout the state of Minnesota.

      • MnTennis11502

        Never said it wasn’t. However, “a permit holder is required to notify the issuing sheriff’s office within 30 days of a permanent address change. Failure to do so is a petty misdemeanor.” This is straight from the MN Department of Public Safety website.

        • It’s a very minor infraction that doesn’t invalidate the carry permit.

          What, exactly, is your point?

          • MnTennis11502

            My point is, as a permit carrier, he should have been aware of the rules pertaining to his permit. Sadly, it is now just another inaction that goes with the 52 others he had on his record. Secondly…the question that has never been addressed…had he notified the county to which he moved, and in which he died, would the fact that he was a gun carrier have come up when the police ran his plates? Will we ever know the answer to that?

          • The infraction is about as serious as not immediately updating a change of address on your driver’s license. Not even worth all the wringing of hands that you appear to be doing.

    • Mitch Berg

      Both the prosecution and the defense stipulated in their initial motions that Castile’s permit was legal, and that he was carrying legally. The matter was not discussed at trial.

      • MnTennis11502

        You will have to show me where you got your info. From what I have read, the prosecution and the defense simply decided not to mention the permit during the trial. If you look at the permit letter Castile’s family shared, you will see it came from Hennepin county, and is dated in 2015. From what I understand, Castille lived near St Paul, where he worked, and St Paul is in Ramsey county. So, different county. The change of address is important because the counties are resposible for keeping track of permit carriers and making sure they stay in compliance.

        If Castille had filed his change of address, would informationm on his permit to carry information been more readily available to the Falcon Heights police? Maybe. I wonder that this question has never been looked at.

        Also note… the penalty for not updating an address change doesn’t say anything about the license being revoked, only that it is a misdemeanor if you don’t do it. So, technically, the permit may have been valid, but Castille would have been charged with a misdemeanor.

        • >>So, technically, the permit may have been valid, but Castille would have been charged with a misdemeanor.<<

          The same charges that one would receive by not updating their driver's license data.

          Seriously, why are you beating this extremely small detail to death?

    • Rob

      If Castile had had a chance to show Yanez his permit, perhaps that fact would have been discovered eventually, and Castile would still have been alive to pay the fine for failure to update.

  • I did police work in the 80’s and was an NRA member. I quit the NRA when they decided that they would defend cop-killer ammo and basically took a hard right political turn. That was the right decision then, and I stand by it today. The NRA used to be all over safety, but today they concentrate on personal safety in the most siloed way possible, ignoring the danger posed by firearms in the home and publicly pushing legislation to weaken training and safety requirements. They hate data, so their surrogates in Congress made sure that the CDC cannot study firearms as a health risk to society. In some states they have been successful at muzzling pediatricians who would like to discuss with moms and dads the risk to their children from guns in the home. And whatever the NRA may have been to diversity and inclusion back in the day, it is now apparent that it has a significant demographic of older white guys who (let me be as kind as possible here) are not “comfortable” with people who are not like them. If the NRA leadership is to take the opinion of that demographic seriously – and they do – they are not going to defend a black guy in any but the most muted, reluctant way possible.

    • Mitch Berg

      “The NRA used to be all over safety,”

      And they’re still by far the largest safety trainer in the US.

      “ignoring the danger posed by firearms in the home and publicly pushing legislation to weaken training and safety requirements. They hate data,”

      The data pretty universally support them…

      ” so their surrogates in Congress made sure that the CDC cannot study firearms as a health risk”

      The “research” that has been proposed has pretty universally had an conclusion stated up front. That’s not “public health research”, that’s trying to turn the CDC into a propaganda mill.

      • kevins

        Is the CDC a propaganda mill Mitch?

        • Mitch Berg

          Have you read any of the proposals for “research” projects? If the CDC took them on, then yes, they’d be a propaganda mill.

          When you mix politics and science, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science.

          • kevins

            Glad you are there to advocate for the truth, but I would like to judge for myself. Can you give me a link to one of the suspect “research” proposals? Thanks ahead of time.

          • OHJonesy

            I’m not trying to step on Mitch’s toes, but I have some information on that.

            I have no problem with research; like many, I just believe it should be unbiased, and performed by qualified researchers. That’s where the original problem arose – in the mid-1990’s, congress was asked to fund a CDC investigation into gun violence by the Clinton administration, who were well-known for their anti-gun-rights agenda.

            Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who was then director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC, explained his aim was to make the public see firearms as “dirty, deadly—and banned.” (Quoted in William Raspberry, “Sick People With Guns,” The Washington Post, Oct. 19, 1994.)

            A newspaper article on two other leading anti-gun propagandists, Dr. Katherine Christoffel and Dr. Robert Tanz of the Children’s Hospital in Chicago, explained their “plan to do to handguns what their profession has done to cigarettes … turn gun ownership from a personal-choice issue to a repulsive, anti-social health hazard.” (Harold Henderson, “Policy: Guns ‘n Poses,” Chicago Reader, Dec. 16, 1994.)

            P.W. O’Carroll, Acting Section Head of Division of Injury Control, CDC, said “We’re going to systematically build a case that owning firearms causes deaths. We’re doing the most we can do, given the political realities.” (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1989)

            By the early 1990s the CDC’s plan was well underway, as evidenced by a New England Journal of Medicine article whose lead author was Dr. Arthur Kellermann. Dr. Kellermann, eventually a recipient of over $1.7 million in CDC grant money, was a vocal supporter of gun control who was prominently quoted in the mainstream media. Those media outlets, the big city newspapers and major television news outlets of the time, were known then, as now, to share Kellermann’s view.

            Dr. Kellermann’s article, “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home” (New England Journal of Medicine vol. 329, no. 15, October 7, 1993) was supported by two grants from the CDC. The authors used a case-control method usually used in epidemiology research to investigate a criminology problem. Their conclusion, summarized as a factoid still quoted by gun control advocates to this day, was that people with a gun in the home are 2.7 times as likely to become homicide victims as people who don’t keep a gun in the home.

            Gun control advocates and a sympathetic media cited Kellermann’s article endlessly, providing pseudoscientific justification for politicians looking for any reason to advance gun control. But the research methodology used by Kellermann and his coauthors was flawed. Aside from the unusual use of the case-control method more suited to epidemiology studies, the subjects for the study were highly aberrant. They were selected only from homicide victims in Shelby County, Tennessee; King County, Washington; and Cuyahoga County, Ohio. As the metropolitan areas including Memphis, Seattle, and Cleveland respectively, they were skewed toward inner city populations with high rates of violent crime.

            The NRA went to congress with these quotes (and others) and said ‘All this sounds like someone has a preconceived conclusion, and is going out looking for evidence to support it.’

            Congress agreed, and cut off the funding for this pseudo-science.

            The CDC had no one but themselves to blame.

            I believe that unpoliticized studies can be of great value, but I do think that an organization dedicated to the study of infectious disease, like the CDC, may not be the most qualified to do a study on gun violence.

            We’d not likely ask the NRA to prepare a study on the Ebola virus, would we?

            “There was a very good reason for the gun violence research funding ban. Virtually all of the scores of CDC-funded firearms studies conducted since 1985 had reached conclusions favoring stricter gun control. This should have come as no surprise, given that ever since 1979, the official goal of the CDC’s parent agency, the U.S. Public Health Service, had been “…to reduce the number of handguns in private ownership”, starting with a 25% reduction by the turn of the century.””



          • Geralt_0f_Rivia

            It is deeply unethical for one to conduct research into topics where that individual already has formed a strong opinion of or has a pre-existing bias against. Any fruits borne of research that support or affirm such biases are automatically suspect purely on grounds of a strong potential lack of objectivity, especially in the realm of divisive political issues.

          • OHJonesy

            Yep, precisely right brother. And it’s at least as unethical for our government representatives to attempt to pass off that “purchased” research as legitimate, in their efforts to legislate away our Constitutionally protected rights. Their sheer audacity is appalling.

          • kevins

            Thanks. Are you a member of ALEC?

          • OHJonesy

            You are welcome, I hope that better helps you understand the issues behind CDC gun research. Remember too, organizations like the DoJ, the FBI, and many other law-enforcement agencies, far better suited to conducting research into gun violence, still do so. The research has never stopped, only the biased pseudo-science of the CDC. They boasted about starting with a conclusion, and working backward to justify it. As I said, the CDC has only itself to blame.

            I am not a member of ALEC, why do you ask?

