Many supposedly grassroots reopen sites are tied to one pro-gun lobbyist - 2020-04-24
Over the past month, seemingly spontaneous protest sites have popped up throughout the country that advocate for an end to lockdowns various states have mandated in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Now, security researchers have tied much of this seemingly grassroots activity to a single person.
Aaron Dorr is a well-known activist and lobbyist who has long been known for his advocacy of firearms ownership. Over a five-hour span on April 8, he registered six domains—reopenohio.com, reopenpa.com, reopenmn.com, reopeniowa.com, reopenwyoming.com, and reopenmissouri.com—and nine days later purchased reopentxnow.com.
He and his brothers then used a variety of state-specific Facebook groups, which according to the Des Moines Register have a total of more than 200,000 followers, to drive massive amounts of traffic to the newly registered addresses. In turn, the domains redirected visitors to a host of state-specific gun advocacy sites, such as Iowa Gun Owners. Each gun ownership site used a different organization name and prominently displayed banners decrying the lockdowns in their respective states.