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Does Anti-Pot Prejudice Explain NRA's Reluctance to Condemn Philando Castile Shooting?

The organization's spokesperson seems to think Castile's cannabis consumption is relevant, but it's not clear why.

NRANRAYesterday the Washington Examiner claimed to have discovered the real reason for the National Rifle Association's reluctance to take a stand on the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile, a Minnesota man with a concealed-carry permit who was killed after announcing to the cop who pulled him over that he was armed. The sticking point for the NRA, according to the Examiner, was not, as many critics on the left have alleged, that Castile was black but that he was a cannabis consumer. The Examiner report, which was quickly echoed by outlets such as The Raw Story, Salon, and Newsmax, was based on an ambiguous tweet by NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch that does not bear the weight these stories place on it but nevertheless raises some interesting questions about anti-pot prejudice and the right to bear arms.

The context of Loesch's tweet was a thread begun by Colion Noir, an NRA-TV host who has been sharply critical of Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot Castile and was acquitted of manslaughter in June. Noir was responding to an August 9 tweet that reiterated the familiar (and demonstrably false) allegation that the NRA only cares about the Second Amendment rights of white people. "How much the NRA cares about your legal right to own a gun is directly related to the color of your skin," wrote a woman named Laura Weatherspoon. Noir, who is black, posted a link to that tweet with the comment, "Good God (forgive me father) enough w/ this lame argument." When another Twitter user asked Weatherspoon for evidence to support her contention, she replied, "Philando Castile followed the safety rules he was taught and he was shot to death. NRA said nothing. They are usually quick to speak up." That is where Loesch chimed in, saying, "He was also in possession of a controlled substance and a firearm simultaneously, which is illegal. Stop lying."

Loesch's comment could be read as a response to Weatherspoon's complaint that the "NRA said nothing," which is how the Examiner et al. interpreted it. But it was more likely a response to Weatherspoon's assertion that "Philando Castile followed the safety rules he was taught." Later in the same thread, someone asked, "Why can't you just say 'Philando Castile should not have been killed for legally possessing a gun?'" Loesch replied that "it wasn't legal possession due to controlled substance present." Loesch, who has avoided taking a position on whether Yanez should have been acquitted, insisted she was not defending the shooting, which she has called "a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided" (by whom or how, she did not say). On Twitter she said she was "remarking specifically on someone's language," i.e., Witherspoon's claim that "Philando Castile followed the safety rules."

So it's true that Loesch brought up Castile's marijuana use, although she did not say it was the reason the NRA, which the day after the shooting said it would "have more to say once all the facts are known," has not criticized Yanez or commented on his acquittal. But she obviously thinks Castile's pot smoking is relevant in some way. It is hard to figure out why.

Although "possession of a controlled substance while armed" is a distinct offense in some states, Minnesota does not seem to be one of them. But Minnesota law, like federal law, does prohibit "an unlawful user of any controlled substance" from possessing a gun in any setting or circumstance. Yanez testified that he smelled marijuana when he approached Castile's car, and police later found six grams inside an uncovered Mason jar wrapped in a plastic bag. Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting, said she regularly smoked pot with him. If so, Castile was not legally allowed to own a gun, let alone carry it in public. According to the state of Minnesota and the federal government, none of the 36 million or so Americans who consume cannabis each year, even in states where it's legal, has any Second Amendment rights.

You might expect that an organization dedicated to defending the Second Amendment would object to such an irrational, unfair, and arguably unconstitutional rule. When it comes to other restrictions on the right to arms, the NRA does not take the position that "the law is the law" and leave it at that. To the contrary, the NRA criticizes gun laws that it believes unjustifiably impinge on that right, such as "assault weapon" bans, limits on magazine capacity, and restrictive carry-permit policies. Just yesterday, Loesch went on Fox News to criticize a Michigan law that bars foster parents from carrying concealed weapons, saying, "It is the right of an American citizen to be able to bear arms." On Tuesday, Loesch retweeted a Reason TV video in which John Stossel castigates police and prosecutors in New York for arresting and jailing gun owners from other states who unknowingly violate local law when they fly into the city with their weapons. She apparently does not take the attitude that the gun owners should have known better and have only themselves to blame. But when it comes to the arbitrary ban on gun possession by cannabis consumers, neither the NRA nor Loesch raises any objections.

Castile's cannabis consumption is in any case irrelevant to the question of whether Yanez's decision to shoot him was justified in the circumstances, unless you not only believe the officer's bizarre claim that the whiff of marijuana made him fear for his life but also think such a reaction would have been reasonable. Bringing marijuana up, as Yanez's defenders frequently do, is a way of glossing over the officer's inept, panicky handling of the traffic stop, which is the main reason Castile is dead. Loesch and the NRA have been carefully avoiding that issue, and I suspect their reticence has less to do with race or anti-pot prejudice than with fear of offending cops by seeming to side with their critics on the left.

