Washington, D.C., May 11, 2018 - During a wide-ranging and baffling interview, incoming NRA president Oliver North compared criticism of the gun lobby to how African Americans were treated during the Jim Crow era and complained of “civil terrorism.” The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which previously referred to North as a “walking lightning rod,” sharply responded to North’s remarks.
Brady Campaign co-president Kris Brown stated:
“We all know about Oliver North’s controversial past, but who would have expected him to make a full frontal attack on activists engaged in gun violence prevention even before assuming the NRA Presidency? To complain that the NRA is somehow the victim of a smear campaign not seen since the “Jim Crow” era is not only tone deaf - it is downright offensive. The only thing the NRA is victim to is its own relentless agenda to sell guns to anyone, anywhere, anytime, no matter the societal cost. Oliver North should not be surprised when victims of gun violence speak out and exercise their basic rights to free speech and assembly. He owes a sincere and heartfelt apology to all victims of gun violence, whose activism stems from suffering a tragedy no American should have to suffer.”
Brady Campaign co-president Avery Gardiner added:
“Oliver North said that his job as NRA president is to ‘tell the truth.’ Ironic, from a man who admitted he lied to Congress. He said he ‘did his duty for Ronald Reagan.’ But North was fired from his post during the Reagan administration. If the NRA wants to start telling the truth about the public health epidemic that is gun violence in America, we’re all ears. As the organization named for Jim Brady, who was shot and paralyzed while serving Ronald Reagan, we would welcome an honest conversation with the NRA about ways to reduce gun violence that are entirely consistent with the Second Amendment. But the NRA we know fights every common sense gun law it sees, foments culture wars, advocates against gun reforms that its own members overwhelmingly support, and pledges allegiance to the profit motives of the gun makers who pour millions into the NRA’s coffers.”
As part of the interview, North further indicated he intends to recruit current and former members of the military to reach his goal of adding another million members to the NRA in the coming years. Marine Corps veteran Kyleanne Hunter, founder of Vets for Gun Reform and VP of Programs for the Brady Campaign, responded:
“Marines are loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law - two things that Oliver North has shown flagrant disregard for throughout his career. Further, North has completely disregarded the values of honor, courage and commitment, which are the cornerstone of the Marine Corps Officer ethos. Gun-owning veterans throughout America are rejecting the National Rifle Association, just as I did when it became clear that the organization had no regard for gun safety or efforts to reduce gun violence. If North truly believes he can count on his status as a disgraced Marine to recruit new members, he’ll be in for a rude surprise when he finds that Marines take qualities like honor and loyalty seriously.”
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.