On Wednesday, the Washington Times published an exclusive interview with the incoming president of the National Rifle Association, Oliver North, in which he claimed that the NRA’s leaders are the victims of “civil terrorism” at the hands of gun safety advocates. He referenced unspecified “threats” and noted that vandals splashed fake blood on a NRA official’s Virginia home. He likened this treatment to that of black Americans during the era of legally sanctioned racial segregation.
“They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists—this is civil terrorism. This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America,” he said. “You go back to the terrible days of Jim Crow and those kinds of things—even there you didn’t have this kind of thing.”
Before embracing the Second Amendment, North was best known for taking the Fifth. In the two decades after North was found guilty of obstructing a congressional investigation, stealing and destroying evidence, and accepting an illegal gratuity for his role in shady weapons deals to Iran to covertly fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s—”ancient history,” he calls it in the interview—North made a career as a conservative talk radio host and Fox News commentator. (North’s convictions were later overturned on a technicality.) Today, he says part of his new job is to “tell the truth.”
In his interview with the Washington Times, North went on to accuse the teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting of “intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking.” He said, “What they did very successfully with a frontal assault…is they confused the American people.” In response, he said, his role as the NRA president is to “counter-punch” the blowback facing the organization. He said he hopes to add 1 million new members to the NRA, “as fast as we can.”