April 25th, 2014
02:34 PM ET
6 months ago

NRA cites eroding freedoms, warns of Hillary candidacy

(CNN) – Gun-rights advocates heralded efforts in punishing legislators at the ballot box in Colorado for new firearms restrictions and ripped into a new, well-funded gun-control effort launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It was all part of a predictable helping of red-meat rhetoric at Friday’s opening of the annual National Rifle Association meeting in Indianapolis that also included warnings about a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run and an erosion of American freedoms.

Several potential Republican presidential candidates took the podium, which is an important stop for those in the GOP contemplating a 2016 run to burnish their Second Amendment credentials.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, fired up the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium with trademark inflammatory rhetoric, heavy on anti-government themes.

Related: Arms treaty draws NRA, conservative ire

He accused the Obama administration as well as the "political and media elites" of chiseling away at the rights of Americans.

Perhaps the nation's most visible gun rights advocate, LaPierre drew a stark picture of the dangers that he said plague the country and argued the government has failed to protect its citizens.

"We know that in the world that surrounds us there are terrorists, home invaders, drug cartels, car jackers, 'knock-out' gamers, rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse as a society that sustains us all," he said.

Related: Georgia governor signs gun law

"So I ask you this afternoon: do you trust this government really to protect you and your family?" he continued. "We're on our own. That's a certainty."

He also dabbled into presidential politics, warning that gun-control advocates and those who side with them are also setting the stage for Hillary Clinton, who's considering another run for the White House.

"They're out there laying the groundwork to put a Clinton back in the White House," LaPierre said to a round of boos.

Politicos appear

Sen. Marco Rubio, who's weighing a presidential bid, said Americans can "take comfort" about what he sees as a hostile attack against gun rights because "in just 32 months, we will have a new president."

"And our current president should take comfort because in 32 months he can return home to live in the anti-gun utopia that is Chicago," he said.

Gun-control critics argue that cities with strict firearm bans, like Chicago, see more violence because people aren't allowed to arm themselves. Forty-five people were shot in the city last weekend.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who's facing a tough re-election battle this year, touted his Second Amendment-protector bona fides, promising the NRA crowd to continue his fighting against the administration's oppressive policies.

"The Bill of Rights does not come a la carte. It's not a pick and choose menu, despite what some in Washington may think," the Kentucky Republican said. "The Obama administration needs to be made to understand that the American people are serious about protecting their rights."

But former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a tea party favorite known for his staunchly social conservative following, said defending the right to bear arms isn't enough and that many basic freedoms are under assault.

"I'm coming to you to say thank you first, but it's not enough," he said. "Our rights are being assailed everywhere and just protecting the Second Amendment while all the other freedoms falter is not enough."

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, is also considering another run for the White House in 2016.

Another potential White House candidate, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, was the final speaker of the event. He warned that government infringement wouldn't stop with controlling Second Amendment rights, and suggested politicians like Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden misunderstand why Americans want to have guns.

Jindal pointed to "liberal extremist" bent on taking away guns as the same forces trying to implement a federally controlled healthcare system and to suppress freedom of religion.

"We must not let our opponents redefine what it means to be an American," he said, later adding, "let's be honest ... they think we're too dumb to order a pizza and too dangerous to protect our land."

Milwaukee County sheriff slams retired Supreme Court justice

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken gun rights advocate, sharply criticized retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who penned an op-ed in the Washington Post last week proposing changes to the Second Amendment.

"Now I know that people like Justice Stevens think they are smarter than the rest of us but with all due respect just what part of `shall not be infringed' does Justice Stevens not understand?" Clarke said.

"I have a better way of clearing up any confusion that activist judges have about the meaning of the Second amendment. I would add these seven words at the end of the clause `the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed' … ‘Keep your hands off our guns, damn it.'"

This year’s meeting, expected to draw 70,000 people over the weekend comes as the fight over gun control shifts from Washington to the states, cities and local communities.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

Chris Cox, the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of the NRA, touted a victory by gun-rights advocates in Colorado last September when voters booted two Democratic state lawmakers from office for supporting new gun laws.

