A 49ers organization that’s been at the center of the national anthem controversy for more than a year on Thursday banded with police on a common cause – banning so-called “bump stocks” that allow semi-automatic weapons to function like automatic weapons.
The 49ers’ Jed York said the initiative was inspired by the Las Vegas shooting earlier this month that left 59 dead and injured more than 500. York was joined by police officer association leaders from Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Jose, New York, Portland, Ore., and elsewhere.
The 49ers have pledged $500,000 toward a campaign that will advocate a bump-stock ban and that improves police relations in communities. The 49ers and the police groups also back a House of Representatives bill that bans devices that increase weapons’ rate of fire.
“It seems insane to me that a citizen can buy something like that,” York said.
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The 49ers have been eyed warily by police groups since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem last year and demanding more police accountability in the wake of police-involved shootings and deaths in minority communities.
“Police officers across country felt unfairly disparaged by what took place,” said Paul Kelly, president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. “Some are upset, some are angry, some are offended. I know that’s true for many San Jose cops.”
Kelly, however, said it was time to move past hurt feelings and thanked York for supporting a cause embraced by officers. The groups said they hoped the rest of the NFL would follow suit.
“We appreciate them for stepping forward to work directly with front-line police officers on making our communities safer and working to bringing mutual respect to police and community relations,” Kelly said.