Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association, speaks at David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend:
I really do appreciate the chance to be with all of you today at – you know, what I love about NRA is that NRA is an organization in the country where people can come together one by one, as individuals. And when you put all of our voices together we can truly go out and change the history of this country and the history of the world.
I mean NRA stands there for what it believes, is willing to fight on principle, and that changes everything in this country. Because one by one, by one, all over the United States the voices are magnified. And the end product of that truly changes the world.
I know that’s why, and a lot of you are NRA members. That’s why we all got involved in the organization. That’s why Charleton Heston got involved WITH the organization. When you think about the United States we're the one country in the world that was formed not on a race, not on a religion, not on a royalty, but on a set of God-given inalienable freedoms and rights. That’s what makes the United States different from every other country in the world.
It, and that’s what all of us are here for in terms of the NRA. You know, they say the constitution provides the doorway to freedom of press and religion, and assembly, and all the freedoms that we care about. But that doorway is truly framed with the muskets that first defended freedom at Concord Bridge, and that’s the Second Amendment today.
You look at – people forget, that as Americans, we still have to go there, and stand there and defend freedom every day. The day we stop doing that is the day we’re going to lose our freedoms. They’re just words on a piece of paper unless we go out and stand-up for them.
Think back, only a few years ago to the Clinton years. I know, and I know it’s painful, it’s really painful for me! But what they were trying to do, they were trying to sue the great names in American Firearms Manufacturing right out of business. It – they were trying to say that ‘in order to buy a firearm in this country, to defend your family, to defend yourself, you would have to take a Federal test mandated by Janet Reno.’ I wonder how many of us would have passed Janet Reno's Federal test? I mean, I'm sure Al Gore would have gotten an A+. But the rest of us would have been flat out of luck.
And on, and on, and on it went. During the whole Clinton, Gore Administration. They even had a lot of phony research. This Professor down at Emory University, [Belisle] [ph] came-out with a book saying ‘back in Colonial times they didn’t like firearms.’ There were no firearms back then. And I mean the guy was given the Bancroft Prize, which is the Nobel Prize for American History. He – all over ‘The New York Times,’ ‘The Washington Post,’ only one problem, the book turned-out to be a total fraud. It – you probably didn’t read that in ‘The New York Times,’ and ‘The Washington Post.’ His research was based on the records in San Francisco, the probate records, and it turns-out they were all destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire, they didn’t even exist.
And on, and on, and on it went. All kinds of phony statistics on the gun issue. Thirteen children a day are killed, you hear that over, and over, and over again. I mean they aren’t children, they’re 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 year-old violent juveniles. Everything they’re doing with a gun is already illegal, they shouldn’t be on the street, they’re gang-bangers. And they’re not, they’re certainly not children as the media would lead you to believe. And yet, on, and on, and on during the Clinton years we were subjected to phony research, we were subjected to one new gun scheme after another.
And meanwhile, the American public set-out there watching all of this, and I believe all over the heartland of the country, building up ‘hey, we’re going to get our chance to do something about this.’ And then the 2000 election came along. And it was unbelievable.
I was on the road campaigning with Charleton Heston, and you know, funny stuff still does happen when you have a guy like Charleton Heston as the President of the Organization. I was with him when the baggage guy ran-up to him and said ‘hey, Richard Burton, I’ve been a big fan!’ And Charleton Heston, he did it in a nice way, but he held-out his hand and with that big old, booming voice of his he said ‘young man, if I were Richard Burton this hand would feel a whole lot colder to your right now!’ So, but the truth – he really did, I mean he’s an amazing guy.
But, you know, the truth is at those rallies there were five, 10, 11,000 people to rally, yelling ‘freedom, freedom!’ It looked like Mel Gibson’s guys from the movie ‘Braveheart.’ And you knew something was going to happen.
They had Rosie O’Donnell scheduled to go into Tennessee to campaign for Al Gore a couple of weeks before the election, and they had to cancel her appearance. I mean, here’s Rosie, you talk about elitism. She thinks it’s perfectly okay for her to be protected by bodyguards with firearms that she hires, because she’s special. She’s elite, she’s privileged in her own mind. She deserves protection. But the rest of us, the normal people, we’re flat-out of luck.
