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Gun Advocate Says Only Voter ID Can Prevent Right-Wing Armed Insurgencies

Larry Pratt, President of Gun Owners of America, talks at a Second Amendment news conference, Tuesday, March 14, 2006. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER
Larry Pratt, President of Gun Owners of America, talks at a Second Amendment news conference, Tuesday, March 14, 2006. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER

If states do not implement voter ID laws to prevent widespread “voter fraud” at the ballot box this November, right-wing gun advocates will have to “resort to the bullet box,” according to Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America.

Pratt, leader of an organization that’s more extreme on guns than the National Rifle Association, said during his radio program on Saturday that if Democrats win the presidential election and nominate an anti-gun rights Supreme Court justice, firearms owners will have to “resort to the bullet box.”

On Thursday, he clarified his statement, saying that we likely won’t see those armed insurgencies thanks to legislation that has been passed in states across the country to restrict people from voting.

“I didn’t say that would happen, but I would say that’s why we have a Second Amendment,” he told ThinkProgress about the use of violence. “If elections are compromised, that could happen. I don’t think we’re at that point. We haven’t lost that much control, I don’t think, of the electoral process. We have actually been making some progress in recent months with voter ID and that hopefully is going to cut down on some of the voter fraud that could potentially occur.”

If people become convinced that elections don’t matter… then I think we enter a potentially very dangerous time.

Thirty-three states will have voter ID laws in place this November, despite little evidence of the existence of widespread voter fraud. As a result, millions of U.S. citizens — disproportionately black and Latino, low-income, and young voters — will be prevented from casting ballots, potentially swaying the outcomes of contests in crucial swing states.

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But according to Pratt, these restrictions are the only way to ensure that massive voter fraud doesn’t overtake the electoral process, resulting in the will of the people being compromised. “If there is voter fraud and the election is fraudulent, then that’s a game changer,” he said. “It compromises the entire system of government that we have here in this country.”

That scenario could lead to people resorting to the use of their Second Amendment rights, he continued.

“If people become convinced that elections don’t matter and that their vote doesn’t count and that there’s fraud that’s rampant, then I think we enter a potentially very dangerous time,” Pratt said.

But Pratt said he is not inciting violence. In fact, he claims the government would be inciting violence if elected officials told people to pay taxes and obey laws that they didn’t have a voice in shaping. “If the government tries to make them comply, then the government would be starting a war against the people,” he said. “We have a Second Amendment to protect us against the government when, God forbid, we get to such a point.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Pratt a gun-rights extremist and “a pivotal figure in the militia movement.” Pratt, who has said he does not support Donald Trump because he is not extreme enough on guns, frequently speaks about his willingness to use violence against the government.

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Earlier this year, he implied that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, could be assassinated if he continues to rule in opposition to the Second Amendment. “Happily, the Second Amendment is all about people like Judge Garland, so there is a limit to how far he can go, I think,” he said during a radio show, according to Right Wing Watch.

“This is a guy that doesn’t think the Second Amendment means anything,” Pratt told ThinkProgress on Thursday.

And after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Pratt said during a TV appearance that Americans should be “prepared” to take on elected officials with guns.