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How The Worst Moments of the NRA’s 2013 Annual Meeting Showed the Organization’s Ugly History Repeating Itself


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Please welcome Christopher W. Brown, a researcher for the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence. This is his first guest post at TPC:

History Repeating Itself At The NRA’s Annual Meeting.

How The Worst Moments Of The NRA’s 2013 Annual Meeting Showed The Organization’s Ugly History Repeating Itself

The world was following the NRA’s annual meeting with greater levels of attention than ever before and the NRA lived up to their reputation with a series of shocking, embarrassing and offensive moments. While these events show the extremism of the modern NRA, many of them also show the NRA is in fact embracing and repeating the ugliest moments in the organization’s sordid history. Here’s some of the worst moments of the 2013 annual meeting and their historical antecedents:

1.  New NRA President James Porter Demands A New Culture War. 

James Porter didn’t waste any time before stoking controversy telling his fellow gun activists it was their responsibility to wage a new “culture war.”   The extremism on display at the convention is nothing new for Porter who has previously called President Obama a “fake President” and referred the American Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression.”

Porter’s words echoes long time NRA President Charlton Heston’s racist and homophobic culture war speeches. In 1997 Charlton Heston, who served as the NRA’s President from 1998-2003, listed a variety of purported grievances against whites in a speech delivered to the Free Congress Foundation. Heston’s remarks were denounced by former President of the NAACP Julian Bond as “bigoted and homophobic.” In 1999 Heston returned to the subject in a speech titled “Winning the Culture War” where he lamented that the term “white pride” was viewed as racist.

The relevance of Porter’s decision to start his term as NRA president mirroring the language Heston used to express barely veiled bigotry shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

2.  Glenn Beck Suggests That A Shooting Was A “Set Up” Meant To Discredit The NRA.

One day before the convention opened it’s doors a highly disturbed man opened fire in Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport drawing counter fire from security personnel before turning the gun on himself. The shooter brought an AR-15 assault rifle to the airport, but never used it.  Sadly and unsurprisingly Glenn Beck suggested the incident could have been a “set up” by the “uber-left” meant to discredit the NRA. 

In fact it would be surprising if pro-gun extremists weren’t pushing a conspiracy theory in the wake a well-publicized act of gun violence. Most recently, Alex Jones called the Boston Marathon bombings a “false flag” and we saw the sickening outbreak of Sandy Hook truther videos suggesting the mass shooting was fake and the victims families were “crisis actors.” The NRA didn’t touch those two smears, but the group is no stranger to these types of conspiracy theories. The NRA spent 2011 suggesting the Obama administration intentionally orchestrated the failed ATF investigation Fast and Furious to enable a push for greater gun restrictions. Years earlier Wayne LaPierre  similarly suggested Bill Clinton willfully allowed gun violence for the same reason.

3. Glenn Beck Portrays New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg As Nazi

Glenn Beck might have been too crazy for Fox News, but that didn’t stop the NRA from inviting him to again share his conspiratorial ramblings with the conference attendees. The NRA got their money’s worth as Beck smeared New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he displayed an image likening Bloomberg to a Nazi.

Nazi smears are nothing new for the NRA. During the nineties Wayne LaPierre likened federal law enforcement agents to Nazis in the NRA's publications and fundraising materials. Former President George H.W. Bush famously resigned his lifetime NRA membership over LaPierre describing federal agents as “jack-booted thugs”, but in fact an earlier comment by LaPierre made the Nazi link explicitly.

4. Obama Look-Alike Zombie Removed For Convention.

Disturbing rhetoric is old hat for the NRA, but this year’s annual meeting also featured the visibly disturbing and indeed just plain disgusting. Convention vendor Zombie Industries was asked to take down their zombie themed shooting target after complaints that it resembled President Obama. While the life sized three-dimensional target was taken down, it was still available for sale at the booth.

Remember the concealed-carry hoodie they pushed after the Trayvon Martin shooting?  The NRA aggressively markets branded accessories, such as the toaster that will burn their logo onto your bread, to their supporters. When unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by concealed carry permit holder George Zimmerman his hoodie gained wide symbolic importance after Geraldo Rivera suggested the hoodie had contributed to Martin’s death. As the case was receiving wide media attention the NRA’s online store generated controversy by selling a hoodie designed with a special pocket to hold a handgun.

