Gun Owners of America has been enjoying its moment in the media spotlight recently, placing spokespeople on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, drawing attention for its Capitol Hill lobbying efforts, and even being cited in official Senate Republican talking points about a filibustered judicial nominee.
It’s important to keep noting, then, that Gun Owners for America is an unhinged, conspiracy-theory promoting, extremist fringe group.
Adding to the evidence this week was GOA’s legislative counsel Michael Hammond, who joined VCY America’s Jim Schneider on Crosstalk radio Wednesday in order to share his theories that universal background check legislation might well lead to government-led genocide; that gun control advocates “bear some responsibility” for the Sandy Hook shooting; and that liberals have become “paranoic” and “racist against people who hold traditional American values.”
Schneider kicked things off by reading an email he’d been cc’d on explaining how universal background checks would lead us down a slippery slope to “confiscation” and “tyrannization.” Hammond wholeheartedly agreed, adding that there is a “real danger” that those would in turn lead to “extermination” and “genocide” not unlike in Nazi Germany:
Schneider: Let’s talk about this universal background check. Someone was drafting a letter to the president and they copied me in on the email, and here’s what they said, and I’d like to get your reaction to it. They said that the consequence of a background check can be reduced to a simple formula: Examination (universal background checks) leads to registration (local, state and federal databases), which leads to investigation (bureaucratic decisions regarding fitness or need to bear arms), and that leads to confiscation, which leads to tyrannization (the oppression and genocide against a subgroup, whether by its ethnicity, religion, political views or status or against the entirety of a state citizen). So they use examination, goes to registration to investigation, confiscation, and tyrannization or…
Hammond: Which leads to extermination. And I was actively involved in rebuilding the Polish Solidarity Trade Union, which ultimately overthrew communism in the Eastern Bloc, and I can say that both when I talked to these people, they said, you know, ‘The Soviets have all these tanks stationed in our country and we have nothing.’ And let me say that 40 years before in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the Nazis, who the first thing they did when they came into power was ban firearms, they exterminated the Jews in Warsaw and they did so because the government was the only one who was armed. And, if you watch documentaries of that period, the people facing mass slaughter and saying, ‘We just, what do we do? We have no firearms.” And so ultimately, registration, confiscation, tyrannization has the real danger of leading to extermination.
Schneider: So you wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that progression that this writer was talking about.
Hammond: No. I think there’s a danger that you go in that direction. There’s certainly been governments in our lifetime that have engaged in genocide on a very significant scale. And I have been on the radio in a lot of them, in places like Holland, in places like Poland, in places like the old Soviet Union, and I say to these people, ‘If, in America, we ever reach the point in which you were during our lifetimes, we would like to think that we would be able to defend ourselves.’
Later, discussing the Sandy Hook school shooting, Hammond said that Connecticut gun control advocates “bear some responsibility for what happened in Newtown” because they prevented teachers from carrying guns:
Hammond: Connecticut, as you probably know, had among the most stiffest gun control in the world prior to the shooting at Newtown, and as a result of politicians like Chris Murphy and Sen. Blumenthal and the other little Democrat politicians in that state. And all the gun control they had didn’t stop Newtown. As a matter of fact, what it said to Adam Lanza is, ‘You can kill all these kids, you can get your fifteen minutes of fame, you don’t have to worry that we’re going to allow any principles, staff or teachers to shoot back at you.’ These people in some respects, I think, horrifically bear some responsibility for what happened in Newtown.
Finally, Hammond reminisced about going to school during the Vietnam War and seeing “fourteen year-old kids walking up and down the hall with semi-automatic rifles.”
“Exactly what has happened to our country that we have become so paranoic, that we have become so gun-hating, in cases of the liberal media, and that the liberal media has become so almost racist against people who hold traditional American values?” he asked.
Hammond: When I was a kid, and there are very few advantages in life to being very, very, very old, but one, it means you have a little perspective. When I was kid during the Vietnam War, in high school, fourteen to seventeen year-old kids ended up walking back and forth across the campus, across the playground, up and down the halls, up and down the sidewalks of my ghetto school – it wasn’t a rural or suburban school, it was a ghetto school – with M1 semi-automatic firearms, fully functional, except they didn’t have a firing pin but you couldn’t tell that to look at them. Fourteen year-old kids walking up and down the hall with semi-automatic rifles, no one, no one thought that we were going to shoot up the school.
I graduated in 1967. 1968 they passed the first big gun control law, the Gun Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 [sic]. Now look, we’ve gone 40 years and we’ve reached the point in which holding up a Pop-Tart is considered threatening. Exactly what has happened to our country that we have become so paranoic, that we have become so gun-hating, in cases of the liberal media, and that the liberal media has become so almost racist against people who hold traditional American values?