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Entries in Wayne LaPierre (6)

Sunday
May052013

Glenn Beck at NRA Rally: 'Freedom of All Mankind is at Stake'

Michael Caulfield/WireImage(HOUSTON) -- Television and radio host Glenn Beck warned NRA members that the "freedom of all mankind is at stake" and the "right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

"They want to fundamentally transform our country and they've just about finished the project," Beck told an audience of thousands Saturday evening at the NRA convention's Stand and Fight Rally in Houston, Texas. "They feel they must regulate us until we comply, but I will not comply."

Beck grew teary at times and used historically significant guns to talk about the importance of keeping second amendment rights free from any sort of federal gun control laws, stressing "a gun is only a reflection of the people who use it" and warning the audience "we cannot falter, we cannot fail."

"We have to admit two things," Beck added. "That weapons will always find their way into the hands of bad people, always…but we must declare this: that guns must remain in the hands of good people."

Beck's speech ended the second day of the NRA's annual convention where speaker after speaker warned the crowd of thousands of members that their second amendment rights were being attacked by the president specifically and Washington in general.

The leadership told the crowd they may have been victorious when the Manchin-Toomey amendment failed, but the fight is not over.

"Let's not fool ourselves it doesn't mean the war is over," NRA president David Keene told the crowd.

"We must never confuse winning a battle with winning a war. We all know that as we meet here our opponents are regrouping and we know that they'll be back. They are as dedicated today as they've ever been to consigning you and me and all those who believe in the freedoms guaranteed us by these nation's founders to the outer darkness."

Wayne LaPierre, the group's executive vice president and face of the organization, focused the fight on President Obama saying "there is nothing the president will not do to get something, anything, through Congress to advance his agenda to destroy the Second Amendment. Nothing."

"So far, thanks to you and millions of Americans like you, that's exactly what President Obama has gotten — absolutely nothing," LaPierre said.

LaPierre said the failed background checks vote was "significant," but warned it was only "one skirmish in what can only be defined as a long war against our constitutional rights."

"We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation fight for everything that we care about," LaPierre said.

"We have a chance to secure our freedom for a generation, or to lose it forever. We must remain vigilant, we must remain ever resolute and steadfastly growing and preparing for the even the more critical battles that loom before us. I am proud to report as I stand in front of you this morning that the state of our NRA is stronger and larger than it has ever been...Our commitment to freedom is unwavering, our growth unprecedented."

LaPierre continued saying "without that freedom, we aren't really free at all."

"They can try to blame and shame us with all their might, but when it comes to defending the Second Amendment, we will never sacrifice our freedom upon the altar of elitist acceptance," LaPierre said to applause. "And we will never surrender our guns — never."

LaPierre promised whether "it's round 1 or 2 or 15, this NRA will go the distance."

"And no matter what it takes, we will never give up or compromise our constitutional freedom, not one single inch," LaPierre bellowed.

LaPierre, as well as Keene, launched a rallying cry for the 2014 midterm elections as well as the 2016 presidential election.

James W. Porter II, who is expected to be named president by the NRA board of directors next week succeeding Keene as the group's next president said, "I hear some Americans say with the last election, the country is lost. No, no. An election was lost."

"There's another election more important for the second amendment right around the corner," Porter said to cheers. "With the U.S. Senate and the House up for grabs, we as individual NRA members can direct the massive energy of spontaneous combustion to gain the political high ground. We do that and Obama can be stopped."

It wasn't just the leadership and Beck that pushed the message of standing up to threats they foresee to gun rights during the second day of the convention. John Fafoutakis from Sheridan, Wyo. took to the stage with a message for "all those gun grabbers in Washington.

"And to the gun grabbers of the United Nations who want to disarm all law-abiding Americans, I have these kind words for you 'Fill your hand, you son of a bitch," Fafoutakis said -- reprising a famous John Wayne line from the movie True Grit.

Outside of the convention hall victims of gun violence including family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Conn. and the 2011 Tucson shooting were part of a group that held signs protesting the convention, some read "Protect Our Children."

Several tried to engage NRA members in conversation, mostly resulting in civil conversations with differing opinions.

Erica Lafferty, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, and Neil Heslin, who lost his 6-year-old son Jesse, were both in attendance.

Other protesters, just across the street from the convention, read the names of those killed by gun violence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May042013

New President Elected at Annual NRA Convention

NRANews/YouTube(HOUSTON) -- The NRA has a new president, Birmingham, Ala., attorney Jim Porter, and if his old stump speeches are any indication, he has a knack for firing up a crowd.

Porter, who until this week was first vice president at the NRA and chairman of the group’s Legal Affairs Committee, will officially take over for David Keene at the group’s annual convention this weekend in Houston. The NRA’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has headed the organization since 1991 and has become a somewhat controversial but public face of the organization in recent months.

