Larry Pratt, the executive director of Ted Cruz’s favorite gun group, Gun Owners of America, said in a radio interview last week that the armed standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada last year “came very close” to starting “a civil war between the people and the government,” but that the war was averted when the Bureau of Land Management backed down in the face of armed protesters.
Pratt spoke with Arizona radio host Dave Hodges, whose nationally broadcast “The Common Sense Show” is an outlet for anti-government conspiracy theories. Hodges, discussing potential executive actions on guns from President Obama, asked Pratt if he agreed that “if we did not own guns, this government, this tyranny, would roll right over us and we may find ourselves all in chains.”
“The Second Amendment is all about keeping government out of control, to keep it from moving off in a tyrannical direction,” Pratt responded. “And the most recent deployment of the Second Amendment occurred about three years ago in Bunkerville, Nevada, on Cliven Bundy’s ranch.”
Saying that the federal agents attempting to collect more than $1 million of unpaid fees for Bundy’s use of public land were acting “like a bunch of Jesse James outlaws,” Pratt boasted that their “plan didn’t work out because Americans came from all over the country during that standoff, with their guns.”
“Well, I think someday, Larry, the government’s going to back down,” Hodges said, “and I think that if Obama persists in the strategy of inventing false reasons to come get our guns, we’re going to see widespread violence and resistance. I mean, how do you gauge the American public’s mood and attitude toward gun confiscation?”
“Well, I think that standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, was perhaps a canary in the coal mine and it told us that there is danger ahead,” Pratt responded. “But it also told the government that if you push too hard there will be pushback. And people did come with their guns and their ammunition and they were ready to shoot if the government attacked.”
“That seems to me to have been a lesson that was being sent to the government,” he continued, “and right now I don’t think any Democrat, let alone Republican, wants to have that kind of situation where their view’s precipitating the outbreak of civil war. And we came very close to that. And it wouldn’t have been a civil war between the North and the South, this would have been a civil war between the people and the government.”
The two went on to discuss Obama’s potential executive action requiring large gun dealers to conduct background checks, which Pratt has said Gun Owners of America will “openly defy.” Pratt gave Hodges some more details of this planned defiance, saying that if Obama were to go forward in the action, he would find somebody in his home state of Virginia to illegally buy a gun from or sell one to.
“Come and get us, Mr. President!” he declared. “You have no authority and if you try to exercise it we’re going to have you in court and your head spinning.”