NRA leader: 'Government policies are getting us killed'
February 10th, 2011
05:19 PM ET
12 years ago

NRA leader: 'Government policies are getting us killed'

Washington (CNN)– "Government policies are getting us killed" and the shootings in Tucson revealed the failure of government, said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Thursday.

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), LaPierre said government has failed with "laws, lies, and lack of enforcement." CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservative activists and this year is particularly notable as it has become a cattle-call of potential GOP presidential candidates.

"If Tucson taught us anything it taught us this: Government failed," LaPierre said. "And when they tell you that a ban on assault weapons can make you safer, don't you buy it, not one second, because it's a lie. Their laws don't work, their lies aren't true. By its laws and lies and lack of enforcement, government policies are getting us killed."

LaPierre's description of government failure was a focus as he addressed violence in society from the tragedy in Tucson to the number of bad guys in Washington, DC "walking the streets" (30,000, according to his speech).

Speaking on criticism of his organization following the Tucson shootings, LaPierre said the NRA refused to comment in the event's aftermath because it was "not the first time we've found ourselves on this side." He cued a video of former NRA leader Charlton Heston addressing criticism of the pro-gun rights group following school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado: "Simply being silent is so often the right thing to do," Heston said at the time.

The NRA's outspoken leader did not stay silent on the right to bear arms Thursday, however. LaPierre railed against government laws that restrict gun ownership, criticized the media for its attention to "deranged killers," saying that it "ought to be ashamed," and lashed out at "political elites that want us to believe that if we just pass another law or two we can stop a mad man bent on a streak of violence."

LaPierre gave a warning to the CPAC crowd: "As soon as we leave this hall your life will be in jeopardy," he said. Citing "25,000 violent crimes" committed every week "according to the FBI" he asked "How safe do you feel? How safe do you really feel?"

And his response to anti-gun laws was equally tough: "These clowns want to ban magazines? Are you kidding me? That's their response to the blizzard of mayhem. One more gun law... that's going to disarm...and make all of us less safe and the deranged and the violent more safe."

LaPierre has a remedy for the mayhem that he spoke about. "Throughout history the presence of a gun in the hands of a good person makes us all safer," he said, because "The whole flock is safer when the wolves can't tell the difference between the lions and the lambs."

The NRA leader issued a rallying call to arms at CPAC as he called on conservatives to act.

"No more laws and lies and government failure. At the scene of the crime, there's always the offender and the victim. It's time the victims in this country got a fighting chance," LaPierre said.

Filed under: CPAC 2011 • NRA
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Peter E

    Most gun injuries/deaths in the US are caused by guns owned either by the person or within their own family. Many of these deaths/injuries are not intentional.
    Do you still think guns don't kill people? That only people kill people?

    February 11, 2011 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  2. Kerry, CA

    Is that what they put on the death certificates for the victims in AZ?...Cause of Death: Government Policies? I haven't seen them myself, but I'm pretty sure they'll say something about gunshot wounds.

    February 11, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  3. hwy9

    What a sick man LaPierre is, and how anyone can take him at his word says much about the sickness in our society that leads idiots to brandish their weapons in public like 6-year-olds, criminals and insane individuals to purchase semi-automatic weapons and shoot dozens of innocent people (including children), and morons to whine that their rights are being taken away in the name of saner gun laws. Enough already!

    February 11, 2011 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  4. Ann Lindon

    "The whole flock is safer when the wolves can't tell the difference between the lions and the lambs."

    Last time I checked lions and wolves were both very fond of lamb chops.

    February 11, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  5. Covert

    You guys are right! Does a Rape or Murder victim really need a gun? Nahhhh!

    February 11, 2011 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  6. Stu

    I am a gun owner and have been in two wars. In those situations, I needed extended magazines and lots of firepower. Anyone who claims they need an assault weapon or a 30-round magazine to protect themselves and their families probably can't shoot and should spend more time on the range. The NRA is the shill for the gun manufacturers and does not speak for gun owners who also recognize that some limits are reasonable and necessary. The contention that limiting magazine size or banning the sale of assault weapons is one step closer to total gun control is simply complete BS. Wayne LaPierre is another fake American. A true patriot serves his country during a time of war and he didn't.

    February 11, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  7. fideauxdon

    It mystifies me that this individual doesn't represent the beliefs of his own organization members. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of the members support sensible gun laws, like restrictions on the sale of assault weapons.
    Get together, Guys! Throw LaPierre and his minions out on his radical cans and elect someone who truly supports you, your organization, and the beliefs of the country.

    February 11, 2011 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  8. chill

    This guy is a maniac. But he is right, allowing people to buy extended clips and assault rifles is certainly getting people killed.

    February 11, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  9. jen

    well, from these comments, I see people aren't falling for this pack of lies. Good Job!

    February 11, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. D. Bunker

    Sounds like he's afraid that mental health checks might reveal some rather unflattering things about some NRA members.

    February 11, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. pprty

    Years ago the NRA taught gun safety and was a good thing. Not any more. They are making a huge mistake.

    February 11, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  12. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    Thank you "once uion a horse" for telling it like it is. Don't forget this is the group that opposed a ban on plastic guns, teflon "cop killer" bullets, and now the extended magazines used by the Tuscon criminal. No self respecting sportsman needs any of that garbage.

    February 11, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  13. Mr. Moderate

    Another right winger preaching fear to personally enrich himself. In reality if you are not dealing drugs or in a gang your chances of being a victim of violent crime are quite remote.

    If more guns made us safe how come we are the most violent society in the industrialized world?

    Yes, you cannot "stop a mad man bent on a streak of violence." but I would much rather have him attempt that violence with a knife or baseball bat than a semi-automatic weapon with a high capacity magazine.

    Finally "government policies" don't kill people, people kill people!

    February 11, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Jeff

    Maybe if the laws that are on the books were properly enforced against criminals that use or possess guns we would not have to argue about the NRA making statements that get everyone upset.The blame is not on the NRA start placing it on your local,State and Federal Judges that don't use the gun laws in place and sentence the criminals for thier possession and unlawful use against the Victims that are innocent.

    February 11, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. toadstool

    I can only assume that the deaths of 12000 or so men, women and children slaughtered by guns every year is an acceptable price to pay for the right to carry guns. How many more will it take before it becomes unacceptable?

    February 11, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. The Real Nate

    If I were president, I would love to lock this guy up!

    February 11, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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