Well, they had to cancel Rosie coming into Tennessee, and you just knew that something was happening, and something was going to change. And Al Gore was defeated, as you know. Even Bill Clinton had to admit, he said ‘looking back on it,’ he said ‘it was probably the gun issue that played a huge part in the defeat of Al Gore in that election.’
And as Ralph said, I mean ‘they weren’t prosecuting the bad guys.’ We have all kinds of firearms laws on the books. If a felon touches a gun it’s five years in Federal prison. If someone is illegally smuggling guns the Federal penalty is five years in Federal prison per gun. If a drug dealer has a gun the penalty is 10 to 20 years in Federal prison.
You want to stop crime, go out and enforce those laws! You can put all the bad guys in jail, and yet …
And yet they weren’t doing it. Richmond, Virginia the one city that did it, we cut crime with guns by 65 percent the first year with that program, and it ought to be in every city in the country. And that would make people safe. But I mean they weren’t doing it, we had the 2000 election, and thank goodness it turned-out the way it did.
I was up at Harvard not too long ago with the President of the AFL-CIO, of all people, at the School of Government and Politics. Because the polls show that in union households gun ownership runs from a low, which is really a high of 48 percent in California to 60, 70, 80 percent, in States like West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, out in the heartland of the country.
And of those union households that had a firearm in it up to 50 percent voted for President Busch as opposed to Al Gore based on the gun issue, and that was the election right there. It – and that’s why you’ve had this silence on the gun issue out of many Democrats for the last two years.
A lot of good stuff has happened. I mean President Busch and Attorney General Ashcroft have now reversed the Clinton Gore Policy of saying ‘there is no Second Amendment.’ Gore said ‘it applied.’ And Clinton, the official policy of the U.S. Government back there in the Clinton years was it applied only to the Government, the Second Amendment, not to individual citizens. And that they had the right to ban every firearm in the United States.
Now President Busch and Attorney General Ashcroft have put the Government back, saying ‘it’s clearly your individual freedom.’ And that’s going to make a big difference down the road.
I mean how they could have ever gotten anywhere else, I don’t know. You read every writing from our founding fathers, and they all say ‘it’s an individual right and freedom.’ Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Noah Webster, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, all of their writings they talk about it’s an individual right. It’s in 44 State Constitutions that it’s an individual freedom and right. Even Al Gore’s attorney, Lawrence [Tribe] [ph], says ‘it’s an individual right.’ The position of the Kennedy Administration was ‘it’s an individual right.’ And yet, Clinton, Gore, ‘it’s only the Government.’
Despite the fact that we’ve had a lot of good success the last two years we can’t rest. If you look around the world free people are being systematically disarmed. As we sit here today the United States is the last country in the world where free people have a right to own a firearm. A right. The last country in the world.
If you look at what happened in England, all of the politicians in England said ‘register all your firearms, we’ll never ban them, trust us, just register all of them.’ And the people in England, one by one, lined-up all the good guys, all the lawful people, and registered every one of their firearms with the Government.
The next thing that happened the politicians broke their promises, they enacted the ban, they had the list, and the next thing was a knock on the door to confiscate the guns. And all over England, there were tears on the part of the law-abiding people that lined-up and turned over their firearms. The Government after they did that had the gall to announce that they had taken firearms off the streets of England all together.
Yeah, sure, they’d taken all the good guys firearms away. If you look at what’s happened in England since that ban a couple of years ago, gun crime has gone-up by 50 percent since they enacted the ban. England now leads the United States by a wide margin in robberies, by a wide margin in aggravated assaults. And yet the honest people that dare try to defend themselves with a firearm, that didn’t turn-in their firearm are thrown in jail.
We just had Tony Martin, a farmer, sitting at home late at night, three robbers broke into his farm, one with 25 arrests, one with 30 arrests, and one with 13 arrests. He didn’t turn-in his shotgun, and he picked it up, he shot one of the robbers, and he sits in England in prison today as we sit here. Because in England they get you two ways. They say that ‘if you dare defend yourself it has to be reasonable.’ And that’s going to be determined by a judge. And two, they say that ‘offensive weapons of any kind are outlawed.’ And that’s everything from a baseball bat to if you still have a firearm.
You know, they ought to listen to Oliver Wendell Holmes, which is still the best Supreme Court Case we ever had on that subject, that said ‘detached reflection by a judge cannot be demanded in the presence of a criminal’s upheld knife.’ And that’s really the truth.
