Home / National News / NRA Responses to Recent Shootings Prompt Criticism from Some Members


(NEW YORK) — A dichotomy between two deadly shootings a day apart has some members of the National Rifle Association criticizing the organization.

The two situations differed dramatically — one was a deadly police shooting of a black man inside a car in Minnesota on Wednesday, July 6, and the other was the organized targeting of law enforcement officers in Dallas, with five police officers dying, on the night of Thursday, July 7.

The pro-gun rights group posted statements on both incidents on its Facebook page on July 8, first addressing the Dallas incident, then the one in Minnesota.

Its response to the Dallas attack on police officers included a statement from NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre expressing his “deep anguish” for the slain officers. The statement was posted at 12:19 p.m. and pinned so that it would stay at the top of the NRA’s Facebook page.

“With heavy hearts, NRA members honor their heroism and offer our deepest condolences to all of their families,” the statement read.

Three hours later, a statement referencing the shooting death of Philando Castile by police was posted to the group’s page. Rather than referencing the victim by name, the statement said that “the reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated.”

The statement continued, adding that “it is important” to wait until after the ongoing investigation has concluded to make a comment.

“Rest assured, the NRA will have more to say once all the facts are known,” the statement read.

As of Monday afternoon, the second statement had received more than 11,000 comments, while the statement on Dallas had received more than 10,000, some of which came from Facebook users who self-identified as NRA members.

Charles Sasso, a 61-year-old NRA member from Fresno, California, commented on one of the Facebook posts and later told ABC News that he felt that he was “baffled” by the differences in the two responses.

“I would have liked to have seen something more equitable and even,” he said.

Sasso specifically said that he was surprised the NRA didn’t include Castile’s name in the statement. “It wasn’t as personal,” he said.

As a gun owner himself, he felt concerned by the group’s response to that shooting. “If I was carrying a gun into the shooting range or something, I don’t want to be targeted. It’s troubling,” he said.

While there were a number of supporters who wrote that the NRA’s response was measured — like Mick Burke, who commented that it was a “completely reasonable statement,” and Mark Bilben, who said it was “the smartest statement I’ve read so far about these events” — some of the comments that garnered the most attention were from members who were upset by the timing differences between the two statements.

Marco Gallologic, who identified himself as a lifetime member, said that he was disappointed.

“Your lack of any respectable statement on Castile and your almost jumping out of your own a — at light speed to comment on the tragedy in Dallas shows a disturbing contradiction. What do I pay fees for if you do not represent gun owners and our rights?” he wrote on Facebook.

The NRA did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment.
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