ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- The leader of St. Louis’ NAACP is calling out the National Rifle Association, saying the group is delivering the wrong message at the wrong time as it prepares for its national convention in St. Louis next week. The Reverend B.T. Rice was discussing the county police shooting of fifteen year old Lavon Peete when he was asked about the NRA billboards that have flooded the city.
“The advertisement says we’ll have acres and acres of guns,” Rice observed. “A clear dichotomy between the NRA and those of us who deal with these sort of situations on a day to day basis.”
On the subject of the Peete shooting, Rice did not criticize police. He says the two teens with Peete the night he was shot corroborate the police account that Peete pointed a sawed off rifle at officers, and ignored orders to freeze. Then he started raising questions about the bigger picture.
“Why on Earth would a fifteen year old kid have a sawed off rifle?” he asked. “Why can’t the city, the county, the state officials stop the flow of firearms that flood our community? It must stop.”
Asked if the NRA makes it worse, Rice answered, “Well, the NRA supports conceal and carry. They are fostering pushing guns.”
That sentiment raises the ire of gun enthusiasts. At the new Metro Shooting Supply store in Bridgeton, owner Steven King calls the attacks on the NRA a low blow.
“We could hear every night about all the car accidents and we hear that during the traffic report, but nobody goes after cars. They’re taking something like gun violence and saying the gun is the problem when it’s the bad person that’s the problem.”
The discussion started during a news conference in which Rice was speaking on behalf of a number of groups calling for a gun violence summit in St. Louis. County Police Chief Tim Fitch has already said he’ll participate.
King says he likes the idea, too.
“I would support any anti violence summit. I would hope they look at the true causes of the violence and not the tools people are using to commit violence.”
When that summit is scheduled could extend this Friday evening war of words. Rice says a number of people are getting their schedules straight, but he likes the idea of holding it during the NRA Convention, which will have more than 60 thousand people in St. Louis between Thursday and Sunday.