John Sigler

John Sigler (Board Member)

John Sigler - Former NRA President - NRA Board Member
Former NRA President, current state Chairman of the Delaware GOP, President of the Fifty Caliber Institute.

John Sigler served as the president of the National Rifle Association—which he has called “the most mainstream group in American culture today”—from 2007 to 2009. After leaving the NRA, Sigler became chairman of the Republican State Committee of Delaware. Prior to working for the NRA, Sigler had a career in law enforcement and the United States Navy. He is also the current president of the Fifty Caliber Institute, an organization that attempts to downplay the danger posed to the public by civilian access to .50 caliber sniper rifles (a weapon invented by fellow NRA board member Ronnie G. Barrett).

While the Fifty Caliber Institute claims that the organization is “helping to make our streets and nation safer,” the gun that the organization promotes has been criticized by many—including members of law enforcement—as a weapon too dangerous for civilian use. John C. Killorin, a former special agent in charge of the Atlanta field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), called the .50 caliber sniper rifle "a devastatingly powerful weapon against which most troops, most law enforcement, no civilians, have any means of defense.” Additionally, in 2005, U.S. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) and 28 cosponsors introduced legislation that would have placed stricter regulations on .50 caliber sniper rifles by placing them in the same federal regulatory class as machine guns. The 50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Reduction Act found that, “The intended use of these long-range firearms…is the taking of human life and the destruction of materiel, including armored vehicles and such components of the national critical infrastructure as radars and microwave transmission devices, in addition 50 caliber sniper weapons pose a significant threat to civil aviation in that they are capable of destroying or disabling jet aircraft … The virtually unrestricted availability of these firearms and ammunition, given the uses intended in their design and manufacture, present a serious and substantial threat to the national security.”

Controversial Actions and Statements

Controversial Actions and Statements:

John Sigler (Board Member)

On August 27, 2012, in an interview with NRA News, Sigler stated, “The [Republican Party] platform is going to be much different than you’ve ever seen in the past. There’s an entirely new section in the platform that’s never been there before. It’s called ‘Restoring Constitutional Government.’ And it’s not just the Second Amendment, it’s the Ninth Amendment, it’s the First Amendment, it’s all about restoring constitutional government. Of course [President] Barack Obama and [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder have been thumbing their noses at the constitution for the last four years. And for someone who claims to have been a constitutional law professor God save us from what [President Obama] might have been telling his students, because he doesn’t get it. The Second Amendment is alive and well in the platform. In fact, this is the strongest Second Amendment platform that I can ever remember … I think we’ve gotten just about everything in the platform, not just in this section but in other sections, that we can hope for … Let’s begin with the first line of the Second Amendment section, it says, ‘We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen's God-given right of self-defense.’ And it goes on from there. It is a very, very strong statement that the Republican Party recognizes not just what we said in [D.C . v.] Heller and McDonald [v. Chicago] but that which we’ve always been saying here at the NRA and that is that without the Second Amendment there wouldn’t be a First [Amendment], without the Second Amendment we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have today.” When asked what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney needed to do in his convention speech, Sigler replied, “I think Governor Romney can and will explain to the American people his dream for the American future which is different from the [President Barack] Obama nightmare we’ve been living through … There is a vast difference between Mitt Romney’s vision of American and Barack Obama’s vision of America.” When asked if vice presidential picks matter, Sigler responded, “Oh, I think it matters a lot … Anybody who’s willing to stand up on the stump and make part of his speech that he’s a proud Roman Catholic deer hunter, man after my own heart … I think [Romney’s] choice of Paul Ryan, Congressman Ryan, is very, very loud testimony that he understands, that he gets it, that he understands that the Second Amendment is in fact the First Amendment when it comes to protecting the rights of the American people and our form of government … [President Barack Obama] and his administration have been a disaster for the United States and we cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama. We cannot afford not to win this election … This [Republican] Party is united behind the concept that Barack Obama has destroyed the American dream and turned it into an American nightmare and its time to return to the American dream and that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are the people to do it.” Sigler referred to two cases; District of Columbia v . Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. The Court, in Heller, held for the first time in U.S. history that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to firearm ownership for self defense in the home; striking down the District of Columbia’s handgun ban. In McDonald, the Court held that the Second Amendment, as interpreted in Heller, applied to the states through the Due Process Clause.

Republican Party (GOP) | Freedom of Speech | Political Violence | Religion

John Sigler (Board Member)

On November 8, 2011 Sigler, in his capacity as chair of the Delaware GOP, issued a statement about the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, which address increasing income disparity in America. Sigler was unhappy that the city of Wilmington, Delaware granted permits to protestors, writing, “I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the City of Wilmington has allowed this so-called ‘occupation’ to go forward.” Additionally, Sigler claimed that the Occupy protest movement is tied to “selected radical and extremist causes, and certain left-wing organizations of questionable credentials.”

