5 Things You Need to Know From the NRA Conference

The NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits (NRAAM) ran over the weekend in Atlanta, from Thursday through Sunday.  The Resurgent has previously covered the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum held on Friday (Trump’s speech here, and recap here), as well as posted Facebook Live streams of portions of the event.

For a final article concerning the NRAAM, I wanted to post my general observations about the conference.

First, the protesters, or lack of protesters.  I am aware that about 100 protesters staged a “die-in” at Woodruff Park, but that’s a few blocks away from the Georgia World Congress Center where the NRAAM was being held.  Therefore, I doubt many people attending the event even knew that there were protesters, other than reading about it in the news.  I did not personally see any protesters when I was there on Friday.  The only people I saw were attendees, police, and members of the press.  Compare the 100-odd protesters with the 80,000 NRA attendees and you get a sense of why someone could miss that they were even around.  Add to that the fact that the protesters were blocks away lying on the grass in a park, and you can see how they were easily missed, except by those who knew where to go looking for them.

Second, when attending an NRA event like this you really get a sense of the diversity of those who support the Second Amendment and enjoy firearms as a hobby, for hunting, for sport, and for self defense.  I saw people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities.  The NRA has also sought in the last few years to recruit spokespeople who better reflect this diversity.  People like Colion Noir and Dana Loesch have joined Wayne Lapierre as the public faces of the organization.  The professional shooting community also continues to flourish as sports such as IPSC, USPSA, and 3-Gun continue to grow in popularity (as well as their stars, such as Julie Golob, Jerry Miculek, Doug Koenig, Michelle Viscusi, and others).

Third, on the floor of the exhibit hall, watching the mass of people excitedly go from booth to booth, I also realized the falseness of the left’s characterization of the NRA as some sort of behemoth which seeks to push gun rights on an unwitting public.  The NRA is its people (about 5 million members), and it pursues the policies it does because its members want it to.  If the left continues to insist on calling the NRA “evil” and blaming it for the actions of criminals, it will only further alienate its members as well as the broader pro-Second Amendment community.

Fourth, the firearms industry is very large.  The exhibit hall had over 800 exhibitors, spread over 15 acres of floor space.  There were firearms manufacturers, ammunition manufacturers, accessory makers, collectors clubs, and many others in attendance.  The industry’s market size is about $16 billion per year and employees nearly 38,000 people.  Needless to say, the industry is the size it is because there is a large demand for its products.

Fifth, if you’ve never been to the NRA Annual Meeting, I highly recommend it.  Admission to the exhibits is free to NRA members, and you can join the NRA on the spot if needed.  In the exhibit hall you have the chance to meet people in the firearms community, view and hold various types of firearms, and talk with others who share similar interests.  There are also other events such as the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, various lunches and dinners, and concerts; tickets to these are extra, however.

One last note about the NRAAM this year.  It was erroneously reported by some media outlets that the NRA had prohibited concealed carry of firearms at the exhibits.  This is incorrect; lawfully carried firearms were allowed in the exhibit hall.  In addition, the original plan was to allow concealed carry in the separate meeting hall which hosted the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum.  However, with President Trump’s attendance that plan had to be altered due to the presence of the President and his Secret Service detail; thus, firearms were prohibited at the Leadership Forum and all attendees had to go through security to enter the room.

The NRAAM is in Dallas next year.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Recap of NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Atlanta

As part of the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting (NRAAM) held in Atlanta from last Thursday through Sunday (today), the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) held its Leadership Forum on Friday afternoon.

The highlight of the event was President Donald Trump, who was the first sitting president since Reagan in 1983 to speak at the event.  Although many of the press and some attendees left the event after Trump finished speaking, there were others who spoke after him.

A previous article here at The Resurgent covered Trump’s speech as well as the period leading up to it.  The following is the list of speakers who came after Trump, along with some comments concerning their speeches.  The general theme of all their speeches was support for the Second Amendment (and national concealed carry reciprocity), praise for Neil Gorsuch, disdain for the liberal media, and some mention of Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun agenda.