And yet, England has turned the world upside down, all the law-abiding folks’ guns were sent to the scrap heap, cut-up, destroyed, and yet the criminals, they’re all still out there doing their business.
It’s the same in Australia, they called it a gun buyback program in Australia. What it really was was turn-in your guns, go to prison. You hear the other side in this country talk a lot about loopholes, they’re always throwing out the word loophole. Well, in Australia, before they enacted the ban Rebecca Peters said that every licensed firearm and registered firearm in Australia was a loophole and needed to be banned. She is now sitting in New York City at the Open Society Institute running George [Sorose’s] [ph] Global Gun Ban Project up there.
So they’re coming right here to the United States. We had a treaty in the U.N. two years ago, they were trying to put through, and they haven’t given-up, trying to outlaw idividual ownership of firearms worldwide. And believe me, it just galls you to sit there and watch North Korea, and Cuba, and Iraq, vote for that treaty. And thank goodness for President Busch who sent John Bolton who was here at your conference, up to the U.N., walked-in and said ‘in the United States of America we have the freedom to own firearms, and the U.S. will never, ever, ever be a part of this treaty!’
And, you know, here in the United States, despite this – what’s going on in these other countries, we have 33 States now where you have a right as a law-abiding citizen to be able to have a firearm and carry firearm for personal protection. Crime is going down in those States.
You know, Hillary Clinton likes to channel-through to Eleanor Roosevelt. Maybe she ought to listen to Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt like to go for drives in the country. And one of the things she liked to do was give her security forces the slip when she did that, and go alone. Well, the head of the FBI went to Eleanor Roosevelt, and gave her a firearm. This is in all of her memoirs. And said ‘Miss Roosevelt, if you insist on ditching us and taking those drives in the country, please carry this with you to protect yourself.’ And she did, religiously, throughout her entire life. She could tell Hillary Clinton a word or two about what the Second Amendment means, and about personal protection.
If you look in this country since 9/11, that horrible day, Americans went-out and bought firearms all over the country. They prayed, and they went-out and bought firearms. I had ABC, NBC, CBS, ‘The New York Times’ called me up, going ‘Wayne, can you explain why Americans are buying guns?’ I mean they were – they were truly – they couldn’t believe it.
And I’m like ‘are you kidding?’ You know, if you look at history, whenever people feel threatened, they don’t know where the threat might come from, they feel safer facing that threat with a firearm than without them. It’s one of the great strengths of our country.
Even Congressman, I had Capitol Hill Police tell me Congressman that had voted every single time to ban firearms went-out and bought a firearm and went to the Capitol Hill Police and said ‘please train us, we’re scared.’ And we want to be able to protect ourselves.
I’ll tell you somebody else that we’re going to make sure gets that right, and that’s our commercial airline pilots in this country!
You know, all you have to do is listen to the stories of what happened in the sky, not on the ones that were hijacked, but on the other planes that were up in the air that day. Where they were looking for wine bottles an champagne bottles to defend the cockpit with. To know that we need to have a firearm in that cockpit as a last resort if a hijacker is coming through the door. They can’t dial 911 at 30,000 feet. And we’re going to make sure they get that right.
Meanwhile, what’s the gun ban movement doing? They’ve changed all their material. They now say that firearms need to be banned, firearms need to be registered with the Government. Gun shows need to be shut-down, they say, to fight terrorists. And they’re trying to conjure-up in the American public’s mind the image of these State supported terrorists groups like Hamas and [Hesbullah] [ph] out of the Middle East, walking around gun shows in Michigan and Maine looking for a shotgun or two.
I mean they really are! Eric Holder wrote in ‘The Washington Post’ if ‘Osama bin Laden wanted to go to a gun show’ – I mean actually wrote that. John Conyer said ‘we’ve got the terrorist issue.’ Diane Feinstein said ‘it’s actually been documented that terrorists are buying their firearms at gun shows.’ And on, and on, and on it goes.
I’ve really come to believe if you look at this country so much of it comes down to freedom loving Americans versus a segment of freedom fearing politicians.
And those politicians, the ones I’m talking about, somehow they believe that they’re smarter than the rest of us. That they’re more capable of managing our lives than we are, that we ought to live our lives in fishbowls, that we can’t be trusted.
