(Stephen C. Webster) An email campaign launched this week (pictured, below) featuring the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) depicts a rifle pointing at President Barack Obama’s head, and a message about an imaginary “million rifle ban” the president is allegedly seeking to implement.
“Death threats against this president are up 400 percent as compared to President Bush,” Ladd Everitt, director of communications for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Raw Story on Thursday. “We are living today in a supercharged, partisan political climate where threats of violence and violent rhetoric are everywhere, and you would think that anyone — anyone, no matter what their political views or disagreements with this president — would have the common sense and decency to not create a banner image for a conspiracy theory-fueled email that shows a gun pointing directly at [the president’s] head, while simultaneously preaching to folks about some ridiculous Obama gun ban that exists only in a fantasy world.”
The campaign, launched by the Virginia-based National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), is just the latest to feature Paul’s face and signature. As a candidate, Paul was largely ignored by the more rank-and-file Republicans with the National Rifle Association (NRA), but the NAGR championed his campaign, endorsing Paul before any other politician in the last election cycle. He’s returned the favor too, appearing in previous fundraising emails for the group.
Everitt added that he believes the campaign is purely an appeal for donations based upon a popular conspiracy meme within gun advocate circles. “The way that the gun lobby raises money is to create fantasies about gun confiscation,” he said. “That’s been going on since the NRA took a hard-right turn in the ’70s. They tell people that modest policy efforts by Democratic presidents are a pretext to a forced confiscation of all firearms, and that’s what Sen. Paul has been doing with this group.”
NAGR’s website also features a second image of a gun pointing at Obama’s head, this time next to an image of Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. Sen. Paul was attached to that campaign as well — which sought to raise funds off fear over the United Nations’ small arms treaty — but unlike its smaller promotional image, the group’s main banner for that fundraiser did not feature the president’s face.
President Obama has not advocated for any form of national gun ban, and has actually signed several measures that enhance the rights of gun owners.
Aides to Sen. Paul and NAGR did not respond to multiple requests for comment.