I reached out to Loesch, who complained that Washington Examiner reporter Kelly Cohen did not try to interview her, via Twitter and the NRA, but I have not heard back yet. I will update this post if and when I do.

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  • juris imprudent||

    Would, but only after she dislodged the long, slender piece of wood from her arse.

    You want the acid test on NRA cop-fellation, ask about the police killing of Ismael Lopez? It was a violation of everything the NRA teaches kids, but are they going to stick it to those dumb, trigger-happy cops?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    +1 copsuckers

  • Tony||

    Yeah. That's it.

  • Juice||

    Nope. It was pro-cop "prejudice" in knowing which side of their bread is buttered.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    +1 copsuckers

  • BambiB||

    "...she obviously thinks Castile's pot smoking is relevant in some way. It is hard to figure out why."

    No, it's not.

    Possessing firearms and illegal drugs makes the gun possession illegal (under current law). While the Castille shooting was pretty clearly a police fuck-up, the NRA is not about to head down the path of defending drug dealers (which would be the next step down the slippery slope.)

    Personally, I don't think the drugs should be illegal - and legalizing them would certainly reduce the tension between cops and drug users, reducing the fear displayed by cops and their overreaction. But until that happens, I can understand the NRA not taking a stand on this shooting... despite the fact that I think the cop was wrong enough that he should be spending years in prison for it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Advocacy organizations like this ultimately reflect the sensibilities of their marginal contributors more than anything else. This is why various environmental organizations will oppose things like nuclear power and fracking--despite them leading to falling CO2 emissions. This is why the ACLU only reluctantly supports the Second Amendment, if at all, why animal groups will oppose culling that ultimately protects wildlife, and, yeah, if the NRA has become increasingly associated in the minds of their donors with the right, I wouldn't expect them to want to associate themselves with anti-police/BLM groups or marijuana legalization.

    When McDonalds or Coca Cola advertise, they don't use images that marginal customers may find disagreeable. When advertisers are selling beer or trucks to guys who watch football, they tend to use girls and other things that target demographic likes. There's nothing wrong with that.

    If the NRA isn't a principled organization, that's a great reason to be more libertarian than pro-NRA. If furthering their cause leads them to pander to pothead-hating rednecks, then I guess that's what they should do. My problems with them are more about calling for stricter background checks in the wake of mass shootings. However, that criticism isn't about their advertising. That's about undermining the Second Amendment.

  • WakaWaka||

    Shhhh...ACLU good, NRA bad.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This is why the ACLU only reluctantly supports the Second Amendment, if at all

    They don't, and they don't explicitly so, on their website-- so your 'if at all' made it more accurate.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    No Ken, "This is why the ACLU only reluctantly supports the Second Amendment" is totally wrong.

    Before HELLER they actually took the position that the 2A did not protect an individual right.

    And they haven't changed that opinion as far as I know.

  • Jim Macklin||

    In 1982 I recall the ACLU in written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee quoted the Second Amendment thusly,
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, shall not be infringed.

    It seems they left out the little part about The right of the People.

  • Tionico||

    furthering their cause leads them to pander to pothead-hating rednecks

    I've known lots of rednecks, and lots of pot-head haters, but I've yet to ever meet both of those chracteristics wrapped up in the same bag of bones.

  • christa314||

    Jeff Sessions?

  • ||

    The context of Loesch's tweet was a thread begun by Colion Noir, an NRA-TV host who has been sharply critical of Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot Castile and was acquitted of manslaughter in June.

    Am I wrong in thinking that it's idiotic to wonder what the NRA's (lack of) motivations are? Motivations of a social construct aside, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News doesn't weigh in on every media issue of the day. Not that the NRA isn't pro-cop, but FOX, CNN, etc. pays these talking heads to be talking heads and it sounds very much like what's happening here except the NRA is a lobbying organization rather than a media organization.

    The NAACP issued a travel advisory for all of Missouri after the Michael Brown shooting. Are we going to perpetually wonder why they aren't issuing travel advisories for every shooting in IL, CA, NY, etc.? It just seems like a lose-lose proposition to weigh in on the issue further or more authoritatively for the NRA.

  • WakaWaka||

    No mention about congresswoman Kathleen Rice who labeled Dana Loesch and the NRA 'domestic threats'? That seems important to note

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided"

    This is the single most frustrating thing when I deal with conservatives (or people I presume to be) and makes me want to punch them in the face.

    There's this idea that if every interaction with a cop you don't collapse, prostrate upon the ground, that the cop shooting you is justified.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    +1 copsuckers

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That sounds like a good way to get shot.

  • Overt||

    But to be clear, I don't see the "This could have been avoided" quote to necessarily say that the victim was responsible for avoiding it.

    FWIW: I used to see Conservatives as the main Pro-Police arm, but more and more I see it as mixed. There are some Liberals that worship cops, and some conservatives. The weird thing is that in my experience, young liberals are skeptical of cops and old liberals stand by them, whereas most conservatives who are skeptical of cops are older.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I agree that she didn't say that, but if I were a betting man, I would bet that's exactly what she meant. I would put money on it.

  • Rebel Scum||

    NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch

    I prefer GOA over NRA. Also, I'll be in my bunk.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    But she obviously thinks Castile's pot smoking is relevant in some way. It is hard to figure out why.

    Pot is illegal (in that state). Possessing and smoking it is a crime. Therefore he's not a law-abiding gun owner. It really is that black and white to the NRA.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Sometimes i envy the stupid their certainty.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I'd ascribe it more to being a handy excuse for siding with the cops without it appearing quite so reflexive.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Indeed, it is black and white for the NRA: with both drugs and cops.

    It's sad how far the NRA has sunk. They seriously need a change in leadership to roll the org back to education about responsible gun ownership and protection of Constitutional rights.

    Of course, with the money rolling in from current political donors, it's highly unlikely.

  • Eric||

    "Pot is illegal (in that state). Possessing and smoking it is a crime. Therefore he's not a law-abiding gun owner. It really is that black and white to the NRA."

    High capacity magazines are illegal in my state. Would the NRA shrug off an illegal shooting just because the criminal shot did nothing else than possess a high cap mag?

  • Overt||

    Would the NRA shrug off an illegal shooting just because the criminal shot did nothing else than possess a high cap mag?

    Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they did. This is part of the NRA's strategy- blame the person, not the gun. It is the reflexive antithesis of liberals who think that the existence of guns causes more gun crime.

    As a result, over the years, NRA has been a major proponent of programs where people caught committing a crime while in possession of guns (even if the gun wasn't involved) get the book thrown at them. For example they helped push for federal legislation that took drug charges from local prosecution to federal prosecution if a gun was found at the scene.

    And while I disagree with this approach, it makes sense. They saw a lot of fear about gun crime in the 80s, so their action was to double down on punishing any crime tangentially related with a firearm. This, theoretically, would get gun-carrying criminals off the streets, and also allow them to insist that the problem is criminals, not guns.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    the cop would have been justified to kill you, then load your high cap mag into his gun and kill you again.

  • retiredfire||

    Maybe the NRA doesn't want to be associated, not with someone simply possessing a controlled substance, but with someone, who is impaired and carrying a loaded weapon.
    IDK if Castille's toxicology results showed recent use, or not, - the smell of it, in the car, indicates there was - but safe gun handling excludes those under the influence of any substance, including alcohol.
    It may not be realistic to expect that, but the official policy of an organization, like the NRA, would be that; "If you're going to drink, or get high, leave your gun at home".

  • LST||

    "...but safe gun handling excludes those under the influence of any substance, including alcohol."

    And yet, it is legal to drink and carry in MN. Your bac needs to be under 0.04, but it isn't legally a zero tolerance policy in MN.

    The point - consumption, by itself, != impairment. Quantity matters, for both alcohol and pot. The mere presence of pot says nothing about impairment.

    For the NRA (or anyone else) to claim or imply otherwise, is simply an admission they're using emotional arguments instead of rational ones.

  • MamaLiberty||

    Not only does quantity matter, for anything ingested, there is the additional reality of so many other things that "MAY" impair judgment.

    Anger
    Danger/serious threat
    Emotional trauma
    Sleep deprivation
    Serious pain
    "Legal" pain medication

    I could go on, but you should see the point. If all sources of impairment were made "illegal," or the mere presence of them legally precluded anyone going armed... we'd all be disarmed mighty quick.

    The mere presence or absence of cannabis has no more rational relationship to impairment, or the ability to exercise basic judgment for self defense, than any of the other potential causes. Impairment is not only dependent on the amount of any particular substance, but many other things. It's a matter of degree, and each person must determine that for themselves... accepting the real consequences of our actions and choices, of course.

    No "law" can determine a totally safe use of anything, and no "law" can prevent people from doing dumb things in any case. It can only be used to control people AFTERWARDS. Oh, and destroy their lives and ability to defend themselves. If only the most perfect and unimpaired people may carry... we'd all best toss everything we have into the nearest blast furnace. None of us are totally unimpaired.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    NRA:gun ownership::PETA:pet ownership

  • Brandybuck||

    Castile had some pot. The penalty for having pot while not white is getting shot by a cop. What is so hard about that for you people to understand?

