National Rifle Association (NRA) board member Ted Nugent said opponents of the Confederate flag should value "substance over symbolism," and asked, "If we burned every Confederate flag today, would they stop shooting each other in Chicago?"
Nugent defended the Confederate flag on July 8 during an appearance on the Blog Talk Radio show, World Positive Thinkers, just hours before the South Carolina House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. The flag, which FoxNews.com noted was raised on the Statehouse grounds "more than 50 years ago to protest the civil rights movement," will be removed on July 10.
Although it's been a contentious issue in South Carolina for years, momentum to remove the flag increased following the apparently racially-motivated June 17 mass shooting at the African-American Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston that left nine people dead.
During his World Positive Thinkers appearance, Nugent was asked to address calls by activists that his fellow Detroit musician Kid Rock should stop displaying the Confederate flag at concerts. Nugent said, "I believe that we always have to look at substance over symbolism and I think we have to be honest," before asking, "If we burned every Confederate flag today, would they stop shooting each other in Chicago? If we burned every Confederate flag today, would we stop sanctuary cities from accommodating murderers and rapists and savage people?"
Nugent, who said that he flies a Confederate flag at his residence, defended displaying the flag by saying, "I believe that if you believe the Confederate flag is one of honor for the Southern tradition, I believe you should have every right in the world to display that flag and wave it proudly."
On July 8, Nugent also wrote on Facebook that it was "bullshit" to remove the flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
Image from leaked 2006 NRA graphic novel showing man guarding his home against looters following a natural disaster.
A new "Commentators" video from the National Rifle Association (NRA) accuses the "mainstream media" of pushing negative stereotypes about African-American gun ownership "with their modern-day minstrel show they call journalism."
Left unsaid in this "analysis" is the NRA's long history of stoking and exploiting racial fears, prime examples of which are racially charged comments by both NRA leader Wayne LaPierre and NRA board member Ted Nugent, an NRA-produced graphic novel that critics say had "deliberate racial overtones," and an NRA report that claimed race, not access to guns, plays a "significant" role in murders.
In a "Commentators" video posted July 8 to the NRA News website, Colion Noir, an NRA News commentator and host of an NRA web series, blamed "anti-gun politicians and the mainstream media" for negative stereotypes surrounding the ownership of firearms by African-Americans. Noir said, "The image of black gun ownership has been hijacked and vilified by an anti-gun mainstream media, the same way they vilified the Cubans, the Italians, the Irish, and the Mexicans. They project and glorify this D Boy gangbanging image as if African-Americans are nothing more than that."
Under Noir's theory, instead of "addressing the real issue," the mainstream media is interested in "race baiting" and heightening racial tensions so they can "rake in the dough with their modern-day minstrel show they call journalism." He went on to blame the mainstream media for promoting negative stereotypes about African-American gun ownership because "the same liberal mainstream media that claims to want to end gun violence in the inner city is the same liberal-minded Hollywood production companies and major record labels that glorify and perpetuate the drug-dealing-gang-banging-black-man-with-a-gun stereotype."
This latest charge against the media -- a frequent target of criticism from the NRA -- ignores that the gun group has routinely negatively stereotyped minorities as dangerous, often with the purpose of promoting gun ownership among its members.
In particular, NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre was criticized in 2013 for a racially-charged column he wrote for the conservative website Daily Caller that suggested owning a gun was essential to survival. Published in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, LaPierre made up claims about "hellish" looting in "south Brooklyn" and fearmongered about "Latin American drug gangs" who have supposedly "invaded every city of significant size in the United States."
Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough reacted to LaPierre's claims by saying, "This is so laced with racial overtones that the Republican party, if they were smart, their leaders today would condemn it."
The Sportsman Channel has decided to not renew the National Rifle Association's (NRA) weekday news show, Cam & Company, ending the program's two-and-a-half year run on the outdoor-themed network.
The hour-long show served as a vehicle for the NRA's frequent misinformation and extremism on the issue of gun violence. During the June 26 broadcast, host Cam Edwards announced the end of the series, effective that day.
