RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — Nine days before the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and 12 days before he spoke at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Houston, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson was creating political fodder by bragging about how he owned assault weapons and why he wanted to have them.
Speaking in the second of his two appearances during worship services at Midpoint Church in Middlesex on May 15, Robinson said he owned AR-15s in case “the government got too big for its britches.” He also said he was “going to fill the backside of them britches with some lead.”
Those words – and Robinson’s overall tenor about assault weapons – became political fodder when the only superior he has in state government, Gov. Roy Cooper, posted a video excerpt from one of those speeches on his Twitter account and suggested that Robinson’s remarks “advocate violent overthrow” of the government.
Because of its timing and its relationship to the weapon the 18-year-old gunman used to kill 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the excerpt from Robinson’s remarks quickly was shared on social media.
Robinson is not new to such controversy – he created his public persona by being frank about his feelings and unafraid to speak his mind – but his entire spiel at Middlesex pretty much made it clear that he had weapons in case the government became too big, even as he was standing on the top steps of the ladder of government.
Robinson’s entire presentation was about why he views “they” are “coming after Christians,” and the roughly 1-hour speech addressed many pivotal issues by underscoring historical references, including abortion – although he didn’t mention the abortion his wife had that the couple later regretted – and the “truth” he says the country has forgotten.
‘I want my AR-15’
You likely know the story of how Robinson, a Greensboro native, rose to fame in 2018 with a speech about gun shows during a meeting of the Greensboro City Council that became viral on social media. That entire speech, he said in Middlesex, was because he wanted to buy an AR-15.
“This whole thing started for me because I just went to go buy an AR-15,” he told the crowd. “I’ve never committed any crimes against anybody, certainly not a violent crime. I’ve never pointed a gun at anybody, or threatened anybody, shot at somebody.”
He talked about how President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley in 1981. He mentioned how the ensuing Brady Bill “restricts everybody’s rights.” He said, “The man who shot Reagan is walking free.” Hinckley is scheduled to be freed sometime this year but how not been released. “But you’re locked up as chattel up under the law to prevent future shootings,” Robinson said.
“I want my AR-15. I got to have it.” The audience laughed lightly at this reference. “I went down and told them how I felt about it. … It’s a self-evident truth.
“When the government makes moves to disarm you, you need to be concerned, very concerned. You don’t believe me, you go back to 1917 and move forward and read the history. Soviet Russia…Nazi Germany…Communist China…Communist Cuba…and Cambodia. … People were slaughtered because they were disarmed.”
Not without a fight
He said the nation’s Founding Fathers knew that “when governments have all the power, governments always become tyrannical. They crafted something called Second Amendment. … To give you the right to stand up in case you need it.”
Then he said that’s “why I tell anybody: I got them AR-15s at home, and I like to go target shooting and all of that. That’s not what they are there for.” This drew laughter and applause.
“I’m not afraid to say it – and I’m not supposed to say it – but I’m going to say it anyway.…”
“I got them AR-15s in case the government gets too big for its britches. I’m going to fill the backside of them britches with some lead.
“I’m going to say it to you plain: You boy ain’t going down … you boy ain’t going down without swinging. I’m not going to go without a fight.”
Those are the words that inspired Cooper’s Twitter post. “This is dangerous and not who we are as patriotic North Carolinians,” he said.
He said Robinson’s “assault weapon threats are bad enough, but an elected official sworn to uphold the constitution advocating violent overthrow of our govt shames NC and puts our safety and our democracy at risk.”
Robinson did not post an immediate response to Cooper.
This is dangerous and not who we are as patriotic North Carolinians. @MarkRobinsonNC’s assault weapon threats are bad enough, but an elected official sworn to uphold the constitution advocating violent overthrow of our govt shames NC and puts our safety and our democracy at risk.Gov. Roy Cooper, Twitter
At NRA convention
During the weekend, after his remarks at the NRA convention in Houston, Robinson sparred with people he called “the leftists back home” about his speech at the convention. Although former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republican leaders also spoke, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pulled out.
After a prayer breakfast on Sunday, he told KRIV-Ch. 26 in Houston he would not address proposed gun legislation being discussed nationally.
“We need more security in our schools, and that’s the answer to stop these things,” he told KRIV. “I think the beginning of a solution is to take care of our children the same way we see fit to take care of our politicians in Washington, DC. We don’t spare a dime when it comes to their defense. We got every metal detector. We’ve got every gun available. We’ve got every security measure available to the people in our halls of government. We do not provide that to our children.”
He also said that the country had “made an enemy out of law enforcement, instead of partnering with them,” he said. “If we would partner with law enforcement, they could bring solutions to protect our schools.”
He told KRIV that he couldn’t comment on the delayed response by law enforcement who waited more than an hour before entering the classroom at Robb Elementary and killing the gunman.