But freedom is okay for the elite, and the privileged, and the rock stars, and the wealthy, and all of that. Somehow, but the rest of us, no, no, no! I mean you see that attitude right now in two areas, I think, where we’re really going to see this come to a head.
One of them is already coming to a head on this whole campaign finance issue. I believe that this is the free speech case of our lifetime. And I think we’re going to win it.
It goes – it goes to the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia on December 4th. And then, as you know, right on to the Supreme Court. And again, I was proud of the NRA. The NRA was the first organization in the United States standing there to file suit when the doors opened in Federal Court.
And you know, that issue, ABC, NBC, CBS, and all the politicians didn’t want to talk about this. But let me tell you why this issue is so important, just real quick. You know, the First Amendment, it’s not the politicians amendment, it’s our amendment. I was sitting in a college class the other day talking to the kids. And I was going ‘it’s your freedom, the First Amendment.’
This whole debate has been talked about only in terms of the politicians. Like somehow the First Amendment is their amendment, not ours. It’s the people’s amendment. It’s our amendment. We get to criticize those politicians any time we want. 90 days, 100 days, five minutes before an election. We the people ought to get to say what we want about them.
This comes down to, when you look at their depositions, they just don’t like being criticized. I mean – and let me – Senator [Wellstone] [ph] before that horrible tragedy, ‘I think issue advocacy ads are a nightmare, all of us should hate them, we need to get the poison off of television.’ Senator Cantwell, and these are from their depositions, ‘it’s about slowing political advertising, and making the flow of those negative ads stop.’ Senator Jeffers, ‘the point here is the ads, the opposition comes forth with a barrage of ads.’ John McKane said the same thing. Senator Dashel said the same thing.
As if the First Amendment says that ‘you have a right to speak except if you run a negative ad, except if you do it over and over prior to an election. Except if you do it repetitively.’ I mean that's what they would make you think.
I mean I sit with a group like the NRA, believe me, you’re only way to be heard is by the ability to buy advertising time. A street corner doesn’t work anymore in America in the 21st Century.
What we’re really talking about on this issue is whether your voice should be allowed to be amplified in the national debate. That’s the real issue the Supreme Court is going to consider. If they don’t overturn this here’s the way it’s going to work. A politician can make a completely groundless charge. It will be repeated by ABC, NBC, and CBS, particularly against conservatives, and certainly on the gun issue. Over, and over, and over again. And yet, we will have no way of joining the dialogue on that issue.
The way we join the dialogue with President Clinton is he said he needed more gun laws. He said the NRA was responsible for killing in this country. He said the reason they didn’t have crime in Europe was there was no NRA in Europe. And that was repeated over, over, and over by the media.
Now the way the NRA joined the dialogue is by purchasing paid media time, putting Charleton Heston on, saying ‘that’s a lie.’ And suddenly, you’ve got a fight going. And suddenly the media was forced to cover what they didn’t want to cover. You take away the ability of all of us to buy paid media time, within 90 days of an election it is going to be a one-sided dialogue on the part of the politicians that are getting a super-sized freedom, and on the part of the big media companies, ABC, NBC, CBS, General Electric, Viacom, a Time Warner AOL. They’re going to get to say whatever they want, and yet all the rest of us are going to be a whisper in the wind.
And that’s why we have to win this case. The First Amendment is not a road to manipulated lies, which is what John McKane, and Senator Dashel, and all of that group would have you believe. The First Amendment in the United States is the road to truth, and that’s why I believe we’re going to win this.
But I mean one final point on this, I mean they’re saying that they’re against corporate money in a discreet amount used to buy ad time. Unless the amount of money is so enormous that you can buy the entire network. And if the amount of money is so enormous that you can buy the entire network you can say whatever you want. It is completely crazy what they’re trying to do.
The other area, real quick, is this whole issue of terrorism is not going away. You know it, and I know it for the near future. Whenever you look at the world and history, in this type of situation there are always politicians that are saying ‘you can be more safe by being less free.’ They offer the illusion of security by saying ‘just give-up a little bit of your freedom.’
The technologies are almost unlimited, what’s being invented by corporations. They can look at the irises in your eyes, and they can tell who you are. They can look at the body’s unique dimensions, and tell who you are. The walking profiles of your feet. They’ve got computers programmed to look at your face, and your expression, and try to read what’s in your heart. All of this, there’s going to be pressure to put this online in terms of our society.
