GOA is silent about the Michael Brown shooting

August 18, 2014

On Aug. 9, unarmed citizen Michael Brown was gunned down by the police. You would think that conservative gun groups like the NRA or the GOA would be rallying around the Brown family, and demand justice.

But they haven’t even mentioned such an event.

The shooting, which took place in a St. Louis suburb known as Ferguson, has received plenty of media attention, as Brown was gunned down. There are so many angles that gun groups could take. They could condemn the police for killing an unarmed citizen. They could insist that citizens should arm themselves for protection against the government (police). They could condemn the militarization of the police, deploying tanks against protesters.

But they didn’t use either of these arguments.

Francis Wilkinson, who wrote the article “‘Jack-Booted Thugs’ With NRA Approval” for Bloomberg View, already looked into this, concerning the NRA at least. He found that though the NRA blasted the militarization of police, and condemned the ATF and FBI for using excessive force against both Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians in the 1990s. But Wayne LaPierre, their outspoken leader on that subject, has stayed silent on what happened in Missouri.

But Wilkinson may not realize that the NRA is not the real conservative gun group out there. You’d think it was the NRA, but it is actually the Gun Owners of America (GOA), the group you see bringing heavy weaponry into eateries to make customers feel more safe.

I went to the Gun Owners of America site to find outrage over Brown’s shooting by a Ferguson cop. It wasn’t mentioned.

They did have critical “open letters” to politicians they didn’t agree with. There was the “self-defense corner” with stories where someone used a gun to save a life, a gun debate on MSNBC from a few weeks ago, Obama, a UN treaty that would confiscate guns, but nothing about Brown.

According to the St. Louis media, gun sales have skyrocketed. Whether it’s fear of the police or fear of looting from reprisals, those sales have spiked. You’d think that would warrant some commentary, if only to stand by Brown, or the police, or residents. They didn’t even tell their members to watch the case closely.

Conservatives are always looking for ways to reach out to the African American community. This is one area that should be pursued. I think both groups could benefit from such an alliance that is concerned about the militarization of the police.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has spoken out against the use of force that the police used against the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Groups like the NRA and GOA could follow his lead, and form links that bridge the normal ideological divide.