Edwards said, "Beginning next Monday, you will be seeing a different program here at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sportsman Channel. We do want to thank all the folks at Sportsman Channel for our time here on the program. I wish I -- there's no drama, there's no dramatic backstory to this. It's just one of those decisions that has happened."
The NRA's three-hour weekday radio show, also called Cam & Company, will continue to air at NRANews.com and on SiriusXM.
Cam & Company debuted on Sportsman Channel on January 15, 2013. In a press release, the network claimed the show would be "the one and only news-talk series on television that can authoritatively address the issues that are vital to America's more than 80 million sportsmen and sportswomen."
In a nod to the fact that the show debuted just one month after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the release stated, "With national passions running high on the issue of firearms ownership and rights in America, the series launch is especially timely."
The NRA's executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre added, "The partnership expansion of these two great American brands, the Sportsman Channel and the NRA, comes at a critical time in the history of preserving our Second Amendment freedom."
The launch of the show kicked off a growing partnership between Sportsman Channel and the NRA, with the network participating in both the 2014 and 2015 NRA annual meetings. In January 2015, Sportsman Channel was acquired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a media company that has a "strategic partnership" with the NRA through its Outdoor Channel.
In a June 24 press release, Sportsman Channel announced several changes to its lineup for the third quarter, including 13 new series, beginning on June 29.
Sportsman Channel issued the following statement to Media Matters about the end of the Cam & Company television show:
We have enjoyed our relationship with Cam & Company and appreciate their efforts over the 2 1/2 years they were on our air. Sportsman Channel was proud to be the first network to take the forward step to air a daily show focused on our second amendment rights. Unfortunately, we are not able to continue with the program. We continue to support Cam & Company and the NRA, as well as to air a robust schedule of the best in class firearms programming.
Viewers can continue to watch the Cam & Company show on NRANews.com from 2-5 p.m. each weekday. Also, previously aired shows and interviews are available at http://www.nranews.com/cam/list/cam-company and podcasts can be found on iHeartRadio and iTunes. In addition, Cam & Company is simulcast on SiriusXM.
The complete schedule can be viewed at www.nranews.com/cam/list/cam-and-co-schedule.
Conservative media used the Supreme Court decision affirming that marriage is a fundamental right of all Americans to argue that the Constitution also requires states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. But the Supreme Court has never held that carrying a gun in public is a fundamental right.
Conservative media and the National Rifle Association (NRA) quickly seized on the decision to draw a parallel with concealed carry reciprocity, a top federal legislative priority of the NRA. Reciprocity legislation, also known as federally mandated concealed carry, would force states to recognize permits to carry concealed guns issued by other states, regardless of what the issuing state's standards are for issuing permits.
Reciprocity legislation has been introduced in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, but conservative media and the NRA view Obergefell as an opportunity to argue that the Constitution extends at least some right to reciprocal permit recognition regardless of whether Congress acts. The problem with that argument, however, is that the 2008 landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller limited the scope of the Second Amendment right to gun possession to people's homes.
Despite this, on the June 26 broadcast of the NRA's news show Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards made the argument that the marriage ruling "might present an additional argument to make at the legal level for extending reciprocity nationwide," remarking, "Since we're talking about licenses, a lot of gun owners are wondering, ok, does this, could this have an impact on the debate for instance over right-to-carry reciprocity?"
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent distorted recent comments President Obama made on the race issue in America to defend the use of the N-word including its racist use by former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman.
In a June 24 column for conspiracy website WND, Nugent addressed President Obama's reference to the word "nigger" on Marc Moran's WTF podcast. Obama said, "Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say 'nigger' in public."
Apparently misinterpreting the point Obama was making about racism, Nugent praised Obama, writing that he "is not afraid of speaking honestly without fear of politically correct word nazi's going berserk."