And we’re going to have a big decision as to what type of country we live-in in the next 10 to 20 years. All of it will also be about guns. Guns will be the first on the chopping block with all of that. National ID cards, you name it.
But I believe, with all my heart, that the more we tolerate the forfeiture of our freedom in this country the more our privacy becomes a luxury, the more our freedom becomes suspect. The more we allow those freedom-fearing politicians to have the Government distrust us, and we start to distrust each other, the more our freedoms are going to fingerprinted, X-rayed, photographed, strip-searched, and ultimately lost.
In the coming days and ahead I believe that the true American patriot is going to be the American that defends American freedom as defined by the Bill of Rights in this country. Because when you look at it, that individual freedom we have is the most precious freedom the world’s every known. It’s what makes our country different from every other place in the world.
And I hope all of you, and I promise you, the NRA will be there every step of the way, in the days and the weeks ahead we’ll stand unflinchingly for these great individual personal freedoms in the Bill of Rights we have as Americans, that make our country, the United States, the greatest nation in all of mankind!
Thank you very much! Thanks.
Thank you! David says ‘we’re going to take a few questions.’ Yes, sir.
QUESTION: I wish to heck that my Northwest Airlines’ pilot’s son, who lives in Las Vegas and is licensed to carry a firearm, could have been here. I guess I’ll be his surrogate, but I wanted David to reaffirm that all of these talks will be archived on front page, so that anyone who isn’t lucky enough to be here would be able to avail themselves of them.
UNKNOWN: [Inaudible – off mic.]
QUESTION: Wayne, just a point of information, as I recall, there was a case in Texas in Federal Court in which the Judge upheld the Second Amendment as an individual right, and then it worked its way up. What ever happened to that case? Is that an idiosyncratic case, or are there other cases like that? What’s the likelihood of it getting to the Supreme Court, and getting an authoritative decision?
WAYNE LA PIERRE: You know, that case, the Emerson case you’re talking about, that was a great case in that Circuit. And it did – the Court very clearly said ‘it’s an individual right.’ And that, in fact, that’s the case that the Clinton Administration went on record saying ‘there is no individual freedom under the Second Amendment to own a firearm in this country.’ And that’s the case that the Clinton Administration argued the position that they have the right to ban every firearm from every citizen in the country.
And that case, I don’t believe it’s been appealed to the Supreme Court. Sandy, it has not been? No, it has not been appealed to the Supreme Court, it stands in that Circuit. We are looking in the near future at a Supreme Court case. I – there’s a lot of plaintiffs that want to do it. We have women in Washington, D.C. where you’re prohibited by the D.C. Gun Law of protecting yourself with the firearm. And yet, criminals rule many parts of that city, as you know. And I’d sure like to get one or two more Supreme Court appointments in there, you know, before it reaches the Supreme Court.
QUESTION: I would like to make a suggestion that you take some of your research, such as crime going up in Britain up after the ban, and also the point about children who are being killed being emotionally, probably kids who are involved in drug-dealing and what-not killing each other. And if you turn those into ads, they don’t have to be in 30-second format, but that can be e-mailed by people, because sometimes words have a certain amount of impact, but images have even more.
And it’s obviously enormously expensive in some markets for anybody to try to communicate through broadcast media. But to be able to use an ad that you’ve already produced and is their in the shelf, and we can access from a web site, and get virally marketed web site, or e-mail list to e-mail list I think would have impact.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Yeah, that’s a good idea. I mean there were so many, there are so many points out there, the media – and this gets back to the campaign finance thing, as to why we need to be able to tell our side of the story. It simply distorts. I mean they are – all the statistics are gang-bangers. Everything they’re doing with a gun is already illegal.
The truth is as a result of a safety programs, largely the NRA, we have firearms accidents down to the lowest level ever in U.S. history. And we can’t stop until we get to zero. But we have accidents way, way down. The idea of what they’re trying to put in people’s minds is that these are young children, zero to seven, being killed in firearms accidents, and that’s simply not the case. It – and on, and on it goes with statistics.
It’s like these suits against the firearms manufacturers. There is not a new firearm in this country that is sold today that is not regulated by the Government all the way from the plant to the purchaser. I mean the Government regulates the manufacturers. You go to dealers, and a dealer cannot deliver a firearm to anybody in this country, a new sale, without going through the National Instant Check System, where the Government says ‘it’s okay to sell this firearm to that person.’
