For Release: Friday, April 21, 1995
The Oklahoma bombing is an inevitable result of an inflammatory two-year campaign waged by America’s gun lobby attacking the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Clinton Administration in the wake of the 1993 federal assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX. The bombing occurred at a federal building housing an office of ATF on the second anniversary of the federal assault on the compound.
VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “A relentless and vicious attack by pro-gun groups led by the National Rifle Association (NRA) against the federal government aimed specifically at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Clinton Administration has aided and abetted extremists who adhere to the belief that they have the right to take violent actions against the government for any perceived infringement of their gun rights.”
In making its charges, the VPC cited the following examples:
- In March 1995 the NRA ran a full-page newspaper ad featuring mock, helmeted ATF agents armed with assault rifles, their faces obscured, bursting through a doorway. The ad urged, “Tell the Clinton White House to Stay Out of Your House.” The ad attacked ATF’s “reign of storm-trooper tactics” and warned, “From news media and our 3.5 million members have come reports of ATF abuse that range from intimidation and harassment to confiscation or destruction of property, entrapment, fabrication of criminal charges, even deadly assault….The ATF’s tyrannical record of misconduct and abuse of power under the Clinton Administration reveals a contempt for civil rights, especially firearm ownership, that should alarm every American.”
- A computer bulletin board of which National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Tanya Metaksa is systems operator has posted on it recipes for “Baby Food Bombs” (bombs made from baby food jars and shotgun shells) that “are so [expletive deleted] powerful that they can DESTROY a car” and ads for suits to evade detection by infrared and thermal technology. The ad, urging purchase of the suits before they are banned, tells readers to “Obey GOD Rather Than Men.”
- Current NRA board members who have taken high-profile roles in the anti-government campaign include:Former Cincinnati police officer and NRA board member Harry Thomas, who is quoted on the NRA Members Conference bulletin board as stating: “Waco. ‘Waco’ is a word which, among American patriots, engenders the same anguished feelings of outrage as the word `Alamo’….The time has come for us to openly discuss something that up to this time we have mainly whispered about. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to threaten the government….I sincerely hope that a political solution to this problem is still possible, and I will continue to work on the NRA Board of Directors to try to find that solution….And Miss Reno, I have this to say to you: If you send your jackbooted, baby burning bushwhackers to confiscate my guns, pack them a lunch, it will be a damned long day. The Branch Davidians were amateurs. I’m a professional.” In the transcript Thomas asserts that BATF stands for “Burn All Toddlers First.” [As cited on the NRA GUN-TALK computer bulletin board members conference]NRA board member Robert K. Brown, publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine, featured the Michigan militia on the cover of the April 1995 issue of the magazine. The laudatory article noted that “Michigan militia membership has skyrocketed in light of a parade of gun control legislation passed by the Clinton Administration.”Gun journalist and NRA board member Jeff Cooper, writing in “Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries,” asks “How long are the American people going to put up with this sort of thing? It is popular, at this time, to compare the behavior of our uncontrolled federal agents to that of the Nazis in the Third Reich. It may that this is a valid comparison, but the Nazis are long ago and far away, whereas the ninja in the U.S. are right now in full-cry and apparently without fear of any sort of control. They move mainly at night. They conceal their faces. They use overwhelming firepower and they make almost no effort to identify their targets. They are scarier than the Nazis who at least never concealed their faces.”
“No, Janet, the Waco case is not closed. We have just passed judgement [sic] upon the defenders, but it now remains to bring their attackers to justice.”
“I have been criticized by referring to our federal masked men as ‘ninja,’ when in the view of the critic the traditional role of the ninja in Japan was to fight against oppression and tyranny. Let us note that almost no one ever resorts to force and violence unless he is convinced that his cause is right, but without going into that let us reflect upon the fact that a man who covers his face shows reason to be ashamed of what he is doing. A man who takes it upon himself to shed blood while concealing his identity is a revolting perversion of the warrior ethic. It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view.”
- The effects of the NRA campaign can be measured by the conversations recorded in the NRA members conference of the organization’s official bulletin board, GUN-TALK, as detailed by the following examples:
- If the Republicans will not disband the ATF or demand the head of Reno, it might be time for armed conflict over the desecration of the bill of rights. We’ll have to see how it pans out.
- Coal scuttle helmets atop punji sticks (heads optional), an appropriate kevlar vest for a make-shift lean-to (Mozambique holds no exclusive license), and the smell of BATF flesh roasting over an open campfire.[RESPONSE] BATF flesh IS contaminated. NOT FOR EATING!! Then again, I wouldn't even use it for incense, let alone throw it to the rats. [RESPONSE] Even as rat poison? Or you think SPCA would shoot your wife in the head and your son in the back? Besides I only roast it for the sport. As long as you only do it for the sport, that's okay.
- For friendship, I doth yearn, while the ATF, they doth burn.
- Happiness is a BATF agent sitting on a punji stick.
The Violence Policy Center has additional information on the gun lobby’s campaign that is available to the news media.
Adds Sugarmann, “We have every reason to be shocked, but no right to be surprised. For two years organizations like the NRA have played a dangerous game with the lives of American citizens and this is the inevitable result.”