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. BanGuns

    WHat a delusional NutJob ! Ban all Guns and crack down on any selling on Black market or bringing it across the border. Make the penalties and punishment exceptionally severe for illegal gun possession or crimes. Recruit more highly trained cops. In time you will see a drop in Gun violence.

    February 10, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. John Ventura, CA

    Bottom line is if you make something illegal only the criminals will have them. Criminals don't care whats legal or illegal as long as they get what they want/need for whatever it is they're doing legal or not.

    February 10, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Adam

    I don't understand, he claims the government failed in "laws, lies, and lack of enforcement." Does he want stricter enforcement of laws he says are failures? What part of AZ's right to conceal a fire arm without a permit, legalized assult weapons and high capacity clips does he have a problem with? The nonsense is getting out of hand.

    February 10, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Ben

    Interesting, we shouldn't feel safe? I could have sworn that violent the number of violent crimes has been on a pretty steady decline, even as new gun regulations have been enacted.

    February 10, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This guy is an idiot, it was Sarah Palin that put Giffords on her crosshair ad that almost got her killed and killed 6 others including a 9 year old little girl and wounding many others.

    February 10, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Paul

    Are people with LaPierre's lack of mentat stability allowed to carry guns? Scarry!

    February 10, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Marcus

    But isn't Arizona one of the states that allow a person (like that nutjob) to carry a concealed weapon on the streets?
    Yes it is.
    So this guys is advocating for even less accountability when it came to guns?

    February 10, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. steve

    Maybe this ideolog can explain why there are more firearm deaths in Arizona than New York state with less than a quarter of the population??? Why texas has over three times as many fire arm deaths than New York??? New York has strict laws and the westerners do not. Texas firearms are fueling the Mexican gun violence. And these idiots want even more guns out there. The fact that there are so many shooting deaths in this country (35 every day) and gun suicides (46 every day) and three times as many injuries as homicides (98 every day) should make people ask questions. Shootings are no surprises in this country and I am sick of every one acting so shocked when it is expected. NRA solution : more guns.

    February 10, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Jude

    Ah yes, happiness is a warm gun ...

    February 10, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. T'sah from Virginia

    Is this MORON ready to have EVERY PERSON in the United States who own a GUN – re-register it along with a "CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH"???? Is he ready to be on the side that is willing to enforce stricter gun laws?? Is he ready to CRACK DOWN on the types of clips you're allowed to buy?

    The SICK kills in MASS KILLINGS and most likely have a license to carry a gun – The unlicensed CRAZIES kill for self-satisfaction, territory and drugs but it takes place in their own neighborhood and NO ONE cares about them – The INNOCENT kill to protect themselves MANY of them are license to do so!! So who are the REAL enemies – The LICENSED CRAZIES who kills innocent people that get the most publicity!!!

    February 10, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. thomas

    What a ignorant wimp , without a gun he's a punk !

    February 10, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I wonder if he would be as "misinformed" and misinforming if he got shot?

    February 10, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. whoa!

    Perhaps at such time that the NRA Fuhrer's wife and children get blow away during a picnic or caught in the cross-fire of some sort and have their heads blown, all while being armed themselves, will LaPierre truly enjoy the fruits of his insanity! He will have the unmistakable pleasure of the most profound and deep suffering he could ever imagine. Maybe then, and only then, he will finally experience the insufferable grief and devastation that he and his gun nazis have visited upon our entire country for generations.... naaaaaaaaaaaa!

    February 10, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. BCasero

    How about effective enforcement of laws to keep the guns out of the hand of insane people, like LaPierre and Palin. That would be a good start.

    February 10, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. D

    "And when they tell you that a ban on assault weapons can make you safer, don't you buy it"
    Soooo, tell me how the lack of gun regulation in AZ made the Tuscon situation better? It's not like bystanders took out their own pieces and shot it out with the guy.

    February 10, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. kyle

    It's the NRA that's killing us, more guns just mean more violence.

    February 10, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. LouAz

    I knew it was Gifford's fault. It just needed to be explained by the NRA. It is very clear now . . . the inmates are trying to run the asylum.

    February 10, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. rusty155

    I own a hand gun and have a permit too carry It, and I believe you should be able to If you pass a FBI back ground check. But this guy that was giving that speech sound a little crazy If you ask me.

    February 10, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. Name Jeff Simmons

    25000 violent crimes per week!!! It is clear to me that government can't protect us. All the "experiments " that have armed the population have resulted in reduced crime. We deserve the right to protect ourselves if the government can't. I totally agree with this position

    February 10, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    I worked with a guy once who – with a straight face – told me that if everyone carried a gun, people would be a lot more polite.

    How do you answer delusional logic like that? The "wild West" doesn't exist anymore because innocent people got tired of being at the mercy of any armed grouch having a bad hair day.

    February 10, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I used to think that Democrats were a bunch of wimps (and in some cases they STILL are) But this Republican bunch takes the cake. They are afraid of.......
    Sarah Palin
    Rush Limbaugh
    The Tea Party
    taxing their wealthy buddies and of course
    THE NRA!!!
    The NRA has the GOP in their hip pocket. It doesn't matter when we have shootings like what happened in Tucson, Fort Hood, Virgina Tech, Columbine High et al they just saying the same old thing "guns don't kill people, PEOPLE DO" Well what happened in the past places is going to happen again and AK-47's and extra clips will still be legal to buy and gun shows will still sneak by without doing background checks. And the GOP will STILL be bowing and kissing up to the NRA.

    February 10, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. Russ

    Yep, let's loosen the gun laws so more people can have them. I think a few good shootouts amoung citizens every now and then will be a lot of fun. Bring back the old OK corral days. Don't like someone, shoot 'em. Didn't pay the rent, shoot 'em. Cut you off on the freeway, shoot, 'em it's the Republican way!!! This guys a nut case with a Napolean complex.

    February 10, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    After the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK, reasonable people wanted reasonable regulations in place to help prevent another insane nutjob from buying and using a gun on innocents.

    That's when the NRA started pushing this nonsense about the Second Amendment guaranteeing individuals have a right to bear arms. The Second Amendment is all about people being able to form militias – an organized GROUP, not an individual.

    That said, I think individuals should be able to own guns – after waiting 5 days and passing a thorough background check. Also, the loophole allowing folks to buy as many guns as they want at gun shows has to stop.

    Those in violation of these regulations should be given a stiff fine and jail time.

    February 10, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    This is all part of the rightwing's efforts to convince everyone that our country is going to Hades in a hand basket, with the implication that the only way to save ourselves is to get rid of the Democrats.

    It's all about power and money – and the ease with which gulliable, unthinking, scared people can be swayed to act and vote against their own self-interest.

    February 10, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Sgt Schultz

    Yes what a dishonest jerk. So first he say it is the government to blame...yet in the same sentence blames the government for not enforcing the laws he claims to blame? The NRA is delusional and out of touch.

    February 10, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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