Conspiracy theories take center stage at gun rally

Paranoia runs deep among those who oppose proposals to curb gun violence — if the speakers during Thursday’s gun rally in Concord are any indication.

Patch’s Tony Schinella reported that many of the speakers echoed the “black helicopter” conspiracy theories that are accepted as gospel in the right-wing echo chamber; conspiracies that involve Pres. Obama confiscating guns, throwing out the Constitution and assuming dictatorial control.

State Rep. Al Baldasaro “wondered out loud why Homeland Security was buying millions of rounds of ammunition,” suggesting DHS is stockpiling ammunition to put down insurrection among those resisting the gun confiscation.

The deputy chief of staff who handles 2nd Amendment issues for Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Georgia) provides a more mundane explanation, “DHS buys in bulk to save you money:”

DHS entered into a contract that allows them to purchase up to 450 million rounds of 40 caliber ammunition over the next five years. … Setting up contracts in this manner allows for a cheaper purchase price, saving money over the long-term.

If DHS were to purchase all 450 million rounds over 5 years, then that would equate to only about 1,384 rounds of ammo per year per law enforcement personnel. … Considering those agents go through training exercises several times per year, that is not a lot of ammunition.

Baldasaro also asked “why generals were being let go in the Defense Department,” referring to a Facebook posting by Dr. Jim Garrow that went viral among right-wing conspiracy buffs. In his post, Garrow claimed a “former senior military leader” told him of Obama’s new military “litmus test:”

The new litmus test of leadership in the military is if they will fire on US citizens or not. Those who will not are being removed.”

Snopes debunks the allegation:

Consider that: The only supporting evidence for this claim is a second-hand account from an anonymous source; not a single reputable news outlet has reported any such story; not a single member of the U.S. government or the U.S. military has come forward to confirm the claim; the claim fits a common model of conspiracy theory which has been repeatedly espoused many times over (but has never proved true) and the person spreading this warning is promulgating other discredited conspiracy theories, such as the claim that Adam Lanza did not use a version of an AR-15 rifle in the Sandy Hook shootings.

Not to be outdone, unsuccessful congressional candidate and former state Rep. Bob Giuda warned the crowd about Executive Order 13603, which “allows Obama to take over just about every sector of the economy if he declared a national emergency.”

Doug Mataconis, from Outside the Beltway, knocks this one down:

[O]nce you actually look at the facts (yes, I know, how dare I muddle up a good conspiracy theory with actual facts) it becomes pretty clear that not only is the reaction to this wildly over the top in some corners, but the Executive Order itself is nothing more than a restatement of policy that has been in place in decades and grants no authority to the President or the Cabinet that they don’t already have under existing law.

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