Nugent went on to heap praise on the word, without mentioning its long and vile association with racism. Citing himself as someone who "continue[s] to use the word nigger at one time or another," Nugent listed several well-known people, including Fuhrman, whom he said were not bound by "political correctness" in their use of the word:
Along with President Obama and my hero Richard Pryor, we join Howard Stern, Johnny Cochran, Mark Furman [sic], O.J. Simpson, Kid Rock, James Brown, the mighty Funkbrothers, Al not so Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Malcom X, Kanye West, Fifty Cent and pretty much every black rapper and hip hopper on earth, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, a few thousand NBA, NFL, MLB sports stars, legions of famous and not so famous musicians, actors, politicians, media personalities and assorted celebrities of every color, creed, ethnicity and walk of life, along with a few million others around the world who have used and continue to use the word nigger at one time or another.The dishonest referencing of the word by its first letter is the epitome of political correctness gone mad.
Fuhrman, who is now a Fox News contributor, was an LAPD homicide detective on the O.J. Simpson murder case. During Simpson's trial, the defense produced tapes of Fuhrman using the N-word more than 40 times over a 10-year period. According to the tapes, in his capacity with the LAPD, Fuhrman said things to African-Americans like, "You do what you're told, understand, nigger?" He was also recorded bragging that he liked lining up "niggers against the wall and shooting them."
In his WND column, Nugent lavishly praised the word. He wrote, "The word nigger has historically been used in a powerfully positive way when describing the proud heritage and history of deeply respected, even revered 'blackness,'" and noted that he considered it "the greatest compliment" when someone uses the word to describe his music.
Nugent added, "The word is used constantly across America in a friendly, even tribal greeting and salutation with no hint whatsoever of negativity nor hostility," and compared its use to the "'MF' word" -- a reference to "mother fucker" that he never spelled out, although his column did spell out the word "nigger" five times.
Nugent also wrote, "As blacks blow away blacks in record numbers in Chicago and other urban hellzones each weekend, does anyone have the audacity to believe that words play any role in this insane widespread criminality?" adding, "What sort of goofball could possibly believe that certain words are OK for one group of people but forbidden by others?"
On Facebook, Nugent promoted his WND column in a post that said, "When I play my Motown guitar, I niggerup."
Nugent, who has a lengthy history of racially-charged rhetoric, is correct that he has used the N-word before. In a 1990 interview with Detroit Free Press Magazine, Nugent defended the apartheid system in South Africa and said, "I use the word nigger a lot because I hang around with a lot of niggers, and they use the word nigger, and I tend to use words that communicate ... I don't mean to offend."
In a 1995 interview with Bob Mack of Grand Royal magazine, Nugent claimed "real America" was full of "working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers, who are independent and get up in the morning," before saying of James Brown and several other African-American musicians, "Those are niggers, those are fucking spirited, genuine African-Americans."
During an interview for the release a 2002 album, Nugent reportedly said, "So when ever someone tries to claim that I'm a racist because I use the word 'nigger,' the word 'nigger' is a badge of honour where I come from."
Beyond his use of racial slurs, Nugent has called Obama a "subhuman mongrel" and has claimed that African-Americans should be racially profiled the same way members of a community might profile a breed of dog that was biting children. He also said that African-Americans could "solve the black problem" if they were more honest and law-abiding, and that the African-American community has a "mindless tendency to violence" and an inability to "read or speak clearly."
This post has been updated to include additional information.
During an appearance on the National Rifle Association's radio show, conservative radio host Tony Katz said relatives of the victims of the Charleston church shooting showed "serious weakness" in forgiving the accused gunman and suggested that it would be justifiable to kill members of the gunman's family out of retribution.
On June 19 several family members of victims killed in a June 17 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, attended the first court appearance of the alleged gunman and forgave the man for killing members of their family.
Hours later Katz, who makes regular Friday appearances on the NRA program Cam & Company, reacted to the court appearance by calling the move to forgive not "a moment of strength" but rather "a moment of serious weakness that we do not respond with a 'you don't get to kill us, we kill you.'"
Katz continued, "As a matter of fact, we kill you tenfold, who's in your family today?" -- putting forward the suggestion that the family members of accused murderers should be murdered themselves in retribution.
He concluded by calling his reaction -- which included advocacy for the killing of innocent people -- "far more natural and in many ways far more decent than sometimes the reactions I see." Host Cam Edwards responded, "All right, far more natural I might agree with, far more decent, I don't -- I'm going to have to disagree with you there."
KATZ: Now we know me and we know you and others who may think about being attacked and put ourselves in positions not to be or at least be able to fight back, but that's what I come to and I get the fact, I get it, not everybody is going to agree with me, but I think that my reaction is far more natural and in many ways far more decent than sometimes the reactions I see.
EDWARDS: All right, far more natural I might agree with, far more decent, I don't -- I'm going to have to disagree with you there.
Katz previously appeared on NRA News to criticize the victims of several calamities, including Hurricane Katrina, for not doing enough to save themselves from death or injury.
Katz is not the first conservative figure to criticize those affected by the Charleston shooting. In a June 18 post on a pro-gun web forum, NRA board member Charles L. Cotton wrote that the victims "died because of" Reverend Clementa Pinckney's advocacy for gun safety laws. Pinckney was also killed in the attack.
During the June 24 broadcast of Tony Katz and the Morning News on 93.1 WIBC, Katz addressed his June 19 comments he made on NRA News about the Charleston shooting victims' family members forgiving the gunman. Katz said that he was "sickened," "disgusted," and "very bothered" by the forgiveness shown to the alleged perpetrator, but also said it was "probably wrong" of him to characterize the forgiveness given by victims' family members as "weakness" and that he was not "entitled" to say so.
He also said, "I think I did a poor job of pivoting, which has happened to me before, and I don't believe in hiding these things. I don't believe in saying, 'Oh, it's just one conversation, it's no big deal.' And some people will tell me, 'Tony, you dwell on this stuff too much.' I believe that if we're going to be honest with each other the only way to do that is to when you think you don't do it right, or you don't do it clearly, you go back and do it clearly. Let me say it again, and I don't apologize for what I said, I'm going to go for clarity. I look at forgiveness of somebody who murders your family not as a virtue. I look at it and I say, 'I don't get it.'"
Katz also talked about his suggestion that it would be acceptable to murder members of the gunman's family out of retribution. During his June 19 appearance on NRA News, Katz said, "We do not respond with a 'you don't get to kill us, we kill you.' As a matter of fact, we kill you tenfold, who's in your family today?" During his June 24 WIBC broadcast, Katz said, "One of the non-journalistic organizations of the world, Media Matters for America, picked it up they called me bloodthirsty because they were discussing how I'm proactively wishing that these family members would go out and kill the family members of this murderer, Dylann Roof. Which is not-- it, it goes to a much larger conversation that I have, and that conversation is about being prepared for moments and being a society in which those who wish to do harm, because you can't stop people from doing harm if they really want to, you can't stop the sick, you can't stop the demented, but those who want to do harm, they should at least have to question whether or not they should do it to you."
Katz's full discussion of his comments:
National Rifle Association board member Charles L. Cotton wrote that the victims of a mass shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina church died because of Reverend Clementa Pinckney's advocacy for gun safety laws.
Pinckney, along with eight others, was killed by a gunman during a June 17 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 2013, Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina State Senator, introduced legislation to require more comprehensive background checks on gun sales and supported several other gun safety measures during his career as a legislator.
In a post on an online forum for Texas supporters of the concealed carry of handguns, Cotton wrote, "he [Rev. Pinckney] voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue."
At the bottom of Cotton's post was an image that promoted NRA membership:
Cotton, who is active in Texas NRA affiliate group Texas State Rifle Association, faced criticism in February for his assertion that corporal punishment for children could prevent him from "having to put a bullet in him later." According to Talking Points Memo Cotton wrote:
"I'm sick of this woman and her 'don't touch my kid regardless what he/she did or will do again' attitude," Cotton wrote in a thread titled "HB567: Corporal punishment in schools."
