After a year of eerie silence, the NRA has finally made a statement about the shooting death of Philando Castile who was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in July 2016.
On Sunday (Jul. 9), NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and Women’s March co-organizer Tamika Mallory appeared on CNN to discuss the controversial NRA ad seems to targeted recent activism like the Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March. Since the ad went live at beginning of June, the Women’s March organizers wrote an open letter to the NRA demanding an apology and a retraction and most recently, the California chapter of Black Lives Matter released their own PSA condemning the NRA for enticing during these tense political times.
In the open letter written by Mallory, the Women’s March also demanded that the NRA make a public statement regarding the death of Castile. When Castile was shot on July 6, he had his legal firearm in the vehicle with him, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and his girlfriend’s daughter. Moments before Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Castile, Castile made him aware of the gun in the car. Two days after the shooting death, the NRA released a vague statement saying that they wouldn’t make a comment about the ongoing investigation, and they would wait until all the facts were in. They haven’t made a statement since.
With her back against the wall live on CNN, Loesch finally made a statement on behalf of the NRA. She called Castile’s death “absolutely awful” and “a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided.”
“I don’t agree with every single decision that comes out from courtrooms of America. There are a lot of variables in this particular case and there were a lot of things that I wish would have been done differently,” Loesch told the CNN host. “Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over a [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not. I also think that this is why we have things like NRA carry guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this.”
The debate between the two women did not come to a resolve, as Mallory pressed more about Loesch statement. On July 14, Women’s March plans to march from the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, VA to the Department of Justice. Watch the full video above and the clip about Castile below.