Tucson Sheriff Candidate Exploits Colorado Massacre To Promote U.N. Gun Conspiracy Theory

Terry Frederick (R) shakes hands with Joe Arpaio (L).

While many right-wing figures have suggested that armed theatergoers would have prevented James Holmes’ killing spree, Pima County Sheriff candidate Terry Frederick (R-AZ) has taken the genre to new and especially absurd heights. Frederick used the killing as an argument against, of all things, ratifying the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT):

The horrors of the shootings in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, remind us that our lives and families are precious to us. My prayers go out to all of those affected by the deranged attacker. Unfortunately, this event is a stark reminder that only we can protect ourselves. There isn’t enough money or manpower on the planet to have an armed policeman on every single street corner… or inside every movie theater. Only law-abiding citizens have the power to repel such an attack. I demand that Secretary of State Clinton not sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.

This terrible event is an example of how much worse things can get with the approval of the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty which aims to disarm lawful citizens. Legally armed and responsibly self-trained citizens are far safer from these types of attacks and have the ability to stop them earlier in the event, saving lives.

Set aside the implausibility of the notion that armed theatergoers could have stopped the killing for the moment: Frederick’s invocation of the ATT is the gross exploitation of a tragedy for the purposes of conspiracy-mongering. The ATT is an international agreement to restrict the flow of arms between nations with no provision for or capabilities to restrict gun ownership rights inside the United States. Though the hyperventilating surrounding the treaty has been repeatedly debunked, it continues to be pushed by influential parties ranging from roughly 130 Congresspeople to the NRA to Mitt Romney.

In a sense, then, Frederick is simply part-and-parcel of an increasingly prominent extreme wing of the GOP. Indeed, his campaign has repeatedly touted Frederick’s association with Joe Arpaio, the Arizona Sheriff and Republican darling who has admitted to using taxpayer money to investigate the President’s “real” birthplace and is currently facing a racial profiling lawsuit.

Frederick is one of five Republicans vying to challenge the incumbent Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, in Pima County. Dupnik is most famous for his handling of the shooting of the assassination attempt against former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, which included a public statement saying that “the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital.”