Florida Governor Rick Scott: He spoke about the Second Amendment, but had the misfortune of speaking directly after Trump.  Most of the larger press outlets packed up their gear and left as soon as Trump finished, as did some attendees in the crowd.  Thus, Scott was trying to speak as people were packing equipment and leaving the room.

Senator Ted Cruz: The crowd loved Cruz and greeted him warmly.  He stood away from the podium (and the teleprompter) and moved around onstage as he spoke.  Cruz is a polished speaker and makes extensive use of gestures to help get his point across.  As he was speaking I wondered if he would one day be Trump’s next nominee for the Supreme Court, or if he would run for President again in eight years.  He has quite the following due to his strong defense of the Second Amendment and individual freedom.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke: He came on stage with his wife; both seemed like genuinely warm and humble people.  Zinke talked about the mistrust of the Interior Department out West and said he wants to help change the perception that the Interior just wants to grab more land for the Federal government.  He said, “We want to be the happy department.”  His meaning was that he wants the department to protect land for public use by sportsmen and others who enjoy the outdoors, encouraging people to make use of these resources.

Former baseball player Adam Laroche: He brought his son on stage and related the reasons why he left baseball.  One was to spend more time with his son and family.  The other was so that he could put time into helping to combat sex trafficking.  He said that this fight is his passion and has gone on trips and helped fund efforts to fight the trafficking trade.  His speech was inspiring.  He said he’s often asked how he could leave the money of baseball and remarked that no matter how much money you have, “it’s never enough,” and that it can’t buy you happiness.  He commented on the role of fathers to raise their sons the right way (noting that there are too many fatherless homes) and mentioned the need to spread the Gospel.  Laroche had a funny opening line.  He said, “I can tell my kids and my friends that President Trump opened for me.”

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt: He talked about the need to defend the Second Amendment and about the changes in Nevada as it has shifted from being solidly pro-2nd Amendment to being softer on it.

Senator David Purdue: He mentioned the Second Amendment, the national debt crisis, and the “Constitutional crisis” due to Obama’s executive orders.  He also promoted national concealed carry reciprocity laws and term limits for Congress.

Campus carry advocate Antonia Okafor: She advocates for campus carry and female gun ownership.  She talked about her mission in this regard as well as the negativity she has received from those opposed to her.  She said that the NRA is “one of the greatest civil rights organizations in the history of the world.”

LTC (ret) Allen West: He was a rousing, animated speaker who got the audience cheering at many points.  Like Okafor, West referred to the NRA as ” the oldest civil rights organization that this country has ever known.”  Like Trump, he referenced the 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord as the British attempted to seize the colonists’ weapons in an effort to subjugate them.  He said that all other rights therefore hinge on the Second Amendment.  West supports national concealed carry reciprocity and connected it with the 14th Amendment, telling Georgia Governor Deal to sign the campus carry bill which is on his desk.  He said that the Democrats have always been against the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and formed the KKK after the Civil War to deprive black people of their self-defense rights.

Senator Luther Strange: He spoke about the importance of the Second Amendment in guarding against government tyranny.  Like others before him, he also promoted national concealed carry reciprocity.

Larry Potterfield (from MidwayUSA): He is the founder and CEO of MidwayUSA who for over two decades has offered a “round-up” program where people purchasing shooting supplies from his company can round-up their total, with the difference being donated to the NRA-ILA.  He and his wife presented a ceremonial check for $14 million to Chris Cox on stage.

Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr.: The Milwaukee sheriff closed out the list of speakers, referring to the NRA as those who love freedom, liberty, and God.  He was much more strident than many of the previous speakers, referring to the “rat bastards on the left” who assault the Constitution, liberty, rule of law, and American exceptionalism.  He also advocated national concealed carry reciprocity, saying “We have waited long enough.”  Perhaps the most fitting quote of his which summarizes the mission of the NRA is “There will be no finish in the fight for freedom;” i.e. each generation needs to continue to fight (a sentiment expressed by President Reagan in 1983 when he spoke at the same event).

 

President Trump Speaks to NRA

On Friday, April 28th President Donald Trump spoke to NRA members in attendance at the NRA-ILA (“Institute for Legislative Action”) Leadership Forum in Atlanta.  The Leadership Forum is part of the events associated with the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting (NRAAM), running from Thursday through Sunday.

Trump was the keynote speaker at the Forum, which officially began at 12:30 PM, but Trump did not speak until about an hour later.  He is the first sitting U.S. President to speak at the forum since Reagan did so in 1983.  Also speaking were NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne Lapierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Sheriff David A Clarke, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, LTC (ret) Allen West, Senator Ted Cruz, Antonia Okafor, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, FL Governor Rick Scott, Senator Luther Strange, Senator David Purdue, and former baseball player Adam Laroche.

The highlight for the crowd was definitely President Trump.  Everyone in the room at the Georgia World Congress Center waited in anticipation for nearly an hour after the scheduled start time for Trump to arrive (many people arrived early as well, as the doors opened at 9am).  The waiting interval was filled with country music (mostly) and various NRA videos playing on the screens.  However, one of the more ironic pieces of music played was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”  While a good song, Springsteen is known for being “anti-Trump.”

The videos elicited audible responses from the crowd; pre-election videos featuring Hillary Clinton and Hollywood celebrities were booed, while videos of Reagan and Trump were cheered.  Many videos were centered around the NRA’s theme “I’m the NRA, Freedom’s Safest Place,” featuring various members of the NRA making this declaration.  Kimberly Corban‘s video, in particular, garnered cheers from the crowd.

Also playing were a series of videos which featured Hollywood celebrities confidently predicting that Trump would never be president and ridiculing the idea.  This was followed by a video of former President Obama doing the same.  Finally, there was a video montage of Trump praising the NRA, in particular Chris Cox and Wayne Lapierre.

Finally, Chris Cox got on stage to speak and it appeared that the main event would finally begin.  He introduced LTC (ret) Oliver North who led the crowd in an invocation.  Then, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by the NRA officers.  This was followed by the National Anthem, sung by former Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Lisa Stierwalt.  Chris Cox then spoke again, before Wayne Lapierre took the stage.

Lapierre referenced “academic elites,” “political elites,” and “leftist media elites” who wish to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights.  He referenced the liberal news media and their agenda crowding out “good values” from public discussion.  Finally, he talked about the NRA’s new Carry Guard program of training and insurance for concealed carry.  This program was advertised extensively at the event and on the show floor, marking the NRA’s entrance into offerings for the growing concealed carry market.

Singer Lee Greenwood then sang “God Bless the USA.”  Towards the end of the song, the speaking podium was removed from the stage and replaced with the Presidential podium adorned with the Presidential seal.  Cox then came up to announce President Trump.

Trump took the stage to the playing of “Hail to the Chief,” flanked by Cox and Lapierre.  The crowd was ecstatic to see him, standing and cheering loudly.  Trump soaked up the adoration, and it seemed that this was his natural element which he most enjoyed.

Trump began by thanking Cox and Lapierre, praising Lee Greenwood, and mentioning Karen Handel’s upcoming run-off election in the GA 6th Congressional District.  He also praised the late Charleston Heston, former NRA President and defender of the Second Amendment.

Trump then related the surprise victory he won in the November elections, before tying it back to the fact that he was the only candidate in the General Election to speak to the NRA (i.e. Clinton did not come to speak) and that the NRA had endorsed him early in the primaries.

He said to the NRA members, “But you came through for me, and I am going to come through for you,” before referencing the fact that he is the first sitting President to address the NRA-ILA since Ronald Reagan did so in 1983.

