The new president of the National Rifle Association has a deep history with the gun rights organization — along with an equally deep history of controversial statements that are sure to make an already explosive debate over gun-control more contentious.
James Porter will take over the presidency on Monday after the group’s national convention wraps up in Houston. Wasting no time in igniting a new furor, he told NRA grass-roots organizers on Friday they are on the front line of a “culture war” that extends well beyond the gun-rights debate.
“[You] here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors,” Porter claimed.
As evidenced by his “culture war” comment on Friday — and others like it from his past — Porter’s style signals a bizarre pattern in the NRA method towards public relations. Where common sense would say that the organization would move more towards the middle to attract a more diverse support base, it has continually relegated itself to the fringe with extremist rhetoric.
Porter has referred to Obama as a “fake president,” Attorney General Eric Holder as “rabidly un-American” and the U.S. Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression,” and in an eye-opening statement on Friday, he called for training every U.S. citizen in the use of military firearms to allow them to defend themselves in case of a tyrannical shift in government.
Many have said that Porter makes outgoing NRA President David Keene “look like a moderate on gun issues.” It will be interesting to see how much closer to the fringe the organization can manage to get.
Watch this video about Porter’s controversial views, courtesy of CBS News: