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We Must Stand Together to Fight Attacks on Our Rights

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

By David A. Keene, NRA President

Some people just can't stand the thought that anyone anywhere owns, shoots or can stand the sight of guns. In Britain, the London city government announced a few months ago that the very sight of firearms is so injurious to the mental health of young people that it was excluding young people from a program that gave free tickets to Olympic shooting events this summer.

In Orlando before Christmas, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials detained a teenage girl and made her miss her flight to Jacksonville. She was not detained as she passed through security because she set off any alarms, but because her purse was adorned with a design that included firearms. She was eventually released after questioning, but merely the idea of wearing something with such an offensive design made her a security threat in the minds of bureaucrats.

We shouldn’t be surprised that security personnel who see nothing wrong with humiliating 85-year-old women at our nation's airports might see a teenage girl sporting a purse with a firearm motif as a potential danger. But it should upset us as much as it did her and her parents. She wasn’t trying to make a statement; she liked the design. Those who harassed her, however, were definitely making a chilling statement, about both free speech and their attitude toward the Second Amendment and America's gun owners.

Like school officials who have expelled students for wearing NRA t-shirts, they were making it very clear that they believe guns and those who support the Second Amendment or engage in the shooting sports are unacceptable in the new world they are intent upon creating. NRA attorneys intervened in cases in which school administrators and teachers have violated students’ First Amendment rights because of their hostility toward the Second Amendment. 

We have won the political and legal arguments in one forum after another over the last decade, but we cannot forget for even a minute that those hostile to our rights and the values we share are not about to give up and will continue to find ways to attack those rights. Enemies of the Second Amendment gather in our schools, in the media and among the political elite. 

The NRA works hard to counteract theses influences on young people by assisting the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-h shooting programs and even home schoolers. Needless to say, we also work to counteract enemies of the Second Amendment in the media. We take them on when they’re wrong and do all we can to get our message out where we can through existing media and, as you know, we have developed ways around what so many call the “mainstream” media when we must.

This year, however, is an election year. That gives us all a chance to reduce the power of political elites dedicated to denying us the rights guaranteed us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. At the NRA Annual Meetings last year, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced that in 2012 gun owners have to dedicate themselves to making certain that Barack Obama will leave office after one term without an opportunity to act on his lifetime hostility toward the Second Amendment. We are uniquely positioned because of who we are and because of our sheer numbers. We can make certain that a year from now, former President Obama will have time to work on his presidential library, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton will be looking for jobs in the private sector and that none of them will have any role in selecting Supreme Court nominees or negotiating international firearm treaties through the United Nations.

We are all busy earning a living and raising our kids and enjoying the freedoms unique to this country even in these hard economic times, but this year every one of us is going to have to devote some time and energy to the one thing we can do to guarantee that we will be able to continue to enjoy the freedoms unique to this country. We are all going to have to work from now until November to help Wayne LaPierre make Barack Obama a one-term president.

We have defeated anti-Second Amendment presidential wannabes before. Remember Al Gore? After the 2000 race, then-President Bill Clinton lamented that his vice president would not be moving into the White House because you and I and millions of other supporters of the Second Amendment cost him the electoral votes of at least five states—and therefore the presidency.

We did it then and we can do it again!

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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.