The organizers behind last weekend's "Gun Appreciation Day" have been arguing that gun rights is a civil rights issue. Now they're planning a new minority outreach campaign featuring a violent new film.
Gun rights advocate Larry Ward is planning a new campaign called "What Would Django Do?" According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ward plans to use the protagonist in the controversial film Django Unchained in an effort to convert more minorities to the pro-gun rights side of the on-going national debate over gun safety.
"Django is perfect for what we’re trying to do, which is to promote gun rights to minorities," he said. "We’ll tackle the issue on the Democrats’ own turf."
Ward was not clear on how he planned to use the movie's themes or Django's character to advocate gun rights. In the film, Django is a recently freed slave who ultimately uses guns to take his wife away from her owners. Drawing a positive connection between guns and the extreme violence of Django Unchained puts Ward at odds with some major gun rights leaders like the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, who argues violent video games and films have create the culture that leads to mass shootings.
Ward says he has not reached out to the film's director, Quentin Tarantino, for support or permission to use the film's character. Tarantino, who has a history of making violent films, has supported gun control measures in the past, while vociferously defending his right to depict violence on screen. ''I have no problem with screen violence at all,'' he told the Orlando Sentinel in 1994, ''but I have a big problem with real-life violence.'' Taratino more recently told NPR he thinks it's "disrespectful" to the memory of those lost in gun shootings to talk about movies as a potential cause of violence. "Obviously the issue is gun control and mental health."
Ward has been one of the primary voices drawing parallels between the civil rights movement of mid 20th century and the current debate over gun rights. He joined PoliticsNation last week to argue that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have supported his cause, even though King advocated nonviolence and was murdered with the help of a gun.