Rapid City Journal columnist Frank Carroll, a member of the National Rifle Association, is calling for NRA board member Ted Nugent and "anyone else who either backs him or avoids their responsibility to confront him" to be removed from the NRA's leadership.
Nugent caused widespread controversy this year over his characterization of President Obama as a "subhuman mongrel." Citing that comment and Nugent's lengthy history of racially inflammatory commentary, several concert organizers have canceled Nugent appearances while other concerts have been protested.
In an August 12 column, Carroll called the NRA "an organization I belong to and agree with on many issues," while bemoaning that Nugent is a representative of the gun group. He added, "No wonder conservatives are struggling to lead in this country. At the very time we need authentic, humane, passionate conservatives and patriots the most, the best we can come up with are people like Nugent? Get real, NRA. Nugent has to go."
Carroll also took issue with other members of NRA leadership, including Fox News contributor Oliver North, who have refused to condemn Nugent's inflammatory commentary:
What's really not OK is the failure of NRA leaders to unequivocally and immediately suspend Nugent from further representation of the NRA and our members. Instead our leaders, from Oliver North down the line, have equivocated, dodged, danced and tiptoed around an issue from which there is no escape. Nugent must go, for the sake of the integrity of our organization and our own credibility as members of a powerful and nation-wide lobby engaged in guaranteeing the rights and responsibilities of free Americans.
Indeed, in March Media Matters investigative reporter Joe Strupp spoke to several members of NRA leadership at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, all of whom attempted to downplay controversy over Nugent's "subhuman mongrel" comment. Earlier in February, the NRA and Outdoor Channel -- where Nugent serves as a spokesperson -- refused to comment on the "subhuman mongrel" controversy even as Nugent was receiving condemnations from prominent conservative figures.
As a musician and conservative commentator, Nugent is to many the most recognizable member of NRA leadership. He has served on the gun group's board of directors for almost 20 years. In the group's 2013 board elections Nugent was second only to North for most votes in favor of reelection. Nugent is also a fixture of the NRA's annual meeting, delivering talks in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. (At the 2012 meeting, Nugent drew the attention of the Secret Service for saying he would be "dead or in jail" if Obama was reelected.) Nugent is also the author of a song, "I Am The NRA" and frequently uses his platform as a conservative commentator to urge others to join the NRA.