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Lawrence D. Pratt (born November 13, 1942) is the executive director of Gun Owners of America, a U.S.-based firearms lobbying group, and a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Early life

Larry Pratt was born in Camden, New Jersey on November 13, 1942. His father was an electrical engineer. Several years after graduating from American University with a degree in political science, Pratt founded Gun Owners of America.[1]

Political career

Pratt was elected to the state legislature of Virginia, as a Republican member of the 1981 session of the Virginia House of Delegates, elected from the 19th District in Fairfax County. He was also a Reagan delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention.[2]

In 1994, Pratt unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Nevada State Assembly as a Libertarian, winning 27% of the vote.[3]

In the 1996 U.S. presidential election, Pratt served as a co-chairman of Pat Buchanan's campaign. In February 1996, the liberal Center for Public Integrity issued a report that claimed Pratt spoke at meetings organized by white supremacist and militia leaders. Pratt denied any tie to racism, calling the report a smear aimed at hurting Buchanan before the New Hampshire primary election. However, Pratt was forced to resign his position with the Buchanan campaign.[4][5][6]

Pratt also addressed delegates at the 1996 national convention of the U.S. Taxpayers Party[7] (renamed the Constitution Party in 1999).

Political organizations

Pratt has founded a variety of organizations, including English First, Gun Owners of America, U.S. Border Control, and Committee to Protect the Family.[8]

Pratt is the president of English First, an organization within the English-only movement.[9] The organization was founded in 1986, and works to pass English Only amendments at both state and federal levels. Pratt also helped found and served as secretary of the Council for Inter-American Security, which was founded in 1976.[2][8] Pratt has served as a board member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, founded by Paul Weyrich.

Larry Pratt has also been listed as a member of the Council for National Policy (CNP).[10][11][12] A January 13, 2001 article in The Guardian explored Pratt's relationship with then-Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, stating they knew each other from the CNP.[13] The January 11, 2001 edition of TIME Magazine included an article on Pratt and Ashcroft's relationship.[9]

In October 1992, at Estes Park, Colorado, Pratt addressed a three-day meeting of neo-Nazis and Christian Identity adherents organized by Pete Peters in the wake of the Ruby Ridge incident.[14][15][16] Pratt shared the stage with Richard Butler and Louis Beam.

In 2004, Pratt is accompanied loyalist paramilitary sympathizer Willie Frazer on a tour of South Armagh whilst calling for the the Protestant population to be routinely armed. [17]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pratt used his Committee to Protect the Family organization to raise $150,000 for the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue which paid $50,000 in court-imposed fines.[18][19]

However, Pratt is also affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality, one of America's oldest civil rights organizations,[citation needed] and with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Anti-gun control advocate Rabbi R. Mermelstein stated, in response to an "Ask the Rabbi" question, that "Larry is a longtime friend of mine. The man doesn't have an anti-Semitic thought in his fertile, patriotic mind."[20] Pratt's wife is an immigrant from Central America, and they speak Spanish at home.

Radio and Television appearances

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Political Cesspool, Crossfire, Larry King Live, Hannity & Colmes, and the Phil Donahue Show.

Books Armed People Victorious (1990). Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution and Citizen Militias (1995). On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty (2001). 

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