And yet, you know, they’re suing the manufacturers, making – in the Chicago case, trying to say they have some illegal distribution system that’s going to criminals. Well, the Government is saying ‘every one of those sales is approved before it can even be delivered.’
QUESTION: I want to know – I was watching that ‘Meet The Press’ Show, the day that you said that.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Yeah.
QUESTION: And I started cheering, and I called [Lucien] [ph], and I says ‘you won’t believe this, here’s a man who stood-up and told the truth!’ I couldn’t believe it, and so I want to congratulate you on that.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Thanks.
QUESTION: What I would like to ask you about is I had heard a story about two towns, several years ago. One in Georgia, and I think, one in Illinois. One had outlawed guns, and one had made a law, and I thought that you have to own a gun, and what the crime rate is. Are you familiar with that?
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Yeah, the one in Georgia was – Kenneth saw, yeah, and Morton Grove in Chicago. That’s true.
Well, all the Department of Justice surveys, they take surveys of criminals in jail, show that one of the things that they try to avoid is a potentially armed victim, and they also try to avoid a house where they think the homeowner may be armed. It’s in all their surveys, and it’s simply common sense.
And the reason I said that about President Clinton is I had been heavily involved in this Richmond, Virginia program, working with the Police and the Prosecutors. Where Richmond was the third most violent city in the United States of America, believe it or not.
And you had a truth and justice prosecutor down there named Dave [Schiller] [ph], that was sitting at home with his little girl one night, and they were watching more murders on TV. And she said ‘Daddy, can’t somebody do something about this.’ And this guy, Dave Schiller, sat there and thought 'I'm the Chief Litigator in the U.S. Attorneys Office here, that's me she's talking about.’
And he sat there, and he wrote the existing Federal gun laws we have on a card, walked into the Police Department, and said ‘I want to make a deal with all of you, the next time you run into one of these people on the street you call me, and I guarantee you 100 percent of the time we’re going to prosecute the case.’
And then he called Wayne at the NRA, and said ‘Wayne, I’ve been reaching your speeches, and you say you want to prosecute, I’m going to give you a chance to put your money where your mouth is.’ He said ‘will you help me advertise what I’m going to do all over Richmond, Virginia?’ And I said ‘sure, we will, I’ll be down there tomorrow morning.’
And I went down there, and NRA put-up hundreds of thousands of dollars to put billboards all over the Richmond area, basically putting out the word ‘if you were a drug dealer, a gang member, a violent felon, and you touched a gun in that town you’re going to go to Federal prison.’
And the results were remarkable. I mean Dave went into an African-American churches, and to get the African-American community behind the program. And he tells a great story where some activist was saying ‘oh, you’re just picking on our young people.’ And there were a bunch of women there, and they stood-up and said ‘shut-up, fool, our young people are dying, and this man’s trying to make us safe.’
President Clinton demoted Dave Schiller, ridiculed Dave Schiller. Eric Holder said that ‘that program was a cookie-cutter approach to solving crime, that they couldn’t be a part of.’ And we had Senator [sessions] hold hearings, and it came-out in those hearings that they had a deliberate strategy to drop prosecutions because they considered those guppy cases, that they didn’t want to be involved with. And they simply were going to push for more gun laws. And we brought that out in the Senate hearings.
And I sat there talking to the police and the prosecutors, and they’re going ‘this is all political, is all it is. This guy could walk-down the hall tomorrow morning and get the bad guys prosecuted.’ And yet, nobody wanted to say it. And I finally said ‘I’m going to go on National TV and say it.’ And when I did the country did rally behind us, and I think it did make a difference in the end.
CONGRESSMAN: Wayne, it’s been my pleasure to work with you as a member of the Appropriations Committee on the Centers For Disease Control issue, where in the past the CDC has actually been conducting research which concludes that we need more gun control.
Would you sort of update the crowd on where we are? I got a commitment from the CDC that they would meet with you or your people, and where are we on that, and sort of update the crowd on the CDC?
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Well, I mean it’s …
CONGRESSMAN: We’ve got our own people in there now, at the top level, at least.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Yeah, I mean it’s a lot better than it used to be. And Congressman, thanks so much for all your work on that. It’s made a huge difference!