Trump then focused on the Second Amendment, saying to large cheers:

The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.  You have a true friend and champion in the White House.  No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners.  No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans.  Instead, we will work with you, by your side.

He mentioned his appointments of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and Ryan Zinke as the Secretary of the Interior as positive moments in the defense of the Second Amendment.

Turning his focus to “law and order,” Trump spoke about the battle against illegal aliens, crime, criminal gangs such as MS-13, and terrorism.  He praised Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly for their work in countering these threats.  He reiterated his promise to “build the wall.”

Trump then said:

So let me make a simple promise to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience today:  As your President, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.  Never ever.  Freedom is not a gift from government.  Freedom is a gift from God.

He followed this with a reference to the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 when the British attempted to seize the arms of the American colonists.  He spoke about the importance of that day and the ensuing Revolution, ending with:

Since the first generation of Americans stood strong at Concord, each generation to follow has answered the call to defend freedom in their time.  That is why we are here today:  To defend freedom for our children.  To defend the liberty of all Americans.  And to defend the right of a free and sovereign people to keep and bear arms.

Finally, he thanked the NRA and closed with “God Bless you.  God Bless our Constitution, and God bless America.  Thank you very much.”

The crowd loved Trump’s speech and cheered him on.  One does not get the full effect of Trump’s speaking ability through written transcripts.  When written down, his sentences appear choppy and, at times, awkward.  However, in person he makes a connection with the crowd, responding to their cheers and reactions, and his speaking style therefore appears more personal.  In contrast, Ted Cruz, who is a more polished speaker, gives the impression that he is reciting a well-rehearsed stump speech.  Actually, one of the funnier lines of Trump’s speech was regarding Cruz.  He said of him that he was someone “I really liked, didn’t like, and now like a lot again.”

Look for additional articles coming soon at The Resurgent regarding the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum and the Exhibits.

 

Preview: NRA Annual Meeting in Atlanta

The National Rifle Association Annual Meeting (NRAAM) is this weekend in Atlanta, beginning on Thursday and ending on Sunday.  An estimated 80,000 people are expected to attend over the course of these four days.  In addition to the 15 acre exhibit hall and over 800 exhibitor booths, there are a number of special events planned.

Perhaps the most anticipated event is the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) Leadership Forum on Friday, beginning at 12:30 PM.  Speaking at this forum will be President Donald Trump, NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne Lapierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Sheriff David Clarke, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, LTC (ret) Allen West, Senator Ted Cruz, Antonia Okafor, and others.

The highlight is likely to be President Trump’s speech.  He is the first U.S. President to speak at the forum since Reagan did so in 1983.  Given the fact that he, and his administration, is seen as a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and of the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, he will no doubt receive a rousing reception.

Those hostile to the 2nd Amendment and individual rights will also be on hand to oppose the event.  Moms Demand Action, led by professional PR executive Shannon Watts, will be there to protest.

The Resurgent will be at the NRAAM on Friday to report on the show floor as well as at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum.  Stay tuned on Friday for Facebook live streamed updates and posts concerning the event.

More Guns, Fewer Accidents

 

 

About 20 years ago, criminologist John Lott wrote a book that documented how violent crime decreased in states that passed “shall issue” gun carry permits. Lott’s book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” was a pivotal moment in understanding the harmful effects of gun control laws. The assumption of a positive link between gun control and civic safety was broken. Now, another gun control assumption is being called into question as new data shows that more guns don’t necessarily result in more firearms accidents.

Gun sales have set records several times in recent years. Gun sales as measured by NICS background checks increased after the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and again after his reelection and attempt to impose new gun controls in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre.

The prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency caused sales to spike even further. Gun sales in 2016 smashed all previous records. At more than 27 million background checks, more than twice as many guns were purchased in 2016 as in 2008.

Liberal dogma would lead one to believe that the vast numbers of new guns in the hands of private citizens would lead to a dramatic increase in rates of violent crime and firearms accidents. Neither assumption is true.

