“Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace” will mark the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting this Sunday with a “debate” between gun policy reform advocate Mark Kelly and raving conspiracy theorist/gun lobbyist Larry Pratt.
We can imagine that Pratt will put on his most respectable National Media face in his debate with Kelly, whose wife, former. Rep Gabrielle Giffords, was the target of an assassination attempt and mass shooting in Tucson in 2011. But despite his frequent appearances in national media, Pratt is a truly fringe figure whose paranoid and extremist rantings would make even some NRA figures blush.
Here are eight things to know about the man who will be debating gun laws with Mark Kelly:
1. He implied Rep. Giffords and other victims were to blame for the Tucson shooting.
In a radio interview this summer, Pratt falsely claimed that Jared Loughner, who attempted to assassinate Giffords and killed six people at a community event she was hosting, “didn’t find any resistance” at the scene of the shooting because the victims were Democrats.
Likewise, he suggested that the results in Sandy Hook would have been different if “teachers, janitors and principals were able to defend themselves with guns.”
2. He blamed Trayvon Martin’s family for his death.
Like he did after the Sandy Hook shooting, Pratt has consistently pushed back against calls for gun law reform tied to the death of Trayvon Martin. He accused advocates of “trying to use the race card to move against guns” and claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder’s consideration of a civil rights charge against George Zimmerman was an effort to “intimidate” white people into staying defenseless against “black mobs”…and to bring about communism.
Last month, Pratt alleged that Martin’s own family was responsible his death: “Probably what killed [Trayvon Martin] was the broken family that he was forced to deal with.”
3. His group alleged that the Aurora theater shooting could have been an inside job.
Mother Jones reported: “A press release sent out to radio bookers..advertising Pratt’s availability noted that, ‘In an article posted at The New American…one expert even outlined a theory that Holmes didn’t act alone, but was possibly ‘enlisted’ to carry out his violent act.’ Pratt, the publicist stated, was free for interviews on Holmes’ ‘impeccable’ timing.”
4. He claims liberals were happy about the Boston Marathon bombing because it helped foster government “control.”
“That’s exactly right,” Pratt said. “This is mission oriented, they don’t care who the victims are, if anything it might be to their liking because maybe they’re thinking that will make the liberals all the more prone to want more control, which plays right into the hands of terrorists and criminals, but then I repeat myself.”
5. He has ties with white supremacists and Holocaust deniers…and thinks a race war may be imminent.
Pratt was kicked out of Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign when it came out that he had ties with neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anti-Semites. (Yes, Pat Buchanan perceived him as too racist). Just this year, Pratt was scheduled to spend the Fourth of July at an event hosted by a Holocaust-denying rock band.
And then there was this conversation that Pratt had with fringe talk show host Stan Solomon (who Pratt frequently joins as a guest), in which Pratt agreed that Solomon wasn’t “stretching” when he predicted that Obama’s second term would bring about a race war pitting “Christian, heterosexual white haves” against “black, Muslim and/or atheist…black have-nots.”
6. He thinks Obamacare will send gun owners to concentration camps and force them to get electroshock therapy.
In a recent interview with Solomon, Pratt said of the Affordable Care Act, “We are looking at a major assault on the right to keep and bear arms, it is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, where they used doctors as part of their torture routines and got people sent to the camps for improvement of their mental health.” The two also imagined that the new law would force gun owners to undergo electroshock therapy against their will.
He has even claimed that the Obama administration is instructing the police to target Christians and gun owners.
7. He warns that President Obama “hates this country” and is raising his own private army to fight it.
Pratt told extreme fringe-right radio host Pete Santilli that the Department of Homeland Security was buying up ammunition so that President Obama, “if he can’t actually commandeer the military,” would be able to form “a national security force…equally as powerful as the military.”
He later offered what he called “the most benign” explanation for the DHS-ammo conspiracy theory, which was that the Obama administration was deliberately “destroying the economy” and preparing to respond to the ensuing “social unrest.”
8. He thinks gun laws are a sign that we’re under God’s judgment.
Finally, Pratt had this to say in Oklahoma last month: