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In the wake of White House moves to implement some gun control by using executive orders, the antigovernment “Patriot” right has exploded with fury, claiming that virtually any regulation amounts to an infringement of the Constitution or even a prelude to a national “gun grab” by federal forces hoping to disarm citizens once and for all.
These and similar claims have come from nearly every corner of the radical right. But one of the most noteworthy recent responses comes from the Oath Keepers, a group of conspiracy-minded current and former members of law enforcement and the military who believe a tyrannical and gun-hating “New World Order” is planned by global elites. Vowing to fight any legislation to ban “assault weapons,” the Oath Keepers have announced rallies at state houses across the nation on Friday with the aim of sending a message to lawmakers that the “they will be held accountable if they choose to dishonor” their oath to the Constitution.
At issue are plans on both federal and state levels for increased gun regulations following the Dec. 14 slaying of 26 people in a Connecticut elementary school –– regulations that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes says are being pushed by “disarmament freaks.”
In a December manifesto entitled “My Personal Pledge of Resistance Against Any Attempt to Disarm Us by Means of an ‘Assault Weapons Ban,’” Rhodes denounced federal efforts to rob him of “every terrible implement of the soldier” and vowed not to disarm, “regardless of what law is passed by the oath breakers in Congress, or signed into law by the oath breaker in the White House.”
“It is the height of Orwellian perversion of language and logic to say that disarming you of the most effective arms for combat that you still have is somehow not really disarming you, because you still have hunting rifles and shotguns,” Rhodes wrote, referring to calls to restrict or ban “assault rifles.” “And you can bet that if you let them take your military semi-autos, next on their list will be your bolt action rifles, which they will call ‘sniper rifles’ (and by God, that is certainly what they are good for!).”
It is unclear what the turnout to the rallies will be, but in the past hundreds of Oath Keepers have answered calls to muster in such places at Quartzsite, Ariz., where Rhodes insisted the New World Order had begun its power grab just last year. And just as it did then –– despite its charged rhetoric –– the Oath Keepers are again calling for “peaceful demonstrations.”
All the same, a different statement seems to be coming from the rank-and-file.
As someone calling himself James C. Ferris wrote on the Oath Keepers’ website on Wednesday, “I believe it is time we did like they did in 1776,” he said. “There is no use in havind [sic] our guns if we won’t use them.”