The Washington Examiner reports that a new report by the National Safety Council puts the number of gun-related accidental deaths for 2015, the latest year that statistics are available, at 489. This is the lowest since recordkeeping began and represents a 17 percent drop from 2014.

Gun accidents make up less than one percent of the accidental deaths studied in the report by the nonprofit organization. Guns caused far fewer accidental deaths than automobiles and drug overdoses, which were leading causes of accidental death in various age groups. The odds of accidental gun deaths fell between “pedacyclist incidents” and “air and space transport incidents.”

Likewise, crime rates across the country remain near record lows despite claims by Democrats and President Trump that crime is at critical levels. FBI data from 2014, the most recent year available, shows the US murder rate at its lowest point since 1957.

Some cities did report an uptick in violent crime in 2015, but Politifact notes that the overall trend has been downward. “Snapshots are not trends. And two or three years of data are far too few to establish a trend,” said Richard A. Berk, professor of criminology and statistics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

CNN notes that the uptick in violent crime was due to increases in specific cities, such as Chicago, which doesn’t even make USA Today’s list of the most violent cities in the country when crime rates are adjusted for population, although its suburb of Rockford, Ill. does. None of the cities on the list are known for large illegal immigrant populations, making the president’s claims that illegals are driving the uptick in the crime rate problematic.

Chris Eger at Guns.com credits the increase in safety programs with the decline in gun accidents. “The basic gun safety rules as advocated by the National Rifle Association are mentioned at least as far back as Jeff Cooper’s ‘The Complete Book of Modern Handgunning’ in 1961,” he writes. “The gun rights group has also backed their Eddie Eagle GunSafe, which they contend has reached more than 28 million children since 1988.” Eger also gives a nod to the 2005 law that required including gun locks with new gun sales and the distribution of gun locks by the National Shooting Sports Foundation as part of Project Childsafe.

“This latest release from the National Safety Council shows that the vast majority of the 100 million American firearms owners meet the serious responsibilities which come with firearms ownership,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “They store their firearms safely and securely when not in use, and follow the basic rules of firearms safety when handling them.”

Perhaps we should question more liberal dogmas.

Rejoice! Sanity Has Returned To Fish & Wildlife

Rejoice! For sanity has been restored. Hunters and fisherman may now resume using lead bullets and tackle, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned on Jan. 19, the former president’s last full day in office.

The Obama administration, bless their bleeding hearts, had one goal in the last eight years: to eliminate guns from America. All they really did was incite people to buy more guns, and make it more difficult for sportsmen of all kinds to enjoy life.

That’s liberals: sucking the marrow out of every bone until life becomes a joyless exercise in monochromatic blind obedience to the issue du jour. Kudos to President Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for peeling back a slice of the insanity.

Flanked by NRA-ILA and other conservation group officials, Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3347. Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA gave this statement.

“This was a reckless, unilateral overreach that would have devastated the sportsmen’s community,” said Cox. “The Obama administration failed to consult with state fish and wildlife agencies or national angling and hunting organizations in issuing this order. This was not a decision based on sound scientific evidence — it was a last second attack on traditional ammunition and our hunting heritage.”

The lead ban really wasn’t based on scientific anything. It was simply a slap in the face to hunters, and a setup for using the inevitable reversal to raise money for liberal causes. No doubt, the emails have already gone out begging for cash because the big bad conservatives are poisoning our pristine wilderness with lead.

Of course, hunters and fishermen have been using lead since the days of Davy Crockett and, aside from the animals killed by the bullets, there’s been no mass die-offs.

It feels good to embrace the sanity.

 

NEW: Dana Loesch Lands Awesome Spokesperson Role with NRA

Conservative commentator and gun gal Dana Loesch has a new role with the National Rifle Association:  Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President for Public Communication. Previously, Loesch served as a Special Advisor on Women’s Policy Issues and currently hosts a show on their TV network, NRATV.

