NASCAR Suicide at NRA Event Sparks Gun-Control Tweets

Monday, 15 Apr 2013 11:15 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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NACSAR will be more involved in race-sponsorship decisions from now on after a man committed suicide with a gun at the National Rifle Association-sponsored Sprint Cup at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth Saturday.

"The NRA's sponsorship of the event at Texas Motor Speedway fit within existing parameters that NASCAR affords tracks in securing partnerships," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon told ESPN. "However, this situation has made it clear that we need to take a closer look at our approval process moving forward, as current circumstances need to be factored in when making decisions."

Fort Worth police said Kirk Franklin, 42, of Saginaw, Texas, died Saturday night at the NRA 500 after he shot himself in the head while in the backseat of a pickup truck parked on the infield campground. Franklin had reportedly gotten into an argument with another fan, and witnesses said that alcohol may have been involved.

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NASCAR has previously claimed it does not have a position on gun control, and the event was the first NRA-sponsored NASCAR race. But that didn’t stop Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut from petitioning Fox not to broadcast the race.

"This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre," Murphy said in a statement. "But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming."

After news of Kirk's suicide broke, left-leaning Twitter users hurried to social media to speak out about the irony.

"If every a****** who brought a gun to a ‪@NRA sponsored NASCAR race shot himself in the head, the world would be a better place," @Rob_Hoffman posted.

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Related stories:

NASCAR Fans Boo Michelle Obama, Jill Biden as They Signal Race's Start

Conn. Senator Asks Murdoch Not to Air NASCAR Race Sponsored by NRA

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