PFAW’s recent Right Wing Watch in Focus report on opposition to more effective regulation of guns noted that promoting conspiracy theories is a primary strategy used by extremists to block common sense policies. New evidence comes in the form of a recent email from Sen. Rand Paul raising money for the National Association for Gun Rights, a group that is so far out there it thinks the National Rifle Association has gone soft.
Rand Paul’s letter uses inflammatory rhetoric to push the conspiracy theory that registration of guns and requiring background checks for gun purposes – which is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners – is just a prelude to “confiscation” by the “gun-grabbers.”
And make no mistake, the gun-grabbers’ TRUE motives behind gun registration is always the same -- outright gun CONFISCATION, and to do that they must first register every gun and gun owner.
Another letter Paul signed for the group argues that President Obama is working to empower United Nations bureaucrats to confiscate Americans’ guns:
I don't know about you, but watching anti-American globalists plot against our Constitution makes me sick.
PFAW’s report on opposition to addressing gun violence notes that there are real consequences to the promotion of conspiracy theories by elected officials:
It is also true that the failure to challenge extremist and dishonest rhetoric can lead to damaging consequences for our common public life. The promotion of false conspiracy theories, the claims by public figures that their political opponents are out to destroy freedom and America itself, and the false equation of sensible, broadly supported laws with the elimination of the rights of hunters and other gun owners, can foster a dangerous extremism, including threats of violence.
One of Rand Paul’s letters refers to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill restricting ownership of assault weapons as “the effective END of the Second Amendment in America.”
I can hardly even think about what a DISASTER for our country it would be should President Obama, Senator Feinstein and their anti-gun pals succeed in ramming this monstrosity down our throats.
An earlier alert from the National Association for Gun Rights was labeled: “Obama declares war.”
Why is Rand Paul raising money for these guys?
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today praised President Obama for putting forward bold proposals to combat gun violence and urged Congress to quickly take action on the issue.
“Our dire situation requires bold action,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “We’ve seen too many American lives lost to senseless gun violence. The president is correct to recognize that there is no one solution to this national blight, just as there is no one cause. We must take quick and meaningful action to prevent further tragedies by restricting access to weapons of war.”
“Gun violence is a threat to everyone in America, but it particularly plagues young African Americans,” added Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “We are morally required to do everything we possibly can to keep our children safe and free from fear, whether they are in the classroom or playing on the streets in their neighborhood, whether they live in Newtown or in Chicago or in the District of Columbia. These proposals are an important step in the right direction.”
Right-wing talk show host Steve Deace writes on his Facebook page that the public school system is partly to blame for the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, because public schools, he claims, promote a “culture of death.”
Joel Gilbert, the filmmaker whose theory that President Obama is secretly the son of American labor activist Frank Marshall Davis was recently promoted by the chairman of the Alabama GOP, is apparently open to any number of Obama-related conspiracy theories.
In an interview with master conspiracy theorist Alex Jones back in July, Gilbert asserted that the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater could very well have been orchestrated by the Obama administration in an effort to promote gun control. "I hate to say it, but you can't put anything past them," he said:
Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt, who earlier this week floated the theory that the Colorado theater shooting was an inside job aimed at promoting gun control, was back on the press circuit today. In an interview with Iowa radio host Steve Deace, Pratt urged listeners to compare the dozen deaths in the Aurora movie theater with the millions of deaths in Nazi concentration camps – deaths which he claims occurred because the Nazi government had taken away the guns of the German populace, preventing them from “shooting back”:
Well, we tragically lost 12 people. How many people a day were lost in concentration camps that were populated by...well, two things had happened: ‘Jews are bad, Jews are bad, Jews are bad, Jews are bad, all the evil in the world is Jews, Jews, Jews,’ and disarmament of the German population. They started coming for the Jews, and they came for other people as well. Nobody shoots back!
When they started to, when George III thought he could muscle us around with his Redcoat troops, we taught him a thing or two that actually, Mr. George, you need to learn a lesson yourself and that is you violated all of the charters that protect the rights of Englishmen.
Pratt drew not-so-subtle parallels between King George and President Obama, warning that the president, if reelected, will act immediately to close down gun shops. “The guy is clearly the imperial president,” Pratt said:
Here’s what I think might happen after the election. If the president, God forbid, is reelected, I can see him telling gun stores through the Justice Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, you’re no longer gonna be able to sell caliber handguns above 380, and if you do we’ll pull your license and you’ll be out of business that day. And you’ll no longer be able to sell semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that are capable of firing more than a fixed magazine load of three to five rounds, in other words one that can accept a large magazine. You just won’t be able to be in business if you want to sell those kinds of firearms. That I can see the president doing. Unconstutional, illegal. But then his position on forcing churches to dispense abortifacants, his position on undoing the amnesty laws, his positions on so many things. A court order telling him to allow drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, ‘No way, Jose,’ was basically his response, although I don’t think he speaks that much Spanish.
So the guy is clearly the imperial president. He thinks he, ‘Well, I was elected, I won the election,’ he told the Republicans once in a rare meeting with Republicans. He doesn’t accept criticism kindly, he gets angry quite quickly, he’s very thin-skinned.
On Thursday, President Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, became the first sitting cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress. The blatantly political move by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives was the culmination of a multiyear plan by right-wing activists and politicians to undermine the nation’s top law enforcement official. Let’s recall how we got here.
The problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the George W. Bush Administration, and it was this Administration’s Attorney General who ended it. Attorney General Holder has said repeatedly that fighting criminal activity along the Southwest Border – including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico – is a top priority of the Department. Eric Holder has been an excellent Attorney General and just yesterday the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee acknowledged that he had no evidence – or even the suspicion – that the Attorney General knew of the misguided tactics used in this operation.
Incredibly, the very same politicians who condemned Holder were supportive when President Bush asserted executive privilege in an unprecedented and expansive way to conceal potentially illegal activity by government employees. On the other hand, Holder and the Obama administration have gone to great lengths to accommodate the often unreasonable demands of Republicans in Congress:
Over the past fourteen months, the Justice Department accommodated Congressional investigators, producing 7,600 pages of documents, and testifying at eleven Congressional hearings. In an act of good faith, this week the Administration made an additional offer which would have resulted in the Committee getting unprecedented access to documents dispelling any notion of an intent to mislead.
Holder and the Obama administration only asserted executive privilege when Republicans demanded documents that would put the agents fighting gun violence at risk. This is yet another irony.
As Right Wing Watch reported, Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee and Holder’s chief inquisitor, has been pushing a conspiracy theory for months that Obama and Holder intentionally allowed gun-smuggling to Mexico in order to boost violence and use it as the justification for an assault weapons ban here. It’s such a completely unhinged and baseless argument that it’s hard to take seriously. But Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the NRA and even elected officials like Issa have aggressively pushed this lie and whipped their base into fever pitch.
While Holder is taking it on the chin for protecting agents working to keep us safe, the right wing is saying that the Obama administration intentionally let people, including an American border patrol agent, get killed as part of some gun control conspiracy. In reality, Mexico is awash with American guns. And the right-wing created the extremely lax gun control system that makes it possible.
In the Republican House of Representatives, where up is often down and black is white, the people working to prevent gun violence are smeared as having blood on their hands. That’s why Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rightly called the contempt vote a “heinous act” and “unprincipled.” Sadly, a full 17 House Democrats were successfully pressured by the NRA to part ways with Pelosi and condemn Holder.
It’s clear now, if it wasn’t already, that we’re up against people who will say just about anything to win. We should expect more nonsense heading into the election. But ultimately the best way to beat back their lies is going to the ballot box.