5. NRA Embraces Fringe Gun Activist Jeff Knox’s Extremist Resolution.

During the opening session of the convention the attendees approved a resolution calling for opposition to any and all new gun restrictions put forward by Jeff Knox head of the hardline Firearms Coalition. The resolution’s blind and thoughtless embrace of absolutism perfectly encapsulates the modern NRA’s indifference to common sense gun policy.

Pushing the NRA to the fringe is a family business for Knox. Knox’s father Neal is credited with purging moderate voices from the NRA in the 70s and 80s.  This year the NRA proved so compliant to their most extremist supporters’ agenda that even without a formal leadership role Jeff Knox was able to continue the family tradition of pushing the NRA even further as far from the mainstream.

If you’re interested in learning more about the NRA’s leadership please visit, which is maintained by the Education Fund To Stop Gun Violence.


Geraldo Rivera "truly contemplating" a run for U.S. Senate and then said he Zzzzzzzzz...

The entire Iraqi army is glued to Fox News and Geraldo Rivera's reports of his unit's locations and movements.

The entire Iraqi army is glued to Fox News and Geraldo Rivera's reports of his unit's locations and movements.

Watch out, voters, Geraldo Rivera is pulling a Donald Trump. He must be feeling that deep yearning for attention, or maybe he's just really bored. But either way, he is teasing a run for a U.S. Senate seat.

You can stop laughing now.

Via The Hill:

“I mention this only briefly, fasten your seatbelt,” Rivera said on his radio show. “I mentioned this only briefly to my wife ... but I am and I’ve been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker.”

laughing dog

And just as Trump did, Rivera has TV contract issues:

“I’m not going to drill this out, because obviously I’ve got commitments to Fox and to here at the radio program and I’m really having a great time... But I figure at my age, if I’m going to do it I’ve got to do it. And there doesn’t seem to be any Republicans ready to work against or run against Corey Booker, the popular Newark mayor.”

Of course, should he actually put his money where his big mouth is, none of his political opponents will miss an opportunity to look back fondly on Rivera's credibility when during his Iraq War coverage, there was a Very Special Moment when he revealed the exact troop location and movement of the unit he was visiting:

 oopsie cat

And of course, who can forget Geraldo blaming hoodies for the Trayvon Martin killing?

hoodie message to Geraldo

Oh please run. The other candidates will have a field day.


Republican National Convention Lifts Ban on 'Hoods' After Trayvon Martin’s Death


This is just goofy, as is the extensive list of stuff that still is banned. And who is is that would be confused or "conflicted" and by what?

The city of Tampa's initial ordinance for heightened security at the upcoming Republican National Convention looked slightly different than its final version today.

The first draft made it illegal for any person visiting the convention to wear "any mask, hood or device whereby any portion of the face is hidden, concealed or covered." But in the final draft, the word "hood" is no longer there.

Mauricio Rodriguez, assistant city attorney for Tampa, tells Whispers that the word was taken out because of the February death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla.

"With the recent incident out of Sanford, we reviewed the ordinance," says Rodriguez. "And we decided to remove 'hood' because we didn't want there to be confusion or conflict."

Hoodies, he says. will now be permitted on the convention grounds.


VIDEO: Rep. Bobby Rush escorted from House floor for wearing hoodie in honor of Trayvon Martin


Today, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill) got kicked out of the House of Representatives because he wore a hoodie, and see, the rules say that hats aren't allowed. Is any head covering a hat? Is a hoodie? Not so much.

We know that, according to Geraldo Rivera, wearing a hoodie is an invitation to get shot. Apparently now it's an invitation to get escorted from the House floor.

CBS News:

"Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum," Rush added, swapping his spectacles for a pair of sunglasses.

At this point, Rep. Gregg Harper, a Republican congressman from Mississippi who was serving as the presiding speaker of the chamber, called Rush out of order. Rush continued reading a passage from the Bible before being escorted out of the chamber.

Rush made his point well and got the attention he wanted, but what might be interesting is to see how many Congress members would get kicked out if they all came in wearing not hats hoodies.