Oliver North, the National Rifle Association's (NRA) incoming president, said on Wednesday that the gun rights group has been a victim of "civil terrorism" by political opponents.
"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 told The Washington Times.
"You go back to the terrible days of Jim Crow and those kinds of things — even there you didn’t have this kind of thing," he added, referring to laws that enforced racial segregation throughout much of the 20th century. “We didn’t have the cyberwar kind of thing that we’ve got today."
North's comments come weeks after a woman was charged with misdemeanor destruction of property for splashing fake blood on a top NRA lobbyist's Virginia home.
The NRA has been a target of fierce protests in recent months, after a deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., reignited a national debate over gun control laws.
North called the shooting in Parkland a "travesty" and a "failure on the part of the local authorities and unfortunately the FBI as well." He said gun control advocates had "confused the American people" about the attack.
“What they did very successfully with a frontal assault, and now intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking, is they confused the American people," North said. "Our job is to get the straight story out about what happened there, and to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen again because the proper things are being done with the advocacy of the NRA."