The Louisiana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, called on House Republicans to condemn Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), who according to a HuffPost report indicated that “he’d be more than willing to shoot any armed demonstrators in Louisiana in a Facebook post Tuesday that was accompanied by a picture of Black men with guns.” Rep. Higgins’ post came in advance of a Black Lives Matter protest, which was also reportedly attended by the “all, or mostly, white” Louisiana Cajun Militia; the photo he posted was from Kentucky.
“The people of Louisiana deserve far better than Rep. Higgins’ violent, racist rhetoric – rhetoric the likes of which prompted a 17-year-old extremist to pick up an AR-15, drive across state lines, and murder two protestors and wound another,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “But sadly, his vitriol is only the latest in a series of far-right extremists saying the quiet part out loud – that they only care about the Second Amendment when it applies to white people.”
In 2017, Rep. Higgins stated that “The modern hysteria over guns is another example of our weakened society. Guns weren’t really regulated at all prior to the 60s in America. Throughout our history, prior to just 50 years ago, a child could purchase a gun from any seller, if daddy sent him with the money.” In 2018, in response to an op-ed from Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Rep. Higgins incited further violence by saying “Judge John Paul Stevens, Your Honor, whatever… put together any badass socialists you can muster. As their attorney, make sure they have their affairs in order. Molon Labe.” Molon Labe (Come and Take [them]) is a slogan commonly used by far-right gun extremists, including groups like the Oath Keepers, to describe violent efforts to resist nonexistent government attempts to seize firearms.
This follows multiple weeks where several Republicans have repeatedly defended, incited or applauded violence against protestors:
- This past weekend, Colorado GOP Chair, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), was seen at a campaign rally wearing a “Kill ‘Em All, Let God Sort It Out” t-shirt.
- On his show, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson recently defended Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who killed two peaceful protestors in Kenosha last week and wounded one more. Ann Coulter also responded to the shooter by saying, “I want him [the shooter] as my president.”
- In May, President Donald Trump tweeted “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” and retweeted a post in which a supporter says, “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
- The night before the shooting in Kenosha, at the Republican National Convention, five different speakers spoke of “uncontrolled violent mobs that they claim have taken over the nation’s streets,” according to the Washington Post, and the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at peaceful protesters was given a national platform. Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote, “it’s impossible not to notice how that rhetoric echoes in what appears to have happened in Kenosha.”