The conservative head of the Family Research Council said on Thursday that the alleged gunman accused of injuring a man with the intent to do further harm was “given a license” by a watchdog group that had previously labeled the FRC as a “hate” organization.
Speaking on Fox News, Tony Perkins said that while the suspected shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins, was ultimately responsible for his actions, “I believe he was given a license to do that by a group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center … which labeled us a ‘hate group' because we defend the family and we stand for traditional, orthodox Christianity.” He later added: “They are responsible for creating an environment that led to yesterday's shooting.”
Representatives for the SPLC, which monitors hate crimes, did not have an immediate response to Perkins’s remarks.
In 2010, citing its antigay rhetoric, the SPLC slapped the “hate group” label on the Family Research Council—lumping it with the Ku Klux Klan.
Perkins said he objected to such a “reckless” designation, which he said was an attempt to silence his group over a disagreement.
Perkins said that the victim of the shooting, Leo Johnson, was recovering well from his gunshot wound to the arm, and called his actions “heroic.” He said that contrary to early reports Johnson was not a security guard, but an unarmed building operations manager who doubles as security.