Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), former chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), on Tuesday accused the National Rifle Association of creating a "culture of violence."
Responding to comments by newly elected NRA President Oliver North, Schultz told HuffPost that the NRA is "kind of just shy of a terrorist organization." North had likened gun-control activists’ behavior to "civil terrorism," but Schultz said in response that violence is being stoked by the NRA’s support of gun rights.
"The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization," Schultz said. "They have done everything they can to perpetuate the culture of violence that we have in our country with the spread of assault weapons across the nation."
North said last week that the NRA is being targeted like no civil rights organization has been before, and he criticized students who have become vocal advocates for gun control following the February shooting in Parkland, Fla.
"They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism. This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America," North said.
Schultz criticized North for saying the NRA is dealing with a coordinated political, media, financial, and cyber attack that, even during the Jim Crow era, civil rights organizations have not had to face. She hit back at the group for helping "spread assault weapons" that enable murderers.
"The Jim Crow laws actually resulted in the deaths of people standing up for their rights," Schultz said. "People that are dying as a result of the infection that is the spread of assault weapons thanks to the NRA are being murdered in cold blood without any cessation or interest on the part of the NRA to do anything about it."
North stated last week that the organization is not "on its heels" in the national conversation around guns, but Schultz said he is "deluding himself and his members."
"It’s kind of like a spoiled child stamping their feet on the ground, insisting that something right in front of their face isn’t true," she said.
Schultz also went after North for his past convictions in relation to the Iran Contra affair in the Ronald Reagan administration, even though North’s convictions were vacated over potentially tainted testimony. She argued it was ironic for North to accuse others of criminal behavior when the gun control activists are "standing up to make sure that we can keep people safe."