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Man Shoots Himself at NRA Sponsored Race
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The National Rifle Association’s controversial sponsorship of a NASCAR race likely had little to do with the handgun related suicide of a race attendee, but a shooting death at the organization’s first sponsored sporting event is certainly ironic.

Kirk Franklin, 42, of Saginaw, Texas, was at the Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday’s NRA 500 race. Watching the race from the infield, it is believed Franklin got into an altercation with other fans before leaving the area. It is believed that, at around 10:30 pm, Franklin shot himself in the head with a gun he had snuck into the racetrack. (Texas law forbids fans from bringing firearms into a sporting stadium.) Franklin’s encounter with the other fans occurred near a pickup truck that was parked in the infield, and it was inside the pickup truck where authorities found his body later on.


USA Today reports that Fort Worth police determined that Franklin died of a “self-inflicted injury” after getting into an argument with other campers.

Race attendees who witnessed the altercation said that no one was in danger.

The NRA’s sponsorship of Saturday’s race was mired in controversy even before Franklin’s suicide at the event. The NRA, which advocates the use of and easy access to guns and firearms, has been on the defensive in the wake of several tragic mass shootings over the course of the last year. While the owner of each individual track is responsible for finding sponsorship for each individual race, NASCAR itself must give the final approval on all sponsorship deals. The shooting death at the event is another blow to the organization in the eyes of the media and the public in general.

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The week before the race, US Senator Chris Murphy wrote a letter to Fox asking them not to air the race because of the NRA’s sponsorship. Had they not aired the race, Fox would have violated the contract they signed with NASCAR.

The NRA has a long relationship with NASCAR, and has been contributing money to the company’s Speedway Children’s Charities for more than a decade. Neither the NRA nor NASCAR has yet responded to the events on Saturday.



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