"Perhaps a good paddling in school may keep me from having to put a bullet in him later," he added.
Cotton is listed in the NRA's magazine as a member of the board of directors, with his term expiring in 2017.
According to NRAOnTheRecord.org, Cotton has served on the NRA board for more than a decade and has also served on the Board of Trustees of the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.
Conservative media and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are fearmongering over a supposed "new" Obama administration regulation to limit the ability of convicted domestic abusers to buy firearms.
In reality, the regulation would simply implement a 1998 law and has been under consideration for the past 17 years, including during the entire eight years of George W. Bush's administration.
The conservative opposition campaign to what is in fact a long-standing proposal began with a flawed May 30 article in The Hill headlined, 'Administration preps new gun regulations," that claimed, "The Justice Department plans to move forward this year with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations, according to [a] list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration." The article described the regulations listed in the Department of Justice's semi-annual Unified Agenda (a periodic list of proposed or recently completed rules) as "new," when in fact several of them date back to prior administrations.
The National Rifle Association is falsely characterizing a legislative proposal from Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) that would allow felons to petition the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for restoration of their gun ownership rights, saying the option would only be available to "non-violent felons."
In fact, any felon could apply to have their right to own a firearm restored under Buck's proposal, which is why the ATF program that used to provide that option was defunded in the early 1990s -- research showed that even violent felons had won their appeals, and in some cases went on to commit new violent crimes.
For the past 23 years, standard language in appropriations legislation -- first inserted by then-Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) -- has prohibited the ATF from using budget money on a program that allowed people who had lost their legal right to buy or own a gun because of a felony conviction to apply for restoration of that right. That longtime prohibition was challenged on June 2, however, when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives adopted by voice vote a rider introduced by Buck that would re-fund the program.
During a floor speech, Buck argued for support by citing an example of a man who is prohibited from owning a gun because he wrote a bad check 40 years ago. He declared, "This bill does not intend in any way shape or form to allow a violent criminal to possess a firearm, only those non-violent criminals that ATF deems are not a danger."
But in fact, there is no language in the proposal that limits the right to appeal to non-violent felons. Buck's rider merely reverses the prohibition on funding, changing the words "none of the" funds to "such" funds in the following line: "Provided, That such funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code."
Despite this, the NRA and some conservative media outlets have run with the blatantly false talking point that the program would only apply to "non-violent felons" in coverage trumpeting Buck's proposal.
An article in the National Rifle Association's (NRA) "official journal" attacked survivors of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech for using the tragedy to advocate for stronger gun laws.
On April 16, 2007, a gunman at Virginia Tech opened fire in a dormitory and several classrooms, fatally shooting 32 people and wounding 17 others. Following the shooting, several survivors and victims' family members began to advocate for gun violence prevention laws, especially for a federal law to close a loophole in the national background check system that allowed the gunman to acquire his weapons.
In a June 4 feature, NRA magazine America's 1st Freedom attacked those advocates and ran an interview with Holly Adams, who lost her daughter in the shooting and doesn't believe that additional regulation of firearms will prevent future tragedies.
America's 1st Freedom writer David Burnett posited that some victims of the shooting were "coached by gun control lobbyists" and had politicized their experiences with the tragedy by using "their victimhood to advocate for gun bans throughout the nation":
Some Virginia Tech victims and survivors, several no doubt coached by gun control lobbyists, responded to the tragedy by demanding harsher gun laws. (In reality, the perpetrator had passed a background check when purchasing the firearms he used in his crime, even though he had been court-ordered to undergo mental health treatment. The failure was in the reporting of the information, not the gun laws.) Like most, however, Holly preferred to grieve in private rather than politicize her loss. But after five years of watching a vocal minority continuously use their victimhood to advocate for gun bans throughout the nation, Holly released a statement through the Virginia Citizens Defense League that read, in part:
Following the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, members of conservative media frequently and offensively labeled victims of gun violence who supported stronger gun laws as "props" who weren't speaking voluntarily. The NRA's magazine not only did that, it went one step further and accused some survivors of politicizing their own personal tragedies.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) used its online magazine to encourage readers to "splurge on a new gun" to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day, a nationwide event that commemorates victims of gun violence.