  • Dillinger||

    the gun is a more dangerous controlled substance than the bag.

  • I can't even||

    The NRA is a big organization with a great many opinions. That incident has creates a lot of division within the organization.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Loesch is virtue-signalling that it is ok for a cop to shoot you if you are in possession of drugs. The NRA is rife with Sessions-style prohibitionists and their failings occasionally float to the surface like policy steatorrhea. Loesch believes you forfeit your 2A protections when you use an illegal drug.

    It's a tiresome, authority-worshiping argument, but invoking it (even poorly and passive-aggressively, like Loesch is doing here) in Castile's case is absurd. Yanez murdered Castile. Yanez is a murderer. He can claim that the odor of marijuana made him fear for his life all he wants, but I don't buy it. He panicked and fucked up, because he is a total asshole who should never have been given a badge and a gun. I hope he goes to Hell and has a pineapple shoved up his ass on the hour.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    you nailed it.

  • Robert||

    What they need to change their minds is to see a lot of bumper stickers saying, "I'm the NRA and I smoke!" with a pot leaf.

  • Trigger Warning||

    That's actually a pretty awesome idea.

  • christa314||

    Absolutely correct!!!

  • Cy||

    While wearing a tutu.

  • Mannie||

    We couldn't see what happened in the car. The jury found the officer not guilty, probably based on reasonable doubt. What's to condemn?

  • Trigger Warning||

    I hope your next traffic stop goes as well, then.

  • Mannie||

    Not half as much as I do. :-)

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Huh. Sometimes i forget that people like you exist. Then i am reminded, and despair. Thanks for ruining my Friday, you credulous son of a bitch!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Nothing really, which is why so many police shootings are found reasonable.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Oh, gosh, I dunno...summary execution? Actually we could see what happened in the car. It was recorded on video and shown repeatedly everywhere. You sleep tight under that cozy just-world hypothesis.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    Yanez didn't argue that he killed Castile in self-defense, he argued that he wasn't guilty of murder because he was "scared".

    The only people worse than Yanez are the stupid jurors, and their cop-sucking supporters like you, who buy that evil argument.

  • H. Farnham||

    It's important to note that Yanez wasn't found not-guilty of murder. He was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm. I don't know if Yanez is a terrible person or if the jurors were stupid. However, I find it unfathomable that there wasn't enough evidence to establish that Castille's death was the result of Yanez acting negligently and or recklessly. The verdict continues on the precedent that police officers are above the law.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Yanez terrible person? Yes.

    Jurors stupid? Yes.

    Why is that even questionable? If you whacked somebody because you were "scared," would you be given as much leeway as Yanez has been given? The hell you would.

    And the stupid jurors bought the "totality of circumstances argument." It makes no difference to most people if the cop was actually threatened, or if he only felt threatened. Even if the cop's reason for feeling threatened (smelled pot, dog "alerted," drank too much coffee, victim's hands were not visible for two seconds because the victim was following the cop's instructions) is complete nonsense, juries are heavily guided toward giving the cop the maximum benefit of the doubt.

    "He reached into his pocket."

    "He failed to follow instructions."

    "He was hostile and threatening."

    "He was resisting arrest."

    "I smelled drugs. I saw drug paraphernalia."

    Those statements, and similar ones, are treated as magical talismans that give cops unquestionable permission to Judge Dredd your ass.

    This could happen to you, too. Remember that.

  • H. Farnham||

    You seem to be under the impression that I'm defending the act committed by Yanez or the verdict reached by the jury. To the contrary, I'm saying in no uncertain terms that both were wrong. I just simply choose not to judge people whom I've never even met before; the crime was terrible and the verdict was stupid. It's possible that Yanez is a good person that got scared and senselessly shot and killed Castille. He should still be held accountable.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Apologies.

  • christa314||

    Terrible person? Perhaps. Terrible cop? Without question!

  • Mannie||

    He was heard to be screaming in a panicked tone, "Don't reach for your gun. Don't" You have no more idea of what happened in that car than I do.

  • juris imprudent||

    Here you go Mannie.

  • QuadGunner||

    The jury found the officer not guilty, probably based on reasonable doubt he's a cop, Castile was a black pot smoker.

