A Macon, Ga., councilman is drawing national attention for saying he'd pull his wife's shotgun on any U.S. Census Bureau "twerp" who tried to get him to fill out a survey.
Erick Erickson, who's filled in on a local morning radio show since its host left for a job in Dallas last week, on Monday attacked critics who said he'd threatened to shoot someone, saying he would only take the shotgun and "usher" them off the property.
On Thursday's radio show, Erickson questioned the legality of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which is replacing the "long form" of the once-a-decade census form that was given to some residents. About 3 million households receive the American Community Survey each year.
"I'm not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They're not going on my property. They can't do that. They don't have the legal right, and yet they're trying," Erickson said on the radio show.
The U.S. Census Bureau did not return several requests seeking comment for this story. Federal law appears to protect "employees of the Bureau of the Census employed in field work conducting censuses and surveys."
Erickson said Monday he's been a big supporter of the actual census and marketed it for about 15 minutes each of the first four days he was on the air. But Erickson said he doesn't regard the annual American Community Survey as part of the census. He also said he doesn't consider holding a gun as much of a threat.
"I would consider it no more threatening than them telling me I'm going to jail for not telling them how often I flush the toilet," he said.
The U.S. Census Bureau Web site states people who refuse to complete the American Community Survey can be fined up to $5,000. No jail time is mentioned on the Web site.
Erickson's comment has been mocked on Web sites including Wonkette, The Huffington Post, Politico, Examiner.com and Media Matters. NewsBusters, a conservative Web site, described the left-wing criticism as "the latest in a bizarre series of attacks from left-wing pundits and their heroes."
Erickson's new job as a pundit on CNN's "John King, USA" also was blasted last week by "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who said "only CNN could hire a guy whose entire resume is incendiary partisan rhetoric and then act like that's the part of him they don't like."
Erickson has come under fire for his comments before. Last year on Twitter, he called former Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat ----ing child molester" and this year called two U.S. senators "health-care suicide bombers."
Read more of this story at Macon.com