The media has devoted significant coverage to the upcoming Gun Appreciation Day, which is organized by a Republican consulting firm that is pocketing a portion of the contributions. The January 19 event, which asks people to support gun venues and show opposition to new gun laws, is sponsored by a white nationalist group, and groups that have pushed far-right claims about secession, Obama's birth certificate, members of the LGBT community, race relations, and government tyranny.
FoxNews.com Claim: “Grassroots Pro-Gun Groups Prepare To Battle Proposed Restrictions.” A FoxNews.com headline referred to “grassroots pro-gun groups” in an article discussing the upcoming GunAppreciation Day. [FoxNews.com, 1/11/13]
Gun Appreciation Day Asks Supporters To Protest At Gun Venues In Opposition To New Gun Laws. A statement on GunAppreciationDay.com reads: “On 01.19.13 go to your local gun store, gun range or gun show with your Constitution, American flags and your 'Hands off my Guns' sign to send a loud and clear message to Congress and President Obama.” [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/17/13]
Gun Appreciation Day “Organized By Political Media.” A logo on the Gun Appreciation Day website notes that the event is “organized by Political Media.” [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/17/13]
“Political Media, Inc. Is A Republican New Media Consulting Firm.” The firm lists an office on Capitol Hill and a New York studio. [PoliticalMedia.com, accessed 1/17/13; PoliticalMedia.com, accessed 1/17/13]
“Political Media, Inc. Is An Unashamed, Unabashed FOR PROFIT Corporation” That Is Keeping A Portion Of Gun Appreciation Day Contributions As An “Agency Fee.” Political Media, Inc. asks for contributions on its Gun Appreciation Day website. The firm states that contributions are not tax deductible because it is a for-profit corporation. The firm claims that “every dollar you contribute to the Gun Appreciation Day project” will be spent on advertising and then adds “Political Media will only keep a standard 15% agency fee to cover our costs.” From its contribution page:
Political Media, Inc. is a political advertising agency dedicated to promoting right of center causes, organizations, media and candidates. We usually work behind the scenes for many people and organizations you know and trust. For this historic event, we decided to organize Gun Appreciation Day under the Political Media banner - rather than one individual group - so that we could quickly create a broad coalition of organizations that may be competitors on most days and may not see eye to eye on some issues, yet will rally together when it comes to the Second Amendment.
Political Media, Inc. is an unashamed, unabashed FOR PROFIT corporation. We LOVE capitalism and firmly believe that the Second Amendment as written by our Founding Fathers is necessary for a capitalist America. We are going to spend every dollar you contribute to the Gun Appreciation Day project on advertising. Political Media will only keep a standard 15% agency fee to cover our costs. With your help we will drive the conversation about our Second Amendment rights. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/17/13]
Ward Worked On President Bush's 2004 Campaign. [SocialSecurityInstitute.com, accessed 1/17/13]
Ward: “It Looks Like We Might Be On The Brink Of” Government Tyranny. From a January 3 radio interview with Ward:
WARD: How do we know when a government becomes a tyranny? When they come after your guns. That's when you know a government is intending to become a tyranny. And it looks like we might be on the brink of that now. I don't want to be an alarmist, but the truth is they're coming after our guns. [WGSO, Ringside Politics, 1/3/13]
Ward: “It May Come Down To Something Dramatic Like” “Civil War” If “They Do Come And Confiscate Our Weapons.”
WARD: Look, you know, I'm not the first to say this. I mean Drudge had it on his page the other day when the Feinstein bill came out. You know, he dropped the term civil war, and you know what? It may come down to something dramatic like that if they do come and confiscate our weapons because then we're not living under freedom anymore. [WGSO, Ringside Politics, 1/3/13]
Ward: Teachers And Principals Should Be Armed; Sandy Hook Principal Could Have Stopped Gunman If She Had A Gun.
WARD: You allow teachers who want to carry, who we trust with our children anyway. We trust teachers, we trust our principals, we send our kids there, without our supervision, every day for nine months in their care. You know, why not trust people who want and feel comfortable holding weapons to be able to carry and to have a gun in their classroom. You know, if the principal, who bravely confronted this gunman, you know, but she did so unarmed.
JEFF CROUERE (HOST): Right.