It’s no surprise that Porter, whose father was an NRA president in the late 1950s, is well-versed in NRA doctrine, namely protecting 2nd Amendment rights at all costs.

Anyone expecting the NRA to soften on assault weapons would be deeply disappointed.

Indeed, Porter, 64, has put it in crystal-clear terms: He believes the NRA was founded to teach civilians how to use military-style weapons in the Civil War era.

“That was the very reason they started the National Rifle Association, was to teach and train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm,” Porter said at the New York Rifle & Pistol Association’s Annual Meeting in 2012. “And I am one who still feels very strongly that that is our greatest charges that we could have today is to train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm, so when they have to fight for their country, they’re ready to do it.

“Also when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they’re ready to do it. Also when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it,” Porter added.

The video of the meeting was first unearthed by the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

Speaking of a fight, Porter also noted that the Civil War is commonly mislabeled in the North.

“Y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it ‘the war of northern aggression’ down South,” Porter said.

In that same speech, Porter also made it clear that there’s no love lost between the NRA and President Obama, whom he called a “fake president.”

“His entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-second amendment,” Porter said.

And that was before Obama backed a new background checks bill and pushed for an assault weapons ban in Congress.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar242013

Bloomberg, NRA Brace for Showdown on Guns in Senate

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the Senate slated to consider comprehensive gun legislation next month, two powerful voices on different sides of the gun debate - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre – are bracing for the upcoming legislative showdown on guns.

Bloomberg’s gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, announced this weekend that it will pour $12 million into advertising in 13 key states to convince potentially persuadable Democratic and Republican senators to vote in favor of gun legislation, specifically focusing on the controversial universal background checks – a measure that an ABC News/Washington Post poll found is supported by 91 percent of the public.

"We're trying to do everything we can to impress upon the senators that this is what the survivors want, this is what the public wants," Bloomberg said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.  "If 90 percent of the public want something, and their representatives vote against that, common sense says, they are going to have a price to pay for that."

The two TV ads, titled “Responsibility” and “Family,” feature a hunter sitting on the bed of a pick-up truck with a hunting rifle across his lap while children play on a tire swing in the background as he argues for universal background checks.

“For me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family.  I believe in the second amendment and I’ll fight to protect it but with rights come responsibility. That’s why I’m for comprehensive background checks so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can’t buy guns.  That protects my rights and my family,” the man says in one ad.

The ads will target Republican and Democratic senators in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  

But Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, dismissed Bloomberg’s ad buy Sunday and called the New York City mayor’s positions on guns “reckless” and “insane.”

"He can't spend enough of his $27 billion to impose his will on the American people," LaPierre said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.  "They don’t want him in their restaurants. They don’t want him in their homes. They don’t want him telling what food to eat. They sure don’t want him telling what self-defense firearms to own. He can’t buy America.”

The Senate will consider a comprehensive gun package when it returns from the holiday recess next month.  For many Republicans and moderate Democrats, the universal background check requirement, which LaPierre called “a speed bump for the law-abiding,” is the sticking point in the package.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the controversial assault weapons ban would not be included as part of the package. Instead, it will receive a vote as an amendment but is not expected to receive approval from the full Senate.

Despite the measure not making it into the comprehensive plan, Bloomberg stood behind the assault weapons ban while acknowledging the measure is “difficult” for some lawmakers to sign onto.

“I don't think there's ever been an issue where the public has spoken so clearly, where Congress hasn't eventually understood and done the right thing,” Bloomberg said.  “We have a lot of work ahead of us. I don't think we should give up on the assault weapons ban. But clearly it is a more difficult issue for a lot of people.”

President Obama urged lawmakers to thoroughly consider all of the gun measures that have been presented in the Senate, including the assault weapons ban, in his weekly address Saturday.

“These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense.  They’re supported by a majority of the American people.  And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote,” the president said.

“Right now, we have a real chance to reduce gun violence in America, and prevent the very worst violence.  We have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our tradition of responsible gun ownership, and also do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or people with a severe mental illness,” he said. “We’ve made progress over the last three months, but we’re not there yet.  And in the weeks ahead, I hope members of Congress will join me in finishing the job – for our communities and, most importantly, for our kids.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb042013

LaPierre Holds His Ground on Opposing Universal Background Checks

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Not budging an inch from his testimony before a Senate panel last week, National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre told Fox News Sunday he remains adamantly opposed to universal background checks as a way of curbing gun violence in the U.S.

LaPierre objects to White House attempts to close the so-called gun show loophole that exempts buyers from background checks.

The NRA chief argues, "It's a fraud to call it universal, it's never going to be universal, the criminals aren't going to comply with it, they could care less."

According to LaPierre, the real victims of any new government-imposed system restricting gun ownership are "law-abiding people," who will be caught up in bureaucratic red tape while criminals continue to skate around law.

