During an interview on NRA News, Mike Piccione, editor of Daily Caller's "Guns and Gear" section, and host Ginny Simone spoke of "a team effort" between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Caller to promote gun ownership. During the interview Piccione said he hoped to expand his online publication's controversial gun giveaway promotion by giving away a firearm to a Caller email list subscriber who signs up for an NRA membership.
MIKE PICCIONE, DAILY CALLER GUNS AND GEAR EDITOR: Check back though because we're going to do a few things. One thing I want to do is I want to give a gun to somebody that joins the National Rifle Association from the Daily Caller.
GINNY SIMONE, HOST: Alrighty.
PICCIONE: Absolutely. Join the NRA and we'll support you.
SIMONE: It's a team effort.
Piccione also admitted that the gun giveaway promotion was the result of a brainstorm session with far right-wing gun manufacturer Jim Pontillo.
The Caller at one point distanced themselves from Pontillo's political views when confronted with extreme and racial comments about President Obama made by prize gun manufacturer Pontillo, telling The Washington Post, "All that's germane to the contest is that he's a fully licensed firearms manufacturer. If we were giving away iPads, the political views of Apple would also be irrelevant." But the next day, Piccione told NRA News host Ginny Simone that he came up with the idea for the promotion with his "friend" Pontillo in order to "remind people" that Caller is "pro-Constitution" and "pro-gun."
SIMONE: How did you come up with the idea?
PICCIONE: Well we just...the manufacturer and designer of the gun Jim Pontillo is a friend of mine and we're always talking about different things that probably should be done, could be done, and maybe never will be done. And that's when we thought about, "Well geez we got a new gun section, why don't we give some guns away?" And Jim was all for it and he said, "What should we do?" Well I said, "Well let's think maybe from Memorial Day to Election Day and give a gun a week just to kind of remind people that we're pro-Constitution, we're pro-gun, we got a new gun section and we want to bring our message of gun good news as deeply as possible to the American people though the mainstream media."
In a later exchange Piccione defended the politics of Pontillo, calling his views on immigration "mainstream."
SIMONE: What about the [Washington] Post going after, as you said, the president of FMK [Jim Pontillo] saying that he is known for his extreme political rhetoric?
PICCIONE: One of his political rhetoric items that was so extreme that he supported was he just wanted Arizona to be able to enforce their borders and to arrest illegal immigrants after they have committed a crime. So it's easy to make the claim something is extreme, just pull the veil back a little bit you find out what is really extreme to liberals is mainstream to the rest of America.
The Post did not raise Pontillo's comments about immigration in its article about him; Piccione instead appears to be referencing Pontillo's 2010 column authored for Human Events, which was mentioned by Media Matters and Slate's David Weigel. In that piece, the gun manufacturer favorably compared Arizona's controversial SB 1070 to the attack on Fort Sumter:
Arizona's SB1070 is a preemptive strike; a warning to a despotic administration that the American people are only going to tolerate a limited amount of assault on their sovereignty, it is a precursor revealing dissatisfaction turning to action.
Whether or not SB1070 is proper or right is really not the point. The question is...
Are Americans beginning to feel as intently in 2010 that its government has unjustly pushed them, as did the Confederate citizens of 1860?
Responding to that column, Caller Editor In Chief Tucker Carlson told Weigel, "A little rebellion once in a while isn't a bad thing."