    FIFY

  • Ron||

    there is no need for the NRA to stand up for Castile since he was illegal armed which is not something the NRA wants to defend. You can not have a gun and pot at the same time. If you don't like that law then change it otherwise its not the NRA's problem. for those of you complaining about the Lopez situation lets get all the facts right first and there seems to be a lot of different stories at this time.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That's a pretty dumb comment, Ron. From the article:

    You might expect that an organization dedicated to defending the Second Amendment would object to such an irrational, unfair, and arguably unconstitutional rule. When it comes to other restrictions on the right to arms, the NRA does not take the position that "the law is the law" and leave it at that. To the contrary, the NRA criticizes gun laws that it believes unjustifiably impinge on that right, such as "assault weapon" bans, limits on magazine capacity, and restrictive carry-permit policies. Just yesterday, Loesch went on Fox News to criticize a Michigan law that bars foster parents from carrying concealed weapons, saying, "It is the right of an American citizen to be able to bear arms." On Tuesday, Loesch retweeted a Reason TV video in which John Stossel castigates police and prosecutors in New York for arresting and jailing gun owners from other states who unknowingly violate local law when they fly into the city with their weapons. She apparently does not take the attitude that the gun owners should have known better and have only themselves to blame. But when it comes to the arbitrary ban on gun possession by cannabis consumers, neither the NRA nor Loesch raises any objections.

  • Overt||

    I think there is a distinction though. NRA may fight against "bad" laws, but I have not really seen where they argue that a person should be protected if they follow that law. That is, despite the fact that they are against the Assault Weapons ban, you shouldn't expect them to start trying to defend you if, say, you were caught intentionally buying one on the black market.

    Not saying I agree with this "Follow the law, even if you disagree with it" but it has long been a major component of the strategy- law breakers should be punished heavily, especially if they use guns, but everyone else should be free to enjoy their 2nd Amendment Rights.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's not a question of being 'protected' while violating the law, it's a question about if a cop has a right or duty to kill you if you violate a law, any law, and pose no threat to the officer.

    Again, with the NRAs logic, the Castille shooting would be justified if Castille had been jaywalking.

  • Overt||

    That is not a proper analogy of their logic. The NRA doesn't tend to take a position on ANY case where a person is shot by cops. Instead, they take a position when someone is persecuted for using a gun legally. And they are adamant about not associating themselves with people who break the law- whether it is a law they disagree with or not.

    In the Castille case, he was not legally carrying. It wasn't that he was breaking some law, and just happened to be legally carrying. It was that he was prohibited by law from carrying a weapon, because of his drug use- the drugs found at the scene. They aren't going to jump to the defense of someone who was illegally trying to buy an assault weapon- even if they believe the assault weapons ban is wrong, and they aren't going to jump to the defense of someone who was illegally carrying a gun- even if they believe that it is wrong for drug use to prohibit carrying a weapon (though I doubt they have that collective view).

    The NRA has worked very, very hard to cultivate the image that they support lawful gun owner's rights. If there is any indication that you are breaking the law, they want nothing to do with you, and they will even support throwing the book at you because of this deliberate marketing tactic.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It was that he was prohibited by law from carrying a weapon, because of his drug use- the drugs found at the scene

    I'm not sure the NRA thought it out that much, but I'll defer to your reasoning. However, I believe the marijuana was discovered after the shooting?

    Which means from a legal perspective, it's immaterial. It played no part in the threat aspect of the situation and therefore cannot be used as "justification" for the shooting.

    The cop shot castile, then in the process of investigating the scene, lo and behold, marijuana is discovered. So from a guilt/innocence standpoint, Castile was innocent at the time of the shooting.

  • Jim Macklin||

    Moving around in your car and reaching for ANYTHING when a cop is telling you to stop moving, stop reaching is a threat and that is why the jury found Yanez not guilty.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Sorry, no. The "Cops are easily spooked cowards so they have permission to kill you" argument is nonsense. That's a looser rule of engagement than for an American Soldier fighting the Taliban.

    Incidentally, reservists who are cops in civilian life are some of the worst Soldiers imaginable. Poor weapons discipline, aversion to de-escalation of conflict, ignorance of LOAC, trigger-happy. Just awful.

  • Lester224||

    If I wasn't white I'd be dead 10 times over for stupid things I did while young at traffic stops. I was definitely guilty of rummaging around for my license and registration when I should not have been doing so.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    and of course, the penalty for not being "legally" armed is summary execution cop.

    glad you cleared that up for us.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You can not have a gun and pot at the same time.

    Can you have a gun and jaywalk at the same time?

  • Tionico||

    You can not have a gun and pot at the same time

    You cannot have a "high capacity magazine" in some states and breathe at the same time

    You cannot have hollow point ammunition in New Jersey and breathe. Or walk.

    You cannot have a handgun inNew York City and breathe, unless you are Somebody Speshul.

    If you managed to get a California Mother May I Card, you cannot have in your possession a nahdgun NOT listed on that card.

    And so it goes.... stupid law after stupid law, none of which do a thing to "keep us safe" unless you figure that behind bars is "safe", or in your coffin six feet under is "safe".

    NONE of the above prohibitions pass Constitutional muster, and the NRA oppose most of these. Yet they seem all for the one about pot and pistols at the same time. Never mind whether the gun holder has USED the pot... what if he was on the way home from the pot shop, where he legally purchased nis month's supply to treat his arthritis? Can't be armed when he drives to the potshop? NRA gets all knicker-beknotted when an employer prohibits handguns in cars out in the lot, left there because they can't carry them inside... so the new rule forces employees to make the twice daily commute disarmed......

  • Rogers1234||

    Then I guess the NRA doesn't see laws banning possession of a gun while possessing drugs as unconstitutional.

  • HenryC||

    If he was smoking and driving he was armed and committing a crime. It does put it in a different category than say running a red light, or having a non working blinker. Smoking pot and driving should be a felony, just like drinking and driving. It is worse under our laws, though it should not be. Still the NRA is right that it is a different category, though an obvious mistake by the cops. I don't agree with the NRA, but it is an understandable position.

  • Dillinger||

    the takeaway is, always travel with a dog or two.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    Unfortunately, the NRA's silence on Castile is because they - like far too many on the "right" - are too much part of the "law and order" crowd - and one of their big member groups are cops.

    So, they will excuse any cop shooting they can (by ignoring it) black or white or any other color, or by someone blaming the victim.

    Dana L is just another decent looking broad on the make, and the NRA is a perfect place for her.

    I may be a Life Member (for 45 yrs now) but I'm not a fan of the NRA anymore. That said, if it wasn't for the NRA we'd have probably lost the "assault weapons" argument in the 90's and the ban would have been permanent.

  • zaq.hack||

    Or it really is about race, but since they can't say that, "marijuana" is a good excuse.

  • Myk||

    Seems highly plausible. Ever hear a word from the NRA when Obama's admin changed form 4473 to say if you use marijuana legally you're still excluded from buying a gun? Ever hear a word from the NRA when the federal district court said just having a mmj card was reason to take your guns?
    Imagine if someone passed a rule saying Drs had to tell the BATFE what prescriptions you were getting and the wrong prescription would get your guns taken. Imagine if someone passed a rule saying if you had your social security check sent to someone because you weren't competent to handle your own finances that was enough to take your guns without seeing how far your competency extended. No need to imagine about those.

  • mpercy||

    On the NRA-ILA website, there was a discussion of the 4473 changes. "In one of its final acts on firearms, the Obama Administration's ATF announced that its proposed changes to the Form 4473 would go into effect on January 16, 2017, just four days before the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. " And "Another notable change to the form is the inclusion of a bolded warning to potential transferees from ATF. The warning provides that "the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state where you reside." This warning is a continuation of ATF's policy that was first published in an open letter on September 21, 2011. Under ATF's policy, not only are users of marijuana prohibited from possessing firearms, but a person may not transfer a firearm to an individual if the transferor knows that the transferee holds a medical marijuana card. Importantly, this second prohibition applies even where the cardholder does not actually use any marijuana."

    I don't recall real policy discussion about the change, but it was just a clarification of something already illegal and didn't markedly change the results on 4473.

    NRA had a lot to say about the later items when they happened, and the SS one and a similar VA one were a point of emphasis for number of months until Trump administration overrode those.

  • Myk||

    It'll be interesting to see their stance when the feds legalize and the liberals try to keep the legal use means a gun ban rules in place.
    I know Noir says you can have a gun and legally use but that was on twitter where I read that so I didn't get the lawyereze justification for saying that.

  • Jim Macklin||

    Seems as though the author was simply looking for an excuse to bash the NRA and the police. But since little really known about the training and experience of all those involved, why should the NRA change any previously stated position based on media reports?
    It appears that there were faults and errors by all persons.
    The car appeared to be suspect from a robbery, so why wasn't a FELONY STOP done with several police cars and the occupants ordered out one at a time?
    Saying "I have a gun" is ambiguous since it could be a threat or a notification. Saying "I am licensed to carry" makes any required notification and is less likely to be heard as a threat.
    Staying motionless in your car and paying close attention to what the policed are saying is a good idea. This was not done.
    The GF was busy Tweeting, Castile was not following instructions.
    There are lessons here for everybody. Perhaps the drug, cannabis affected Castile's reaction times and he was unable to follow directions.?

  • Overt||

    While I agree that there was unfortunate acting on both sides of the encounter, the fact remains that the police officer was completely at fault here. He is the one with the training, with the gun drawn, and the position of authority. The people in the car do not get stopped by police every day, and should not be expected to just know the right behavior to avoid "triggering" the cop. The Cop should be responsible for managing the situation, especially when it is shown that the victim was acting in good faith

    Being slow to react, saying the wrong words, even being high (and it is not clear that he was high at the time) are not reasons for a person to be killed. Hell if you pulled a legally owned gun and shot a man on the same conditions, you would easily be charged with manslaughter, and you do not get the training and experience that a cop is supposed to have.

