On Saturday, February 23rd, NRA Executive Vice President addressed the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City. The following is Mr. LaPierre’s response to call for Universal Background Checks:
I know that you, as gun owners and NRA members, deeply care about our Second Amendment freedom in the United States. The Second Amendment is not just words on parchment. It was not a frivolous “suggestion” from our Founding Fathers to be interpreted according to whim. It lies at the very heart of what this country was founded upon. Our Founding Fathers knew that without the Second Amendment, all of our other freedoms could be in jeopardy. Our individual freedoms — that we have as American citizens — are the very essence of America. They are what make America unique.
As we sit here tonight, we are now facing the single most devastating attack on the Second Amendment this country has ever seen. From the moment the horrible tragedy in Newtown happened, the NRA focused on what would make our schools safer. Every parent cares about protecting our kids at school and we proposed the presence of an armed police officer or security official in every school in America.
But I’ve been amazed at how rapidly this debate deteriorated from what has proven to work to what has proven to be the political agenda of those bent on attacking the Second Amendment to our Constitution. Dianne Feinstein herself commented that she has had her gun ban legislation in her desk for over a year — waiting for the right time to introduce it.
Really? Waiting for an unspeakable act to occur so the American people could be persuaded to buy into her political agenda? It’s not about making our kids or our streets safer, it’s all about their decades-old agenda.
The elites in Washington are not serious. Even in his State of the Union Address where he laid out his second term agenda, President Obama made not one mention — not one word — of the need to improve security for our schools.
Why? Because they’re not serious about taking steps that actually work. They’re not serious about prosecuting violent criminals. Vice President Biden even admitted it, saying they don’t have time to prosecute. They don’t have time?
They’re not serious about fixing the mental health system. They’ve emptied the institutions and every police officer knows dangerous people out there on the streets right now. They shouldn’t be on the streets, they’ve stopped taking their medicine and yet they’re out there walking around.
And here’s the dirty little secret they don’t want you to know. The politicians who are trying to ban your guns and restrict your freedom, many of them are exactly the very same politicians who, for more than two decades, have been blocking efforts to get records of those adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous into the national instant check system. Talk about hypocrisy!
What they are serious about is banning, taxing and taking what they want. And leaving you, the average citizen all over our great country, as the first and least capable person in society of being able to defend yourself.
The powerful elites aren’t talking about limiting their capacity for protection. They’ll have all the security they want.
Our only means of security is the Second Amendment. When the glass breaks in the middle of the night, we have the right to defend ourselves.
If they limit our access to semi-automatic technology and high- capacity magazines, they limit our ability to defend ourselves. And they don’t have the right to take that right away!
The media called me crazy when I said that given a second term, Obama would come after our guns. Okay, I was wrong. He did it BEFORE his second term had even officially begun.
At the very heart of their anti-gun agenda is what they call “universal background checks.” I’ve heard people say, “Well, why not? Background checks, it all sounds so reasonable?”
But don’t you be fooled. There is nothing “universal” nor “reasonable” about it. They ought to stop pretending and stop calling it what it will never be. Criminals will never be a part of it. And I have now come to believe after trying to get it done for more than 20 years, that neither will those adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous by a court of law.
There are 23 states that are still putting in almost no records to the National Instant Check System, and many that are putting in none. This so-called universal “background check” that you’re hearing about all over the media from President Obama and some of the other politicians in Washington is aimed at one thing — it’s aimed at registering your guns. When another tragic “opportunity” presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns.
That may very well be the most honest moment in Chuck Schumer’s career. Let me say it here and now and for all the world to hear — for once in my life, I agree with Chuck Schumer. This is not universal background checks. This is universal registration of all your firearms from all of people like you all over America.
Imagine right now your name on a massive government list. Your name, on that list. You saw what New York Journal News did last December. They obtained the names and addresses of every handgun permit holder in two New York counties. They posted those names and addresses on an interactive map.
So picture this: Your name, your address on a map — giving directions to your home that could include a list of the specific firearms you own. That’s a pretty handy list if you’re a seasoned criminal, drug dealer or gang member.
