michael hammond

GOP Taking Supreme Court Orders From Radical Gun Group

Among the groups pressuring Republicans in the Senate to continue their blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is Gun Owners of America, a gun lobby group that holds considerable sway on Capitol Hill despite its history of promoting wild conspiracy theories, frequent warnings to elected officials that they should fear assassination and deep ties to radical militia groups and white supremacists.

GOA has circulated a petition to its members claiming that Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, “would reverse your ability to own a gun” and “hates the Second Amendment,” basing its claims on exceedingly thin evidenceWhile these attacks on Garland’s record have been widely discreditedseveral Republican senators have pointed to the judge’s supposed disrespect for the Second Amendment as a reason to oppose him.

GOA’s general counsel, Michael Hammond, brought these claims to an op-ed in USA Today on Sunday, which GOA followed up with a video claiming again that Garland “hates the Second Amendment” and that if he gets on the court “good people will go to prison for exercising their constitutional rights.” Obama’s nomination of Garland, the video warns, is “the most significant step in his sordid trail towards transforming our nation.”

This paranoid and exaggerated language is typical of a group that has ties to the violent militia fringes of the Right and stays afloat by promoting conspiracy theories about various federal plots to snatch law-abiding people’s guns.

Tim Macy, the group’s chairman and the head of a “Second Amendment Coalition” on Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, used similar rhetoric in March when he said that the Garland nomination was Obama’s “last-ditch effort” to “ruin the Second Amendment and destroy this country.”

The group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, went even further when he implied that Garland should fear assassination if he displeases gun groups. “Happily, the Second Amendment is all about people like Judge Garland, so there is a limit to how far he can go, I think,” Pratt told radical radio host Rick Wiles.

Pratt frequently makes similar comments. We wrote last year:

In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “ the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “ foolish” and having “a hissy fit .” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”

On his weekly radio program last year, Pratt said that President Obama should learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in the 17th century:

Pratt’s view of the Second Amendment as a tool for a well-armed minority of insurrectionists to take on a government they disagree with comes straight from the fringe militia movement, which Pratt helped shape in the 1990s.

And that’s not all. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “In 1996, Pratt was forced to resign as co-chairman of Patrick J. Buchanan's presidential campaign when it was publicized that he had been a speaker at the 1992 Gathering of Christian Men in Estes Park, Colo., where he rubbed shoulders with neo-Nazis, Klansmen, adherents of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology, and other radicals.”

More recently, Pratt was a cheerleader for the armed militias who staged a standoff with the federal government at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, saying that the incident came “very close” to provoking “a civil war between the people and the government.”

In his role at the helm of GOA, Pratt is happy to stir up conspiracy theories and anti-government paranoia in an effort to turn his group’s membership against any attempt at reasonable gun law reform.

He has humored radical radio hosts who have suggested that the Sandy Hook school and Aurora movie theater massacres were inside jobs designed by the government.

And, as we wrote last year, Pratt has plenty of conspiracy theories of his own:

… He has claimed that Obama is building up a private security force within the Department of Homeland Security to use for his own purposes “if he can’t actually commandeer the military”; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private “ Praetorian guard” and advise police officers to go after people with conservative bumper stickers ; said Obamacare will ultimately “take away your guns”; feared Obama is stockpiling “anti-personnel rounds” because he “ seems to view the American people as the enemy”; claimed that Obama “had to steal” the 2012 presidential election and even buys into the fringe birther theory that holds that the president’s “real father” was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.

Here is Pratt talking with fringe radio host Stan Solomon about the possibility that President Obama will start a race war:

This is who the GOP wants to listen to on the Supreme Court?

Gun Owners of America Opposes Immigration Reform to Prevent Increase in 'Anti-Gun Voters'

Gun Owners of America may soon join fellow conservatives in opposing comprehensive immigration reform, warning that a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would lead to an increase in “anti-gun voters.”

Not only does the group oppose comprehensive legislation for clear partisan reasons, GOA spokesman Mike Hammond told the American Family Association’s news service the group may also work to defeat such bills if they include biometric identification or background checks for jobs.

Pro-gun group branching out

Meanwhile, a pro-gun organization is strongly considering getting into the immigration enforcement battle, believing that amnesty for illegal immigrants would likely mean millions more “anti-gun voters.”

Gun advocacy groups are breathing a collective sigh of relief after last week the Senate rejected several key measures that would have trampled on Second Amendment rights. Mike Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, tells American Family News his organization might jump into the immigration debate.

"This is a debate in which presumably we're going to have about seven million new anti-gun voters put on the rolls,” he explains. “It is an issue which fundamentally is going to affect whether gun control is inevitable 15 years from now."

According to Hammond, GOA dislikes even the supposed “good” parts of the immigration reform package.

"We don't like the notion that every American would have to get a biometric ID card. We don't like the fact that every American would have to get a Brady check for jobs before he could get employed in America,” he states.

“So we not only don't like the bad things about the immigration bill, we don't like the good things about the immigration bill,” Hammond summarizes.

GOA has already put out an alert saying it is uncomfortable with amnesty.

Gun Owners of America: Background Checks May Lead to Genocide

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?

 

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