The Nebraska Firearms Owners Association on Monday said it was moving its annual meeting from Discount Enterprises Guns to the Omaha Gun Club after it learned of "disturbing information" about an employee of the Lincoln gun shop and firing range.
Two weeks before association members were to gather at DEGuns, which sits on 34 acres near 134th and O streets east of Lincoln, the education and lobbyist group said it will move its Aug. 25 conference to a venue "more compatible with our organization."
The firearms group, which represents 10,000 gun owners in the state, did not identify the employee of DEGuns that caused it to seek a new location for its annual meeting, but said the employee does "not reflect or resemble the values, beliefs, or ideas of NFOA or its members."
On Sunday, Anti-Fascist Action Nebraska, which tracks and writes about white supremacists and white nationalists living in Nebraska, identified the employee as David Pringle.
A gunsmith at DEGuns according to his Facebook profile, Pringle was a former leader of the Alaska chapter of National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, and as of 2016 was the chief of staff of the National Vanguard, a white nationalist and neo-Nazi organization based in West Virginia.
Pringle contributed a blog post to the National Vanguard's website last November, and was praised by the neo-Nazi group's leader along with others "who make our growing and inspiring White community what it is."
The Anti-Fascist Action Nebraska blog also published an image of Pringle appearing to pose with David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as social media posts purportedly authored by Pringle in which he appears to celebrate the violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017 that ended in the death of Heather Heyer.
Reached Monday evening, Pringle said the allegations against him were "provably untrue," but did not elaborate.
He also criticized the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association for "failing gun owners at every level," including not pushing for state control of gun laws.
"I met their board and was underwhelmed and embarrassed for the gun owners of this state," Pringle said in a Facebook message. "They went from high fives in the gun shop to virtue signalling (sic) with one half-assed blog post from an anonymous internet source? That's solid."
Late Monday night, DEGuns said it supports the First and Second Amendments "with an egalitarian society."
"We do not have any political affiliation," the business said in an email. "We do not support fake or malicious news or their sources public or anonymous."
In its Monday statement, the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association said it stood for the "Constitution and the Bill of Rights that uphold the 2nd Amendment, individual liberty, and respect for all."
"Intolerance and hate are not compatible with our vision, mission, or values," the group said. "There is no place for intolerance in our fight for equality in Firearms Freedom."
The group urged DEGuns to "consider taking appropriate personnel action to avoid damage to the reputation" of its business, adding it looked forward to holding its event at the Omaha Gun Club near 84th Street and West Center Road.
"Omaha Gun Club has hosted our events in the past and we believe they have a vision of inclusiveness that is more compatible with our organization," the firearms group said.
A Nebraska congressman who agreed to give a keynote speech at the Aug. 25 event thanked the firearms association for "immediately taking proactive steps in separating themselves from a morally disgusting ideology that does not reflect their values and mission, nor mine."
Rep. Don Bacon, who represents Nebraska's 2nd congressional district which includes Omaha and Sarpy County, was asked to speak at the event through his campaign office, according to a spokeswoman.
Bacon's office learned of Pringle's employment at DEGuns, as well as his past association with white supremacist groups, late Sunday.
"As someone who believes we are all equal in the creator's eyes, I absolutely rebuke and denounce white supremacy, white nationalism and any other form of racism," Bacon said in a statement.