A commentary video from the National Rifle Association claimed it's “a complete lie” that “the only acceptable definition of minority is non-white, or sometimes non-straight” before drawing a parallel between the experiences of gun owners and racial and LGBT minorities.
The claim was made on the NRA's Noir web series, a show hosted by gun blogger turned NRA News commentator Colion Noir. The series is part of the NRA's increasing efforts to appeal to a younger demographic.
The November 10 episode of Noir displayed stock footage of civil rights marches and suffragette protestors while Noir said, “No other country empowers its minorities the way that we do. We defend minorities' speech, minority opinion, and yes, minority gun rights, because differences are the foundation of our greatness.”
While suggesting that gun owners are a minority and that “majorities by definition accept the status quo, minorities change it,” Noir likened people who have guns to several great Americans, including “Martin Luther King Jr., who thought about race differently.”
Noir drove his claim home that gun owners are like minorities by saying it's “a complete lie” that “in today's media-driven world, the only acceptable definition of minority is non-white, or sometimes non-straight.”
Noir's grouping of gun owners with racial minorities, LGBT people, and women who fought for equal rights falls flat. Protected classes are often formed upon the theory that it is wrong to discriminate against people because of their immutable characteristics, such as skin tone, gender, or sexual orientation. Gun ownership is not immutable, it's a choice.
Another common characteristic of a protected class is that it encompasses an individual or group who has unequal access to the political process, something that cannot be said for gun owners, especially given the political efforts of the NRA.
And Noir did nothing to establish that gun owners have faced the type of systematic and institutional discrimination that protected classes have historically faced.
A better argument might be to contend that gun ownership falls within the same class as other rights that the Supreme Court has deemed “fundamental,” but that wouldn't produce the type of inflammatory hot take that Noir is known for.
The claims in the November 10 episode of Noir represent the other side of the coin to the NRA's common claim that restrictions on firearms are tantamount to Jim Crow, segregation, or other laws that discriminate on the basis of race. Past NRA president Marion Hammer infamously put forward this argument with her claim that assault weapons bans are like racial discrimination because “banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics.”