The National Rifle Association has a new president, and he's started his tenure with inflammatory statements reminiscent of religious and political extremists. James Porter, an Alabama attorney who would be played by John Goodman in the movie version of our gun control debate, is using combustible language while rallying NRA members at the ongoing 2013 convention that wraps up on Monday.
According to AP, on Friday Porter told grassroots NRA organizers they are "freedom fighters" and "protectors" on the "front line of a culture war." He also repeated his call to train every U.S. citizen in standard military firearms so they can defend themselves against tyranny.
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, describes Porter's expected influence on NRA policy as "more into the extremist camp."
He continued, "With Jim Porter, they've gone full crazy."
Porter, fondly called "Big Jim" by NRA members, makes outgoing NRA President David Keene sound like a moderate on gun control issues. Keene is soft-spoken compared Porter's Confederate-and-proud style, but he describes Porter as the "perfect match" to current CEO Wayne LaPierre, who has remained the most prominent face of the NRA.
Porter has less experience in the media than Keene or LaPierre which means we may not see his antics as often as in the past. He has previously called President Obama a "fake president" and redefined the U.S. Civil War as a "War of Northern Aggression" in a speech during what one can only imagine as being the mandatory daily BBQ all NRA members must have:
Porter cleaned up for this year's convention, and echoed LaPierre's warning that President Obama is launching a full-blown attack on the Second Amendment. He told a packed audience that "Revenge is what is motivating the president's unrelenting attacks on gun owners today," and that the president is "scheming to create gun control by bureaucracy."
His fiery language now has the full weight of the NRA behind him, and one can only imagine that his effect on NRA's gun lobbying in Congress will be even more aggressive and bullying. He assumes the official role on Monday after the NRA convention ends.