  • Tionico||

    the recorded conversation reveals that the cop was giving vague commands, not allowing Castile sufficient time to respond, and it does seem likely Castile was not well versed in how to handle the situation when contacted by LE and you are armed.
    I carry mine right where I have to put my hand to release the seatbelt. I've rehearsed in my mind many times how I would take pains to assure the cop knows this, and that I am NOT reaching for the gun but the belt.

  • Tionico||

    I was stopped on my bicycle last weekend whilst armed. The cop had a bad case of the 'tudes, was belligerent and testy' He demanded my DL.. in my state a cyclist is not REQUIRED to produce or even have one. I said I did not. He got fluffed.... but I reminded him I don't HAVE to produce it. I gave him my identification verbally. He was satisfied with that, went to run the make. I feared, by his attitude, that if I'd given my DL he'd have learned I carry, and then got all felony stop like. I had an appointment I did not want to miss. Dealing wiht a testy cop who does NOT like my being armed might have taken a long time. But just the name does not turn my the Mother May I Card..... I did have that Card, but he has to ask for it before I am OBLIGATED to produce it. I tried no not let that happen. Few folks ever suspect a serious cyclist to be armed. He was all kinds of wrong for the stop in the first place, I refused to agree with his claim I was violating the law in my riding. I remained astraddle the bike, feet on the ground, hands plainly visible and well clear of my body. Not having to produce my DL meant no putting my hand anywhere he could have thought there was a handgun. This COULD have gone very badly.. he was rather agitated and tense.... and insulting. I'm trying to reach his supe to get this straighened out.

  • Free Oregon||

    Castile was black. Isn't that the problem? Perhaps the lesson is to shoot first rather than tell the policeman you are legally armed.

  • Brian Whittle||

    I have no real interest in using weed but I have friends who do to a reasonable controled amount and they are just normal people who function perfectly well without any problems. The united states need to get the stick out of their ass over this mostly harmless thing people do to exist.

  • Tony G||

    NRA response to Castile tragedy more likely due to the urge to kiss police ass than racism.

  • mpercy||

    From my point of view, as an NRA Life Member...what exactly is the 2nd Amendment argument to be made in the Castile case?

    Castile should never have been shot, and there were almost certainly 4th, 5th, and 15th Amendment issues, but I don't think Castile was denied his carry permit. Nor was he shot because he had a gun (ostensibly legally, albeit probably not given the pot).

    He was shot because he made an idiot cop nervous enough to pull the trigger. That's not a 2nd Amendment issue.

  • Red Twilight||

    No shit!

    The issue here is why did the NRA take so long to comment on this unlike when they do after a white dude is killed? And when they did, they are trying to justify killing an legal carry?

    Your organization is headed by racists. Live with it

  • Myk||

    I'm also a life member. It's an NRA issue because if cops can shoot anyone for legally carrying it kind of makes the legal carry laws worthless. He did what he is supposed to do, inform the cop that you are carrying concealed. The cop shot him for it. Whether or not he had pot was not an issue at the time he was shot. That he said he was carrying was.

    Their reaction should be to teach cops how to react to CCW holders. They already teach CCW holders how to act, and that is how he acted.

  • retiredfire||

    Pretty sure "they" teach CCW holders to keep their hands where the cop can see them, even if told to produce license and registration, until the cop can react to the information.
    Going by the audio in the recording, Castille didn't do that, but continued to reach for something, while the cop was telling him not to.
    Cops are taught that they don't have to wait to be fired upon, to react. This one seems to have reacted to a perceived threat. Maybe it was precipitous, but the jury believed it wasn't.

  • Myk||

    Going by the audio it was a one man job of having a crowd of police yelling for you to do conflicting actions. You can't show him your license while keeping your hands where he can see them.

  • ||

    Driving under the influence and carrying under the influence are both irresponsible, and that's true whether it's booze or it's pot.

  • Tionico||

    Ive seen no toxicology report. We don't KNOW he was using at the time of the contact. Thus mere possession, not discovered till after he was dead and they tore down the car, was not a causative factor in the cop's hair trigger.

  • retiredfire||

    Cop said he smelled it. Unless there was some way to prove that he didn't, it would be accepted by a jury.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Yep, the ol' "I smelled marijuana" justification for shooting a man dead. It's iron-clad.

    Soldiers and Marines are taught extensive rules of engagement and must positively identify several criteria before engaging terrorists in combat.

