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NRA Extremism

Wayne LaPierre

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre declared in the May 2000 issue of American Rifleman, "There are many politicians willing to sacrifice the Second Amendment as the first step in the homogenization of American culture." LaPierre denied that the statement contained "racial overtones," and claimed that the NRA "has a proud relationship with the African-American community."

In a February 2002 speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, LaPierre declared, "I guess it's okay to wand-rape someone's daughter in public, but no profiling! No, we don't want to risk offending an Islamic ex-con with two aliases and no job, paying cash for a one-way airline ticket with no luggage, whose shoes are packed with plastic explosives."

"Who're we fooling? Terrorists fit into fairly narrow categories of gender, age, nationality and religion."

Follow this link to read the speech.


Charlton Heston

Controversy has followed Heston. In December 1997, Heston delivered a speech before the Free Congress Foundation in which he made inflammatory remarks regarding women, gays and lesbians, and African Americans; while at the same time trivializing the Holocaust. Click here for more information, including video and audio clips.

In the past, Heston has been criticized by a faction led by former NRA Board Member Neal Knox, who has questioned the actor's pro-gun credentials. In making these charges, Knox has pointed to pro-gun control statements made by Heston during the 1960s following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy that were obtained from The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum in Austin, Texas. Knox also has criticized Heston for remarks he made soon after his election questioning the need for citizens to own AK-47s. Click here for more information.

NRA Family Values

The speeches by LaPierre and Heston are simply the latest in a long line of racist statements by NRA officials. For example:

  • 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."

  • 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."

  • 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."

Follow this link to read the VPC study NRA Family Values

Additional NRA Issues

Rearming Criminals

While claiming that it supports vigorous enforcement of our nation's gun laws and efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the NRA has actually worked to put guns back into criminals' hands. The NRA has worked to expand and protect the federal "relief from disability" program that has rearmed thousands of convicted—and often violent—felons. Click here for more information.

Marketing Guns to Kids

The April 1999 VPC study Start 'Em Young—Recruitment of Kids to the Gun Culture includes quotes from leaders of the industry and the gun lobby about their efforts to target kids; photos of advertisements, articles, and photographs illustrating the campaign; and, a review of school shootings over the past two years.

The November 1997 VPC study Joe Camel with Feathers: How the NRA with Gun and Tobacco Industry Dollars Uses its Eddie Eagle Program to Market Guns to Kids, found that the primary goal of the Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the financial and political interests of the NRA and the firearms industry. While the tobacco industry denies that it is marketing to children, the NRA and the gun industry openly admit that they are. Click here for more information.

Concealed Carry Laws

Since 1987, the National Rifle Association has worked to loosen state laws regarding the carrying of concealed handguns. Click here for more information.

Range Protection Laws

The NationalRifle Association has worked to pass state laws to hide shooting ranges from judicial scrutiny behind the skirts of state "range-protection" laws. In short, the NRA uses its special-interest muscle to inflict noise, pollution, and public health harm on the general public so that a dwindling minority of range users can enjoy their destructive "shooting sports." Click here for more information.

NRA History

View the first two chapters of the book NRA: Money, Firepower & Fear, which detail the beginnings of the NRA to the defining moment in its history: The Cincinnati Revolt. Click here for more information.