For Release: Monday, October 11, 2005
Redskins/NRA Event Announced Same Month that NRA’s Magazine Attacks D.C. Mayor Williams and Police Chief Ramsey
Washington, D.C. – The Violence Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization working to reduce gun death and injury, today sent Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder a letter urging him to “end all participation” by the Washington Redskins in a planned shooting event with the National Rifle Association on October 25, 2005, to benefit the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation (Follow this link for the text of the letter).
The letter notes that the National Rifle Association is currently lobbying Congress to overturn Washington, D.C.’s gun laws. The bills to repeal the District of Columbia’s gun laws promoted by the NRA would: legalize handguns as well as semiautomatic assault weapons and 50 caliber sniper rifles; allow any person to carry, openly or concealed, loaded handguns and other concealable firearms in houses, places of business, or other land “possessed by that person”; and, severely weaken the District’s ban on armor-piercing handgun ammunition.
Citing the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation’s dedication to the “health and wellness” of youth, and the price exacted on D.C. children and teens by gun violence, the letter urges the Redskins and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation to end all participation in this event, stating, “The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation’s involvement with an organization whose mission is to repeal Washington D.C.’s gun laws cannot be reconciled with the mission of the foundation.”
The NRA-backed legislation is vigorously opposed by Mayor Anthony Williams, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Charles Ramsey, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and also stands, according to the letter, “as an outrageous attack by an outside special interest group on the home rule rights of D.C. residents.”
The September 19, 2005, announcement by the Redskins of the NRA shooting event comes the same month that the cover of the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom magazine features “Washington’s Newest Monument,” an imagined “monument” consisting of a giant tombstone marked “Washington, D.C., America’s Murder Capital.” The tombstone is covered with skulls and faces of the dead. Inside, a two-page photograph of Mayor Anthony Williams holding up his hands while making a point has the headline and caption, “D.C. to Criminals: We Surrender! The mayor of Washington, D.C., the Murder Capital of the U.S. for 14 of the last 15 years, strikes a telling pose as he defends D.C.’s absurd gun laws.” The article then goes on to attack Mayor Williams and Chief Ramsey (follow this link for a copy of the article).
VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “We hope that after reviewing the facts surrounding the National Rifle Association’s attempts to undermine public safety in Washington, D.C., Mr. Snyder will do what is best for the Redskins and their fans in the District of Columbia by ending all participation by the team and its foundation in this event.”