NRA comments on Castile shooting after criticism; says it's 'troubling'

After being called out for not commenting on the death of a black man shot by police in Minnesota,  the National Rifle Association issued a statement Friday calling the situation “troubling.”

The statement appeared to refer to the killing of Philando Castile, the man shot by a Falcon Heights, Minn., police officer after a traffic stop for a busted tail light. The comment, however, did not mention Castile by name.

“The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated,” the statement posted on Twitter reads. “In the meantime, it is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing.” 

The aftermath of Castile’s shooting was streamed live on Facebook by his girlfriend who said Castile was shot after he told the police officer that he was carrying a gun and had his permit in his wallet.

Castile’s mother confirmed he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Minnesota. While not being disputed, whether Castile had a permit has not been verified by media outlets or others since Minnesota does not make conceal carry permits a matter of public record.

The gun rights organization had faced criticism from many after they remained silent immediately following the Castile shooting on Wednesday, but issued a statement on Friday condemning the shooting of police officers in Dallas that happened overnight Thursday.

The deaths in Dallas came during a protest over the shootings of Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, both at the hands of police.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, questioned the actions of the organization at a press conference Friday, accusing the group of hypocrisy for not commenting on Castile’s death while championing conceal carry laws. 

“The hypocrisy there is so blatant,” he said. “I always thought the NRA was not concerned about me. And I hunt and I fish and I own a gun. But the last few days have clarified it for me — that their Second Amendment concern is not a voice of concern for African Americans. And I just believe that we cannot give them a pass on not making a comment.”

Richmond went on to say that Castile had done the right things by having a license to carry a concealed weapon, and by telling the officer that shot him he was carrying a gun.

“How do you advocate for that,” Richmond asked, “and then you watch the result of it, with a young black man who says, ‘I have a permit,  and you sit by quietly?”

While no formal statement came from the organization until late Friday, Cam Edwards, the host of the NRA podcast “Cam & Co,” said on Thursday that Castile’ killing “does not look good,” and that “Our right to keep and bear arms is not based on the color of our skin.”  

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