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“It’s an inequality. It’s an injustice,” said an attorney for Hughes, Michael Campbell Jr. “The NRA is a very powerful lobbyist group, and they have the means and the ability to affect society. We would expect for them to step up in this situation, for those who are legally carrying firearms.”
But the group is in a bind, said Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center, who has written extensively on the history and politics of the NRA. He said the group’s dilemma about black gun ownership dates to a shift in marketing strategy in the 1970s and 1980s.
“Until it was recognized that there was a longtime decline in household gun ownership, the NRA essentially ignored communities of color — blacks and Latinos. When they made an appearance in NRA publications, it was in the context of a threat,” he said. “What’s happened is that since the 1970s and 1980s, when about half of all Americans had a gun, that’s dropped to about a third, and there’s an acknowledgment that they’re in crisis because the traditional gun-buying public — white males — is dying off. There aren’t enough replacement shooters to fill that void, and so now they’ve been forced to reach out to the communities they once demonized.”
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