Comments from NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre
Two months ago, I was pleased to announce that the National Rifle Association chose the great city of Columbus to host our 136th annual meetings and exhibits in May of 2007.
Today I’m here to announce that the convention is cancelled. The NRA is not coming to Columbus in 2007.
The convention is canceled because last week your city council voted unanimously to revoke the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in Columbus by banning perfectly legal firearms.
Councilman Michael Mentel led the gun ban. He said the NRA “isn’t going to dictate the policies of this city.” But Michael Mentel certainly wants to dictate the policies of the U.S. Constitution for the people of Columbus.
Michael Mentel and your city council have embarrassed this great city in the eyes of the nation. By declaring that citizens who live inside its city limits have less freedom than people outside its city limits.
So, thanks to the Columbus City Council, sixty-five thousand people will not be coming to your wonderful Greater Columbus Convention Center in 2007.
Hundreds of exhibitors won’t fill your grand halls with the latest in guns, hunting and outdoor gear.
Even though half the U.S. population lives within 550 miles of Columbus, they won’t be packing their families to come spend money with your hotels, motels, restaurants, airlines, cabs, buses, retailers or attractions.
The only thing the city council can expect out of their decision is the gratitude of those businesses in the city we go to instead.
Thanks to your Columbus City Council, at least twenty million dollars of new tourist revenue will not boost the economy of Columbus in 2007.
You’d think a city council would do their homework. You know — find out if their gun-ban scheme worked anywhere else before they turn good citizens into criminals overnight.
The U.S. Congress already tried this exact same gun ban. Nationwide. For ten straight years. That’s enough time to learn if it works, right?
It was such a miserable failure that after ten years they called it off last September. And since they ended the gun ban, crime has gone down!
But your city council thinks they’re smarter than the U.S. Congress, and didn’t learn a thing from that failure.
Your city council didn’t learn that semiautomatic guns are not assault weapons. They are not machine guns.
They didn’t learn that semiautomatics are not high-powered, they can’t spray bullets, and they’re not used in 99% of all gun crime.
Your city council didn’t learn that their ban includes guns owned by thousands of honest Columbus hunters and sportsmen — who won’t react well.
And your city council didn’t learn how voters react to politicians who abuse their Second Amendment freedoms — like Al Gore, John Kerry and Tom Daschle.
Finally … this is an unnecessary loss and embarrassment for the people of Columbus. It’s also proof for state lawmakers that it’s time to protect lawful gun owners by making firearm laws uniform across Ohio. So that radical rogue agencies like this city council can’t create a confusing and dangerous patchwork of firearms laws.
The NRA is going to work with the people of Columbus and the Ohio Legislature to pass state preemption legislation and restore freedom to the people of Columbus.
When the Ohio Legislature enacts preemption, freedom will be restored to the people of Columbus.
And when freedom comes back to Columbus, we will come back to Columbus.