          • kevins

            Mitch is a powerful spokesperson for the NRA but he turned my question over to you. You use terms like “biased pseudo-science” which are code words to inflame the fearful and uneducated to support the NRA and it’s political agenda. You are a professional advocate for the NRA, no? ALEC loves you.

          • OHJonesy

            Sorry, but you are wrong, Mitch turned nothing over to me, if anything I butted into his conversation.

            I use terms like “biased pseudo-science” because I believe it is an accurate description of the facts, which I have backed up with quotes and links. I seek to educate the uneducated, not to “inflame” anything. You on the other hand, seem to be doing some inflaming yourself.

            I do not work for the NRA, and have no affiliation with ALEC. Are you simply afraid of an honest debate?

          • kevins

            I love a good debate, but you are dishonest, as if the term “biased pseudo-science ” is your creation and the lengthy argument above was simply a casual response to my question.This medium gives each of us the device of anonymity, both of person and cause, and you have argued your case. I am unconvinced.

          • Rob

            When pure science pushes back against the fringe positions of certain groups, those groups work themselves into a lather.

          • ELSEVAR

            Certainly, Bob, but it has been demonstrated on this thread that the “lather” came from an identified source, a gaggle of gun control zealots enjoying government salaries … and that did not lead to what you term “pure science”.

      • Rob

        In light of all the accidental deaths each year caused by unsecured guns in households, how does anyone conclude that it’s justifiable to muzzle doctors from asking patients whether they have guns in their houses and whether they are secured or not? If the NRA was really all about gun safety, they’d be promoting physician inititatives regarding home gun safety, not fighting them. And they’d be funding trigger locks for dispensing by physicians, not opposing them.

        • ELSEVAR

          Lol, Bob, doctors can voluntarily ask all sorts of questions. They are even allowed to (gasp!) state their own opinions. Patients have an equivalent privilege of choosing with their wallets whose services they employ.

          “In light of all the accidental deaths each year” caused by all sorts of things, perhaps we ought to wrap all citizens in bubble wrap by mandate and give them nutrition through calibrated feeding tubes. Factory- fresh, government-approved Green Soylent Extract would keep them healthy and safe in their isolated hazmat cocoons.

          One thing that they would still be plagued with would be histrionic, hyperbolic, theatrical “opinions” from their nearby podmates. And there would be no escape. Scary thought, huh?

      • Rob

        Gunshot wounds are the third leading cause of death for kids in the U.S. between the ages of 1 and 17, according to the CDC. If the NRA is truly “all over safety,” what’s their perspective on this grim finding?

        • OHJonesy

          Yet remove the 14-17 year old, and the number falls to fractional. What they’re not telling you is nearly all of those 14-17 year olds are gang members or running with gang members, in inner-city drug wars.

          Hyperbole and misinformation intended to warp the facts leads to poor decisions.

          • kevins

            Inner city drug wars happen and are a huge problem, but the NRA has done nothing to address that problem other than to encourage more people to be afraid, especially in neighborhoods not infested by gangs. That is immoral. The NRA could help, but has chosen to take legitimate safety issues and blow them up into paranoia for the NRA’s own gain. Immoral.

          • OHJonesy

            The NRA is a grass roots organization of limited resources whose members wish to fight against the ever-increasing encroachment from the left on the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

            They have indeed made suggestions on how to better enforce existing laws, but it’s not the wishes of their members to become a law enforcement agency. There are far, far better organizations to address the problems of drug wars than a civil rights lobby, don’t you think?

          • kevins

            And yet the NRA advocates that the defenseless citizens arm themselves, against the gangs, against the cops, against the government. I don’t however hear much talk of the well regulated militia that the 2nd requires. Are you a militia member?

          • ELSEVAR

            Are you a militia member, kevins? Correct answer … probably yes.

          • kevins

            OK then…yes

          • ELSEVAR

            Well then, we are agreed that you are probably in a very large militia and you are no longer ever, ever going to use that silly accusation to deflect a legitimate conversation. Good for you.

            [Hint … Google the Militia Acts, the first being in 1792, and look for the differences between the “organized” and “unorganized” militias under Federal law.]

          • kevins

            Agreeing is good.

  • Gary F
    • Rob

      He’s not speaking on behalf of the NRA, dude. The organization is still MIA on the Castile situation.
      See the article in today’s Guardian about the black, pregnant woman shot by cops in her own home in Seattle after she reported a burglary.