Conspiracy Theory | Republican Party (GOP) | Freedom of Speech | Poverty

John Sigler (Board Member)

On September 25, 2011, Sigler attended and spoke at a “Take Back Our State Event” hosted by controversial Delaware radio personality Bill Colley. Three days before the event, Colley published an op-ed on the WGMD website—which was cross-posted on the hate website Aryan Nation—in which he compared death penalty opponents to “the liberal women of another generation who believed crawling into bed with exotic peoples was mission work. It wasn’t necessarily because you believed in equality; it was because it was the liberal version of White Man’s Burden. Heck, Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham [President Barack Obama’s mother] traveled the globe linking up with ‘savages’ and civilizing them in the sack! Her efforts even created a President of the United States.” He added, “I’m exhausted with the lists of hyphenated Americans and the people insisting they deserve a reparations payment because 200 years ago, 300 years ago, 400 years ago a guy who looked like me was mean to someone who looked like them. Where does it end? You want a reparations cheque? Fine, we’ll issue it in the form of airline tickets. We’ll send you off to a peaceful ancestral home. Much of the planet remains a lawless killing ground. You won’t even have juries and appeals. Some night when you’re sleeping a fellow looking a lot like you will creep across the compound and hack you to bits with a machete. Why? Because some warlord promised an extra ration of bush meat or some jewels or first dibs on the surviving 8 year old female children and it’s the law in most corners of the world.” Colley also Tweeted that African-Americans would be lynched and homosexuals would be burned at the event. The Delaware Liberal wrote that Sigler’s attendance—in his capacity as the chair of Delaware GOP—gave an air of legitimacy to a “racist” event.

Republican Party (GOP) | Gay Rights | Race | Women’s Rights

John Sigler (Board Member)

In 2011, Sigler warned that there is a widespread effort amongst Democrats to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with the
popular vote. Sigler warned that using the popular vote to elect U.S. presidents “would lead to rule by tyranny.”

Conspiracy Theory |

John Sigler (Board Member)

Sigler spoke to NRA News on September 30, 2010 in support of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Improvements Act of 2010, a bill that increased the concealed carry privileges of retired law enforcement officers. He imagined a hypothetical scenario where, “If I have the right to carry, not just in my home state, but while I’m traveling, I could, if I needed to, stop that terrorist attack.” When asked if he had encountered any real-life situations where he wished he was carrying a concealed firearm, Sigler answered, “Probably about three or four months ago, I was coming around the corner, I had just come out of a store and was walking down the street, and ran face to face into a guy that I thought was still in jail. He posed no threat to me. But it came as a surprise. And guess where my hand went first thing? And it wasn’t there.” Speaking on the immigration issue, Sigler said, “It’s ridiculous. Every day that passes these folks down there find more and more reasons to hate America, when in fact they should be glad we’re north of their border.”

Immigration | Vigilantism

John Sigler (Board Member)

Conspiracy Theory |

John Sigler (Board Member)

In the June 2009 edition of America’s 1st Freedom, Sigler wrote, “American firearm freedom is under attack on many fronts. Obama, Biden, Holder, Clinton Pelosi, Feinstein and other federal officials have evil designs on that freedom … They are all biding their time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike—and strike they will, unless we are united and prepared.”

Conspiracy Theory |

John Sigler (Board Member)

At a Second Amendment rights rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2009, Sigler proclaimed, “Gun registration leads to gun confiscation, as surely as thunder follows lightning.

Conspiracy Theory |

John Sigler (Board Member)

In the October 2008 edition of America’s 1st Freedom, Sigler told hunters, “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society of the United States and other anti-hunting groups nationwide are working to kill off your traditions forever.”

Animal Rights

John Sigler (Board Member)

Sigler’s first “President’s Column” in the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom magazine in May 2008 quoted from the opening lines of The American Crisis, a Thomas Paine work read to the Continental Army before the Battle of Trenton to encourage resistance against the British. Sigler compared Paine’s call for the Continental Army to oppose the tyrannical British monarchy to the need for NRA members to oppose the federal government, writing, “Right now, storm fronts are advancing within all three branches of government—executive, legislative and judicial—and threatening to combine into a catastrophe for your Second Amendment freedom.”

Conspiracy Theory | Political Violence

John Sigler (Board Member)

In an August 2006 column for America’s 1st Freedom, Sigler suggested that America was heading towards “the old European model, where police power answer to ‘the crown,’ and where the people often live in fear of criminals on one side and government officials on the other.” He also asked NRA members to demand that their local law enforcement officials sign a pledge swearing that they will never participate in firearm confiscation campaigns.

Conspiracy Theory | Political Violence

John Sigler (Board Member)

On August 25, 2012, in an interview for Delaware Online, Sigler stated, “A supermajority of Democrats in the [Delaware] House and Senate have made it very difficult in some of those races for any Republican, or any person, to logically believe they could win.” He also accused the General Assembly’s Democratic leadership of using the legislative redistricting process that followed the 2010 U.S. Census to pad registration numbers in their incumbent districts, stating, “That’s called gerrymandering. I would be very concerned if a Republican candidate came to me and said ‘I can win in that district despite 70 percent registration against me.’”

Republican Party (GOP) |
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