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Remarks By Chris W. Cox, Executive Director, NRA-ILA, At The 2004 Annual Meeting

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I took the helm at the Institute for Legislative Action - ILA two years ago, and I've got to tell you - people like you in this room amaze me.

Look at what you did in the last two national elections.

In 2000, you voted freedom first and you beat Al Gore.

In 2002, thanks to you, we won 82 percent of our state races, 84 percent of our U.S. Senate races, and 94 percent of our U.S. House races.

Give yourself credit for the best election cycle in the history of the National Rifle Association!

Thanks to your efforts, we've beat hundreds of bad bills on our watch. From gun licensing, to ammunition bans, to the database registration schemes we defeated in 20 states last year.

Thanks to voters like you, and with President Robinson's leadership, your NRA has been able to step up its focus as the leader on hunting issues. We led the way to bear hunting in New Jersey for the first time in 33 years, and in Maryland, for the first time in 50 years. We've worked closely with President Bush on hunting issues and we've stopped anti-hunting legislation in Congress.

Thanks to voters like you, Missouri became the 33rd state to pass lawsuit preemption -that's 33 states that block greedy lawyers and politicians from suing gun makers into bankruptcy.

We've also worked hard for federal legislation to stop these bogus lawsuits. The U.S. House of Representatives passed it and the White House supports it.

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But just last month in the Senate, anti-gun politicians hijacked the bill with their gun-hating agenda. They said, we'll give you lawsuit protection -- but you got to shut down gun shows and extend Bill Clinton's gun ban. We said no deal.

It's like when a good horse breaks a leg. No matter how much you love 'm, you got to put 'm down. But the fight's not over -- Not by a long shot.

And I promise. We're going to pass federal lawsuit protection - even if we have to elect a new Senate to do it!

Speaking of Bill Clinton's 1994 gun ban -- that was the biggest lie I've ever seen become law. Since they got their ban, they've had ten years to produce one shred of evidence that banning those guns had any effect on reducing crime. And there's not one.

But if there were, I'd have one question for you. Do you believe your rights, your liberties should be dependent upon the acts of criminals? No. You know who else didn't think so?

Those patriots who met in Pennsylvania one hot summer 228 years ago to declare our independence.

But as we predicted, the gun haters are back -- and they want more. Not just an extension of the ban, but an expansion -- to thousands of firearms and millions of your names on government lists. Well, we're not cutting any deals there, either. We're going to fight them. And let me be perfectly clear:

I will never, never, sell out your rights for political compromise! There's something else that's close to my heart.

I really, really like carry. No, not John Kerry - the right to carry.

You've had it here since '89. But in the past year or so we've passed right-to-carry in five more states - Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, and right next door in Ohio.

In all, 38 states now respect the right to carry. And despite hysterical rhetoric from the gun-haters, crime is much lower in those states.

Here's another way of saying that: you've made more than half the U.S. population safer from violent crime. How? By giving them back a God-given right they never should've taken away in the first place.

Researchers estimate that if the states without right-to-carry had it, every year 1,500 murders would not happen. 4,000 rapes would not happen. 11,000 robberies and 60,000 aggravated assaults would not happen. Making people victims is wrong.

All Americans deserve the right to defend themselves and we're going to see they get it!

In Missouri, the Governor vetoed right-to-carry. But thanks to folks like you, the legislature of the show-me state showed him and overturned his veto.

The same thing almost happened in Wisconsin - if it weren't for a single legislator who turned his back on gun owners. That's how important one single vote can be. Today, the difference between winning and losing is razor-thin.

It was just one vote - Al Gore's - that passed the '99 Senate bill that would have shut down gun shows. It was just one vote on the U.S. Supreme Court-- five to four --that tried to silence your NRA voice with a muzzle called campaign finance reform.

My point is this-- by just one vote, the First Amendment isn't safe in the U.S. Supreme Court. And the Second Amendment isn't safe in the U.S. Senate.

The danger has grown because the anti-gun movement has totally repackaged its candidates and its gun-hating agenda with a simple plan: lie to gun owners and say whatever it takes to fool them.

They've changed everything. The HCIs, Bradys and gun banners are hiding behind phony new names like "Americans For Gun Safety" and they've got a whole new lingo for their lies. Words like "common-sense restrictions," "sensible laws" and so-called "gun safety."

But their gun-hating dictionary centers around one three-letter word spelled b-u-t. That's why I call their candidates freedom-buts. That's right, freedom-buts. It's one way to spot the frauds.

They say, "I believe in Second Amendment freedom but we should ban semi-automatic firearms."

They say, "I respect the right to own a gun, but we should register and license all of them." They say, "I'm a hunter, but we need to ban deer hunting ammunition.

Don't be fooled. They're posers and fakes, and they want your guns. And the biggest fraud of all? John Kerry.

Last September when he announced he wanted to be President, John Kerry said, "I'm not looking to be the candidate of the NRA." Well, Senator, let me ease your troubled mind.

You can give back that ten-thousand dollar shotgun you borrowed for the photo-op. You can take off that blaze orange vest with the price tag still hanging off of it. You can stop dreaming about Hillary hunting ducks with a rifle and go back to Boston for your hair dye and Botox treatments.

Because John Kerry, you will never be the candidate of the NRA!

His website says "John Kerry .... Hunter .... Dreamer." Now that might work with the elitists on Martha's Vineyard, but not the people of Pennsylvania. Are you buying it? Heck, around here you've got more hunters than Steelers fans!

But like all anti-gun impostors, John Kerry wants you to think he's one of us. He must think we're idiots. In 19 years in the U.S. Senate, John Kerry has voted against your gun rights more than 50 times.

He voted against the Firearm Owners' Protection Act. He's voted for waiting periods. Yeah, he really likes waiting periods. 5 days, 7 days, 15 days, he's voted for all of them.

But of course, he voted against instant background checks.

He voted to formally praise Rosie O'Donnell's Million Mom March. The same Rosie O'Donnell who said if you own a gun you should go to jail.

He voted to censor our political free speech during elections. He voted again and again and again to ban guns and ban gun shows. And get this: John Kerry's been so busy running for president that he missed every single day of votes in the Senate this year.

Except one. Last month he managed to fly back to Washington just in time to vote to shut down gun shows, to ban semi-automatic firearms, to ban almost all deer hunting ammunition, and to let America's firearms industry collapse under an avalanche of junk lawsuits.

If you want to know where John Kerry stands on your gun rights, I can show you where he stands - literally - with a photo from that day.

John Kerry stands with Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein and Ted Kennedy the who's who of the gun hater's hall of shame.

Do you want your U.S. Supreme Court chosen by this group?

Do you want your U.S. Attorney General and federal judges chosen by this group? Do you want them to choose the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms?

Are these the people you want ratifying gun-ban treaties with the United Nations? No, I didn't think so. Look, I'm not an alarmist and I'm not talking black helicopters. But for years the UN has worked to eliminate civilian ownership of firearms worldwide.

They've repeatedly demanded that we sign onto a global gun ban treaty. But since we've got our cherished Second Amendment, they can't force us into going along yet.

But everything else is in place. The UN is just waiting for their kind of people to occupy the White House and Senate.

That's one reason these elections are so important. This November, there are thousands of state legislative races, all 435 U.S. House races, 34 U.S. Senate races, 11 Governor's races, and the Presidential race. That's why we need your help now more than ever. Because our enemies will never give up and they'll never go away. And they're more devious than ever because they're charlatans who'll lie to your face to look like your NRA friend.

So how do you spot the genuine article? Let me give you some suggestions. If you've ever said that Michael Moore --he's an honest filmmaker and a handsome devil. You're probably not an NRA member.

If you think the Constitution protects child pornography but not your right to own a Remington 1100. You're probably not an NRA member.

If you think Pennsylvania hunters don't care about wildlife - but the animal rights wackos in Boston do. You're probably not an NRA member.

If you think "where did I go wrong?" when your son or daughter joins the Marine Corps. You're probably not an NRA member.

If you hear the words "Commander-in-Chief -- Hillary Clinton

And don't break out in a sweat. I think you get my point.

But if you've felt your jaws clench when a protestor burned old glory. . .

If you think Charlton Heston just might be the only person in Hollywood to stand up for freedom. . .

If you appreciate the sacred genius of our founding fathers. . .

If you think freedom is our Creator's greatest gift and your American birthright. . .

And if you think the Second Amendment's greatest enemies might well be those four people right there ....

And if you're ready to do what it takes to save it from them ...

Then by God, and thank God, I'll bet you are an NRA member!

Thank you.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.