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Remarks by Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director, at the 2007 Annual Meeting of Members in St. Louis, MO

Monday, April 16, 2007

Thank you.

You heard Wayne and Sandy talk about the threats we’re up against, and how important it is that you see what we see.

So in this ILA report, I’ll give you an update on the political lay of the land.

But I also want to touch on a few examples of how your NRA is at work in ways and places you might not ever see.

First, an update on what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Everyone knows about the destruction of property.

But too many still don’t know about the destruction of freedom that occurred in the aftermath: the first door-to-door gun confiscation in American history.

Your NRA had camera crews on the ground.

Watch what happened.

VIDEO #1

I told Patty Konie and I’m telling you: It’s not going to happen again in America! First, we filed a lawsuit in Federal Court and won.

The judge ordered the City of New Orleans to stop confiscating guns and start giving them back.

When the city stonewalled us month after month, we got the judge to hold Mayor Ray Nagin and his Police Chief in contempt of court.

Not once, but twice.

Then last month we got the judge to order Ray Nagin to write us a check for our legal fees.

We started passing state laws -- and a landmark Federal law -- to prohibit gun confiscation during an emergency.

I’m proud to report that yesterday -- in this very room -- Governor Matt Blunt signed such a bill, called the Missouri Disaster Recovery Protection Act, and it’s now state law.

So all said and done... we’re going to get their guns back... we’re going to get your money back... and never again ... no matter what ... in New Orleans or St. Louis or anywhere else ... can the government kick in your door and take your guns when you need ‘em the most.

That’s your NRA on the job!

You know ... the story of what happened in New Orleans ought to be in every grade-school textbook ... just like the Boston Tea party.

What happened in New Orleans should’ve been front-page news.

But we all know the media thinks gun rights are wrong.

Without the media, Bill Clinton never could’ve sold his gun ban in 1994.

They tricked Americans into thinking the Clinton Gun Ban was about machine guns.

And it worked.

Millions of legal rifles became illegal.

Now fast-forward with me ten years.

The Clinton Gun Ban is about to expire.

But the media’s going out of their minds to get it renewed.

So CNN finds an anti-gun sheriff to scare the public with a fake demonstration.

Even though the ban had nothing whatsoever to do with machine guns, they’re at a gun range blowing cinderblocks apart with a fully-automatic machine gun.

And they’re saying: that gun will become legal if Congress doesn’t extend the ban.

It’s an outrageous lie we cannot let stand.

So within hours, your NRA is in their face -- and not backing down.

Take a look:

VIDEO #2

That’s your NRA on the job! We forced CNN to come clean with a corrected story. And the ban died a long-overdue death.

Because -- just like we told them, it had absolutely no effect on crime.

But history repeats itself.... and so do the lies.

Two months ago Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy dug up the carcass of the Clinton Gun Ban ... tripled the number of firearms banned ... and introduced the most sweeping federal gun ban in U.S. history.

So get ready for the same lies and the same bait ‘n switch stunts.

But your NRA’s on the job: The facts are the facts, the truth is the truth, we beat ‘em before and we are going to beat ‘em again!

I’m pleased to report that we now have Hunter Protection laws in all 50 states.

We now have Right-to-Carry in more than 40 states.

And we’re working to pass the Castle Doctrine here in Missouri and nationwide.

Here’s why that's so important.

In too many places the law says that if a criminal breaks into your home, you have a legal duty to retreat.

And if you do fight back, you can go to jail and be sued by the criminal.

I think they’ve got it backwards.

I believe that if you’re attacked and you decide to protect yourself and your family it’s time for the law to be on your side, not the criminal’s side.

And we won't stop fighting until the Castle Doctrine becomes the law in Missouri -- and across the country -- that's your NRA on the job!

Next, I want to give you a report about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ... America’s latest self-appointed billionaire gun-control zealot.

He’s convinced more than 160 mayors into signing on with his new coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

As if illegal guns weren’t already illegal enough.

Take a look at Mayor Mike, who wants to bring New York City-style gun control to your hometown.

VIDEO #3

This guy’s like a rooster who thinks the sun rises just to hear him crow.

But his coalition of mayors puts a majority of the U.S. urban population -- including St. Louis -- under Bloomberg’s thumb.

And he’s hurting innocent people.

Here’s what he’s doing:

He sends his private detectives into gun shops in any state he wants.

Bloomberg’s boys -- who aren’t even real cops -- pretend to be criminal gun traffickers.

They lie on the forms and do everything they can to get the Mom ‘n’ Pop gun stores to violate federal law.

Then Bloomberg goes grandstanding for the news cameras and vilifies gun dealers, while his lawyers haul them into court to be tried by anti-gun New York City judges.

Everyone knows a small business can’t survive against billionaire mayors and their big-city budgets.

Now multiply that times 160 mayors, and Mike Bloomberg -- just one New York City gun hater -- can bankrupt American gun shops coast to coast.

Listen, folks.

Federal law already slams gunrunners with enough mandatory jail time to die in prison for just three illegal guns!

So I have a challenge for Mayor Mike and all you I-wanna-be-like-Mike mayors: If you’re really serious about stopping crime, change your name from Mayors Against Illegal Guns ... to Mayors Against Criminals.

