During CNN's September 16 GOP presidential candidate debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he was “honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on the stage today.” GOA has donated money to a white supremacist group, opposes any background checks on gun sales, and advocates for guns in kindergarten classrooms. Its leader, Larry Pratt, has suggested mass shootings are staged by the government and has past ties to white supremacist and anti-Semitic organizations.
Cruz “Honored” To Receive GOA's Endorsement
Cruz Said His Opposition To Expanded Background Checks Following The Sandy Hook School Massacre Earned Him GOA's Endorsement. During the CNN debate, Cruz said, “When Harry Ried and Barack Obama came after the right to keep and bear arms of millions of Americans, I was proud to lead the fight in the United States Senate to protect our right to keep and bear arms and for that reason, I was honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on the stage today”:
CRUZ: Indeed, just a couple of years ago when Harry Ried and Barack Obama came after the right to keep and bear arms of millions of Americans, I was proud to lead the fight in the United States Senate to protect our right to keep and bear arms and for that reason, I was honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on the stage today, and I will fight every day to defend the Bill of Rights. [CNN, CNN Republican Debate - Final Round, 9/16/15]
GOA Endorsed Cruz After He Was The Only Candidate To Return Their Survey
GOA Endorsed Cruz In Statement That Pushed Conspiracy Theories And Bashed Undocumented Immigrants. In a September 8 statement, GOA endorsed Cruz, citing the conspiracy theory that the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty will lead to gun registration in the United States and praising Cruz for opposing the Affordable Care Act, which GOA says “will facilitate the disarmament of millions of gun owners once the law is fully implemented.” GOA also claimed to be working with Cruz to stop the “Obama Administration's gun ban that is (and will) affect millions of military veterans and senior citizens,” and praised the Texas senator's hardline immigration stance by writing, “He has opposed efforts to reward millions of illegal aliens with citizenship and voting rights, given that the majority of them are anti-gunners who have ignored and flouted our laws”:
Gun Owners of America is proud to endorse Senator Ted Cruz for the office of President of the United States.
While there are many candidates in the race, Ted Cruz is the only one who has completed and returned the GOA presidential survey on the Second Amendment.
Cruz has been a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights as a U.S. Senator, and he will continue to defend our gun rights from the Oval Office.
Ted Cruz has promised gun owners that, as President, he will remove the United States as a signatory nation to the anti-gun Arms Trade Treaty -- a U.N. treaty that would fully implement a system of gun owner registration if ratified by the U.S. Senate.
As a U.S. Senator, Ted Cruz has demonstrated a willingness to fight for our Second Amendment rights. He is working with GOA on legislation to repeal the Obama Administration's gun ban that is (and will) affect millions of military veterans and senior citizens.
He has opposed efforts to reward millions of illegal aliens with citizenship and voting rights, given that the majority of them are anti-gunners who have ignored and flouted our laws.
It was Senator Cruz who led the filibuster fight in 2013 against funding the anti-gun ObamaCare law, which will facilitate the disarmament of millions of gun owners once the law is fully implemented.
We need a stalwart defender of the Second Amendment in the White House, and Ted Cruz will help shoulder the burden of fighting against the gun grabbers dedicated to eviscerating the Second Amendment. [Gun Owners of America, 9/8/15]
For more information about conspiracy theories surrounding the Arms Trade Treaty click here.
For more information about false claims the Affordable Care Act threatens gun rights click here.
Cruz Has A Close Relationship With GOA, Despite The Group's Extremism
Cruz Participated In GOA Town Hall Meeting And Said Group Was “Critical” To His Election As Senator. During a May 27 “Tele-Town Hall” appearance, Cruz praised GOA, saying the group “endorsed me early on when I ran for the Senate and played a critical part in helping get me elected” and also invoked Ronald Reagan to say “one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels”:
CRUZ: Let me start by just saying thank you to all the men and women of Gun Owners of America. GOA endorsed me early on when I ran for the Senate and played a critical part in helping get me elected and sending me from the state of Texas to represent 27 million Texans and to stand up and to fight for our rights and I'm grateful to be with each of you because the men and women on this call are fighters, you are men and women of action, you are patriots, and this is the time when that is exactly what is needed in our country.