How safe do you think that government list will be? Think it’s secure? Well, WikiLeaks had no trouble tapping into secret documents in government computers. And China, you’ve been reading about it for the last week or two, hacked right in to Pentagon computers.
New York isn’t the only state to weigh in. Legislation has been proposed in Missouri and Minnesota that requires law-abiding gun owners — people like you and me — to surrender thousands of rifles, shotguns and handguns from their personal collections. Guns that were passed down to them by fathers and grandfathers. Guns legitimately owned, guns legally purchased — until the government decided otherwise.
Was this what our Founding Fathers intended? Was this what they imagined when they so carefully worded our Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States?
How about the state of Washington? If you live there, know that a bill was introduced that allows the local sheriff to inspect your home to make sure your firearms are securely stored — even without a warrant. Refusing to comply and you know what, you could get a year in jail. Just think about that.
Law-abiding gun owners all over the state rose up and rallied against that proposal. When their voices were heard, legislation was pulled from consideration just this week. That’s what it takes — our voice to be heard loud and clear!
California. If you live there, legislation is pending to register and tax ammunition sales. Legislation is pending that would confiscate hundreds of thousands of legally owned firearms and millions of legally owned magazines.
And no matter what state you live in, I ask you, “What is in your gun cabinet right now? What do you have that was given to you by a family member or friend?” Owning them in the future could make you a felon.
If all this isn’t enough, President Obama’s friends in the Mexican government have requested our United States Senate to create a registry of firearms in this country — the United States of America — and then send that list to Mexico, one of the most corrupt governments in the world! What is the point of THAT?!
I can’t help but think that as Americans we all want the same thing. We know our mental health system is in shambles. We all want it fixed. We want criminals with guns to be prosecuted and incarcerated. We want the federal gun laws on the books rights now to be enforced against felons with guns, against drug dealers with guns, against gangs with guns. If they’d just do that, those violent criminals would be off the streets and they wouldn’t be on their way to the next crime scene. They’d be in prison right now. We’re sick, all of us as Americans, we’re sick of the catch-and-release criminal justice system.
We want our children all over this country to be safe and we want them protected. That’s why we proposed trained police and security officers in every school. There’s not a mom or dad that wouldn’t feel better when they dropped their kid off at school and saw a police car in the parking lot. There’s not a mom or dad all over our country in America that doesn’t want their children protected.
If the Washington elites really wanted the same thing, they would stop demonizing law-abiding gun owners. They would stop trying to convince the American people that all gun owners are potential criminals in waiting. And they would actually implement programs that addressed the real problems in a real and meaningful way to make this country and our streets safe.
Put police and trained armed security in every school. Enforce the federal gun laws on the books right now. Interdict and incarcerate violent criminals before they get to the next crime scene. Rebuild our broken mental health system. Help the mentally ill by getting them off our streets and getting them into treatment. And for God’s sake, leave the good and honest, decent law-abiding people all over this country alone!
The vast majority of the American people are behind us. We at the NRA are now nearly 5 million strong. By the congressional elections of 2014, I promise you this, we’re going to be a lot stronger.
We will stand and fight against political hypocrisy. We tell the truth and we unflinchingly defend our constitutional rights.
We are all proud to defend that freedom and we are never, ever gonna be ashamed of it, Mr. President. As lawful gun owners, we deserve nothing less than the absolute respect — that’s what we deserve. As law-abiding gun owners, we deserve nothing less than absolute respect as people that believe in our individual rights, believe in individual responsibility, believe in protecting our families and believe in defending our country.
So here’s what I want you to do. This coming week, I want you to call your Congressmen and Senators. And I want you to let your individual voice be heard. And then I’m asking you to sit down and write a handwritten letter and follow-up with an email.
And I want you to tell me right now, are you going to stand up for your rights? Come on, stand up right now! Let ‘em hear you all the way back to Washington D.C.! Let your voice be heard. We will NOT let you take our freedom!
This is the strongest, best nation on the planet — because our Constitution and our Bill of Rights imparts the greatest freedom on earth. We, all of us, standing here right now will stand together and fight and, by God together, we will prevail in defending our freedoms!
Images courtesy NRAblog