Then, Mayor Mike, you arrest those criminals, not honest gun dealers.

Then you prosecute those criminals with the laws you’ve got.

And then, Mayor Mike, you lock up those criminals and you keep the key in your nancy pants for a long, long time.

Until you do that, Mayor Mike, you’re just a big mouth with big money.

Take your giant ego and junk lawsuits -- and leave lawful gun owners alone!

This kind of harassment and intimidation is just part of the new political playbook for 2008.

So it’s important that you understand who the players are, how the game has changed, and how they plan to win it.

Congress is now controlled by career politicians who’ve voted against your gun rights for 20, 30, 40, even 50 years.

I’m talking about Teddy Kennedy and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton -- you know who they are.

They are the dinosaurs of gun control. They were on the road to extinction, and should’ve been fossils by now.

But here’s how they changed.

In 2000 they said: “We hate guns!” ... that didn't work.

In 2004 they said "We don't hate guns -- we love to hunt" ... that didn't work.

And now it’s like, “Guns? What guns?”

Even Bill Clinton said that Al Gore lost because they were on the wrong side of the Second Amendment.

And you can add John Kerry and Tom Daschle to that list.

Yes, Al Gore won an Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth.” But Al Gore lost the White House over that “Inconvenient Second Amendment.”

So they changed their playbook. They helped get a bunch of mostly pro-gun politicians elected to Congress.

Not because they changed their position on our freedom ... they just wanted to be back in power.

And it worked.

So now we’re at halftime, and it’s a tie in Congress until 2008.

For the next 16 months they’ll do everything they can to divide us from our natural allies.

They’ll try to drive a wedge between us and hunters, between us and police, between us and union members.

They’ll try to break up the coalition of gun owners that beat Al Gore and John Kerry.

They’ll send the message:

“Wait ... there’s no gun threat here. But just look at the economy. Look at healthcare.”

So that our brethren in law enforcement, and hunters, and union members won’t get energized, won’t get involved and, most of all, won’t register and vote next year.

If they can do this for the second half, they can build their numbers in the House and Senate in 2008.

And then touchdown! They get their president elected.

And she starts running up the score against your firearm freedom.

Then, an anti-gun president, an anti-gun Congress and their anti-gun appointees will rule over every federal agency.

And they’ll be popping champagne corks over at the United Nations.

That’s their agenda, but you won’t hear much about it between now and the elections.

All you’ll hear is, “We support common-sense gun laws.” Which means gun bans, gun registration, gun owner licensing, gun rationing, taxes, and fees.

And the Hail Mary of their playbook?

The day tragedy strikes, and a terrorist event gives them the green light to do it all.

That’s our opponents’ new playbook, and it cuts across party lines.

It’s creeping into state houses, mayors’ offices and city councils.

Like in Washington, D.C., which is my last story.

If you took a half-million people, gave them 69 square miles and a blank check and said....

“Okay, I want you to believe and to behave the exact opposite of the rest of the country,” you’d have the District of Columbia.

DC is the guinea pig for every failed social experiment in the history of our country.

In all 50 states, you have the right to possess a usable firearm in your home for self-defense. But not in D.C.

They banned guns in D.C. 30 years ago.

And if you shoot a criminal in self-defense in your home in D.C., you go to jail and the criminal’s family can sue you! As a result, our nation's capitol consistently has the highest -- or one of the highest -- murder rates in the nation.

There’s no clearer indictment on the failure of gun control than Washington, DC.

But only in D.C. will a bureaucrat -- in this case, Mayor Adrian Fenty -- tell you with a straight face that their gun ban helps reduce violent crime!

You know, there must be something wrong with the water in the D.C. mayor’s office.

Last year, former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry -- yes -- THAT Marion Barry -- got held up by two men at gunpoint -- in his own home.

So he gave them all his money, said “I love you,” and sent them on their way.

Then, he told authorities -- "if you catch them ... don't prosecute them." Which, of course, they haven't, and probably never will.

So with that kind of "braintrust" ... let me take you to a D.C. City Council Town Hall meeting to discuss repeal of the gun ban.

Congressional Delegate Eleanor Norton came to the hearing, but not to do any listening.

As she’s lecturing her subjects on why the D.C. gun ban is good, look at the shock on her face when she finds out her subjects want their rights back.

VIDEO #4

I've got news for Delegate Norton.

When we're talking about our freedom -- we will not PIPE DOWN!

And I’ve got more news for Delegate Norton. She’s the one who’s going to “pipe down.”

See, she's got a problem ... her gun ban's in trouble.

Because just last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said her gun ban is a violation of the Second Amendment.

Now you know the political lay of the land ... and that it’s a tough, treacherous, uphill climb.

You know our opponent’s playbook for the second half, and you know which team the media plays for.

You know that the threat comes not just from Washington, but from the U.N., our courts, our state houses, even our town halls.

You know about the rogue mayors and the local tyrants who’ll use hurricanes and henchmen to destroy gun rights.

But I hope you’ve gotten a glimpse of your NRA on the job.

And I promise you that your NRA will stay on the job ... until our sacred Second Amendment is safe and secure for everyone, everywhere forevermore.

Thank you very much.

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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.