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Armed Revolt in the Obama Era? Right-Wing Gun Nuts Share Their Paranoid Worldview

By Max Blumenthal, The Daily Beast. Posted May 1, 2009.

Gun show enthusiasts make it abundantly clear why they’re stocking up on firepower.

On April 18 and 19, I attended gun shows in Antioch, Calif., and Reno, Nev., to probe the culture of gun enthusiasts at the onset of the Barack Obama era.

I came away from these events with a portrait of a heavily armed, tightly organized movement incited by right-wing radio to a fever-pitched resentment of Obama and his allies in Congress.

Even as the economy suffers, gun dealers and their Washington lobbyists are leveraging renewed anti-government sentiment into unprecedented sales figures and fattened membership rolls.

“We’ve been swamped today,” an NRA representative from Antioch boasted. “We’ve practically ran out of our materials that we give away at sign-up.”

Fueled by the screeds of radio hosts Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and the lesser-known, but increasingly influential, online conspiracist Alex Jones, many gun-show attendees I spoke to were convinced Obama planned to usher in a Marxist dictatorship.

They warned that the president’s power grab would only begin with mass gun seizures. “If Obama takes away our guns,” a young, .45-caliber-pistol-toting man from Reno told me, “it’s just a step into trying to take away everything else.”

Indeed, in their minds, average Americans opposed to the Obama agenda would be herded into FEMA-run concentration camps by a volunteer army of glassy-eyed liberal college graduates.

“When they start imprisoning Americans, and people start seeing that we’re the enemy, then that’ll make it hot,” predicted one young man from Antioch sporting a button for former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. “People talk about a revolution,” the young man continued, “an armed revolution. I think police crackdowns on individuals will tip the scales.”

More than a few gun dealers and attendees echoed the young man’s seeming enthusiasm for armed revolt. One Contra Costa, Calif., gun dealer named Rich predicted, during an otherwise casual off-camera conversation, that “some nut” would assassinate Obama within one year of any Democratic attempt at gun-control legislation.

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