Gun Control Group Takes Aim at Redskins Sport Shooting Event

By Meghan Mulhern | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - The District of Columbia chapter of the Million Mom March wants the Washington Redskins to cancel an upcoming clay pigeon shooting benefit sponsored by NRA Sports.

On Oct.17, the Redskins will host the second annual "Redskins Sporting Clays Challenge," presented by NRA Sports, an organization that the football team said is not a part of the National Rifle Association lobbying organization.

But the gun control group is calling on Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder to cancel the event, claiming that any partnership between the Redskins and the NRA means "they are tacitly endorsing policies of the NRA in which the public in our city overwhelmingly opposes," said Ladd Everitt, president of the D.C. Million Mom March.

"We are getting involved because the Redskins are getting involved with the NRA, and right now, the NRA has two bills in Congress - H.R. 1288 and S 1082," said Everitt.

The NRA is lobbying for Congress to repeal the city's gun ban, and according to the D.C. Million Mom March, the NRA wants to legalize handguns, semiautomatic assault weapons and .50 caliber sniper rifles.

The legislation would also allow for any person to carry, openly or concealed loaded handguns in houses, places of business or other land "possessed by that person," the anti-gun group said in a press release.

"Repealing our gun laws would lead to more homicides, more accidental deaths by firearms, more suicides, basically more gun violence across the board by all causes. That is why we are opposing this event," said Everitt.

"The Redskins are telling the public that the purpose of the event is to benefit their charitable foundation and therefore to benefit youth. But in our opinion, there is no possible way that you can benefit youth by partnering with an organization that wants to put more handguns and more assault rifles on our streets," Everitt added.

The event was sold out last year, and the proceeds went to the five signature programs of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation.

The five programs that will receive proceeds from this year's event are: Redskins Read, Redskins All Stars, 4th and Life, Fields for Tomorrow Football Field Renovation Program, and Coaches in the Classroom.

In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Karl Swanson, representative for the Redskins, said NRA Sports is not affiliated with the National Rifle Association lobbying group.

"We went through all of this last year ... It's a sporting organization. We and many other organizations around the country participate in these sponsored shooting events," Swanson said.

The sport in question is called "sporting clays," which is a clay pigeon shooting sport. It involves shooting clay discs at different velocities and angles.

Everitt said the D.C. Million Mom March is in the preliminary stages of planning a protest of the event.

"There were two youth groups that went out last year - Facilitating Leadership in Youth and Peaceoholics. We are currently talking to them and planning. I don't know for sure what exactly is going to happen," Everitt said.

"It's sad to see the Redskins holding this event again when the D.C. youth so emphatically spoke out against it last year," Everitt added.

Swanson said the Redskins "appreciate the Million Mom March's position, but we assume that they'll appreciate ours as well. We plan to go on with the event. If they're concerned about the lobbying efforts of the NRA, then they should call that arm of the NRA."

The NRA had no comment regarding NRA Sports or the firearms legislation under consideration in Congress.

Subscribe to the free daily E-brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.