Larry Ward, the man behind last month's nationwide Gun Appreciation Day, expressed support on Tuesday for an upcoming Tea Party-backed event to protest President Barack Obama's recent campaign against gun violence.
“Despite the clear message that the American people sent on Gun Appreciation Day, President Obama is still having a hard time understanding what ‘shall not be infringed’ means," he said. "I’m glad my friends at the Tea Party are putting their resources on the line to help patriots from coast to coast organize rallies, and I’m proud to join them in that effort."
Ward went on to accuse Obama and his congressional allies of "shameful" exploitation of December's mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. and to promise to make the Day of Resistance successful by building on his previous experience.
“We’ll use the same successful organizational and marketing tactics that brought Gun Appreciation Day to the forefront of public discussion to bolster the Day of Resistance," he said. "It’s no secret that the liberal media wants to marginalize gun owners and trivialize our God-given rights. That’s why we’re dedicated to making 2/23 a show of strength that they can’t ignore.”
Ward drew nationwide backlash in the lead up to last month's event, when it came to light that he had partnered with American Third Position, a white-supremacist group. He also invited criticism by suggesting that African Americans could have prevented slavery if they had been granted the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Gun Appreciation Day itself wasn't observed without incident, as accidental shootings at a number of events managed to complicate the organizers' intended message.
The Day of Resistance has already been subjected to its own share of controversy. As the Guardian reported last month, coordinators were forced to respond to claims that the February 23 date had been chosen in part to play off the gun imagery of a .223 magazine, the same type that was used in the Sandy Hook shooting. An organizer rejected the connection.
The Day of Resistance has also suffered from a cash shortage. Last week, HuffPost's Christina Wilkie reported on a frantic fundraising plea from a head of the event, who expressed embarrassment that the Tea Party-backed organizational body had "only raised $26,125.72 towards the $100,000 goal."