Yeah, what the Clinton Administration did, as you know, is they stacked the CDC with not – it wasn’t medicine, it was with activists, political activists. I mean they were even putting out stuff stating they needed campaign finance reform out of CDC, spending your tax dollars to issue studies out of the Centers for Disease Control, talking about campaign finance reform, and talking about guns. And we’ve come a long, long way.
And anything else you want to give an update on that, Chuck?
CONGRESSMAN: [Inaudible – off mic.]
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Okay, we’re meeting next Wednesday on it. But it’s been a big problem. I mean and it’s social activism, junk science, masquerading as medical opinion, is all it is.
QUESTION: Wayne, could you walk us through the next couple of years? What States are most likely for us to get conceal-and-carry-in? And are there two gun laws that lapse in the next couple of years? And we’re going to, therefore, have fights on the ugly gun ban and Brady Bill re-upping them, or not?
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Yeah, the – we’re up to 33 States now, States like Kansas and Colorado, and a bunch of other States are very close to enacting the right-to-carry type law, also. I keep saying ‘we’re not going to rest at NRA until every State has that type of law.’
I mean there are all kinds of stories I can tell you, whether it’s a flight attendant getting off work from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport late at night, driving home on a Texas highway, two guys try to run her off the road in a pickup truck. They come at her with a tire iron. She called me and told me this story, she had a Texas permit under the law we passed, she got out with her firearm and said ‘stop right there!’ And you know, but there’s all kinds of stories like that, where people need that right.
It – so we’re up to 33 States, and we are one by one picking up additional States. The whole assault rifle issue, Sorose’s, that ban, Sorose’s over in 2004. And you know, there’s so much misleading information on that in the media. Not a one of those guns is a machine gun, as President Clinton would lead you to believe. You cannot sell a firearm in this country under Federal law that is readily or easily convertible to a machine gun.
And under the machine gun – under the fully automatic law that had been in affect since the 30’s, 100,000 people had gone through that procedure in order to own a fully automatic firearm. And there wasn’t one person that had ever gone through that procedure that used it in a crime. Most of them were ex-military and ex-police officers that went through it.
I mean the whole thing has been misrepresented in the media. The guns that President Clinton banned under that cosmetic law that said ‘if you have certain cosmetic accessories.’ They couldn’t define the guns by how they shoot because they all shoot the same, they’re self-loading firearms, none of them are machine guns. And but they said ‘if you have certain cosmetic accessories, like a flash suppressor, or the other cosmetic accessories, they would be banned.’
The guns that President Clinton banned shoot no different than the ones he didn’t ban. It was simply cosmetic fraud on the segment of the American public that knows nothing about firearms, that the national media was more than willing to misrepresent.
I mean I took the ‘Today Show’ out to the range, and said ‘I’m not going to do another interview with you guys on this subject until you tell the public the truth. Not a one of these guns is a machine gun. You guys, every time you show these you show fully automatic machine guns firing, and say these are the guns that President Clinton is trying to get out.’
We went to the range all day with NBC, and I turned on
‘The Today Show’ the next morning, and there’s a fully automatic machine gun firing right at the viewer.
CONGRESSMAN BARR: Wayne, I’d like to take a moment to thank – Chuck, would you stand, please. Chuck Cunningham, who heads up the Federal Institute for Legislative Affairs does a tremendous job.
And I mean he – as you know, he’s your eyes and ears up there on the hill. And does a tremendous job, both in terms of being, leading our defense of effort against further gun control laws, as well as assisting those of us like Tom and Roger, and the rest of the pro Second Amendment members of the Congress. And in moving legislation forward.
And speaking about moving legislation forward, a number of us at our breakfast table here were talking earlier about the Duke Cunningham Bill, and the problems that we’ve had getting that to move forward. Could you just briefly touch on that? I don’t get into a lot of the details, but is there something that those of us here this weekend can do to help move that type of issue forward in the coming Congress.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Are you talking about the Duke Cunningham Bill on – I know he’s been involved with the airline pilots, and he‘s also been involved with the police officers.
CONGRESSMAN BARR: That’s the one.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Are you talking about the Police Officers?
CONGRESSMAN BARR: Yes, sir.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: Well, yeah, I mean our feeling is – I mean we think law abiding people all over the country ought to be able to carry a firearm. Most of the States require you to go through some type of procedure. And after you go through that if you’re a law abiding citizen, they’re required to grant you the right to carry.
