NRA Once Again Embracing
New Study Details
Links Between NRA Election Volunteer Coordinators and Tea Party Movement
years ago former National Rifle Association (NRA) member Timothy McVeigh--motivated
by his fear and hatred of the federal government--bombed the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Today, the NRA and other members
of the gun lobby are again embracing and validating anti-government rhetoric
according to the new 21-page Violence Policy Center (VPC) study Lessons
Unlearned: The Gun Lobby and the Siren Song of Anti-Government Rhetoric.
The study offers examples
of the NRA’s anti-government language, details NRA marketing to Tea Party
supporters, and reveals links in nine states between NRA State Election
Volunteer Coordinators, the Tea Party movement, and other factions of
the “Patriot movement.”
The study’s release
comes four days before the pro-gun “Second Amendment March” in Washington,
D.C. The April 19th event, held on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City
bombing and the federal government’s siege at Waco that contributed to
McVeigh’s anti-government anger, has been publicized by the NRA and received
financial support from the organization.
The study finds that,
echoing the language of the resurgent Patriot movement, the NRA routinely
presents the election of Barack Obama as a virtually apocalyptic threat
not only to gun ownership, but to the future of the United States itself.
In a December 2009
direct-mail letter echoing the language of both the Tea Party movement
and the Oath Keepers, the NRA urges the reader to join an "army whose
highest allegiance is not to any individual or any political party but
only to the cause of freedom."
In the letter, NRA
Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre--who speaking at the 2009 CPAC
convention told cheering attendees that “our Founding Fathers understood
that the guys with the guns make the rules”--warns of "...massive armies
of anti-gun, anti-freedom radicals marshaling against us for an attack
that could make every other battle we’ve ever fought look like a walk
in the park...an attack aimed at completely rewriting our nation’s values
and the future of our country in ways that you and I won’t even recognize."
In the first four
months of 2009, the NRA’s flagship activist magazine, America’s 1st Freedom,
profiled key members of the Obama administration, likening them to a “‘who’s
who’ of gun-ban advocates.”
- A January 2009
article entitled “Beware the Rahm” asked,“Will Rahm Emanuel be able
to stab a knife into the Constitution and scream that the Second Amendment
is ‘Dead! Dead! Dead!’?
- A February 2009
NRA profile of Attorney General Eric Holder attacked his record under
“the infamous Janet Reno,” the Clinton Administration attorney general
who is widely blamed in pro-gun circles for the Waco stand-off.
- A March 2009 cover
proclaimed, “The Whole World is Watching—Hillary Clinton Takes the Reins:
Will the new secretary of state defend the U.S. constitution, or will
she invite the global gun-ban movement into the corridors of power?”
- An April 2009 cover
featured Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with the headline: “What
would this man teach your kids? Anti-gun extremist Arne Duncan takes
over as Secretary of Education.”
The organization now
also markets NRA clothing products emblazoned with the Gadsden “Don’t
Tread on Me” flag, which has become the symbol of the Tea Party movement.
The description for the NRA Gadsden tee shirt reads: “What goes around
comes around. In the late 18th century, oppressed American patriots voiced
their defiance of tyranny by exclaiming, ‘Don’t Tread on Me!’ Perhaps
it’s time once again for Freedom-loving citizens to rally ’round the legendary
slogan of the famous Gadsden flag.”
The VPC study states
that “the NRA incites its members and others, offering words that outside
of the purported protective bubble of direct-mail and official publications
would be chilling.” It cites an August 2008 NRA direct-mail letter warning
of the threat posed by a possible Obama administration: “Our Constitution
and our system of government guarantee that every American has the opportunity
to write his or her name in the history books of tomorrow--to leave his
or her imprint on the fabric of our nation. But in the end, history is
always written only by a select few--the few who sacrifice of themselves
to fight for the causes in which they believe.”
The study concludes,
“Such language offers benediction to the most violent of acts...Based
on past history, the overriding concern should be that the NRA’s words
may, in fact, once again be revealed as violent prophecy.”
The Violence Policy Center is
a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury.
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