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. Annie, Atlanta

    I never understood why this group has the power that it does. I don't care for guns, but if you do, as long as you're safe and responsible, who am I to say you can or cannot have them. But these guys are way too far out there. Maybe they need to be reclassified as a terrorist group because of the fear they use to rev people up. It's the definition of terrorism – to terrorize.

    February 10, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Video Guy

    Everyone who wants true gun control should join the NRA. You will be able to vote theses nut cases out of office and direct the money to push for true gun control.

    February 10, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. annie s

    LaPierre is a whack job. Sure, lets do away with all laws and see what happens.

    February 10, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. CathyinAZ

    What, in particular, government policy is getting us killed. More CRAP talk from the NRA

    February 10, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Wayne Kilmer

    Could this guy be more delusional? The answer to less gun violence is more guns? That is like saying the answer to the deficit is more spending.

    February 10, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. John

    Well, it's clear why he wants guns - to threaten Democrats with!

    February 10, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Tim

    Government policies are getting us killed??? You mean the ones that make guns available to most anyone??? He's right tho, the ban on assault weapons doesn't make us safer, especially when all the wackos in the NRA already have one hidden in their basement.

    "The whole flock is safer when the wolves can't tell the difference between the lions and the lambs." Problem is that we're people. Per his argument, the only distinction left is the hand holding a gun. Mexican standoff anyone?

    February 10, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. LogicDictates

    total nutjob... THIS is dangerous propaganda.

    someone was on the scene at Tuscon, and he had a gun.. I saw him interviewed, and he said that he almost shot the wrong person AFTER the shooter was actually taken down... so what was this guy's point again?

    February 10, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Wow...smoke and mirrors to the Nth degree. Guy as it so backwards, I'm suprised he's not facing the wrong way at the podium.

    Not a single law of the state of AZ nor ethe federal government prevented anyone who wanted to be carrying a concealed weapon at the Tucson event from doing so. In fact, the law made it pretty easy to do just that...which is why Loughner waltzed onto the scene packin' and blew holes in a bunch of innocents. Government regulation of firearms is NOT why Loughner wasn't peppered with lead by some heroic citizen. If he could get one so easy, they could have had one too. It's simply the reality that none of the sane people in attendance deemed it necessary or warranted to traipse around town with a loaded weapon "just in case I have the opportunity to go vigilante." Where the government failed in terms of Tucson was (a) not having effective regulations and requirements for background checks for gun purchases...regulatory failures ensured by the GOP's pandering to the NRA and gun lobby and (b) our total disregard of the issues presented by the mentally ill because it makes us uncomfortable and beacuse we stigmatize people and because we'd rather ignore it and pretend those problems and that suffering don't exist...and any requirements regarding reporting or institutionalization....all because the massive wave of de-institutionalization that started in the 80's under Reagan was an unmitigated mistake.

    February 10, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. whitmanguy

    More guns mean less violence. Gun laws make us less safe. Black is white. Square is round. Lies are truth. Propaganda is holy scripture.

    February 10, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. PalmReader

    "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?"

    Lost in irony, LaPierre? Or simply upsetting the apple cart?

    February 10, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. Jon

    Sounds to me like the NRA doth protest too much.

    February 10, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Pretzel Logic

    LaPierre's grasp of reality has always been tenuous, but he's in full Mad Hatter mode with these comments.

    February 10, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. al in memphis

    Normally key issues are related to money. So who stands to lose money if some form of "lets look at people before we give them dangerous weapons" laws go into place.
    Here's the solution, every family is issued one military tank and armed helicopter. All of this equipment will be banned from sale on EBAY and you will be given a life sentence for illegal sale/possession of someone else weapons.

    February 10, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. willie floyd

    Not difficult to understand why they have such power. Unless I'm mistaken, they're the 2nd largest lobbyist group in the country. Of course, there's no doubt they contribute mostly to the Dems.!! If you believe that-I have a bridge and some swamp-land in AZ I'd like to sell.

    February 10, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    perhaps this guy should go and give some speeches at Virgina Tech, Columbine High and the Safeway in Tucson. Look NRA IDIOTS..most people have nothing against gun ownership it's that if we can keep guns out of the hands of crooks, the mentally ill, children, and drug addicts we would have a better way of life. Do hunters need AK-47's to take down their prey or need another clip to stick in the gun? The NRA is so afraid that some Democrat is going to come and take their guns away and they do this every time we have one in the White House. Forget the fact that President Obama signed into law that they can now carry their guns into our National Parks. Gun control means just that...trying to keep the guns out of the hands of the people that can harm us, not take guns away from RESPONSIBLE gun owneres.

    February 10, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Tom S.

    My understanding is that a portion of the Arizona gun laws which limited ammo clip sizes had just expired. This allowed the shooter to obtain bigger clips with more ammo making it possible to shoot more poeple without pausing to reload. (Which by the way is when he was taken down).

    I won't insult morons by calling this guy one.

    February 10, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. Margie

    We all know the reasoning behind the NRA is money money money. Of course they want more guns, of course they want more members. The more guns and more members is more money in their pockets. If you just really truly sit back and look at all these organizations, the reason they rant and rant and promote hate amongst those that will listen to them is to get them riled up so they can make more money. De-regulation, more chance to charge more and it costs them less. Less government, more chance to privatize and they take control of the cost you pay. Social security going broke, yeah that way they can get their hands on all that money for the stock market and wall street.

    It is the same thing over and over a nut gets put in charge of an organization and all they want is power and money and they people they preach to have so much straw stuffed in their brains they can't figure out why....

    February 10, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. A

    Sounds that he wants everyone including mental cases to pack iron. Out of touch with reality I would say. I hope he doesn't decide to run for President of USA. Scary.

    February 10, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. ingrid

    Talk about spin. LaPierre is what makes me feel unsafe...not guns.

    February 10, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Margie

    I have to add....lack of enforcement. Does that mean at all these gun shows and stores that sell guns, if the people in charge there would check the purchaser more thoroughly they would be doing the job correctly and this is what the NRA is complaining about...gee wouldn't that help.

    February 10, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. pete

    yeah, let's just go back to the old west. everybody just carry a gun and when the bad guy pulls one out, then everybody just start shootin'. then when law enforcement shows up, they won't know which one is the bad guy, so they can just start shootin' everybody with a gun. sounds like a great method of population control. and the best part is, we'll get rid of all the big tough guys who need a gun to feel like a man first.

    February 10, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Bill

    No, you pompous idiot, it is 31 shot clips that are getting people killed.

    February 10, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. Joshua Ludd

    I'm not anti-gun, in fact I have stock in Smith & Wesson. But this guy is a liar and is trying to make political points by taking advantage of and lying about the Tucson shootings. It wasn't law that allowed 20 people to be shot before the killer needed to reload. It was the NRA opposing the assault weapons ban. It wasn't a failure of the law to protect those people. It was a lack of regulation and background checks and other common sense forms of gun control. There was another man with a gun there that day... that wettest of all gun nut dreams... but rather than stop the actual shooter, he nearly shot the man who had taken the shooter's gun away. I'm glad that he didn't fire, even though that would have gone a long long way to silencing the gun nuts that oppose any and all forms of gun regulation, no matter how many people are dying from gun crime and how few are actually saved from any of that crime by law abiding citizens with guns.

    February 10, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    If only most firing hammers were as unhinged as this guy...

    February 10, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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