The impetus for the march was an April NRA promotional video titled “The Violence of Lies” featuring spokeswoman Dana Loesch. In the video, Loesch accuses the far left resistance of wanting to “scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia, to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding,” as well as blame law enforcement.
“The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” she says. “I’m the National Rifle Association,and I’m freedom’s safest place.”
Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory wrote an open letter to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, criticizing the advertisement as targeted and incendiary.
“The advertisement released by the NRA is a direct attack on people of color, progressives and anyone who exercises their First Amendment right to protest,” Mallory wrote. “You are calling for our grassroots, nonviolent resistance movement to be met with violence.”
Mallory called for the NRA to pull the ad, issue an apology and issue a statement supporting the Second Amendment rights of Philando Castile, a black licensed gun owner shot and killed in July of 2016 by a Minnesota police officer. That officer was acquitted this month.
The NRA had been criticized for taking a lukewarm stance on the shooting, initially calling reports of the shooting “troubling” and not putting out a formal statement until Loesch said on a CNN interview Sunday that she “absolutely do(es) not” believe Castile should have died.
Marchers held signs with slogans such as “Disarm Hate,” “We Will Not Be Silenced” and “No One is Safe Unless Everyone is Safe.” They walked in temperatures that reached the mid-90s by the late morning, and in rain and thunderstorms later in the afternoon.