Those looking for moderation and sensitivity in the gun control debate probably, by this point, know better than to look to the National Rifle Association.
But even by the standards of what we’ve heard from the NRA recently, comments made by former NRA president Marion Hammer earlier this week stand out.
Appearing on an episode of the NRA news show The Daily News on Wednesday, Hammer concluded a discussion of the prospects on gun control initiatives prompted by the Newtown, Conn. massacre by drawing a comparison between attempts to ban guns and racism.
“And they even admit this is about banning the ugliest guns, it’s about cosmetics and it has nothing to do about how a firearm works,” host Ginny Simone said toward the end of the segment.
“Well, you know, banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago,” Hammer responded. “But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It’s just bad politics.”
By late Friday morning, Hammer’s comments were already being addressed by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) on MSNBC.
“The issue that needs to be discussed is the regulatory power Congress has to regulate assault weapons, regulate magazines and close the loopholes,” Grijalva said on MSNBC Live. “Those are three simple, common sense issues that we need to confront and no amount of trying to equate racism with gun ownership or racism with the ability to carry a weapon passes any muster or has any realm of reality to it.”
Watch Hammer’s comments (“banning people and things” comment comes toward end of the clip):
(h/t Media Matters)
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com