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Remarks by Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director, at the 2005 Annual Meeting of Members in Houston, TX-

Saturday, April 16, 2005

I want to tell you a personal story.

About twelve years ago, there was a guy from Arkansas...who set out to blame our NRA for what ailed this country.

Well...I'd had my fill of what Bill Clinton's Administration was doing to the Second Amendment.

I took it personally. So when the chance came in 1995 to join the NRA on the front lines – on Capitol Hill, I thought about it for a second — more like half a second — and I took it.

I joined ILA, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. I worked with a mentor,former ILA Chief James Jay Baker, and he's here today. Jim, stand up...thank you!

And I was blessed to stand side by side with the Second Amendment’s greatest team in history, Wayne LaPierre and Charlton Heston.

Three years ago, I was named ILA's Executive Director. And my first goal was to erase Bill Clinton’s anti-gun legacy from history!

Today I’m here to report that we are well on our way to that goal.

Now, if laws could talk...Bill Clinton’s 1994 gun ban would sue for libel! It was a lie from the beginning.

The claim that those guns are crime guns is a bigger load of bull than you’ll find at the Houston stockyards.

So last year, we put Bill Clinton’s gun ban where it belongs – on the dung pile of history.

Those gun rights have been restored to the American people because you elected the right men and women to the U.S. Congress!

More good news of good riddance:

You helped us kick Clinton's buddy -- Tom Daschle -- out of the U.S. Senate.

He stabbed you in the back, so we sent him riding off into the sunset, along with Clinton’s gun ban!

Last year, those "Clinton-clone" candidates worked real hard to fool America. They all tried to hide their gun control records and their gun control agendas.

For example, take John Kerry. Here’s a guy with one of the worst anti-gun records in the U.S. Senate. But when he ran for President, he dressed up in blaze orange for photo-ops... and the media swallowed it up like hogs in a troff.

He was passing himself off as a friend to gun owners — and some of 'em were buying the lie. So we got busy. Everywhere he went, we were there. When anyone said John Kerry was America’s favorite "son"...we helped them finish that sentence.

We told voters the dog-honest truth about John Kerry! That dog didn't hunt!

Because of your hard work...out of 11 governor’s races, we won 9. Out of 18 Senate races, we won 14. Out of 251 House races, we won 241. And of all the state attorney general races, we won all of them. And I think you Texans will agree... we won the Presidential race, too!

That adds up to a 95% victory rate: the most successful election cycle in our history!

And it’s all thanks to you!

Together, we're not just winning long-shot elections. We're winning back long-lost freedoms.

Like the right to protect yourself with a firearm -- the "right to carry."

My friends -- right-to-carry, is not a problem, it’s a solution. And 8 out of 10 Americans agree.

We started the movement back in 1989. And today -- we’ve restored this God-given right to an all-time high of 38 states and counting! And crime is down in every one of them!

You Texans, you get it. You had a governor who signed right-to-carry here a long time ago. Now he’s in the Oval office!

America thanks you!

He also supports lawsuit protection,which brings up another Clinton skeleton we’re trying to bury:

These gutless lawsuits filed by trial lawyers and big-city mayors trying to bankrupt America’s gun makers. So far, just to fight off these lawsuits, gun makers have paid legal fees of almost a quarter of a billion dollars.

Folks, that’s billion with a B! Who pays that money? You do. Who gets that money? Lawyers do.

But we’re making progress. A court in Chicago recently dismissed a 550-million-dollar case.

And we’ve passed lawsuit reform in 33 states so far. But we’re still just one judge or jury away from American gun makers being driven overseas... or out of business.

So we’ve got a new bill called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to stop this corruption of our legal system nationwide.

I don’t want American soldiers relying on rifles made in France and ammo made in Russia. I want Americans armed with American firearms made by American companies! And if you do too, then it’s time to tell Congress, once and for all,to get serious and enact this important legislation now!

And don’t try to kill it with gun control amendments!

You know,the "holy grail" of the gun-ban crowd would be a list of American gun owners and their guns. You and I know why.

They’ve tried to build that database of your personal information in hundreds of ways — another Clinton trick.

But you won’t believe their latest ploy.Now they say they need a list of every gun owner's personal information to cross-check for known terrorists buying guns!