WARD: If she would have had a gun, maybe the only death there would have been the shooter's. Or perhaps we could have saved dozens of children and adults. [WGSO, Ringside Politics, 1/3/13]
Ward: “Perhaps Slavery Might Not Have Been A Chapter In Our History” If Slaves Had Guns. During an interview on CNN, Ward claimed that “Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country's founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.” [Talking Points Memo, 1/11/13]
“Stand with Stockman” Over “Possible Impeachment.” In response to Rep. Steve Stockman's (R-TX) threat to impeach President Obama over new gun laws, the Gun Appreciation Day's Facebook page posted an image asking supporters to “Stand with Stockman.” From its Facebook page:
The American Third Position (A3P) Is Sponsoring Gun Appreciation Day. [Media Matters, 1/18/13]
A3P States It “Exists To Represent The Unique Political Interests Of White Americans.” According to its mission statement, “The American Third Position Party believes that government policy in the United States discriminates against white Americans, the majority population, and that white Americans need their own political party to fight this discrimination.” The group also states that it “exists to represent the unique political interests of white Americans. It exists to maintain the identity, culture, and way of life of the American people, whose forefathers, from a vast wilderness, carved out an awe-inspiring extension of Western civilization, in order that their progeny--us--might live in relative peace and prosperity.” [Media Matters, 1/18/13]
A3P's West Virginia Chairman: “We Are White Nationalists.” In an September 2011 interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Harry Bertram, A3P West Virginia chairman and a failed gubernatorial candidate, explained that “we are white nationalists” who are speaking out against white “genocide.” [Media Matters, 1/18/13]
Civil Rights Groups: A3P Is “White Nationalist,” “White Supremacist.” The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes A3P as a white nationalist hate group, and states that it is a “political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule. The group is now led by a coterie of prominent white nationalists.” The Anti-Defamation League calls A3P a “white supremacist political party.” [Media Matters, 1/18/13]
UPDATE: Gun Appreciation Day Subsequently Removed White Nationalist Sponsorship. Gun Appreciation Day removed A3P from its list of sponsors after Media Matters published its January 18 story about the two organizations. [Media Matters, 1/18/13]
Eagle Forum Of Sacramento Is Sponsoring Gun Appreciation Day. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/14/13]
UPDATE: Gun Appreciation Day Removes Eagle Forum Of Sacramento Sponsorship. Gun Appreciation Day has since removed its listing of Eagle Forum of Sacramento as a sponsor. A screenshot of the original listing is available via Google cache. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/18/13; Google.com, 1/15/13]
Forum Plans To Teach Workshops About Dangers Of “Enforced Diversity,” “The Homosexual Movement,” Feminism, And “White Privilege Prejudice.” A December 2012 Eagle Forum of Sacramento post states that it “will join forces with Diversity Reform USA to sponsor the below workshops, and or speaking engagements for your school, church, business, or in home get-togethers.” [Eagle Forum of Sacramento, 12/23/12]
Forum: “America Has Changed And Not For The Better” If You “Are Judeo-Christian, White, Or An Authentic Patriot.” From the group's description of its workshops:
1.Diversity Addiction: The Cause And The Cure
America has changed and not for the better. It's been taken over by a social narcotic that thrives on giving equal value to all ideas, values, morals, ethics, lifestyles, religions, and personally held beliefs. That is unless you are Judeo-Christian, white, or an authentic patriot (The Big Three), for your beliefs are not accepted. When, where, and why did the addiction begin? How does the “all equal” principle influence changes in America, and encourage Agenda 21? Will enforced diversity continue to rule this nation, or can we break the cycle of endorphin highs and save some semblance of America? This class is lively and a must for all ages.
5.Jesus Was Not Diverse: No Debating Right And Wrong
Those who fear the truth of the Bible, interpret it wrongly. Instead they bend Jesus' words to support their diversity addiction and the secular movement in America. Learn how to “not debate” the truth of His word. This class will help develop boldness in every person who attends, so they can stand for unalienable rights that come from God alone. [Eagle Forum of Sacramento, 12/23/12]
Forum: “For Too Long The White Race Has Been Made To Feel Shame, Blame, And Guilt For Being Of European Descent.” From the group's description of its workshops:
13.White Privilege Education: Does Shame, Blame, And Guilt Prevail?
