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Standing Guard--Remember New Orleans

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

STANDING GUARD

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA Executive Vice President

NRA is committed to ensuring that innocent Americans always have the means to defend themselves in their homes and neighborhoods.

Of any news story since New Orleans became the first venue in America to disarm its peaceable citizens house by house--at gunpoint--nothing brought home the sheer terror of it all more than two broadcast video segments: one on ABC News and another on Fox News Channel.

Opening with scenes of police and Oklahoma National Guardsmen entering homes on a block-by-block search, you cannot watch the ABC piece without fear and anger. Everybody I've spoken with who has seen it had the same reaction--the Constitution has been trashed. This was supposed to be a humanitarian effort, not a shoot-to-kill military operation.

If friends might think shoot-to-kill is overblown, tell them to imagine having a locked and loaded M16 or M4 carbine leveled at them by a youthful guardsman with fear in his eyes. Then imagine someone shouting, "He has a gun!"

For state, local or federal governmentto disarm these good people in their own homes using the threat of imminent deadly force is unthinkable.

This is the worst case for honest gun owners come true. But I promise you, when all is said and done by NRA, these scenes will become a nightmare for the gun-ban crowd, because they give lie to their false promises that forced gun confiscation would never happen in America.

With images of police and guardsmen clearing rooms, shouldered M16s at the ready, the ABC reporter explained that they enter homes "with guns drawn with instructions to disarm anyone inside." Then the New Orleans police chief says, "No one will be able to be armed. We're going to take all weapons." Remember, this has always been the endgame of New Orleans politicians who were first in line to take a crack at suing the firearm industry out of existence.

In the ABC broadcast, young men are sitting on a curb with arms handcuffed behind their backs, surrounded by heavily armed police. They could be any of our college-age kids. Their crime as explained by the ABC reporter: "[H]omeowners had armed themselves to protect their mansions. Residents were handcuffed on the ground, and in the end, police took their weapons but let them stay in their homes."

In the close of the ABC footage, a very young guardsman says, "Walking up and down these streets you don't want to have to think about the stuff you are going to have to do. If somebody pops around the corner . . . ." Off camera, the reporter interrupts and says, "You mean shoot an American."

The Americans this young man might shoot are not looters; they are not criminals. They are brave people who simply refused to obey an order by the same local authorities who indefensibly failed to protect them.

Keep in mind, those officials--who ordered every decent citizen of their city to be forcibly disarmed--also sent tens of thousands of residents whose homes were destroyed to endure the living hell of the Superdome and the Convention Center; where people died or were murdered; where bodies rotted; where medical practitioners were frightened away; where gang members killed, robbed and raped at will. All of this with virtually no police presence for a week.

For citizens in neighborhoods spared the flooding and wind damage from the hurricane, the evacuation order made no sense. And arming themselves to protect their persons, families, homes and communities from roving criminal predators made perfect sense. Self-protection is the most basic human right of all.

To see the National Guard troops in this ABC segment is to see them on a war footing. They are edgy. Fearful. But this isn't war. This is a natural disaster involving innocent Americans whom are victims of nature. These are Americans who chose to be armed so that they would not further become victims of criminal violence.

Many of these people who stayed in their relatively unscathed neighborhoods couldn't bring themselves to abandon their pets, their possessions. They feared leaving more than staying. Think of being disarmed at gunpoint by the very people who you thought had come to help.

For any level of government--state, local or federal--to disarm these good people in their own homes using the threat of imminent deadly force is unthinkable.

The Fox broadcast brought that message home with incredible force. Seeing a burly police officer body slam a frail, elderly woman who was showing officers her home protection gun--a little Colt Police Positive--is beyond imagination. (See Marshall Lewin's powerful story on p. 72). Her gun was taken, and she was hauled out of her home.

Law enforcement? No. Tyranny. Clear and simple. And it is a tyranny that must be stopped--never to happen again.

NRA is committed to ensuring that innocent Americans always have the means to defend themselves in their homes and neighborhoods. We will do so by enacting laws to prohibit state and federal authorities from seizing firearms from innocent citizens under a state of emergency due to a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Self-defense is and must remain the bedrock principle of the Second Amendment.

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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.