CRUZ: I believe our country is at a crisis point where it is now or never. And I also believe that 2016 is an election very much like 1980. I think there are striking similarities between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama and the way to win is just like Ronald Reagan said, to paint in bold colors and not pale pastels. I think if we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, all of whom are good, honorable men, but what they did didn't work. Every time we run to the mushy middle we lose and I agree with Ronald Reagan who said we must paint in bold colors and not pale pastels, that's why I'm running and that's one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels. [Gun Owners of America, 5/27/15, via Media Matters]
Cruz Praised GOA To The New York Times. In an April 2013 profile of GOA and its leader Larry Pratt, Cruz called GOA “strong defenders of the Second Amendment”:
“They are strong defenders of the Second Amendment,” said Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who received donations from the group during his primary campaign and is its key ally in the Senate. [The New York Times, 4/3/13]
GOA Extremism In The Gun Debate: End Background Checks On Gun Sales And Put Guns In Churches And Schools
GOA: Abolish Background Checks On Gun Sales To Eliminate “The Illusion That Government Can Protect Us.” In an interview with conservative news website Breitbart News, Pratt “made clear that GOA opposed” background checks on gun sales:
On August 31, Breitbart News spoke with Gun Owners of America's (GOA) executive director, Larry Pratt, about background checks for gun purchasers, and he made clear that GOA opposed them when they were first introduced under President Bill Clinton and that GOA believes they should be abolished now.
We asked Pratt what GOA would like done regarding background checks. He said, “We should get rid of background checks, and we should destroy the databases that have been used to run those background checks and the databases holding names of gun owners that have, for certain, been created illegally.”
Pratt said he hopes getting rid of background checks will help destroy “the illusion that government can protect us,” and that the elimination of background checks can be followed by the elimination of gun-free zones, where mass murderers ply their trade. He said that “would be a huge step in reducing what dirtbags can do when they decide to go out on a murder spree.” [Breitbart.com, 8/31/15]
Pratt Blamed Slain Charleston Pastor For The Murder Of His Congregants. After a man murdered nine people in a racially motivated attack at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Pratt blamed Rev. Clementa Pinckney's advocacy for stronger gun laws while serving in the South Carolina Senate, arguing, “Ideas have consequences, and that's what we are talking about -- the idea of gun control is deadly”:
PRATT: [The parishioners] would have at least had a chance if they had a firearm to respond to the threat. As it was, their pastor, who was also a state senator, was a leading anti-Second Amendment advocate who had supported disarmament of people in the state of South Carolina. Ideas have consequences, and that's what we are talking about -- the idea of gun control is deadly. [Sky News, 6/24/15]
Pratt: Put Guns In Kindergartens To Stop School Shooters. During a September 17, 2013, appearance on CNN's Crossfire, Pratt said he “would strongly encourage” allowing guns in kindergartens:
[CNN, Crossfire, 9/17/13]
Pratt's Inflammatory Interpretation Of The Second Amendment
Pratt: “The Second Amendment Was Designed For People Just Like The President And His Administration.” During a June 4 appearance on fringe radio program The Roger Fredinburg Show, Pratt endorsed the notion that the Second Amendment allows for the violent overthrow of government, claiming that it was “designed” for people like President Obama:
ROGER FREDINBURG, HOST: I think the next revolution is going to start and be won by people with rifles and Leupold [brand] scopes. I don't think it's going to be won by guys in the trenches with machetes.
PRATT: We figured that that was kind of what they were up to and the Second Amendment was designed for people just like the president and his administration. And, yes, if The New York Times and the Rolling Stone and whoever else wants to have a hissy-fit, yes our guns are in our hands for people like those in our government right now that think they want to go tyrannical on us, we got something for 'em. That's what it's all about. The Second Amendment is not about hunting, it's not about target shooting, it's about Democrats who want to take our rights. [The Roger Fredinburg Show, 6/4/15, via Right Wing Watch]
Pratt Has Repeatedly Claimed That Politicians Should Fear Being Shot By A GOA Supporter If They Pass Laws Regulating Firearms. [Media Matters, 11/20/14]
Pratt's Extremism: Mass Shooting False Flags, An Obama-Fomented Race War, And Past Links To White Supremacists
Pratt: “We Have To Admit” That The Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Mass Shooting Could Have Been Staged By The Government. During a discussion of the July 2012 mass shooting that left 12 dead and scores wounded, Pratt said on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show, “Now we have to admit that maybe this is something that our government is capable of.” [Genesis Communication Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/27/12]
Pratt Agreed With Fringe Radio Host That Obama Would Foment Race War Between “Christian, Heterosexual White Haves” And “Black, Muslim And/Or Atheist ... Have-Nots.” During a February 2013 appearance on conspiracy theorist Stan Solomon's radio show, Pratt said that the host was not “stretching” to predict that Obama would foment a race war between “Christian, heterosexual white haves” and “black, Muslim and/or atheist -- not that there's much difference -- black have-nots”:
SOLOMON: I've said on this show on a couple of occasions that I believe that in the year 2013, we're going to see an explosion of attacks on haves by have-nots. But specifically on white haves by black have-nots and more specifically on Christian, heterosexual white haves by black, Muslim and/or atheist -- not that there's much difference -- of black have-nots. Now that's being whatever, but it's just what I see. I believe if you are a white person in this country, and this by the way holds for all quality people of any color, but I'm saying specifically if you are a white, heterosexual, Christian, working, married person, if you don't have a gun on you, know how to use it and make sure that everyone in your family who is of age has a weapon and knows how to use it, there is at least a substantial chance that you and/or some member of your family will be hurt and/or killed.
