Tens of thousands of NRA members and other gun enthusiasts descended upon Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend to attend the National Rifle Association annual meeting, rally, and “9 acres of guns and gear”! It was carnage, there was blood in the streets, and the bodies piled so high by Sunday night that front end loaders were brought in to clear the way for traffic. Just kidding! It was the safest city in the world this weekend because there were thousands upon thousands of “good guys” with guns—and oddly enough not a “bad guy” to be seen.
At the Leadership Forum on Friday many politicians spoke, the theme seeming to broaden this year beyond merely the Second Amendment to include freedom in general. There was plenty of criticism for Michael Bloomberg and his coming efforts to disarm law abiding citizens by spending $50 million of his own money in this year’s midterms. To that, the NRA responded with an ad entitled “Bloomberg’s Millions”, calling attention to the fact that he is injecting millions to influence politics; a common criticism from the left of other billionaires who donate to Constitutional causes.
My favorite speakers were probably the Governor of Indiana Mike Pence, and the Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark. The Governor was articulate and uncompromising in his proclamation of freedom and support for the Bill of Rights, of course including the Second Amendment. As Governor he has helped Indiana accomplish great things like being one of the first states to allow concealed carry in their parks, which is absurd that most states would ban the practice of self defense in remote places where animals or psychos could attack a victim without help nearby.
After introducing his wife, Pence quipped “You know after meeting her 30 years ago, she had a motorcycle and a handgun; it was love at first sight”. Indiana has balanced budgets, one of the lowest unemployment rates, and is leading the way in school choice and educational improvement—and they’re doing it not because, but despite Common Core. Pence said “Here in the Hoosier state we believe education is a state and local function and decisions about curriculum, about standards, about text books should be made in the communities by the parents and families that are affected by them the most”.
Indiana has billions of reserve funds, and a triple A rating from all credit rating agencies in the USA. Taxes continue to be lowered in Indiana, with more scheduled over the next decade. Summarizing the theme of his short talk, Pence made sure to articulate that State governments must lead the way in restoring our rights, and taking power back from the federal government: “Despite what some may think in Washington DC our State governments are not territorial outposts of the national government… as Ronald Reagan said, ‘It’s important to remember that the States created the federal government, the federal government didn’t create the states'”.
Sheriff David A. Clark gave a fiery speech in defense of gun ownership as a way to protect oneself against criminals and tyranny alike. Clark criticized former Supreme Court Justice Stevens for suggesting that the Second Amendment be “clarified” by adding 5 words to only allow gun ownership “when serving in the militia”, which anyone who understands how to use commas knows was not the intent of the Second Amendment. In response Clark asked “Just what part of shall not be infringed does Justice Stevens not understand?” and said he would add his own 7 words to the end of the Second Amendment, “keep your hands off our guns damnit” to much applause.
The Sheriff used “smash-mouth politics” to call out the political elites who would disarm us, because they fear the people’s ability to resist tyranny and keep government in check. “The armed citizen made America free and the armed citizen will keep America free!” Clark also recounted multiple true stories from his county of armed citizens saving lives when being attacked by criminals who would otherwise have murdered and robbed them. “Those firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens saved-peoples’-lives.” Finally Clark reminded us all that the Declaration of Independence says it is our right and duty to throw off oppressive government and provide new guards for liberty.
Other guest speakers included radio personality Mark Levin, Colts kicker Adam Vineteiri, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who all gave good humored and encouraging short speeches. The coldest response by the crowd was given to Senator Mitch McConnell who, while being good on guns, has still supported big government in the past; this showed me that the NRA members in the crowd had enough political knowledge to distinguish between their true proponents in the congress, and the ones who are all talk.
Walking around the “9 acres of guns and gear” I happened to run into Chris Cox, the NRA-ILA Executive Director who genuinely seemed humbled by the support of so many law abiding gun owners, and thanked me and my Dad, Harry of FirearmsAdvantage.com and host of WMRC’s “Under the Gun”, for coming all the way from Massachusetts. We also got to check out some pretty bad-ass guns which is always nice.
At the “Stand and Fight” rally Sarah Palin made a quick appearance before country music star Sarah Evans took the stage followed by the classic country band Alabama. In between performers NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre spoke and asked the people in the crowd to show the diversity by standing when their profession was called. One by one the crowd of tens of thousands stood as Wayne thanked teachers, military men and women, those in the trades, business owners, stay at home moms and dads, police officers, retail workers, farmers, ranchers, nurses, doctors, and many more to great applause and cheers.
Indianapolis is a beautiful city with great restaurants and great beer. It was a fun and encouraging weekend to see so many freedom lovers who were engaged, polite, and pumped up! Join the NRA to support gun rights and fight back against evil billionaires like Michael Bloomberg who would disarm the law abiding citizens, pretending it would reduce crime while in reality causing death, as more people are saved by guns than killed with them each year in America. “Stand and Fight!”