NRA Board Member Criticizes Angry Rhetoric at Pro-Gun Rallies

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The president of one of the National Rifle Association’s largest state affiliates has criticised the increasingly angry and inflammatory pro-gun advocates who “scream obscenities” and “pound their chest and tell the attendees to prepare for war” at large rallies.

In a letter, Tom King, the head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said that holding such rallies was like “preaching to the choir”, and that “rabidly” anti-gun types would never be converted. Advocates of gun rights must instead concentrate on “the soccer moms, the guys who say: ‘I’ve never shot a gun but would like to try it,’ and the people worried about their safety,” King said. King is also a national board member of the NRA.

King initially announced he would not attend a rally on Tuesday in the state capital, Albany, to protest the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (Safe) Act of 2013. He has since said he will attend, but not in any official capacity.

The New York gun control laws were passed in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in December 2012. The rally on Tuesday and others like it are aimed at persuading state lawmakers to repeal the restrictions.

In February, King revealed that the NYSRPA’s membership had grown from 22,000 to 41,000 since the Safe Act was passed a year ago. The act requires universal background checks on gun purchases and contains the toughest assault weapons ban in the US.

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