    American police officers can be pants-shitting cowards who feel entitled to kill people because the cops are strung up like Tweak hitting a meth pipe. Dickheads like you enable them.

    You weren't there, either. You don't know what Yanez did or didn't smell. Even if you knew beyond a shadow of doubt that Castile reeked of weed and was higher than the noon sun, I'm pretty sure that people intending to do violence upon you do not first politely inform you that they are armed.

    Making a cop nervous is not reasonable grounds to be executed. Cops are not Judge Dredd. Anybody who is as big a pussy as Yanez should pick a different career. Florist, barista, personal trainer.

  • Red Twilight||

    Nice assist Jacob. Turn the focus away to how drugs are poorly understood.

    No, the reason Philando Castille gunning down while carrying legally did not provoke much of a response from NRA, and when pressed was to justify is because of one reason:

    R A C I S M.

    The NRA top brass is racist, and this is a clear-cut example of the phenomenon. YOU are merely an enabler with these digressions.

  • XM||

    What's your proof that Racism in the primary reason on why the NRA won't jump on this issue? You're suggesting that if Yanez was black, they would have no issues with making broad and immediate statements about police? I don't remember the NRA collectively yelling at the Muslim cop who shot a white woman to death, and all she did was possibly rap on the hood of the car.

    The NRA is a conservative leaning group, so their measured statement is hardly a surprise. We can expect such boilerplate response from progressive stalwarts if someone from their camp shoots up a baseball game - followed by a stern lecture about generalization and waves of hate.

    And unlike some batshit insane groups, the NRA does not actually advocate for the tragedy that happened here. It is not their philosophy that cops SHOULDN'T exercise discretion during a stop, whether the suspect is a legal owner or not.

    It would be more than appropriate for the NRA to take firmer stand on this issue, but you could theoretically apply that to any situation in which cops use force when they perceive a threat or "saw a gun". If cops shoot people for thinking they saw a gun, they may shoot people who admit to having one. But ultimately the NRA isn't responsible for whatever added up in Yanez's head at the time. Strictly speaking, this isn't a drug or a second amendment issue.

  • retiredfire||

    The name of the officer involved indicates he was also one of the sainted "persons of color".
    I thought only white men could be racists, or does one get that designation upon joining a police force?
    By the way; the NRA was formed, in the post-bellum south, to protect the rights of recently-freed slaves to own firearms.
    Or do you believe they did the magical reversal of position that the slavery-defending, Jim Crow legislating and KKK forming demoncrap party claim happened?

  • AlmightyJB||

    NRA are and have always been huge cop fellators.

  • Tionico||

    You might expect that an organization dedicated to defending the Second Amendment would object to such an irrational, unfair, and arguably unconstitutional rule.

    There it is. NRA need to go on record as opposing such laws, particularly at Fed level. Our Constitution grants NO AUTHORITY over FedGov to deal with whatever we choose to put/not put into our bodies. There is NO Constitutional foundation for marijuana being a "controlled substance", as FedGov have no such authority.

    If possession of pot is illegal, why add a second meaningless incidental "crime" of being in possession of TWO things at the same time, both of which FedGov are not allowed to regulate? Seems that is more a nanny state power trip than anything to do with "the common good".
    So I drove to the marijuana store in my where I can legally purchase the stuff, and, as is my habit, my carry gun IS on my hip. The moment I arrive and walk into the store, I am still "legal". But once I pick out my merchandise, place it on the counter, pay for it, and put it in my hand, never mind I've not TAKEN a nannogramme of it yet, I am suddenly a felon for having a firearm AND a lawfully possessed "controlled substance" at the same time?

    THIS is insane.

    By the bye, I am NOT a marijuana user, though I could easily qualify for a medical card wherever they are issued. I simply choose not to. But I WILL FIGHT for the right of anyone else to decide the other way, and against stupid useless laws like this one.

  • m.EK||

    This is another example of these huge movements deviating from their stated purpose to "greater" political efforts. AARP is another example.
    What they claim and what they do is different. Power corrupts. Even when you just have a little.
    This is another argument for Law.
    When authority gets to make rules and call them "laws" and enforce them with guns, prisons, and punishments, then you get the corruption you deserve. This is the fallacy of "making laws" or as our legislators like to think of themselves as being "law-makers". They make rules and call them "laws".
    If you understand that the Oath of Office is a legal and binding contract, then a casual look at the shit that has come from Congress for the past 150 years is blatantly NOT Constitutional. They simply do not have the authority nor autonomy to legislate, decree, or "rule" beyond the clear mandate that is Constitutional Law!
    The Oath is the crux. This is the legal sword or tool to stop these idiots and the people that seem to own them for a song.

  • Sammy34||

    Oh man!

    Can we all agree this should not be an issue anymore in 2017?!

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