Earlier this week there was a concerning incident surrounding a citizen comment session at a Pierce County Council Meeting through an effort cosponsored by Three Percent of Washington and Patriot Prayer to encourage local authorities to enact 2A sanctuary zones in opposition to I-1639. We think that efforts at gun control should be resisted, but this isn’t what troubled us.

A widely respected resident and figurehead of Tacoma’s liberal community spoke out at the council meeting against WA 3% and Patriot Prayer; she was explicit with what her concerns were and it speaks directly to an issue we have been trying to get WA 3% to address for some time now. This community member was concerned that bigoted and racist elements were using the debate over gun rights as a recruitment tool.

The narrative put forth by many on the Right was that this citizen was advocating for limits on 2A rights and they doxxed her in retaliation. This narrative is demonstrably false; the official council meeting video, a public post before the meeting, and public comments after the meeting all make her position clear.

From what we’ve seen, this person mentioned that they disagreed with the pushing for 2A sanctuary counties as a tactic and that she wanted to call attention to the troubling social undercurrent at these 2A events. Specifically, that this social undercurrent was how white supremacists use 2A rallies to recruit and radicalize otherwise respectable right wing individuals into more extreme ideologies. The Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club also believe this social undercurrent to be true.

Patriot Prayer is a violent entry-level fascist organization. People are naturally going to think the worst about anyone who chooses to associate with them. Patriot Prayer and their friends have attacked community groups, meeting places, and individuals. They associate with people who openly promote white supremacist events and parrot racist talking points. Claiming a diverse membership means little when that diversity includes outright white supremacists. Any organization that claims to value community defense needs to unapologetically condemn and stand against Patriot Prayer.

We continue to encourage WA 3% members and their supporters to distance themselves from Patriot Prayer. WA 3%’s poor response to legitimate criticisms of their allies undermines their own efforts at defending gun rights. The comments we have seen towards the individual doxxed by WA 3% have been extremely toxic and include but are not limited to white supremacist talking points, body shaming, posting fascist memes, making death threats, sexist language, and the deploying of anti-Semitic dog whistles.

WA 3%’s current strategy of right wing gun activism makes absolutely no attempt to convince the electorate that voted in favor of I-1639 to change their views, but instead strengthens the existing, and too often accurate, perception of the gun rights community as an aggressive, violent, and toxic group of people. As leftist gun rights advocates, we have received a ton of positive feedback in regards to our own activism from people that had previously unquestioningly supported gun control measures.

Not only have we have been told that we “flipped (their) views on guns upside down,” drawn connections to the racist history and implementation of gun control measures, but have also created a space for them to learn about guns in a welcoming environment. WA 3%’s partnering with Patriot Prayer for their 2A tour will not only fail to yield the same results we have had, but it will continue to polarize this critical issue.

WA 3% members and their supporters can no longer claim ignorance of the toxic ideas and actions of Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer. If WA 3% truly believes in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is time to reject Joey Gibson’s naked allegiance to tyranny, bigotry, and violence.