Oliver North: N.R.A. Being Treated Worse Than African-Americans During Jim Crow

Oliver North is fitting right in at the N.R.A.

Last week, Oliver North was named the new President of the National Rifle Association, and it looks like he’s fitting right in:

Oliver North, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) incoming president, said on Wednesday that the gun rights group has been a victim of “civil terrorism” by political opponents.

“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,” North told The Washington Times.

“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,” he added, referring to laws that enforced racial segregation throughout much of the 20th century. “We didn’t have the cyberwar kind of thing that we’ve got today.”

North’s comments come weeks after a woman was charged with misdemeanor destruction of property for splashing fake blood on a top NRA lobbyist’s Virginia home.


North called the shooting in Parkland a “travesty” and a “failure on the part of the local authorities and unfortunately the FBI as well.” He said gun control advocates had “confused the American people” about the attack.

“What they did very successfully with a frontal assault, and now intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking, is they confused the American people,” North said. ”Our job is to get the straight story out about what happened there, and to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen again because the proper things are being done with the advocacy of the NRA.”

Not surprisingly, North’s comments have aroused some commentary from many of the student activists who have risen up in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida:

Oliver L. North, the incoming president of the National Rifle Association, said this week the gun rights group was a victim of “civil terrorism” and accused gun control activists of “intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking.”

Now, several of the students who survived the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are pushing back.

“He’s just continuing to spread fear. He’s definitely a good fit for his new job,” Ryan Deitsch, a senior at the school, said in an interview during his lunch period on Friday.

Mr. Deitsch said he wants to sit down and speak with Mr. North to understand his perspective. But he expressed frustration that, with their criticism of gun control activists, Mr. North and the N.R.A. seemed more focused on “attacking the speaker and not the speech.”


The comments elicited a strong rebuke from Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among those killed in Parkland.

“We will end your reign of terror and we will pass common sense gun safety in this country. Your remarks sound like the remarks of a lobby that has already lost the argument and so you attack us,” he said in a series of tweets.

That sentiment was echoed by several students at the school, many of whom, like Mr. Deitsch, have become outspoken proponents of gun control since the shooting.

“Never knew that not wanting to die by being shot by an AR-15 in my classroom was considered terrorism,” Lauren Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas student, said on Twitter. “Thanks @NRA now I know.”

Another student, Cameron Kasky, said: “Go ahead, North. It speaks so beautifully for the NRA’s true colors that they put this crook in charge.”

North’s comments about “civil terrorism” seem to be in response to some events in which the organization and people connected with the N.R.A. One example of that occurred last month when protesters appeared outside the home and business addresses of N.R.A. lobbyist and former Congressman Chris Cox. One of those protesters allegedly splashed fake blood on Cox’s house, but it seems clear that the majority of the protesters were peaceful albeit no doubt inconvenient for Cox. While there is no excuse for property destruction or vandalism and the woman who is accused of committing that act should be prosecuted appropriately, the idea that this is anything close to what African-Americans went through during Jim Crow is utterly absurd. This is an era when African-American men were beaten and killed merely because they looked at a white woman, and when countless numbers of African-Americans were hung from trees in blatant acts of racist violence. Compared to that, getting a little fake blood splashed on your house is, quite frankly, nothing by comparison.

North’s rhetoric, of course, is familiar to anyone who has listened to what the N.R.A. and at least some segment of the gun rights crowd, has had to say over the years. According to this rhetoric, gun owners are just one law away from having all their guns taken away, and even objectively reasonable proposals such as expanded background checks, the banning of so-called “bump stocks,” age restrictions on the sale of weapons, and increased protections to bar people who have been determined to be mentally ill from obtaining weapons. Without fail, each of these proposals, as well as past proposals such as the original Brady Bill that established the national background check system, has been called an attempt by “gun grabbers” to “take away our freedom” even when its quite apparent that this isn’t the case and that the idea that we’re ever going to see gun confiscation in the United States is utterly absurd. To some degree, of course, this rhetoric is designed to play on the fear of the people that write the checks, attend the conventions, and, of course, vote. That doesn’t make what North said any less absurd, of course, but it does, I guess, explain it.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mister Bluster says:

    They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism.

    Clearly free speech is anathema to the NRA.
    Adolph North should be honest and promote the killing of gun control advocates.
    It is clear to me that this is what he is calling for.

  2. CSK says:

    Ollie doesn’t know much American history, does he?

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So the guy who enabled the selling of weapons to actual terrorists is calling peaceful unarmed protesters terrorists? Got it.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Best line I’ve seen is that a known illegal weapons dealer has become head of a Russian sponsored terrorist organization.

    People keep telling me we’re supposed to respect the right and engage seriously with their arguments, as Parkland Student Deitsch is, god bless him, willing to try. But how, pray, do you engage with this nonsense?

  5. Kathy says:

    Doesn’t he have weapons to sell to Iran?

  6. de stijl says:


    Oliver North is a traitor and a criminal and he conspired with Iranian revolutionaries in order to hide his crimes.

    Or for the NRA, would you lead us, please? Here’s something million dollars. Tell us if you want more – we’re submissive and compliant.

  7. al Ameda says:

    Oliver North should be cleaning toilets in Raqqa or Mosul.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    This is part of the same dynamic where Trump flunkies get bent out of shape because they are supposedly so horribly treated while their boss is the biggest bully around…it is disgusting how all of these entitled elitists portray themselves as such victims…it’s a shame someone hasn’t started a charity to help all of these poor wretches…

  9. DrDaveT says:


    a known illegal weapons dealer has become head of a Russian sponsored terrorist organization

    Seriously. DHS and the FBI are clearly asleep at the switch here; if his last name were Hazim he’d be in jail already.

  10. Gene Ralno says:

    Looks like the children believe Cruz didn’t do it.

  11. de stijl says:


    My friend Hamid freaks out even thinking any time we travel, To the point I have to remind him that his freak-out behavior is on the edge of looking suspicious. You’re trying to be cool, but you look sketchy as hell. He has a really Persian name. He looks like an Iranian because he is one, he was born there.

    And then his family moved here in 1979. As in after the revolution because they had to.

    The National Park Service ferry to the Apostle Islands was a major psychological issue and a problem and he freaked about it for two months before we even went there.

    If you harass folks they get paranoid, If you say that people from their place of birth are terrorists unless proven else, people get paranoid. This guy has been here 38 or 39 years and he got freaked by the thought of visiting a national park because of security checks that don’t even exist.

  12. de stijl says:

    That man aged poorly…

    He looks like a beardless Radagast the Brown with a shitty hair cut.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party:

    it’s a shame someone hasn’t started a charity to help all of these poor wretches…

    There already is one. It’s called the “Republican Party.”

  14. Kit says:

    We are assured that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. But at least past generations had to work at it!

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    This is an era when African-American men were beaten and killed merely because they looked at a white woman, and when countless numbers of African-Americans were hung from trees in blatant acts of racist violence.

    All this was carried out by the domestic terrorist cabal the Ku Klux Klan. The same swarm of enemies of the Constitution of the United States who support lying, theiving, race baiting REPUBLICAN President Trump.
    Donald Trump, who called for the assassination of his political opponent during the campaign.

    “I think her bodyguards should drop all weapons. Disarm immediately,” Trump said. “Take their guns away, let’s see what happens to her.”
    “Take their guns away, OK? It’ll be very dangerous,” he added.

    Not so difficult to figure out the source* of the tacit approval that Adolph North is receiving to carry out the extermination of gun control advocates.

    *REPUBLICAN President Donald Trump