“During the past year Dana has proven herself to be a powerful voice for the Second Amendment rights of all Americans,” Wayne LaPierre said in a press release. “It is clear that Dana has the communication skills, experience, and natural ability to serve our organization well as one its very public faces in the news media.”

He added, “I’ve been impressed with Dana’s command of the issues facing the NRA, as well as her ability to communicate our positions and connect with women, and men, on those issues.”

Here’s more from Loesch on the announcement:

Many took it to social media to congratulate Dana on her new spokesperson role:

 

https://twitter.com/DanaTheBlaze/status/834090439040983044

Dana Loesch couldn’t be a better fit for this role. Her tireless, impassioned defense of Second Amendment issues has made her a leader in the shooting sports. Moreover, she helps give life to the issue as a woman, mom, and constitutionalist. The world could use more Dana Loesch’s and fewer Shannon Watts’.

Loesch currently hosts a popular syndicated radio show and “Dana” on The Blaze. She is a frequent guest on major TV networks where she often appears on behalf of the NRA. Dana has also authored two bestseller books, Hands Off My Guns (2014) and Flyover Nation (2016).

I’m proud to know Dana and am confident she’ll excel in this role. You go girl!

 

Liberty University May Host Country’s First Campus Gun Range Soon

Liberty University is blazing the trail for gun rights on campus.

Started by the late Jerry Falwell,  the Lynchburg, Virginia-based university is set to open the nation’s first NRA-approved gun range if it gets approved. On December 5th, the issue was brought up at a public hearing in Campbell Country, VA.

Here’s a more concrete update from Students at Liberty for Gun Rights’ blog post on the subject:

Liberty University is currently planning to construct a new state of the art outdoor shooting complex near Camp Hideaway.  The project was introduced in a public hearing of Campbell County’s Planning Commission on December 5 in which representatives from Liberty University proposed their plans for the range site.

Schematics for the range include a one, two, and three hundred-yard rifle range.  It will also feature several shotgun ranges and stands for such shooting sports as skeet, trap, five stand, and sporting clays.  Furthermore, the facility will include a pistol range, an area for three-gun competition, tactical shooting, and a potential police shoot-house.

Liberty University allowed concealed carry on campus dorms this fall. University policy is outlined as the following: “The policy is designed so persons with concealed weapons permits can carry them concealed on campus as they would off campus and keep their weapons in their locked cars while visiting campus without violating university policy. Similarly, members of the university community that are over 21 with concealed weapons permits can seek permission from LUPD to carry concealed weapons on campus and store them in their locked vehicles. Faculty and staff are allowed to have concealed weapons stored in secured containers in their offices once approved by LUPD. Resident students may carry concealed or store weapons in residence halls in a university provided safe once approved by LUPD. The weapons policy also outlines a procedure for members of the university community of any age to store their weapons with LUPD.”

The idea for the proposed shooting range came after National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke on the campus earlier this year:

Yahoo!News has more on this partnership between the campus and NRA:

“The project was introduced to the NRA during [Executive Vice President] Wayne LaPierre’s visit to campus last spring,” Len Stevens, spokesperson for the university, told Yahoo News. “They have generously offered their expertise to help us develop it.”

Plans for the new gun range were motivated in part by a growing number of students signing up for Liberty’s handgun safety class, said Stevens. “We’ve had nearly 900 students go through the class since we first started it nearly two years ago,” he said. “The present facility has been deemed antiquated and ill-suited for that number of students by university leadership.”

In some ways, Liberty’s plans for an NRA-compliant shooting facility are the next logical move for the school. Last fall, the school’s stance on guns attracted national headlines when Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the Christian school, encouraged students to get their concealed carry permits in order to defend themselves against what he said was the threat of armed Muslim attacks.

This is a HUGE win for gun rights on campus. More guns in the hands of good people leads to the presence of fewer crimes committed by bad people with guns. Let’s hope this inspires more campus ranges elsewhere!