Protesters hold signs reading “Disarm Hate” or “Ban Assault Rifles” or paying tribute to any of the (embarrassingly numerous) mass shootings in America’s history. Rallied by the organizers of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. following the Presidential Inauguration, the protestors are marching eighteen miles from the NRA’s Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia to the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The day following the march, Saturday, July 15, the group will hold a vigil and rally at the U.S. Department of Justice.
A controversial NRA ad that seemed to be condoning violence against protestors and suggesting NRA members and gun owners fight back sparked the organization of the march. In the ad, conservative radio and television host Dana Loesch describes violent protests and a supposed false narrative conveyed by these protestors while images of windows being broken and tear gas being released flash across the screen. The ad concludes with Loesch’s cry for action:
“…the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth. I am the National Rifle Association of America and I am freedom’s safest place.”
The NRA has recently been condemned by participants in the march as well as Women’s March organizers for its silence on the death of Philando Castile, a legal gun-owner who was shot fatally after being pulled over and informing the officer he was carrying a gun. The Minnesota police officer responsible, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted of all charges this past June. Women’s March organizers released a statement regarding the case and the NRA’s involvement stating:
“The NRA claims to stand for the 2nd Amendment rights of all Americans, but their silence on Mr. Castile’s constitutional right to own a gun betrayed a deep hypocrisy that many joined in calling out.”
A statement similar in sentiment was posted on their website providing information and a mission statement about the upcoming march:
“Recent actions of the NRA demonstrate not only a disregard for the lives of black and brown people in America, but appear to be a direct endorsement of violence against women, our families and our communities for exercising our constitutional right to protest.”
An organizer from the Women’s March on Washington, Carmen Perez, clarified the march’s mission further, saying, “We are not trying to stop gun ownership. We are trying to stop the violence that comes with it.”
If you think Women’s March organizers and protestors are blowing this out of proportion, allow me to leave you with some statistics of gun violence in the United States for 2017 via the Gun Violence Archive. (All deaths, injuries, and incidents are verified upon being reported. Statistics shown below have been validated as of July 14, 2017.)
Number of Deaths: 8,257
Number of Injuries: 16,450
Number of Mass Shootings: 192
Number of Unintentional Shootings: 1,100
Has America had enough yet?