For Release: Tuesday, May 16, 2000
LaPierre Scrambles on CBS News to Deny Racist Language
National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has once again demonstrated the core values of the NRA’s leadership: hypocrisy and racism. As a guest on CBS News’ Face the Nation this past Sunday, LaPierre was asked about a recent column he wrote for American Rifleman in which he stated: “There are many politicians willing to sacrifice the Second Amendment as the first step in the homogenization of American culture.”
Denying that the statement contained “racial overtones,” LaPierre claimed that the NRA “has a proud relationship with the African-American community.” Research by the Violence Policy Center (VPC), however, finds that LaPierre’s “homogenization” concerns are simply the latest in a long line of racist statements by NRA officials. For example:
- Current NRA President Charlton Heston, in defending “white pride” in a speech before the Free Congress Foundation, urged the audience to “draw your sword and fight” against a variety of opponents, including “blacks who raise a militant fist with one hand while they seek preference with the other.” He told his listeners, “Mainstream America is counting on you.”
- Current NRA Board Member Jeff Cooper, in dismissing urban gun victims the majority of which are young black males wrote in Guns & Ammo that “the consensus is that no more than five to ten people in a hundred who die by gunfire in Los Angeles are any loss to society. These people fight small wars amongst themselves. It would seem a valid social service to keep them well-supplied with ammunition.” Cooper also refers to persons of Japanese ancestry as “Nips” and has suggested calling black South Africans from the Gauteng province “Oran-gautengs.”
- Current NRA Research Coordinator Paul Blackman, echoing Cooper’s views, has written that “studies of homicide victims especially the increasing number of younger ones suggest they are frequently criminals themselves and/or drug addicts or users. It is quite possible that their deaths, in terms of economic consequences to society, are net gains.”
- Current NRA Board Member Ted Nugent, commenting on South Africa, has observed that “apartheid isn’t that cut and dry. All men are not created equal.”
“If the NRA’s leadership, with their new ad campaign, are trying to prove that they are in America’s mainstream, then they have failed miserably. NRA officials’ extremist rhetoric only proves that racism is still alive and well in the top ranks of their organization,” VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann said today.
The NRA will conduct its annual meeting in Charlotte, NC, this weekend, from May 19 to 23. For more information, visit the VPC’s National Rifle Association Information website.