NRA Responds to Black Lives Matter

July 8th 2016

After facing strong backlash for its initial silence about the killing of Philando Castile, a black man who was shot to death by a police officer while in possession of a legally registered handgun, the NRA has finally spoken out.

The NRA released a statement on Friday afternoon, which read, in part: "The reports from #Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated."

The statement comes after the NRA was repeatedly criticized for failing to advocate for Castile's rights as a gun owner. Many of those criticisms implied that the NRA's silence was due to the fact that Castile is black.

Even some of the NRA's own members were concerned about the initial silence.

While the NRA's decision to speak out about Castile might come as some surprise, it's not the only criticism of his killing to come from the right wing.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is endorsed by the NRA, also released a statement Friday that called the deaths of Castile and Alton Sterling "senseless." Sterling was killed by police earlier this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"The senseless, tragic deaths of two people in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done."

Trump previously criticized the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I looked at a couple of the people that were interviewed from the group," he said last year, according to Business Insider. "I saw them with hate coming down the street last week talking about cops and police, and what should be done to them. And that was not good. And I think it's a disgrace that they're getting away with it."

Trump's rumored running mate, former Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich, spoke at length about racism in a Facebook Live discussion. Here's part of it:

“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this. If you are a normal white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.”

If these comments are an attempt to reach black voters in time for the 2016 election, it might be too little too late. A Quinnipiac University poll found that only 1 percent of the black people surveyed would vote for Trump.

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