Our VoiceNews & Politics

The Second Amendment Lobby and Far-Right Activism


Guest Blogger • Sep 16, 2010
Neo-Nazi J.T Ready

Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready

By Brian Schultz

In an earlier article I noted a critical strain in the NRA’s rhetoric, one lamenting a pending crisis in the United States and recruiting with horrifying hypothetical scenarios. It’s not about typical 2nd Amendment, right-to-own types of arguments; in fact, it’s not even about arguing. When they ask someone to stare into an unimaginable disaster, the message shifts to one’s need to own a gun. But how easily can one market this newer, grimmer face to the Second Amendment lobby? Is this a viable basis to further activism?

It’s difficult to say how the NRA itself would implement this more alarmist agenda, but what’s fairly obvious is that far-right and white nationalist groups already have a sizable investment in it. For them it’s always been about the coming war and, naturally, guns are a required element. Hence, organizations like the National Alliance frequent gun shows, and its members take on an activist’s rationale when detailing these events. Stormfront.org is constantly ablaze with gun-brandishing fervor, particularly in its “Preparedness” forum wherein members regularly display photos of their weapons.

Clearly, some aspects of white nationalist ideology overlap with this more apocalyptic vision of the NRA; as the Second Amendment activists delve farther into this survivalist chic, the far-right directly benefits. The ability to align extremist causes with the NRA’s publicly espoused alarm brings them one step closer to mainstream appeal. This interaction opens doors on both sides, but particularly in providing radical right-wing groups with an activist’s platform. Now, the National Alliance’s message seems all the more appropriate at gun shows, and white nationalists can furnish their revolution under the auspices of a much more popular and much less radical conservative linchpin. By reinforcing an atmosphere of disaster and preparation, the Second Amendment lobby is, at the very least, complicit in the more extreme endeavors of their far right bedfellows.

The NRA further complicates matters when it opines in a more radical bent, such as its distrust for immigrants in the Freedom in Peril pamphlet. By disseminating such a narrow assessment of an extremely broad issue, the NRA encourages its members to take up nativist attitudes and glorify the nationalists that champion them. And this brings us to J.T. Ready. An ex-marine and neo-Nazi with a passion for border control, J.T. Ready might as well be the poster child for the NRA’s panicked call to arms. Whether he’s holding undocumented immigrants captive in the Sonoran Desert, or running for minor political offices on a white nationalist platform, he’s become a major permutation of ‘activism’ on the far-right. It also seems that this definition of activism always involves guns. There’s already something bizarre about a civilian grabbing his rifle and marching into the wilderness to uphold his own definition of the law; when it’s a sanctioned form of political expression, it turns into a liability for all peoples of North America.

This is their grassroots, it’s the way they define their “on the ground” movement. As white nationalists become more comfortable with flaunting their weapons and their ‘activism’ is merely measured in terms of potential violence, it might be equated more with aggressive bullying rather than a formal political effort. And all the while, the NRA and other Second Amendment groups foster this approach by creating a space for the exigent and catastrophic demeanor of the nativists.

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