NRA Criticized for 'Target Practice' Headline, Photo of Dems

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The NRA is catching some heat for a photo and headline that appeared in the most recent edition of its magazine.

The image was widely distributed on social media Monday and also appeared in a digital issue of American Rifleman. The headline “Target Practice” is next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking about gun control, with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz. — who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 — and other women standing behind her.

Critics of the gun rights group say the headline incites violence against Democrats, and the photo choice is particularly sensitive because of the aforementioned attempt on Giffords’  life.

“This is a call for violence by the @NRA against @GabbyGiffords, who was nearly killed by gunfire and @SpeakerPelosi, the most powerful legislator in America,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter. “The NRA should face legal consequences. But let’s put them out of business with boycotts and ballot boxes. #EnoughIsEnough”

The story, however, is about Democrats taking aim at gun rights by way of legislation. The subheadline “Congressional Democrats target gun owners for persecution with extreme firearm transfer bans” is below the main headline, and the story makes several references to Democrat-led legislation that calls for universal background checks before gun purchases.

Still, that did not stop the NRA’s critics from pouncing on the opportunity.

“.@marcorubio Why do you take money from an organization that calls for the assassination of politicians simply for their political beliefs,” activist David Hogg tweeted. “Stop supporting the war in our schools and on our streets, take the @noNRAmoney pledge.”

Jennifer Baker, an NRA spokesperson, told ABC News that the backlash from the article, which was written by Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, is “manufactured.”

“The column was clearly focused on the gun-control legislation moving through Congress and the fact that law-abiding gun owners are being targeted by anti-gun politicians,” Baker told ABC. “Anyone who bothers to read the column knows the assertion that this article is calling for violence is ridiculous.”


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