Some States, like Vermont, have always had it. You know, the Liberals all drive their Volvos around Vermont, not realizing that Vermont has always, probably has the best gun laws in the country. It – there is a – the Duke Cunningham Bill would allow all ex-police officers to be able to carry their firearms everywhere in the country.
And we have, it’s been working it’s way through – Chuck, where do you think we’re going to end-up on that?
CHUCK CUNNINGHAM (?): [Inaudible – off mic.]
WAYNE LA PIERRE: The [Senator Brenner] has been opposed to it, right? Yeah.
CHUCK CUNNINGHAM (?): [Inaudible – off mic.]
WAYNE LA PIERRE: I mean I think it’s a good idea. And on a broader thing, I think every State ought to have the right to carry a firearm for the law abiding folks. And that’s what we’re pushing for. But the fight – as you know, I mean it goes on, and on, and on.
And I thank Congressman Barr. I was telling him a story. He was down in the dumps a day or two after the election, and I ran into him. And I said ‘you know, Congressman, I walked in a little old coffee shop out in the middle of nowhere,’ and I said ‘a couple of people looked at me, and they shook their heads, and they say ‘we lost a good one, didn’t we?’ And I said ‘boy, we sure did!’
And, you know, I was telling him, you know, how many people in the country, you know, based on what you’ve done, and what you’ve stood-up for, and what you’ve fought for can go out in the middle of nowhere and just people look at you and go ‘you know, you’re a good guy. I mean we lost a good one when we lost you in Congress.’
And I have all the respect in the world for Congressman Barr!
CONGRESSMAN BARR: Thank you.
Thank you, Wayne. Thank you.
WAYNE LA PIERRE: And he has a lot more stuff to do to keep fighting for all of us, too. So.
QUESTION: I don’t want to – I just wanted to ask a factual question. I may be one of the worst shots in the NRA, as I told you, but about a week before the election you were in my hometown of Wichita, and they had a great rally for a Governor and Congressional candidates, and all but one won, or the Attorney General won largely because of NRA.
But one thing I don’t – this is a factual question, is a lot of the NRA’s membership and is union, as I saw that night in our hometown. It was, there’s a different mix of people than you usually see at a Republican rally. And I’ve heard numbers as high as 40 percent of union members, largely because of your, because of the Second Amendment issues, are voted for Busch, for instance, in 2000. Is that kind of correct?
WAYNE LA PIERRE: That’s true, all the polling data, as I said earlier, shows that gun ownership among union households runs from 48 percent in California to 60, 70, 80 percent in the States like West Virginia. And union members defected in huge numbers on the gun issue to George Busch over Al Gore based on the gun issue.
You know, [Zel Miller], the pollsters get this issue wrong all the time. Zel Miller asked the question the right way, Senator Miller, and wrote about it in ‘The New York Times.’ Saying ‘these pollsters kept coming to me saying support gun control and you’ll be real popular.’ And what Zel said is ‘you guys are asking the question the wrong way.’ He said ‘ask the people in Georgia this question, when you hear a politician talk about banning your guns and gun control do you think they don’t understand your values and your way of life?’ 74 percent of the people in Georgia answered that question ‘yes.’ And that’s the issue right there.
I just – Kelly Ann Fitzpatrick just with her company the polling company, just put that question nationally on one of her surveys of voters in the past election, and she ended-up with mid-60’s for the nation as a whole, answering that question ‘yes.’
She also asked on her survey among voters ‘whether they thought the Democratic Presidential candidate for President in 2004 ought to be a strong support of the American – of the Second Amendment?’ Of the American public, that’s true, too! And 72 percent of the voters said that ‘they thought the Democratic Presidential candidate ought to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.’ Now, that’s not going to happen, as you know it, and I know it, but that’s where people really are in this country.
And that’s why despite all the beatings from ABC, and NBC, and CBS, and you name it, that’s why we all in the end still win. The public is with us, and I’ll end by saying ‘it’s all of us one by one that make that happen.’ I mean that’s what I love about the NRA, and all the NRA is is people. It’s all of us one by one, coming together, and we can do amazing things together as a result of our willingness to fight.
So, thanks. Thank you very much.
RALPH: That’s what we’re all about is freedom, and as an old radical, I love the NRA because it is our grassroots movement.