Finally, he ripped into Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor who has pledged $50 million of his own money toward a new, highly publicized gun-control initiative.

"Mr. Bloomberg, you're an arrogant hypocrite,” Cox said of the politico and billionaire-businessman who is aiming to take on the NRA head on with the nation still being jolted by mass shootings and deadly inner city violence.

“Thirty-one billion dollars, $31 billion does not entitle you to tell us how to live our lives," Cox said. "Stay out of our homes, stay out of our refrigerators and stay the hell out of our gun cabinets because this freedom is not for sale," Cox.

Gun control activists not backing down

The gun debate has largely pivoted to the states, where gun-control advocates are recalibrating their efforts after falling short in Washington following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Gun-control activists were expected to head to Indianapolis to demonstrate near the NRA convention. Over 100 moms and 20 gun violence survivors will attempt to raise awareness.

Bloomberg to spend $50 million to challenge NRA on gun safety

The activists represent Everytown for Gun Safety, the new organization backed by Bloomberg, as well as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Gun rights • NRA • Wayne LaPierre
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    NRA has victories in Georgia, and various southern states, where their paid for republicans thought it would be a good idea to bring their guns to church. It appears that wingnuts worship a God that has extended clips. LaPierre is as crazy as Cliven Bundy.

    April 25, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. ProudDem

    Oh here we go again. This idiot stood up in 2007 screaming that if Obama was elected that he'd take away yours guns. Then in 2011 he actually said that Obama NOT taking away your guns had all been a trick to fool you, because if you re-elected him he was definitely going to take away your guns next time. Now he's already started with Hillary.

    April 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    LaPierre is not going to be happy until new born babies are allowed to carry in the hospital nursery.

    April 25, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Education starts with pre school gun safety .

    If Jesus had a 9mm , we wouldn't be celebrating Easter !

    April 25, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    It is a shame that a once honored organization is being run by Whacko Wayne.

    April 25, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. rs

    Meanwhile an "eroding freedom" of Americans is to not be killed by some nut with a gun-whether that be Mr. Bundy and his heavily armed militia, of just some unstable soul that managed to by a gun legally or otherwise.

    The NRA's rather singular message might resonate with more Americans if they were willing to agree to background checks (as they did 20 years ago), or agree that military-grade hardware has no place in the average American's hands, and that guns, in fact don't belong everywhere in society- they just sound like radicalized fools.

    Lastly, the NRA's insistence that more guns is safer flies in the face of logic. At every single mass murder of the last 20 years (Columbine, Sandy Hook, the Colorado theater, the Giffords shooting,etc...) there have been so-called "good guys with guns" and in fact nothing changed- people still died-senselessly.

    Until the NRA behaves in a rational fashion with these truths, their message is lost. Their ability to self-limit or self discipline is what poisons their cause.

    April 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. david saint

    the irony here is, the NRA has themselves eroded freedom by their influence over politicians. Doesnt matter what WE want, the NRA owns the legislators.

    April 25, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Only in the mind of a mental midget can you conclude that Obama is going to take your guns away because he hasn't taken them away yet.

    April 25, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Ian's Rushtache

    ProudDem says:
    April 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm
    Oh here we go again. This idiot stood up in 2007 screaming that if Obama was elected that he’d take away yours guns. Then in 2011 he actually said that Obama NOT taking away your guns had all been a trick to fool you, because if you re-elected him he was definitely going to take away your guns next time. Now he’s already started with Hillary.
    ___________________________________

    No matter how many times I see or hear this it makes me laugh. Some of the finest fear mongering since Joe McCarthy.

    April 25, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. smith

    The NRA is wrong about H. Clinton simply because Bill`s assault weapons ban was a massive failure and she saw what happend to Gore. Im sure she will distance herself from this issue. This is the big loser issue for the dems, Obama found that out.

    April 25, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    Clinton (Bill) is coming to take your guns, Oh My!
    Obama is coming to take your guns, Oh My!
    Clinton (Hillary) is coming to take your guns, Oh My!

