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Shameless NRA Sponsor Smears Slain Black Teens And Their Families

As the co-sponsor of the upcoming NRA leadership forum, Bob Owens rarely misses a chance to smear black teenagers who have met tragic deaths in controversial shootings. He also routinely takes swipes at their grieving families, claiming that they are liars motivated by greed because they oppose Stand Your Ground laws. 

No doubt he’ll have more opportunities to do that, as the NRA’s annual Institute for Legislative Action forum runs from May 19–22 in Louisville, KY. It features Donald Trump and other Republican politicians. And the forum is co-sponsored by Bearing Arms and Townhall Media. Bearing Arms is a gun blog run by Owens.

Owens has attacked the families of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Tamir Rice and smeared the slain black teenagers as well. Posting recently on his website, he claimed that Martin was “a semi-literate violent criminal,” even though the teenager was an English Honors student who loved math. Martin had some trouble at school and was suspended three times, but he wanted to study aviation and become a pilot. But somehow, Owens never mentions any of this, and he claimed that Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton was opposed to Stand Your Ground laws because she hopes to make money through a lawsuit.

He also neglects mentioning that Zimmerman had a history of violence before killing Martin.

Instead, the NRA enthusiast writes that Martin was “a violent, drug-abusing thug who appeared to get off on hurting people” and he denigrated a musical about Martin’s life, claiming it would be “whitewashing a black heart” and said it was an attempt to “whitewash a thug’s death.”

He attacked Fulton, claiming, according to Media Matters for America:

“As for why Fulton and her attorneys and Democratic lawmakers in general want Stand Your Ground laws repealed, that’s blisteringly obvious as well. “Money. “A provision of Stand Your Ground law in many states is that if a person is found not guilty during a criminal trial, then that defendant win (sic) civil immunity, and that keeps the families of decease street thugs from suing the survivors for millions of dollars in civil court.”

As if that’s not enough, Owens also attacked the mother of Jordan Davis. Like Martin, Davis was another Florida teen, but in this case, he was killed in a gas station parking lot by an angry man who objected to the volume of Davis’ music. But according to Owens, Davis’ mom, Lucy McBath, is a “serial liar” for noting (correctly) that Stand Your Ground laws played a part in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman is the man who killed Trayvon Martin. And he actually is profiting from the teenager’s death.

Even worse, when Tamir Rice was killed, Owens blamed Rice, 12, and his parents for his death.

And even though Owens called McBath a liar because “Stand Your Ground laws had nothing to at all do do (sic) with the [Zimmerman] case,” he couldn’t be more wrong.

Stand Your Ground laws had everything to do with Zimmerman’s case.

Here’s why:

The language regarding this law was added to the instructions to the jury deliberating whether to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder. Before the law was enacted in 2005, instructions given to a jury were considerably different. One former Florida state senator wrote that the change in the law “fundamentally changed the analysis used by juries to assign blame in these cases.” Upon Zimmerman’s acquittal, one juror told news media that the reason Zimmerman was found not guilty was “because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground.” Furthermore, before his trial, Stand Your Ground was a boon for Zimmerman, because local government officials cited the law as the reason Zimmerman wasn’t arrested to begin with.

When McBath wrote that Stand Your Ground laws “promote a culture of shoot first, ask questions later, a culture that upends traditional self-defense law and emboldens individuals to settle conflicts by reaching for their firearms, even when they can safely walk away from danger,” Owens called her a liar once again. But he’s completely wrong here as well. McBath’s sentiment has been shown to be true by academic research that shows Stand Your Ground laws increase homicide by “lower[ing] the cost of using lethal force.”

The NRA has also taken a stance on Stand Your Ground, criticizing former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in its newsletter for “exploiting the trial outcome by attacking ‘stand-your-ground’ self-defense laws.”

Holder apparently drew the National Rifle Association’s concern when he gave a speech at the NAACP’s annual convention, saying “Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.”

But the NRA loves it some self-defense. Even if that self-defense comes at the expense of the rest of us.

This is what NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox had to say about Holder’s remarks:

“The attorney general fails to understand that self-defense is not a concept. It’s a fundamental human right. To send a message that legitimate self-defense is to blame is unconscionable, and demonstrates once again that this administration will exploit tragedies to push their political agenda.”

In its newsletter, the NRA soldiered on:

“Holder and the Obama administration will surely continue to push to overturn “stand your ground” self-defense laws in the future. Rest assured NRA-ILA will be there to fight them. We will continue to work to protect self-defense laws currently on the books and advocate for their passage in those states that do not fully respect this fundamental right.”

But if there’s anything that can be learned about the NRA, it’s this: The National Rifle Association is the face of modern racism, pure and simple.

Jim Porter, the current President of the NRA also had plenty to say about Holder as well as President Obama. Speaking before a group of gun enthusiasts on the day he took office in 2013, he called Barack Obama a “fake President,” and called Holder “Un-American.” Then he decided to talk about how the NRA got it’s start, and Porter made no effort to hide his bigotry.

“It was started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’ Now, y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ down south.”

He was on an ignorant roll, so why quit while he was ahead?

“When they’re ready to fight tyranny, (NRA members will be) ready to do it. Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it… The NRA, I can assure you, is dug in…”

Let’s not forget that this was all over slavery, and the NRA’s dismissal of Holder and Obama is racist.

And if you think the NRA isn’t racist, consider this, written by Kayla Hicks, the Director of African-American and Community Outreach for The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence.

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raptorella37@gmail.com'
Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.

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