For too long the white race has been made to feel shame, blame, and guilt for being of European descent. Fear has overcome common sense thinking, allowing the white race to accept abusive behavior toward them. The truth of prejudice in White Privilege education classes unfolds in this session. How citizens can combat White Privilege prejudice is beneficial for all ages and all races. [Eagle Forum of Sacramento, 12/23/12]
Forum: American Family On “Brink Of Destruction” Because Of Feminism. From the group's description of its workshops:
10.The Feminist Movement And Its Effect Upon The American Family
The last century saw a radical change in the American family unit. It is now on the brink of destruction. What influences supported the feminist movement and added to its success? Can women ever return to their rightful place in the family unit? Do they want to? This class takes a good look at what woman have truly done to the balance of society. [Eagle Forum of Sacramento, 12/23/12]
Forum: “Stages Of The Homosexual Movement: Manipulation Of The American Public.” From the group's description of its workshops:
9.Stages Of The Homosexual Movement: Manipulation Of The American Public
Was the homosexual movement about tolerance, or about normality? The success of the homosexuals to reach “marriage” rights was due to hard work, dedication, methodology, and judges that legislate from the bench in order to manipulated the general public. This session will examine the techniques and strategies used to flip-flop right and wrong, and the effect this manipulation has on our culture, not only now, but also for generations to come. [Eagle Forum of Sacramento, 12/23/12]
Forum: “15 Tactics To Fight Homosexuality In The Classroom.” The Eagle Forum Of Sacramento posted a list of ways “to object, question and expose the truth” about “homosexuality in the classroom.” Among others, the group questions whether "'gay' students" are bullied more than others; claims that there's “no conclusive evidence that it's [being LBGT] genetic”; and asks, “Why are homosexuals so troubled in other ways?” [Eagle Forum of Sacramento, 2/6/06]
Oath Keepers Is Sponsoring Gun Appreciation Day. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/14/13]
ADL: Oath Keepers “Part Of An Anti-Government Extremist Movement That Has Grown Since President Obama Took Office.” The Anti-Defamation League wrote in an October 2009 report that the Oath Keepers are “part of an anti-government extremist movement that has grown since President Obama took office.” ADL wrote that “the Oath Keepers encourage members of the military and law enforcement to pledge not to follow certain hypothetical 'orders' from the federal government. These 'orders,' including one 'to put American citizens in detention camps,' and another 'to disarm the American people,' echo longstanding conspiracy theories embraced by anti-government extremists, who claim that the U.S. government is creating a police state.” [ADL.org, 10/26/09]
NY Times: Oath Keepers Are “A New Player In A Resurgent Militia Movement.” The New York Times reported that the Oath Keepers are “a new player in a resurgent militia movement.” The Times noted that the group “has been recruiting at Tea Party events around the country and forging informal ties with militia groups.” [New York Times, 2/15/10]
Tea Party Nation Is Sponsoring Gun Appreciation Day. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/17/13]
Tea Party Nation Is A Hub For Conspiracy Theories About President Obama's Birth Certificate. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips wrote an August 2012 “birther manifesto” promoting conspiracy-minded questions about President Obama's place of birth and claiming, “We should all be birthers.” TeaPartyNation.com contains numerous pages with conspiracy theories and extreme rhetoric about President Obama's birth certificate. [TeaPartyNation.com, 8/15/12; TeaPartyNation.com, 7/19/12; TeaPartyNation.com, 4/27/11; TeaPartyNation.com, 11/1/10]
Tea Party Nation's Phillips Says He Would Be “Happy” To Consider “Breaking Up The Nation.” From a January 13 post by Phillips in which he discussed his concerns about health care reform, taxes, and guns, among other issues:
Today, the Party of Treason controls the White House and the Senate. They continue to push America towards statism. The Republicans control the House but are more interested in their power and their Washington parties than they are in fighting for freedom and liberty.
If the Democrats continue to push statism and the Republicans continue to surrender on this issue, I'm happy with the idea of breaking up the nation. I'd rather have half of a free America than a united America where we tell our children and our grandchildren what it was like to grow up in a nation that once was free. [TeaPartyNation.com, 1/13/13]
Tea Party Nation And Phillips Have A History Of Inflammatory Statements About President Obama, Race, Muslims, And The LGBT Community. For more on Tea Party Nation and Judson Phillips, go here.
Social Security Institute (SSI) Is Sponsoring Gun Appreciation Day. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/14/13]
MSNBC.com: SSI Promotes Warnings About World Government, “Armed Government Oppression.” From MSNBC.com's Zachary Roth, who noted a SSI post promoting an article from The Independent about “world government”:
One, the Social Security Institute, describes itself as a “nonpartisan seniors advocacy organization.” But its website offers warnings about “world government”--a bête noire of the extreme right, which fears that a government gun grab could lead to a U.N. takeover, often referred to in extremist circles as a “New World Order.” And SSI's president, Lawrence Hunter, wrote recently that "[a] heavily armed citizenry is not about armed revolt; it is about defending oneself against armed government oppression."
Ward Denies “World Government” Claim Is Fringe Issue. From an ABC News article quoting Ward responding to the criticism:
SSI believes “there are bills and there are laws, and the U.N. is moving very aggressively toward consolidating power, and I don't see that as a fringe issue,” Ward said, referring to a U.N. arms treaty opposed by gun advocates.
“I don't think anyone's talking about Bildeberg meetings at SSI ... I think there are things to be concerned about. .. I don't think there's a conspiracy, I think it's pretty overt,” he said. [ABCNews.com, 1/13/13]
Media Matters has previously noted baseless right-wing fear-mongering about the UN allegedly posing a threat to private gun ownership in the United States. [Media Matters,11/20/12]
RightMarch.com Is Sponsoring Gun Appreciation Day. [GunAppreciationDay.com, accessed 1/17/13]
RightMarch.com Pushes Obama “Martial Law” Claims. From MSNBC.com's Zachary Roth:
Another listed sponsor of Gun Appreciation Day, RightMarch.com, urges supporters to “help STOP Barack Obama from grabbing unconstitutional powers to declare martial law through all of his new Presidential Executive Orders.” The notion that the federal government will confiscate guns as a precursor to a declaration of martial law is a feature of numerous far-right conspiracy theories. [MSNBC.com,1/9/13]