The National Rifle Association announced it is offering membership discounts to young black men and women who join the organization.
In a statement, the gun-rights group highlighted last year’s fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin and the number of deaths of unarmed black men as evidence that African-Americans need to join them in supporting gun rights and self-defense laws across the country.
“Had Mr. Trayvon Martin been legally allowed to arm and defend himself, this tragic case might have had a different outcome,” the NRA said in a statement. “Instead, an unarmed man – who was legally prohibited from purchasing a gun – was unable to defend himself and was killed by another man who did have a gun.
“The NRA believes in defending the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. This is why we have decided to offer membership discounts, through Aug. 31, to African-Americans, ages 18-25, who can join us in defending their right to keep and bear arms for protection.
“If you are tired of reading about young, unarmed African-Americans being killed, then join us today and fight for your right to defend yourself.”
Protestors took to the streets in several cities following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, 29, who fatally shot Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla., last year. Zimmerman’s attorneys argued that the former neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot the unarmed Martin in self-defense after Martin allegedly attacked him. Zimmerman was following Martin around his Sanford neighborhood because he thought Martin looked “suspicious.”
The NRA said the Zimmerman/Martin case was also a reminder of how “unarmed black men are too often the victims of violence in the United States” and encouraged people who were upset about the verdict to become active in promoting their right to defend themselves.
The NRA added it will be sponsoring workshops in African-American neighborhoods aimed at educating residents about the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws, which enable a person to use force in self-defense if they believe they are under threat.
The NRA also stated it will focus its efforts in a similar Florida case involving Jordan Davis, an unarmed black 17-year-old who was fatally shot in an SUV allegedly by 46-year-old Michael Dunn, a white man, because Davis and his friends allegedly refused to turn down their music.
“We are beginning efforts to lobby federal and state governments to reduce the legal minimum age for law-abiding Americans to purchase and own guns to 15 years old. This would allow all law-abiding teenagers to enjoy the same gun rights and legal protections as adults in defending themselves from attackers.”
“We all must look at all of these tragic cases and say, ‘Never again!’ “