Ben Carson got in hot water this week over comments broadly suggesting that unregulated firearms could have prevented the Holocaust. We’ll have more on that later, but it isn’t some radical or fringe gun lobby position. It has been used or defended by pretty much every major gun lobby group, from the NRA and Gun Owners of America, to Alan Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation. We’ve even discussed their use of it before.
It did get us thinking about fringe gun lobby positions though and the other gun lobby. The other gun lobby isn’t the groups you’ve probably heard of and they don’t show up in the news very often. No, the other gun lobby hangs out on social media, sharing offensive and misleading things with thousands of followers.
While it may not seem all that helpful to know what they are talking about, we’ve found it serves two important and interconnected purposes: it often prefigures what the major gun lobby groups are going to say and it gives us a window into the extremist logic and rhetoric which underlies the whole charade.
Here is a rundown of a two of the larger groups in the other gun lobby, along with some of their most offensive rhetoric.
Gun Rights Across America (GRAA)
GRAA has around 60,000 people at their beck and call on social media. State and regional GRAA affiliates add thousands and thousands more people. They really, really enjoy describing themselves as “patriots,” assumedly in the same way that members of the militia movement in the 90s would, and have dubbed themselves “the true voice of American patriotism.” Sometimes they are mostly harmless and simply post pictures of guns and flags (generally together); other times they are threatening, offensive, and flat out wrong. Take the time they somehow managed to be imply that the regulation of firearms would directly lead to beheadings. Or when they suggested that the regulation of firearms is inherently racist. Oh, or the time that they sent us a GIF of a bullet striking a wall (we we’re the wall in some sort of hard-headedness metaphor).
But that really only scratches the surface of what they do. Our favorite examples of just how offensive and awful they can get come from their now-defunct Washington state affiliate, and they ties back into the more guns would’ve prevented genocide talking point/lie. Just last year, there was a background check initiative on the ballot in Washington. In the end, the measure passed, but the GRAA Washington State group was far from happy about it. In a three meme flurry, they attempted to compare the measure to quotes from Nazi leaders (in the case of the Hitler “quote”, it is actually made up). Unfortuantely for them, they never actually clarified that was what they were trying to do and just ended up posting Nazi quotes all the time. If you would like to see, we’ve archived those images here, here and here, and a more direct statement they made here.
And the Nazi comparisions are really only the start. They’ve also compared gun laws to Stalinists, the Khmer Rouge, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward, and pretty much any other even potentially genocidal act (except, interestingly, in Bosnia; we wonder if this oversight on their part has to do with the fact that the people killed were Muslim).
Somehow these guys have more than 30,000 people who want to see the tweets they send out. Admittedly, it would be one less without us. So, why do we follow them? Well, they are a pretty direct result of the kind of hate the more mainstream gun lobby spews. A good number of their posts are disturbing. Around half are aggressively Islamophobic (we would point out that even the NRA has a notable strain of this underlying many of their “terror at the door” stories and articles). A number combine both of these things (recently they’ve been posting an images about beheadings and Muslim kids; both are particularly gross). They struggle to understand or recognize political history and change. They really don’t like the voting rights act or Roe v Wade. Annoyingly, they post the same things over and over again; here is one about gun free zones that they post every week.
But here is what 2A Now really is: they’re afraid. They’re afraid of people who don’t look like them or believe like them. They’re afraid of change. And because they are so afraid of everything, they cling to their guns.