Known terrorists buying guns.

Give me a break. If they’re known terrorists, forget what they’re doing in a gun shop — what the hell are they doing in our country?

The gun-ban crowd is actually trying to scare Americans into believing that "known" terrorists are buying guns in America, and that the FBI is unable to stop them.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Of course we oppose terrorists acquiring any weapon. And of course we support giving law enforcement access to the tools they need.

But we will never ... never ... tolerate government lists of law-abiding gun owners. They can't confiscate your guns as long as they don't know who's got guns. And it's none of their damn business anyway!

When he spoke a moment ago, I hope you realized that Kayne Robinson’s greatest legacy may be his dedication to our hunting traditions and freedoms.

We hunters owe a real debt of gratitude for the vision and leadership of our president.

Kayne...we thank you.

Following his lead, your Institute for legislative Action is working harder than ever to get rid of all the Clinton red tape that discourages so many folks from enjoying our hunting heritage. And now we’re working nationwide for no-net-loss legislation that says for every acre closed to hunting, then by God a new acre must be opened to hunting!

And we’re not stopping till we get it!

I want to close with more good news you probably haven’t heard – a glorious sunrise that ended another Clinton nightmare.

Not long ago, the Bill Clinton Justice Department was asked, “What is the position of the U.S. government: Is the Second Amendment an individual right?”

Simple question... chilling response.

Bill Clinton's Justice Department said: “It must be considered as settled that there is no personal constitutional right, under the Second Amendment, to own or to use a gun.”

Bill Clinton’s Justice Department said there is no personal constitutional right, under the Second Amendment, to own or to use a gun.

Folks, that was the United States of America under Bill Clinton.

But when John Ashcroft became Attorney General in 2001, he reversed Clinton's position.  The Bush Administration has now delivered the most comprehensive legal opinion on the Second Amendment ever produced. This government you elected has shattered Clinton’s position on the Second Amendment!

This government you elected declared that the Second Amendment secures, and has always secured an individual right of the people that shall not be infringed!

Together, we are helping our nation awaken from the Bill Clinton nightmare.

The NRA is moving from defense to offense. We’re moving from just standing our ground to regaining lost ground. Trouble is, Bill may be gone — but Hillary’s not.

A few weeks ago, Senator Hillary Clinton introduced the “Count Every Vote Act.” Among other things, it would ensure that voting rights are restored to felons.

Could it be that Hillary wants ex-cons to vote because ex-cons overwhelmingly support gun control candidates? Of course criminals love gun control! It makes their job safer!

But listen to this. Researchers did the math and found that this “felon vote” would’ve given the gun-ban crowd control of the Senate for the last 20 years. And Al Gore would have been elected President in 2000.

Now, that would have been a "crime"!

But that’s how devious and desperate and deceptive our adversaries are. Their laundry-list of anti-gun schemes gives me a Deja Moo--the feeling that I’ve heard this bull before.

They want Bill Clinton’s gun ban back, plus millions more owned by folks like you and me. They want new “mandatory storage” laws... they want ballistic "fingerprinting" to register gun owners... they want to ban these guns ‘cause they’re too big, and ban those guns ‘cause they’re too small.

They want you to join their anti-gun allies at the United Nations next year when they vote for global gun registration even though gun registration led to confiscation in Germany, England, Australia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and Canada — not to mention California, New Jersey, and New York City.

Which brings us to San Francisco.

In November, the people of San Francisco will vote on a city-wide gun ban. Yes, I know, it’s San Francisco. But we fight in San Francisco so we won’t have to fight in Houston, or Austin, or Dallas or anywhere else they would go next!

Unlike too many Americans, you know that the enemies of personal freedom will take whatever disguise they must to succeed. That’s why our struggle is not only far from over, it’s never over.

But no matter what we face together, I’m not afraid because I know what’s in your heart: A devotion to liberty that fears no enemy.

You will rise and fight when our rights are under attack. You will invest your votes, your dollars, your time, your letters, your phone calls -- whatever it takes -- for the cause of freedom.

Together, we are freedom’s team. And together, we cannot lose.

God bless you for everything you’re doing... keep the faith and thank you very much.

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NRA ILA

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.