On Saturday, January 19, an alliance of pro-gun groups is commemorating the very first Gun Appreciation Day, encouraging Americans to head to their local gun shows, stores, and ranges to prove their support for the 2nd Amendment. The fake holiday is a call to arms to conservative gun owners as well as a direct rebuff to President Obama's push for gun legislation in the wake of mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary. "Scheduled to send a message to Washington two days before Obama's second inauguration, the 'Gun Appreciation Day' is expected to rival 'Chick-fil-A Day' as a public statement of protest against government policies," a blast email from the organizers reads.
Some of the organizations promoting Gun Appreciation Day are so extreme that even the NRA won't go near them. (One of the now-disavowed official sponsors was a hardcore white nationalist political party.) These groups are smaller, far less powerful, and do not enjoy anything close to the NRA's hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fundraising. Here's a look at five groups that are hyping up the occasion—and two more of their ilk:
This super-PAC—run by Lawrence Hunter, a Forbes columnist and ex-adviser to the Reagan White House—was influenced by the tea party and libertarian fixture Rep. Ron Paul. Pet causes include raging against antidepressants as deadly and dangerous and equating the president to Hitler and other dictators:
Second amendment foundation
Founded by conservative author Alan Gottlieb in 1974, the Second Amendment Foundation is the country's oldest legal-action group focusing on gun rights. It claims about 650,000 members. It is known for its flurry of federal lawsuits, including a pair filed in conjunction with the NRA. The foundation also runs a series of magazines, including Women & Guns:
Women Warriors pac
Speaking of women and guns: Women Warriors PAC was formed during the past election season to support "strong Conservative Women fighting the Obama political machine's 'war on women' message"—women like Mia Love. (It emphasizes that its members are "warriors not helpless minions!") The PAC only has a few hundred dollars on hand, but what it lacks in funds and publicity, it makes up for in enthusiasm:
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Alan Gottlieb also serves as chairman for this nonprofit that started in 1971. Its tax forms show that it rakes in less than $70,000 annually. However, it does have this bit of gun-enthusiast cred: CCRKBA is credited as having coined this wildly popular slogan:
JEWS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FIREARMS OWNerSHIP
Unlike the previous four, this group isn't listed as an official Gun Appreciation Day sponsor. But that hasn't stopped them from cheerleading for the event.
This Wisconsin-based organization was founded in the late '80s by ex-arms dealer Aaron Zelman. Over the decades, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has made some high-profile friends, including musician and anti-Obama gun-toting zealot Ted Nugent (whom Zelman praised for his "talent, success, wit, and celebrity"). The group has criticized the NRA for its incessant "kowtowing to authoritarian police bureaucrats."
Perhaps more than any other group, JPFO likes to push the idea that gun control always leads to totalitarianism and/or genocide: It's known for selling posters and bumper stickers tying Nazism to gun laws. Zelman even wrote a book in the '90s that supposedly contains "startling evidence that the Gun Control Act of 1968 was lifted, almost in its entirety, from Nazi legislation":