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As One-Year Mark of Hate-Fueled El Paso Mass Shooting Approaches, Texas GOP Chooses Gun Extremist With a History of Racist Remarks as Their Leader

July 22, 2020

Texas Republicans elected NRA board member Lt. Col. Allen West as Chairman at their convention Monday. West, a gun extremist who has a history of making racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic remarks, has been an outspoken conspiracy theorist and critic of the Black Lives Matter movement. He has suggested that gun laws were responsible for the Holocaust, despite Jewish advocates’ repeated calls for the gun lobby to stop making such false claims. He has also downplayed the threat of COVID-19 (which he referred to using racist nomenclature) while at the same time suggesting, at various times, that response to the virus was part of a leftist conspiracy to impose tyranny. 

The election occurred as Texas approaches the one-year mark of the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, which was targeted at Latinos and was motivated by the same xenophobic conspiracy theories about immigrants from Mexico and South and Central America that had been echoed by President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans. 

President Trump has continually promoted dangerous racist and anti-Latino sentiments throughout his time as a candidate and while in office. In his white supremacist manifesto, the El Paso shooter echoed language used by the president which described immigration and the presence of Latinos in the United States as an “invasion.”

West On Gun Safety:

  • In response to proposals for Red Flag laws in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton: “I will not quietly await the day when it is not just getting ‘flagged’ and censored by big tech leftist social media platforms. It will be the ensuing visit from the left’s ‘brown shirts’ and Stasi police to confiscate my ability to defend myself from their tyranny because of my ideological beliefs.” Read more here.
  • “In 1930, there was a gentleman in Germany who took away private gun ownership and you know what happened to that population… You must be well informed and well armed, because this government we have right now is a tyrannical government.” Full remarks available here.

West On Black Lives Matter:

  • “[Black Lives Matter] is also a domestic terrorist organization…If you want to compare what is going on in the United States of America to any other period in history that we can pretty much so recall right now, this is the mid-1930s in Germany. These groups are no different from the SA, the Brown Shirts that used to roam the streets. What we see happening in America is no different from Kristallnacht that was going on there.” Full remarks available here.
  • “[Black Lives Matter] does not deal with the rule of law, it is all about the rule of the mob, and therefore it cannot be allowed to exist.” Full remarks available here.

West On COVID-19:

  • “The point I wish to stress is that people are not purchasing weapons and stocking ammunition because of the Wuhan Chinese coronavirus. Go ahead, call me a racist. They are doing so because of concerns about the tyranny of government and the paranoia, hysteria, that the media has fomented over this episode. The American people are not dumb — though some may be stuck on stupid — but they are realizing that the common flu has posed more of a threat than the coronavirus.” Read more here.
  • “I want America to recognize the abjectly deranged and devious intent of the progressive socialist left in America, the Democrat Party, to leverage a virus for their own electoral gain and advantage…The left wants a COVID-19 boogeyman, just like the child who fears the monster in the closet at night and cannot get to sleep. COVID-19 has a 99.6 percent recovery rate, and just like there is no boogeyman in the closet, instead of respecting our rights, the left wants to fear-monger in order to restructure our rights for their electoral gain.” Read more here.

Recently, coronavirus cases have spiked in Texas, and new polling revealed that gun safety messages are now amongst the most effective against President Trump and other gun lobby allies.

Texas voters support stronger gun laws by a 5:1 margin. In the weeks and months following the mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa, Texans demanded, and have continued to demand, common-sense gun safety laws – but the GOP-led legislature refused to act. The “Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety” – convened in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa and notably lacking any reference to firearms in its name – has focused on video games rather than life-saving gun violence prevention laws.

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund has announced that it will invest at least $8 million in Gun Sense Majority: Texas, an initiative to elect gun sense champions up and down the ballot in the Lone Star State.

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