Media, Everytown attack gun rights groups over death of Philando Castille

The shooting of a concealed carry permit holder with a minor criminal record during a traffic stop in Minnesota quickly turned into “Why Black Lives Don’t Matter To The NRA” (actual headline).

What is not disputed: On July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, Philando Divall Castile, 32, was involved in an officer involved shooting that left him dead.

It was widely reported that Castile was a concealed carry permit holder.

Castille had a long list of traffic tickets, but no felony record.

Castille had a long list of traffic tickets as shown in this sample, but no felony record.

Public information held in the Minnesota Trial Court public records shows a history of some 31 misdemeanor moving and traffic charges since 2002, many of which were dismissed.

Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison–all Democrats–sent a letter to U.S. Atty Gen.Loretta Lynch urging the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the death of Castile.

Then came Gersh “AR-15 PTSD” Kuntzman of the New York Daily News who, in a subtly titled article entitled “The NRA is to blame for police shootings by encouraging citizens to defend themselves with guns” placed the onus on both Castile’s death and another of a black man in Baton Rouge shot July 6 in an officer involved shooting, at the foot of the National Rifle Association.

In the piece, Kuntzman’s associated the gun rights group and their call for more guns in more places by those legally able to possess them as upping violence nationwide, despite falling crime rates.

“And it’s all due to the NRA’s twisted, sick perversion of the Second Amendment from a cherished right to keep and bear arms as part of a well-regulated national defense into a call to ‘stand your ground’ in all circumstances,” wrote Kuntzman.

Then came Kira Lerner with Think Progress in the NYDN’s footsteps with, “Why Black Lives Don’t Matter To The NRA.”

Lerner wrote:

Each police shooting could easily play into the NRA’s narrative of government tyranny — a chance to call for arming civilians to stand up against an oppressive state that is literally killing them and their families. Each shooting could be a chance for the group to call for more “good guys with a gun” to protect themselves if they are stopped with a busted taillight and the situation escalates.

But the NRA has not addressed either shooting.

Which was quickly picked up by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown group:

"When black people decide to arm themselves in self-defense, as the NRA encourages people to do, the group doesn’t rally around their cause."

Posted by Everytown for Gun Safety on Thursday, July 7, 2016

The thing is, NRA News commentator Colion Noir began speaking about the shooting of Castile on Wednesday night– before Kuntzman and Lerner’s pieces even came out.

And he kept speaking about it.

And kept speaking about it.

And still speaks about it.

Further, one of the largest gun rights groups in the country, the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, are calling for an independent investigation.

From a statement emailed to Thursday morning:

“Wednesday night’s shooting of Philando Castile is very troubling, especially to the firearms community, because he was a legally-armed private citizen who may have done nothing more than reach for his identification and carry permit,” said Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president. He also chairs the CCRKBA. “We have received calls of alarm today from many of our members across the country. They are justifiably concerned that a law-abiding citizen may have been wrongfully killed.”

Gottlieb has viewed a video that was reportedly broadcast live on Facebook in the aftermath by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds. She was in the car, along with her 4-year-old daughter and witnessed the shooting.

“America’s 13 million citizens who are licensed to carry deserve to know exactly what happened and why,” Gottlieb stated. “There are conflicting explanations, and only an independent investigation can hopefully reveal the truth.

“We understand that Gov. Mark Dayton has asked the White House for a federal investigation,” he added, “and we believe that either the Minnesota State Patrol, or an agency of equal stature from another state could also be invited to investigate.

“We are cognizant of the racial overtones arising from Mr. Castile’s death,” Gottlieb noted. “The concerns of our members, and honest gun owners everywhere, go even deeper. Exercising our right to bear arms should not translate to a death sentence over something so trivial as a traffic stop for a broken tail light, and we are going to watch this case with a magnifying glass.”

Update: The NRA posted an official comment on Castille on July 8

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