PRATT: I don't think there's anything stretching to say that. I think there are people that really want to bring violence about because they see that as the engine of social change. That's exactly the target for the Alinsky-ites. And I think they must figure that they've got their guy in power and they will then have at least some of the agencies of the police powers of the state at their back and this is the time to go for it. [Right Wing Watch, 2/27/13]
Pratt Was Forced To Leave Presidential Campaign Of Pat Buchanan After His Past Ties To White Supremacists Were Revealed. Pratt, who was a co-chairman of Buchanan's 1996 presidential run, was forced out of the campaign after it was revealed he spoke at white supremacist gatherings:
Last week, Larry Pratt, a co-chairman of the Buchanan campaign, took a leave of absence after the disclosure that he had spoken at rallies held by leaders of the white supremacist and militia movements.
Mr. Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said in an interview that he did not know the other speakers. He also said he did not harbor anti-Semitic or racist views, although his articles on gun ownership often appear in The Jubilee, a tabloid published in California by leaders of the Christian Identity movement, a white supremacist organization. [The New York Times, 2/18/96, via Media Matters]
Boston Globe: Participants At Rallies Included Individuals With Ties To The Ku Klux Klan And The Aryan Nation. In a follow-up to The Times report, Boston Globe discovered that Pratt spoke before high-profile figures in the white supremacist movement:
Prominent participants at that meeting included Pete Peters, head of a group called Christian Identity, former Ku Klux Klan leader and Aryan Nation official Louis Bream and Aryan Nation founder Richard Butler. The Center for Public Integrity report also said Pratt attended a meeting in 1995 with militia leader Bo Gritz, at which racist and anti-Semitic material was available. [The Boston Globe, 2/17/96, via Media Matters]
Pratt “Seemed To Justify” The Oklahoma City Bombing In Speech Before Adherents To The Racist Christian Identity Movement. According to a 2014 Rolling Stone profile of Pratt, three days after Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, Pratt suggested that the bombing may have been a justified response to the Waco standoff:
On the afternoon of the Oklahoma City bombing, Pratt was in Washington, D.C., demonstrating in front of FBI headquarters for its role in the Waco tragedy. Three days later, Pratt spoke before a gathering of 600 Christian Identity adherents and assorted radicals convened by Pete Peters at the Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri. Pratt addressed the “Biblical Mandate to Arm” and seemed to justify McVeigh's act of terror, at the time the bloodiest in American history. According to an account by Michael Reynolds in Playboy, Pratt told the gathered, “The government behaves as a beast. It did in Waco, and we have somebody, whoever it might have been, whatever group it might have been, assuming they can't rely on the Lord to take vengeance.” [Rolling Stone, 7/14/14]
Pratt Directed GOA To Donate Money To White Supremacist Group. Rolling Stone's profile of Pratt directed GOA to donate “tens of thousands of dollars” to a white supremacist group:
But the NRA stopped short of supporting the Christian Identity lawyer Kirk Lyons, who was representing multiple victims of Waco. Pratt and the GOA had no such compunction and donated tens of thousands of dollars to Lyons's white supremacist organization CAUSE (short for the Aryan bastions of Canada, Australia, the United States, South Africa and Europe), “Not $50,000 -- but a lot of money for us,” Pratt told Rolling Stone in 1995. [Rolling Stone, 7/14/14]
Pratt Was A “Contributing Editor” To Anti-Semitic Publication. Rolling Stone reported that Pratt was a “contributing editor” for a publication of United Sovereigns of America:
Those who do not share Pratt's politics appreciate his work, and appear willing to overlook his ties to extremists. Pratt's former role as a contributing editor at a publication of the anti-Semitic United Sovereigns of America hasn't even seemed to complicate his relationship with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. “None of that strained GOA's relationship with JPFO,” says L. Neil Smith, a Libertarian member and writer for JPFO. “I myself would also talk to white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups. I talk to liberal groups, but people don't accuse me of being liberal. I wash all that off at home. It's important to talk to anyone who will listen.” [Rolling Stone, 7/14/14]