gun lobby

Ted Cruz Panders To Assassination-Threatening, Race-Baiting Gun Lobbyist Larry Pratt

Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.

The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.

While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.

GOA promotes an extreme, “no compromise” ideology that has helped to pull the NRA to the right and to sink any attempts at bipartisan gun law reform. But what is even more troubling is Pratt’s long history of pushing dangerous paranoia to the far right, encouraging firearms ownership as a way to stave off race riots and government takeovers and making frequent references to assassinating political leaders.

Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”

A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”

Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.

On his radio show in March, Pratt said that he hoped President Obama would learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in 1649:

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!”

Pratt also pushes all manner of conspiracy theories regarding President Obama. 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.

Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.

In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.

Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”

And Pratt’s reprehensible politics don’t stop there. In the 1980s, he called for a quarantine of people with AIDS, saying, “We don’t think AIDS should have civil rights.” He opposes immigration reform because he says it will bring in people who will be “sitting around drawing welfare and voting Democrat” and who will support firearms restrictions.

Despite all this, Ted Cruz and apparently other Republican presidential candidates are choosing to pander to Pratt and his group’s members.

Huckabee: Better To Have A Gun You Don't Know How To Use Than No Gun At All

At a campaign stop at an Iowa gun range yesterday, Mike Huckabee dismissed concerns about lax state requirements for gun permits, saying he wasn’t very worried about a permit-holder “not being as trained as they could be” because “a good guy armed is still better than a good guy unarmed.”

A reporter attending the event at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, asked Huckabee to comment on laws in Iowa that make it “relatively easy to get your permit to carry” without “actual hands-on training.”

“You know, I leave that to the states,” Huckabee said. “[I have] less worry about someone not being as trained as they could be, because I think ultimately a citizen who is going to arm themselves is going to want to avail themselves of significant training to become proficient. I mean, that just makes sense, for their own sake. But if they don’t, a good guy armed is still better than a good guy unarmed.”

He told the audience that he would hope permit holders would pursue extensive firearms training, “but that’s an individual responsibility, so I wouldn’t try to get in the way of what the state thinks is the right way to go about that.”

At the same event, Huckabee told another questioner that the government shouldn't restrict the ability of people to acquire military-grade weaponsThe comments were caught on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts.  

 

 

Gun Lobbyist: Concealed Carry Is 'The Death Knell For Terrorists'

In an interview with Dove TV on Tuesday, Gun Owners of America Communications Director Erich Pratt claimed that laws permitting concealed carry of firearms will be “the death knell for terrorists” because “the only way that you’re going to stop” terrorist attacks is with a heavily armed populace.

Discussing the attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, which was thwarted when local and federal law enforcement officers shot the attackers, host Perry Atkinson told Pratt, “In some ways the war on terror in America now has been unleashed at a new level. Wouldn’t that become gun owners’ greatest defense?”

“Oh absolutely,” Pratt responded. “That is the only way that you’re going to stop this, because terrorists are notorious showing up at a scene, gunning down a bunch of people, and then they run back into the woods, type of scenario. But what happened in Texas is textbook for how you deal with this.”

Citing a debunked report of an ISIS training camp in Mexico and “all kinds of reports of Middle Eastern people who are coming across our southern border,” Pratt said the Garland attack was “just a reminder that people need to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.”

“And the more and more that people are carrying, we’ve actually seen violent crime rates dropping,” Pratt said, demonstrating a grasp of statistics reminiscent of his father, GOA director Larry Pratt. “It’s very interesting, just in the last five years, the number of concealed carry permit holders has doubled in this country, and yet at the same time, the gun murder rate has dropped 12 percent. So we’re literally seeing more guns, less crime. And that approach is the death knell for terrorists. They can’t deal with that.

Larry Pratt: I'd Take New Citizen's Voter Card And 'Rip It Up Right In Front Of Their Face'

Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt has consistently opposed any type of comprehensive immigration reform because he insists that if undocumented immigrants are allowed a path to citizenship, they will eventually “vote to take away our guns.”

Pratt repeated this point in an interview with far-right radio host Andrea Shea King last month, when he lamented that Sen. Marco Rubio, although he “is an attractive conservative on many issues,” worked on the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill “which meant all these anti-Second Amendment voters were being cued up to come and vote against the Second Amendment.”

King tried to defend Rubio, citing an interview he gave to the Washington Examiner during the debate over the Gang of Eight bill in which he said that if Congress failed to act on immigration, the president would issue an executive order deferring deportation for some immigrants, and “I cannot imagine a scenario where a future president is going to take away the status they're going to get.”

“It’s impossible, once you’ve given them amnesty, you rescind the amnesty,” King said.

“Well, I would,” Pratt responded, “and I would have no problem doing it. I’d come and take that voter card right out of their hand and rip it up in front of their face.”

Larry Pratt: 'Tyrant' Obama Won’t Stop Rape Because He 'Doesn't Want The People Having Guns'

On his “Gun Owners News Hour” this weekend, Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt hosted Michele Fiore, a Nevada state legislator who is sponsoring a bill to allow guns on college campuses, which she says will help prevent rapes.

Fiore criticized President Obama for talking about combatting rape while failing to support her bill, to which Pratt responded that Obama wouldn’t support her measure because he is a “tyrant” who “doesn’t want the people having guns” because otherwise they’ll rise up against him.

“He doesn’t want the people having guns because he’s a tyrant, and he knows that as long as we’re armed there are certain limits to how far he can go,” he said.

“And actually, Mr. Obama, didn’t you find out the limits there in Bunkerville, Nevada?” he said, referring to the armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy ranch.

