The Denver Post

Campaign slams NRA policies

- By Lisa Marie Pane

ATLANTA» The National Rifle Associatio­n is offering insurance for people who shoot someone, stirring criticism from gun-control advocates who say it could foster more violence and give gun owners a false sense of security to shoot first and ask questions later.

Some are calling it “murder insurance” and say that rather than promoting personal responsibi­lity and protection, it encourages gun owners to take action and not worry about the consequenc­es. And, they say, it’s being marketed in a way that feeds on the nation’s racial divisions.

Guns Down, a gun-control group formed last year, is running an ad campaign to criticize the NRA’s new insurance. It’s just the

latest group to take aim at the NRA’s offering.

“The reason I call it murder insurance is because if you look at the way this is marketed, it’s really sold in the context of ‘There’s a threat around every corner, dear mostly-white NRA member,’ and that threat is either a black man or a brown man or some other kind of person of color,” said Guns Down director Igor Volsky. “So when you inevitably have to use your gun to defend yourself from this threat around every corner, you have insurance to protect you.”

The NRA launched Carry Guard insurance in the spring. Rates range from $13.95 a month for up to $250,000 in civil protection and $50,000 in criminal defense to a “gold plus” policy that costs $49.95 a month and provides up to $1.5 million in civil protection and $250,000 in criminal defense. The coverage kicks in if a court finds the person lawfully shot someone in self-defense or the case is dropped.

The NRA isn’t the only gun lobbying group offering such insurance. The United States Concealed Carry Associatio­n has been in the business much longer and provides up to $2 million in civil costs and $250,000 for criminal defense.

But the NRA is the most prominent gun-rights group in the country and it offered similar insurance previously. And Carry Guard is more comprehens­ive and being marketed more aggressive­ly than it has been previously. It’s drawing attention to a type of policy that was relatively obscure until now.

Guns Down’s advertisin­g campaign casts a spotlight on the policies and asks the two insurance companies involved with it — Lockton Affinity, which administer­s it, and Chubb, the underwrite­r — to drop it. The campaign includes a video message from Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen shot and killed in 2012 by neighborho­od-watch volunteer George Zimmerman, whose case drew nationwide notoriety.

The video featuring Fulton begins with images showing some of the most racially divisive moments in recent history — from the white supremacis­ts who protested in Charlottes­ville, Va., to surveillan­ce footage showing Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine African-Americans in 2015 during a prayer meeting at a Charleston, S.C., church.

“They spend millions lobbying for laws that allow them to ‘shoot first’ and ‘stand their ground.’ But that just makes it easier to get away with murder,” Fulton says. She criticizes the insurance and implores viewers to tell Chubb and Lockton Affinity to drop the insurance — and to not purchase their products until they do.

Lockton declined to comment to The Associated Press.

In a statement, Chubb told The AP that it provides insurance for a wide range of risks and when customers are engaged in “lawful activity,” including hunting, shooting at gun ranges or when a firearm accidental­ly discharges. It noted that Carry Guard includes training and safety courses.

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