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Albuquerque Nixes Hosting Future NRA Gun Events

In 2017, Albuquerque had 75 homicides, the highest number in at least 20 years. (
In 2017, Albuquerque had 75 homicides, the highest number in at least 20 years. (
September 21, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The National Rifle Association will hold its final National Police Shooting Championship in Albuquerque next week after the mayor called the event a "bad fit" for the community.

Per a contract obligation, the event will go on as usual Sept. 24-26, but next year it will have to find a new home.

Miranda Viscoli, co-president of the group New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, says Albuquerque police have been involved in multiple shooting deaths in recent years, and she believes the shooting championship is insensitive to those who have lost family members.

"The NRA is an extremist organization that promotes racism, fear-mongering and violence,” says Viscoli. “And also, we shouldn't be using our city resources to help fund their events. There's no reason why we should be giving the NRA a dime."

The NRA has held the event in Albuquerque since 2007, but Mayor Tim Keller argued that the city needs to spend money on fighting crime, especially gun violence.

This year's number of homicides in Albuquerque is on track to reach or surpass last year's record-breaking high. Statewide, New Mexico reported that 401 people were killed by gun violence in 2016, including 85 children.

Viscoli acknowledges that it's important for police officers to have training. But she believes common-sense gun prevention laws are being stymied because of the NRA's influence.

"But the NRA needs to get out of police departments,” she says. “They need to get off of our school boards, they need to get off of our city council. I mean, the NRA has infiltrated in our community, and we need to stand up to it. "

The Albuquerque Journal's editorial page hit back at Mayor Keller for canceling future events, saying the action "panders to the progressive base that turns rabid at the mention of 'NRA'" and is "a slap at police officers...hired to keep people safe."

The event generates about $375,000 for Albuquerque each year.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM