- Three pro-gun activist brothers are running several private Facebook groups in order to organize protests against coronavirus lockdowns.
- The Washington Post first reported that the three brothers, named Ben Dorr, Christopher Dorr, and Aaron Dorr, were behind several state-specific Facebook pages. Business Insider confirmed that these men are listed as admins on the groups mentioned in The Post report.
- The groups, which call for action against “excessive quarantine,” have amassed tens of thousands of members in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
- According to The Post, the Dorr brothers also manage several pro-gun groups across a few states and have bypassed certain laws that would require them to register as lobbyists, arguing that they are grassroots organizations.
- A spokesperson for Facebook told The Post that the groups were not removed because the activity was not illegal in the states the groups are based in.
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Three brothers, who run several pro-gun activist groups across multiple states, are also behind several private Facebook groups that are organizing protests against coronavirus lockdowns.
The Washington Post first reported that the three brothers, named Ben Dorr, Christopher Dorr, and Aaron Dorr, were behind several state-specific Facebook pages calling for anti-lockdown protests. Business Insider confirmed that these men are listed as admins on the groups mentioned in The Post report.
According to The Post, the brothers also manage several pro-gun groups, including Minnesota Gun Rights, that seek to challenge firearm organizations like the National Rifle Association for being too restrictive on gun laws.
The Post said Ben Dorr created “Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine” on Wednesday, and by Sunday night it had amassed over 99,000 members. Aaron Dorr created “New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine,” which had around 24,000 members by Sunday night, while brother Christopher Dorr created two groups: “Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine” which had over 65,000 members on Sunday evening, and “Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine,” which had over 14,000 members by Sunday evening.
Ben Dorr, along with members from the “Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine” group, created an event for a drive-in rally at the state capital next week, according to The Post.
The descriptions listed on some of the pages are similarly worded, further linking them together. The Wisconsin Facebook group’s about page says: “It’s time to OPEN OUR STATE and STOP Gov. Evers’ Excessive Quarantine! Politicians are on a power trip, controlling our lives, destroying our businesses, passing laws behind the cover of darkness and forcing us to hand over our freedoms and our livelihood!” The Pennsylvania group’s about page is nearly identical, with Gov. Tom Wolf’s name slotted in.
According to The Post, some of the groups peddle right-wing conspiracy theories, like that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers imposed a lockdown on his state in order to “appease pharmaceutical giants.” Some of the pages also link to pro-gun group websites.
Former Iowa state legislator, Republican Clel Baudler, told the Washington Post: “The brothers will do anything to fan the flames of a controversial issue, and maybe make a quick nickel.”
According to The Post, the Dorr brothers have bypassed certain laws that would require them to register as lobbyists, claiming that the groups they operate are considered grassroots activism.
A spokesperson for Facebook told The Post that the groups were not removed because the activity was not illegal in the states the groups are based in.
Membership to the pages has been bolstered by President Donald Trump’s tweets to “LIBERATE” states from coronavirus lockdowns, in particular Virginia, saying that the state’s Second Amendment was “under siege.”
On Sunday, Trump defended anti-lockdown protesters by calling them “good people” who were suffering from “cabin fever.”
“They want their lives back,” Trump said during a coronavirus press briefing on Sunday. “I’ve never seen so many American flags. These people love our country. They want to get back to work.”
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