The Alliance for Gun Responsibility released the following statement on the racism and violence in Charlottesville, VA:
“This weekend, we were reminded how easily hate can escalate to violence. The acts of violence and intimidation in Charlottesville were committed under the pretense of free speech and assembly, but in reality were driven by deep hatred and a disgraced ideology of white nationalism.
The violence committed in Charlottesville on Saturday was committed with fists, blunt instruments, a car, along with the threat of semi-automatic guns. To give cover and support to the racists who descended upon Charlottesville, self-proclaimed militia brandished semi-automatic weapons and threatened violent insurrection to intimidate community members and law enforcement alike. For years, the gun lobby, and especially the National Rifle Association, has rallied a militant faction of their membership with increasingly violent rhetoric against fellow citizens, elected officials and the press. The awful display in Charlottesville is the result of emboldening and arming hate groups and providing justification to take deadly action against fellow Americans.
No one should have to fear that a hate-filled person will take their life at work, at school, or in a public demonstration. But lives surely will continue to be lost when hateful individuals are empowered by violent rhetoric, as happened in Seattle in 2006, Charleston in 2015 and in Charlottesville on Saturday. More than 20 hate crimes involving a gun take place in the U.S. daily, totaling more than 8,000 a year. That staggering statistic is a direct result of those who would pervert our constitutional freedoms in order to to incite fear and threaten our fellow citizens because of how they pray, love or look.
This combination of hate and gun violence undermines civil discourse, public safety and the values of our society. We cannot be silent when we see such un-American displays. We must name it and reject it. We encourage anyone disgusted by the gun lobby’s shameful encouragement of hate, racism and violence to join us.”
About the Alliance for Gun Responsibility
The Alliance for Gun Responsibility works to end the gun violence crisis in our community and to promote a culture of gun ownership that balances rights with responsibilities. Through collaboration with experts, civic leaders, and citizens, we work to find evidenced-based solutions to the crisis of gun violence in our community. We create innovative policy, advocate for changes in laws, and promote community education to reduce gun violence. Learn more at www.gunresponsibility.org and follow us at @WAGunResponsib.