Americans are wearing orange on June 2 to honor victims of gun violence as part of a national campaign organized by the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. According to an Everytown press release, "More than 200 organizations, cultural influencers and elected officials" will promote wearing orange as "a way to visibly honor the 88 American lives cut short by gun violence every day, plus the countless survivors forever altered by shootings each year."
The "Wear Orange" campaign is an outgrowth of efforts to honor the life of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton. On January 29, 2013, Pendleton was fatally shot while taking shelter from a rainstorm in a South Side Chicago park, allegedly by gang members who thought the group she was standing with included rival gang members. The Chicago Tribune called Pendleton's murder "arguably Chicago's most galvanizing killing in recent years," and noted that "Pendleton, a dimple-faced sophomore drum majorette, had performed just a week earlier at festivities for President Barack Obama's second inauguration."
Following her death, Pendleton's friends decided to honor her life with a series of events revolving around the color orange in a project called Project Orange Tree. The group's past president, Nza-Ari Khepra, told the Chicago Sun-Times, "The question then was, 'What's the next step?' We brainstormed. Someone said we should use orange because that's the color hunters wear to alert other hunters they're not the targets."
Everytown built on Project Orange Tree's efforts by asking Americans to wear orange on June 2 -- which would have been Pendleton's 18th birthday -- to mark the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The NRA's online magazine, America's 1st Freedom, lashed out at the campaign, calling it pointless in a May 30 post. On June 2, it encouraged readers to mark the day by buying a gun, saying, "If you see any friends or neighbors wearing orange, consider the possibility that they: a) don't support your right to self-defense; and b) have a rather naïve view of what constitutes real activism."
The NRA proposed an "alternative" way to mark the day: "Actually go to the range; splurge on a new gun; take someone shooting for the first time. It's that kind of quiet but productive activity that makes the NRA base so powerful -- and that Everytown is still trying to figure out."
Media Matters is a partner in the "Wear Orange" campaign.
Editors of the National Rifle Association's magazine, America's 1st Freedom, attacked a national plan to honor Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager whose 2013 shooting death made national headlines, and draw attention to all victims of gun violence, calling it "pointless."
June 2 will mark the country's first National Gun Violence Awareness Day. A national campaign organized by the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund has asked Americans to wear the color orange to honor victims of gun violence. The "Wear Orange" campaign organizers say they hope to turn the color "into a symbol for the value of human life everywhere."
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Groups such as Amnesty International USA, MomsRising and Sandy Hook Promise; mayors from Chicago to Miami and Chapel Hill; and members of Congress representing states from Illinois to New York and California will be wearing or promoting orange on Tuesday. Media entities such as HBO and Essence Magazine are involved, with MTV and Motown Records planning to turn their logos orange." (Media Matters is also a partner organization.)
In a May 30 post in its digital magazine, America's 1st Freedom, the National Rifle Association attacked the campaign as "pointless" and said "participating is an easy way of scoring points for being 'socially conscious.'" The magazine also criticized celebrities Julianne Moore, Russell Simmons, and Michael Stipe for participating in National Gun Violence Awareness Day, writing, "It's a shame that quite a few presumably well-meaning celebrities are caught up in a thinly veiled anti-gun stunt orchestrated by Bloomberg and friends." (Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is the founder of Everytown for Gun Safety.)
The results of an 18-month survey of advertisements in the National Rifle Association's (NRA) magazine, America's 1st Freedom, squared neatly with the gun group's own tendency to use to fear as a marketing tool.
Media Matters reviewed advertisements that appeared in the NRA magazine from January 2014 through June 2015 and discovered that they appealed to a wide range of fears, including the threat of starvation due to food shortages, the dread of losing the ability to live independently because of declining health, the prospect of a terrorist attack, and the need to carry a collapsible assault weapon in a briefcase for self-protection.
NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre often uses fear to motivate people to support the NRA or purchase firearms.
In a February 2013 column for the magazine, LaPierre argued that Americans needed to buy guns to ensure their "survival" while warning of calamities including, "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. [and] Lone criminals." Prior to the 2014 elections, in a special election edition of America's 1st Freedom, LaPierre urged supporters to back the NRA's preferred candidates while raising the specter of several different terrorist attack scenarios, including an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would kill 9 out of 10 Americans. LaPierre has also warned conservative audiences about the threat of "home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers, knockout gamers, and rapers, and haters, and campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse our society that sustains us all."
Advertisers in the NRA's magazine often played on the same fears, urging readers to buy their products to protect against one calamity or another. Similar to other conservative media websites, some of the products advertised in America's 1st Freedom were of extremely dubious value, including an "anti-aging" supplement that had not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and expensive jewelry made from low-cost materials. Some products in the magazine were simply bizarre or retrograde, including an accent lamp that celebrates the Confederacy and a watch that allows users to "Tell Time Like a Man."
"The Light Of The South," an accent lamp featuring the likeness of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and several pieces of Confederacy iconography, was advertised in the NRA magazine for $135 under the tagline, "Southern Pride Shines On." The lamp featured several variations of the Confederate flag as well as two CSA (Confederate States of America) emblems and the dates commemorating the beginning and end of the Confederacy.
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent attacked President Obama and gun safety advocates for calling attention to the deaths of children from guns, calling such efforts "The Big Lie" -- a phrase associated with Nazi propaganda.
Gun accidents and homicides involving children happen far more frequently in the United States than in other affluent nations.
In a May 13 column posted on conspiracy website WND (World Net Daily), Nugent wrote, "The Big Lie about guns is that innocent kids are being gunned down or are accidentally shooting each other."
Arguing that "very few kids under the age of 10 die or are injured as a result of gun-related accidents," Nugent wrote, "The vast majority of teenagers who die as a result of guns are involved in gangs. They are punks, thugs and street rats who have dropped out of school and let out of their cages over and over again by a so-called 'justice system' gone bad."
Hitler first wrote about "the big lie" in Mein Kampf. The Nazi leader accused Jews of telling "the big lie" to corrupt "the broad masses," who he claimed "more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie." The phrase is also associated with tactics used by chief Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
It's hard to argue that accidental gun deaths involving children are not worth calling attention to, let alone that covering such tragedies is comparable to Nazi-style propaganda. And it is no surprise that accidental shootings involving children receive widespread media coverage, given how shocking and senseless they are.
According to a project of Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been at least 88 incidents just this year "in which a child 17 or under fired a gun unintentionally and someone was harmed as a result." In 2013, the group documented at least 100 accidental shooting deaths of children aged 14 or younger. A Mother Jones report that examined the same time period found 84 fatal gun accidents involving children aged 12 and under, 64 of which involved a child pulling the trigger, killing themselves or someone else, which debunks Nugent's claim that children are not "accidentally shooting each other."
The National Rifle Association's media arm is deliberately misrepresenting a proposed new law in North Carolina that would repeal background checks on private pistol sales, falsely claiming that it would merely shift required background checks from one government system to another.
In reality, the bill would eliminate a pistol permit requirement that currently ensures that buyers of pistols from private sellers at gun shows and online undergo a background check, thus creating a loophole for felons and other persons prohibited by law from purchasing firearms.
Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives are currently considering H.B. 562, a piece of legislation that would repeal a state requirement that anyone who wants to purchase a pistol first obtain a permit from their local county sheriff -- a process that involves undergoing a background check. H.B. 562 has so far passed two House committees, although an effort to fast-track it was recently abruptly canceled.
If the pistol permit requirement is repealed, individuals who buy from private sellers at gun shows or online would no longer have to undergo a background check before completing their purchase.