OKLAHOMA CITY — The head of the state’s most powerful gun lobby must be removed from his post after he made incendiary and threatening remarks aimed at politicians who don’t agree with his views, a powerful Republican state senator said.
“We win at the ballot box, so we don’t have to go to the ammo box,” Don Spencer reportedly told supporters during a Dec. 16 speech at an event held at the Stephens County Fairgrounds in Duncan, according to a news release.
State Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, said Spencer’s “shameful and dangerous comments” will result in the loss of Spencer’s credibility and his ability to advance the group’s agenda in the public safety committee that Paxton chairs.
Paxton said calling for pulling out the ammo box as a way to deal with noncompliant legislators is “a new low” for the president of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, also known as OK2A. He said the remarks crossed every conceivable line of decency.
“I have supported and continue to support the efforts of OK2A in their goal of protecting the Second Amendment, but Mr. Spencer’s words can only be seen as a direct physical threat against those candidates and office holders who they can’t beat in an election,” Paxton said. “Incendiary comments like this could push someone that might be unstable over the edge, resulting in physical attacks on elected members of the Legislature, Congress or even local officials like city council and school board members.”
Spencer, an influential pro-gun lobbyist oft seen in the halls of the Capitol, did not return a message seeking comment Friday.
Tom Vineyard, the chair of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association board of directors, said in a statement on the group’s website that the board “stands fully united in its support” of Spencer.
“Comments that were made by Mr. Spencer, about a month ago, paraphrasing Founding Fathers’ quotes is not a violation of ethics for the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association and should not be misconstrued as, in any way, inciting anyone to any type of violence,” Vineyard said. “Don Spencer has consistently promoted respectful engagement with legislators on both sides of the political aisle and routinely works through the political process in order to enact pro-Second Amendment and other liberty-issue legislation for the betterment of all Oklahomans.”
Daniel Navejas, the founder of Ekklesia Oklahoma, said in a Facebook post that Spencer’s comments were made at the group’s event. Navejas’ group promotes the abolition of abortion and the reliance on biblical principles to solve crises.
Navejas said they fully support the comments made by Spencer. He said Paxton is “an embarrassment to all patriots, a traitor of liberty and a coward.”
Joshua Harris-Till, a volunteer leader with the Oklahoma chapter of the gun-control group Moms Demand Action, said the comments Spencer made against elected officials “are reprehensible and incredibly dangerous.”
“It is the type of extremism that has been emboldened and made even more dangerous by decades of reckless gun laws which allow Oklahomans to buy guns without background checks and carry them in an ever-increasing range of public spaces,” he said. “Lawmakers should absolutely condemn Spencer’s incitements of violence, and they should also reconsider their support for the deadly policies he backs – policies that make his threats disturbingly real.”
Janelle Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.