Reasonable Americans don't compare background checks to Nazi Germany practices, and they don't say they are "glad" lawmakers fear being shot.
But last month, that's exactly the kind of hateful rhetoric the gun lobby was using to scare people into supporting their extreme positions.
Newsflash to Brian Judy, Alan Gottlieb, and Larry Pratt: It's not working.
The gun lobby isn't going to win any sensible voters to its side by wishing fear in the hearts of elected leaders, or by making absurd statements linking the heinous genocide of more than 6 million people with universally supported background checks for firearm purchases. That's because voters know background checks have been proven to be effective. In fact, since Colorado passed a law like I-594 after the deadly and horrific Aurora theater shooting, nearly 100 prohibited purchasers have been prevented from obtaining firearms. Background checks help keep criminals, domestic abusers and child abusers from buying guns from a stranger with no questions asked.
Here is what the gun lobby said in their own words:
Brian Judy, an NRA lobbyist in Washington for more than 28 years, was caught on audio comparing Washington's background check initiative for gun purchases to Nazi Germany. The initiative will simply close the loophole that makes it easy for convicted murderers, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to evade a background check and buy guns at gun shows and over the Internet. Nevertheless, this simple concept led Judy to belittle Jewish supporters of 594 and gun violence prevention who escaped Germany during Hitler's reign and fled to America.
"Now, he (Nick Hanauer) has put half-a-million dollars toward this policy, the same policy that led his family getting run out of Germany by the Nazis," Judy said at the July 23 meeting. "It's like (laughter) . . . How stupid can they -- you know? Now, he's funding, he's put half-a-million dollars toward this policy, the same policy that led to his family getting run out of Germany by the Nazis." You know, it's staggering to me, it's just, you can't make this stuff up. That these people, its like any Jewish people I meet who are anti-gun, I think, are you serious? Do you not remember what happened? And why did that happen? Because they registered guns and then they took them. And now you're supporting gun con - you come to this country and you support gun control? Why did you have to flee to this country in the first place? Hello! Is anybody home here?"
Judy and the NRA have been silent since his comments, ignoring media and requests from the Jewish Federation of Seattle to step down from his post. Everyone from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia to the Chicago Tribune to the Times of Israel has covered the shocking and disturbing comments, yet Judy and the NRA refuse to explain why he would say such an offensive thing.
His friends in the gun lobby, however, haven't been so silent. Alan Gottlieb of the Initiative-591 campaign, which hopes to weaken background check laws, agreed with Judy and compared registering a gun purchase to Jews getting tattoos from Nazis to Essex Porter at KIRO 7 TV:
"I don't see anything wrong with those remarks.....Gun owners don't like the idea that Jewish people had to have, you know, numbers tattooed and registered on their arms. They don't like the fact they have gun owners registered either, they feel put in the same position."
Jews who survived the Holocaust and gun owners feel put in the same position? Really?
Separately, Rolling Stone reported that a Congresswoman from New York said she was afraid a member of the group Gun Owners of America would want to shoot her for supporting stronger gun safety laws. According to Rolling Stone, Larry Pratt, the leader of Gun Owners of America, responded with this menacing and fear-enduing statement:
Pratt said "he's glad it's in the back of their minds" that elected leaders fear gun violence. "Hopefully they'll behave," he said.
This kind of rhetoric is hateful, irresponsible, and downright dangerous. Where are the organizations behind these men and their responses? Why are they staying silent instead of owning up to the outrageousness of their comments and apologizing?
They gun lobby is following their usual playbook for handling bad news - hunker down and stay silent. But by staying silent, they signal that they agree with the extreme, out-of-touch rhetoric of Judy, Gottlieb and Pratt. This November, voters have a chance to respond by speaking out and saying that yes, I support Initiative 594 to reduce crime and save lives.