Brady Campaign President: NRA Put ‘the Gun in George Zimmerman’s Hands’

Melanie Arter | April 16, 2012 | 4:40pm EDT
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FILE - In this Thursday, April 12, 2012 file photo, George Zimmerman, right, stands next to a Seminole County Deputy during a court hearing in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel, Pool)

( – The president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence accused National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre of being responsible for the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida by “putting the gun in George Zimmerman’s hands.”

During a rally on Capitol Hill marking the five-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre in which 32 people were killed and the eight-year anniversary on Friday of the Columbine High School shooting, Brady Campaign president Dan Gross called on Congress to “take simple action to stop arming dangerous people.” Also, on hand at the rally were victims of gun violence and their families.

“Wayne LaPierre at the NRA Convention, in his feeble attempt to deflect the well-deserved blame for putting the gun in George Zimmerman’s hands, had the gall to complain about all the media attention on the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He asked, ‘What about the tragedies that occur every day in our nation?’” Gross said.

“Well, Wayne. Here they are – 32 of them – and they blame you and the politicians who do your bidding every bit as much as the media does. The fact is – not just the Trayvon Martin tragedy – but most of the gun violence in our nation could be prevented if Congress would take simple action to stop arming dangerous people,” he added.

“Arming dangerous people just to support a lobby that sells guns. That is shameful. It is immoral. It is almost criminal. That’s why we’re here in D.C., this week, to demand Congress make it abundantly clear whose vision they support – the NRA’s dark, paranoid vision of guns just about anywhere in just about anyone’s hands or our vision – an America where tragedies like ours and the 32 others that will occur today no longer happen,” Gross said.

At the NRA’s annual meeting last weekend, LaPierre said: “By the time I finish this speech, two Americans will be slain, six women will be raped, 27 of us will be robbed, and 50 more will be beaten. That's the harsh reality we face, all of us, every single day. But the media, they don't care. Everyday victims aren't celebrities. They don't draw ratings, don't draw sponsors."

LaPierre accused the media of manufacturing “controversy for ratings.”

“You don't care about the truth, and the truth is the national news media in this country is a national disgrace, and you all know it," LaPierre said. 

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Gross called on Congress to reject a bill (S. 2213 and S. 2188) he called “the George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act” that would allow concealed carry permits to be recognized in other states that don’t have existing concealed carry laws.

“This lethal bill, introduced only days after the Trayvon Martin tragedy pretty much sums up the gun lobby’s dark vision for our nation. It would force virtually every state to honor the concealed carry permit of every other state,” Gross said.

“So in other words, if your state has sensible gun laws that might prevent someone like George Zimmerman – a man with an arrest record and a history of violence from carrying a loaded hidden gun on your streets – tough luck! A George Zimmerman in your state can apply for a permit online from Florida and carry a gun on your streets, and there’s nothing you or your local law enforcement can do about it,” he added.

He also wants every member of Congress to sign a statement of principle against “arming dangerous people.”

“Here’s what it says: ‘I believe that these people should not be able to buy, own, or carry a gun anywhere in our nation: convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers, terrorists, and people found to be dangerously, mentally ill,’ Gross said.

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