Gun Appreciation Day’s Sponsors Raise a Few Questions
After the story was posted at Media Matters and then at Huffington Post, the A3P button on the GAD website disappeared (but you can still see a screenshot of it at the MM link above). GAD then released a statement without specifically mentioning A3P, claiming that the event is “not about racial politics” but rather about gun politics and that they “mistakenly missed” a group that might detract from GAD’s overall message.
GAD may have removed A3P, but a few of its other sponsors might also raise a few eyebrows. They include the hard-right, anti-government and conspiracy-ridden Oath Keepers, a group founded in 2009 for ex-military and law enforcement personnel who pledge to uphold the Constitution against foreign and domestic forces, including the “New World Order,” an imagined cabal that will take over America and enslave its citizens. The core of Oath Keepers beliefs are its “10 orders we will not obey,” which relate directly to Patriot fears of a government conspiracy, such as alleged plans by the U.S. government to impose martial law and force Americans into concentration camps. Individual Oath Keepers have also had run-ins with the law (see here, here, and here).
Another sponsor is Wake Up America, a group committed to “awakening Americans to the threats to our freedoms and liberties.” Its list of experts includes anti-Muslim and nativist activists like Gen. Jerry Boykin, now the executive vice president of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council; Walid Shoebat, who claims to be a former terrorist and who charges that the Muslim Brotherhood is part of a biblical prophecy to bring about the end times and that President Obama is part of the Brotherhood; NumbersUSA, a group that is part of a network of nativist groups created by John Tanton, who has ties to white nationalists; and Michael Peroutka, a lawyer who is a member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, a group that opposes “race-mixing” and claims slavery was “God-ordained.”
Tea Party Nation is also listed as a sponsor. Its president, Judson Phillips, has promoted the “birther” theory that Obama was not born in the U.S., while the group’s bloggers have defended the racist National Origins Act of 1924 in one instance and, in another, lamented that the “White Anglo Saxon Protestant population in America is headed for extinction.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by GAD’s seeming contradictions in its stance. After all, one of the memes it’s disseminating features an image of President Ronald Reagan, with a brief quote from the Second Amendment on it. Interesting juxtaposition, since Reagan and three others were shot and injured in 1981 in an assassination attempt. The bullet barely missed the president’s heart and lodged in his lung while his press secretary, James Brady, was permanently paralyzed.