LaPierre believes that enforcing present laws, not adding new ones, are what a majority of Americans want.  The NRA has recommended putting armed cops and guards at all schools to keep children safe from shooting tragedies such as last December's mass killing in Newtown, Conn.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan302013

Mark Kelly, NRA's Wayne LaPierre to Testify at Gun Violence Hearing

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday in the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

Kelly, whose wife was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago, will appear on the panel, just weeks after launching Americans for Responsible Solutions, an organization promoting the implementation of universal background checks and limits on high capacity magazines.

"Overwhelmingly, you told us that universal background checks and limiting access to high capacity magazines were top priorities -- and I'll make sure to address each of those ideas in my opening remarks," Kelly wrote in an email to supporters on Tuesday.  Kelly asked the group's allies to sign a petition calling on Congress to pass legislation on both issues.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is LaPierre, who states the NRA's opposition to universal background checks and urges legislators not to "blame" legal gun owners by enacting new gun control laws.

"Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals.  Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families," LaPierre will say on Wednesday, according to prepared remarks released by the NRA.

"Proposing more gun control laws -- while failing to enforce the thousands we already have -- is not a serious solution to reducing crime," says LaPierre in his prepared text.

In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, the NRA advocated placing armed security guards in every school in America, an initiative LaPierre will promote in Wednesday's hearing, arguing that "it's time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children."

In an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer earlier this month, Kelly and Giffords said they hope the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children and six adults died, will spur legislative action on gun policy.

"Enough," Giffords said.

"After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [the movie theater massacre in] Aurora, [Colo.]," Kelly said.  "I'm hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is.  Twenty first-graders being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody."

Wednesday's hearing is the first meeting ever for Kelly and LaPierre, according to an interview Kelly gave to CNN Tuesday.  Kelly, who has shot at an NRA practice range with his wife, noted that he is a gun enthusiast but is not a member of the NRA.

"You would think with my background I would be a member of the NRA.  I own a gun.  I recently bought a hunting rifle a few months ago.  I went through a background check.  It took I think about 20 minutes.  It's a small price to pay to make us safer.  We're not going to stop every one of these mass shootings.  We're not going to stop every murder with a handgun in our cities, but I think we'd go a long way to reducing the violence and preventing some," Kelly told CNN.

The hearing is titled "What Should America Do About Gun Violence?"  Others testifying include Professor Nicholas Johnson of Fordham University School of Law, Baltimore Chief of Police James Johnson, and Gayle Trotter, an attorney and senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.

Giffords will also appear at the hearing alongside her husband, ABC News confirmed.  She will give an opening statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec242012

NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre Calls Assault Weapons Ban 'Phony'

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre fired back at his critics Sunday, defending his proposal to put armed guards in every school in the country as a way to prevent future tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

"If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," the head of the powerful gun lobby said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.

LaPierre and the NRA came under harsh criticism this week for their response to the Connecticut school shooting.

After keeping silent for a week, except for a release announcing that the organization would make "meaningful contributions" to the search for answers to the problem of gun violence, LaPierre held what critics described as a "tone deaf" press conference on Friday in which he blamed the media, video games and Hollywood for the recent shootings, and suggested that the answer to gun violence was more guns.

Gun control advocates argue that a federal assault weapons ban is necessary to curbing gun violence.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who helped pass an assault weapons ban in 1996, is renewing efforts to pass similar legislation as the original ban expired in 2004.

"I think that is a phony piece of legislation and I do not believe it will pass for this reason: it's all built on lies," LaPierre said on Sunday.

LaPierre and many pro-gun advocates like him argue that assault weapons bans aren't effective and that violent criminals are solely to blame.

In Sunday's interview, LaPierre pointed out that the Columbine High School shooting occurred after the assault weapons ban passed, but he failed to mention that the shooters obtained the guns they used illegally though a gun show.  He also did not discuss the fact that there was an armed guard on duty at the school when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people there before killing themselves.

Several senators watching LaPierre's interview had strong reactions.

"He says the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  What about stopping the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place?" said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on NBC's Meet the Press.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was also on the show, said that he's open to discussing increased school security but warned against a quick rush to ban assault weapons.

"I don't suggest we ban every movie with a gun in it and every video that's violent and I don't suggest that you take my right buy an AR-15 away from me because I don't think it will work," Graham said on NBC's Meet the Press.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he didn't think having armed guards in schools was a good idea, though the Republican said he was "not commenting on the NRA proposal in particular."

"I am not someone who believes that having multiple, armed guards, in every school, is something that will enhance the learning environment, and that is our first responsibility inside a school, is the learning environment, you don't want to make this an armed camp for kids, I don't think that is a positive example for children," he said.  "We should be able to figure out some other ways to enhance safety."

President Obama announced last week that he was creating a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden to offer workable policy solutions to the problem of gun violence by the end of January.

The president will likely face an uphill battle, as any proposed legislation will have to make its way through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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