Continued from p. 10 militiasapparently the first time the farright leadership embraced the idea. Pratt was one visible link between the mainstream New Right and the murky world of the far-right revolutionaries. By 1994, Gun Owners of America was dispensing $94,000 through its political action committee to dozens of mostly conservative Republican candidates. The two top recipientsaccepting $6,700 eachwere Stockman and Roscoe Bartlett, a two-term Congressman from Frederick, Maryland. Both Stockman and Bartlett function as virtual mouthpieces for Gun Owners in the House. Bartlett has adopted Pratt’s gun line into proposed legislation that would not just reverse Clinton’s assault weapons ban, but would make it a law to give every citizen the right to obtain and use firearms in self-defense. In a direct-mail solicitation on his own letterhead, Bartlett asked people to sign and return petitions in support of the legislation, and then to make a contribution to Gun Owners to help offset the $390,000 costs incurred in printing, mailing, tabulating and delivering the petitions. In the letter, Bartlett asks that petitions be returned to “Congressman Roscoe Bartlett do Gun Owners of America” in Springfield, Virginia. In an interview with the Village Voice, Bartlett said, “Pratt helped form the Gun Owners for Bartlett.” But he insists, “I don’t know anything about the militias. I don’t know anyone in the militia. I’ve never seen a militiaman in my life. I don’t even know anyone who knows anyone in the militia.” When pushed on his relationship with Pratt, Bartlett says, “I wouldn’t say we’re friends. I don’t really know him very well.” But William Kelley, a former Frederick Baptist minister who owns the Gun Center of Frederick, and is a key Bartlett campaign supporter, said Pratt worked with Kelley indirectly throughout the campaign. This year, Larry Pratt has thrown Gun Owners \(which claims some 120,000 memcampaign and continues to stake out the right fringes of the gun movement. Pratt himself joined the Buchanan campaign as the national chair of Gun Owners for Buchanan to “spearhead efforts to mobilize the Second Amendment movement behind Mr. Buchanan’s candidacy.” Pratt makes little attempt to mask his farright ties. He appeared in Dallas this March at Preparedness Expo 95 \(For Peace of Mark Koernke, members of the Arizona Patriots group, far-right guru Bo Gritz and Jack McLamb. Last weekend, he spoke at a Missouri gathering of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, which argues for an end to the income tax and was founded and is headed by Howard Phillips, a prominent leader in the 1980s New Right politics. According to the Coalition on Human Dignity, an Oregon-based human rights group, the Gun Owners Foundation, an arm of Gun Owners of America, has made contributions to a group called CAUSE, a law firm headed by North Carolina far-right attorney Kirk Lyons that is pursuing a class action lawsuit on behalf of Waco survivors. Recently, on “Larry King Live,” Pratt made a passionate defense of well-regulated militias, pointing out that “we the people, who are the sovereign in our government” should not avoid our rightful responsibilities. Just as the members of the original militias had the right to carry rifles, he said, in our modern technologically advanced age, citizens should have the right to own machine guns, and that protection is extended to “anything that is of a military application.” Pratt has edited a new book, titled Safeguarding Liberty, The Constitution & Citizen Militias. It is a collection of essays, the introduction of which argues that an active militia in Idaho could have forestalled the FBI’s siege of Weaver’s cabin. “One can only speculate had there been an effective militia in Naples, Idaho, which could have been mobilized after the U.S. Marshal murdered Sammy Weaver by shooting him in the back,” he writes. “It is entirely possible that Vicki Weaver would not have been murdered later on by an FBI-trained assassin while she was holding a baby in her arms.” Pratt also argues that owning and using firearms is sanctioned in the Bible, and indeed is God’s law. “God has delegated to the civil magistrate the administration of justice. Individuals have the responsibility of protecting their lives from attackers.” As he sees it, “For a man to refuse to provide adequately for his and his family’s defense would be to defy God.” 16 JUNE 2, 1995
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