    April 25, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    @ smith, no, the weapons ban was not a massive failure. Please cite evidence that it was before you make such an ill-conceived, sweeping announcement.

    April 25, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    --does this idiot even know in Ten years, Republican Party will be extinct replacing with Some Populist Party. Just pass total gun-ban Laws. USA needs it desperately just like healthcare. Second amendment is a biggest bs. Pass gun-ban. Period.

    April 25, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Richard in Houston

    Exactly Proud Dem. Same argument every time. Just insert a new name. Funny how it never happens. I would like for him to say who he means by political and media elites. And I bet law enforcement all ov er the country are pretty made at him also. Slapping them in the face with were on our own and can't trust the government line.

    April 25, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Pander Bear

    When lacking in an actual conviction or cause, it seems that conservatives opt for baseless conspiracy theories. But you can't blame them because of the Marxist Kenyan in office who faked his birth certificate and has access to a time machine whereby he went and changed newspaper articles from when he was born. When confronting an enemy that cunning, you really need 37 assault rifles and a rocket launcher handy. Anything to keep you out of a FEMA labor camp.

    April 25, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Chris-E...al

    Thank you N.R.A. for standing up for ( ALL ) americans !

    April 25, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, at least there are 20 dead kids in CT who might not ever vote against the GOP and their masters. Feel good about that voter suppression, NRA?

    April 25, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "NRA cites eroding freedoms and warns of Hillary presidency."

    Chicken little did a lot of "the sky is falling" squawking too for what little good it did for him. This NRA dude's been squawking for years now.

    April 25, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Patriot

    LaPierre eats his boogers. How can you take him seriously.

    April 25, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    @ Lynda
    Sorry babe, can't respond to you. Not allowed today.
    ---------–

    Co-sign. No doubt the mods are preparing themselves for the arrival of the NRA weekend crowd.

    April 25, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Bubba

    The problem is not LaPierre and his looney disciples. The problem is the average NRA Member who continues to fund this craziness. Millions of Germans supported the Nazi Party only to claim they were not Nazis themselves.
    If you support evil, then you are evil by association. The deaths in the streets, and school yards are on the shoulders of every NRA Member who supports this madness.
    When the next mass shooting occurs in a church, or in a bar, it is on the NRA as well the shooter(s).
    W.W.J.D. – I can tell you He would not support the NRA.

    April 25, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @Ian's Rushtache
    ProudDem says:
    April 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm
    Oh here we go again. This idiot stood up in 2007 screaming that if Obama was elected that he’d take away yours guns. Then in 2011 he actually said that Obama NOT taking away your guns had all been a trick to fool you, because if you re-elected him he was definitely going to take away your guns next time. Now he’s already started with Hillary.
    ___________________________________

    No matter how many times I see or hear this it makes me laugh. Some of the finest fear mongering since Joe McCarthy.
    ---------–
    There is a theme to these scare tactics. The NRA uses emotion and fear because the facts are not on their side.
    In your head repeat these over and over and you have the conservative fear plan:
    – no really NEXT term he will take your guns away
    – no really NEXT month ACA will fail all on its own
    – no really NEXT Benghazi hearing will bring out the REAL truth
    – no really NEXT week Rush is braking shocking news that will sink Obama
    – no really NEXT time........

    April 25, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Ok Tim and Thomas.... Both of you are almost responsible for me choking to death from drinking a Coke!!!!😍😍😍😍😍

    April 25, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. CryBabies

    The Real Tom Paine.....Which is it...They might not vote or they are dead and cannot vote. Sounds like you are leaving the door open to the possibility?

    April 25, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, fired up the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium with trademark inflammatory rhetoric, heavy on anti-government themes.
    ---------------------------
    Poor people cannot recognize snake oil when they hear it. Hello? This LaPierre man does not represent you, the avearage NRA member. He represents the people on the NRA Board of Directors. They are all CEOs and top executives at gun and ammo manufactures. All that he wants is for you go out and buy MORE. MORE. MORE.

    April 25, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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