Gun Range Owner Who Turned Away Brown-Skinned Family Has Close Ties To Conservative Groups

Last year, when Arkansas gun range owner Jan Morgan announced that she would ban Muslims from patronizing her business, we noted that Morgan is a frequent speaker at conservative events — she had a speaking slot at the 2013 Values Voter Summit — and has fans among prominent gun activists, including Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt, who wanted to give Morgan an award for her “Muslim-free” policy.

We think this bears repeating now that a report is making the rounds that Morgan recently turned away a father and son of South Asian descent after asking them if they were Muslim.

The Arkansas Times talked with the young man who was reportedly turned away along with his father:

"My dad and I used to go to this gun range," said the young man, who asked not to be identified by name, "but we haven’t had as much of a chance to go in recent years since I've been at college. It's changed ownership recently."

"When we went in, a woman asked, ‘Where are you guys from?’ We told her we were from Hot Springs. She said, "this is a Muslim free shooting range," so if we are [Muslim] and if we don’t like the rule, then leave. We said that we’re not Muslim, but my dad asked, ‘Why is it Muslim free?’ and they started having a conversation. Then, all of a sudden, I don’t know what went wrong, but she stopped us from filling out the paperwork and said ‘I don’t think you guys should be here.’ She told us to leave or she’d call the cops on us."

Not wanting to cause a scene, they left.

"We’re brown; I don’t know if she assumed we were Muslim," he continued. "When she first asked us, she said, ‘I would hope if you were Muslim you guys wouldn't be cowards and would be up front about it.'" The student told the Times he was born in the U.S. and lived in Hot Springs for ten years before going to college in a different Arkansas town; he considers Hot Springs his home.

He recalls reading about the "Muslim free" shooting range, he says, but "I didn't know it was this place." Once he made the connection, he said, "I kept quiet because I just wanted to have some fun and shoot some guns." He says going shooting with his dad is just something they do occasionally: "father-son time, guy time."

In an interview with the Washington Post, Morgan denied turning the pair away because of their ethnicity and said she did so because they appeared to be “under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” But she did not back away from her ban on Muslim customers, explaining to the Post that the whole reason she opened her gun range was because she had received “death threats because of posting the truth about Islam.” She insisted that she won’t change her policy unless the Koran is altered to remove passages that she believes prescribe violence.

Morgan insisted that she doesn’t “believe all Muslims are terrorists,” although she seemed to say the opposite in a recent tweet:

 

 

From the Post:

“I don’t believe all Muslims are terrorists,” Morgan said, adding she has “no idea which Muslims are going to be devout and follow those 109 dictates and those who won’t.” So in her mind, the safest thing to do is to ban all Muslims from her club. “I can’t trust that they can be safe to handle guns” in front of non-Muslims, she added.

There’s another reason Morgan doesn’t take much comfort in the vast numbers of Muslims who are not violent: She believes Islam will remain fundamentally a threat until the religion is permanently reformed by removing the more than 100 passages from the Koran that she believes demand violence from its followers.

Morgan isn’t alone in her belief. At the gun range, she said, “business is booming” since she announced the ban.

The gun range itself, in a way, owes its existence to Morgan’s interpretation of the Koran. “I didn’t even own a gun five years ago,” she said, adding that she learned to shoot because of “death threats because of posting the truth about Islam” on the internet. After that Morgan kept “training and training and training” until she became an instructor. Before all this, she worked in TV news — part of the media that has now become one of her biggest adversaries.

Gun Owners Of America Chief Embraces Fringe 'Obama's Real Father' Birther Theory

Just this morning, we shared a new Rolling Stone profile of Gun Owners of America leader Larry Pratt, who despite his long record of anti-government extremism and association with any number of racist and anti-Semitic radicals continues to be an influential gun lobbyist who gets airtime from the mainstream media and attention from members of Congress.

As if to underscore the point, this weekend Pratt gave an interview to a pair of Patriot movement activists who recently launched a radio show after meeting at the Bundy ranch, where he shared the bizarre fringe birther theory that President Obama is secretly the son of labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, who groomed the president from birth to destroy America from within.

The Frank Marshall Davis birther theory was invented and popularized by right-wing filmmaker Joel Gilbert, who thinks that Obama got plastic surgery in an attempt to hide his resemblance to Davis and who also believes that the president wears a secret Muslim wedding ring and could have been behind the Aurora movie theater shooting .

The “evidence” for Gilbert’s claim — laid out in detail in his 2012 film “Dreams From My Real Father” — is a series of racy photos of a woman who bears a passing resemblance to Obama’s mother (but is not) and his totally scientific opinion that Obama looks more like Davis than like Barack Obama, Sr.

Gilbert’s theory has been panned by traditional birthers, because it undermines their claim that Obama isn’t a natural-born U.S. citizen, but has taken off among those who are seeking other ways to question the president’s origins. It was most notably endorsed by Bill Armistead, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, who said in 2012 that he had seen Gilbert’s movie and “verified that it is factual, all of it.”

In his interview with “The Liberty Brothers Radio Show,” Pratt presented the Frank Marshall Davis theory as a plausible explanation for why Obama “hates” America.

“His father was either a Kenyan socialist or the Communist Party member who lived across the street, Frank Marshall Davis, and there’s a lot more physical resemblance between the latter and Obama than Obama Sr. and Obama,” he said.

Bringing up the conspiracy theory that Obama enrolled in school as a foreign student, Pratt said that while he doesn’t think the president is foreign-born — “I really think that more likely was that the communist that lived across the street in Hawaii could have been the father” — he does think Obama lied about being a foreign student to get financial aid.

Voter suppression and intimidation reported in Colorado recall election

The recall effort began earlier this year as a grassroots protest and on Tuesday resulted in State Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and State Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo losing their seats.
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