The NRA is so toxic that it can't even give money away, even in a deep red district in Pennsylvania.
A school board in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, wanted nothing to do with the NRA’s increasingly poisonous politics. On Monday, the members rejected a $4,730 grant from the organization to help finance the high school’s rifle team.
“This is dirty money,” Stroudsburg Area School Board Director Alex Reincke said just before the 6-2 vote. He said he loves hunting and the rifle team, but didn’t think it was acceptable to take NRA money.
“The NRA is a group that has transformed from a bunch of people who liked hunting in the ’50s to something that quite frankly is a hateful, divisive group that seeks nothing but to push guns on people,” Reincke declared.
“It’s not just dirty money, it’s blood money,” added Director Tameko Patterson.
“I am fully in support of the school board funding the rifle team,” said local parent Kate Bullard. “But when I look the kids in the eye, I can’t condone having money from the NRA.”
Stroudsburg is part of the solidly Republican 10th District in rural, northeast Pennsylvania. In 2016, the district re-elected its Republican congressman by an overwhelming 40-point margin. In nearby Schuylkill County, a school district’s apparent answer to the threat of a shooting was to arm students with rocks.
The NRA has often provided districts with grants or equipment for rifle teams and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs.
“Analysis of the NRA Foundation’s public tax records finds that about 500 schools received more than $7.3 million from 2010 through 2016, mostly through competitive grants meant to promote shooting sports,” the Associated Press reported.
After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Broward County school district became the first to sever ties with the NRA, according to AP.
And the rejection by the Stroudsburg board highlights just how toxic the NRA has become, even in rural areas. Its smear campaign against Parkland survivors and opposition to sensible gun safety reforms have done nothing to help its reputation.
In a desperate plea for attention, the NRA released a video mocking the students on the eve of the March for Our Lives. The video crassly told survivors that “no one would know [their] names” if their friends hadn’t died. Meanwhile, more and more American support sweeping reforms of gun laws that the NRA continues to obstruct.
It’s clear how tarnished the NRA’s image is when the group can’t even give away money in solidly Republican districts.