New in-depth reporting this past week, from HuffPost and Salon, has highlighted how “decades of NRA fearmongering” “laid the groundwork” for the armed insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. The reports call attention to how the NRA has spent decades appealing to right wing extremists and peddling false conspiracy theories about mass civilian disarmament and looming authoritarianism — rhetoric echoed by insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol last month.
The articles also highlighted Everytown’s new report, “The Role of Guns & Armed Extremism in the Attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
- Referencing Everytown’s research, HuffPost and Salon reported that in the nine firearm arrests made relating to events in or around the Capitol, law enforcement seized enough ammunition to shoot every member of Congress five times.
- HuffPost noted that, “For decades, Everytown’s report argues, the NRA has shamelessly deployed over-the-top rhetoric and conspiracy theories about ‘mass civilian disarmament and looming authoritarianism’ to get people to turn against even modest gun control measures, in turn helping radicalize a generation of American armed extremists.”
- As HuffPost detailed, “Everytown traces the NRA’s use of insurrectionist rhetoric back to at least to the early 1990s, when it leveraged the deadly law enforcement raids at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, to paint the government as authoritarian.” Salon added that, “In the 1990s, LaPierre repeatedly railed against the ‘abuses’ of the federal government following the standoffs at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, calling for people to ‘take whatever measures necessary, including force, to abolish oppressive government.’”
- HuffPost reported that, “In 1995 — six days after the NRA sent a fundraising letter to the group’s members referring to federal agents as ‘jack-booted government thugs’ who wanted to take Americans’ guns — Timothy McVeigh bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. He targeted the building because it housed an office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.”
- Salon reported that “Numerous NRA board members have also been linked to militia groups,” and that individuals arrested after the Capitol insurrection had ties to gun activism, including those who described themselves as gun rights advocates or lifetime NRA members.