NRA Once Again Embracing Anti-Government Rhetoric

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Marty Langley, Policy Analyst, 202-822-8200 x109, mlangley@vpc.org

NRA Once Again Embracing Anti-Government Rhetoric

New Study Details Links Between NRA Election Volunteer Coordinators and Tea Party Movement

WASHINGTON - Fifteen 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" (http://www.vpc.org/studies/lessonsunlearned.pdf). 

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."

o  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!'?

o  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.

o  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?"

o  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."

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The Violence Policy Center is a national tax-exempt educational organization working for a safer America through research, investigation, analysis, and advocacy. The VPC provides information to policymakers, journalists, organizations, advocates, and the general public.

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