By David A. Keene, NRA President
During NRA's 2011 Annual Meetings just one year ago, Wayne LaPierre made it clear that the only way we will be able to avoid losing the Second Amendment rights we have all fought so hard to protect is to do all we can to deny President Barack Obama another four years in the White House.
That was before we knew just how deeply Attorney General Eric Holder, his Justice Department and the White House itself were involved in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ outrageous program to provide “evidence” that our Second Amendment freedoms are somehow responsible for the Mexican drug wars. It was before senior Justice Department officials began invoking their Fifth Amendment rights and refusing to testify before Congress on the grounds that doing so might open them to criminal prosecution.
It was before the president of the United States promised and counseled Sarah Brady and her gun controllers that he fully intends to do what they want, but has to operate “under the radar” for now.
And it was before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his cronies actually published a series of steps a president can take to undermine our Second Amendment rights without involving Congress. This is the sort of advice a president who has intimated that he wishes he could govern by fiat must relish.
As I travel around the country, reporters ask me why we are so “obsessed” with replacing a president who hasn’t been able thus far to restrict our rights in significant ways. I assure them that if he believed he could have taken gun owners on directly or in Congress and beaten us in a public forum, Obama would have done so already. But he knows a head-on assault on our rights could put his reelection at risk. That’s why the president and his minions are operating under the radar right now. They’re sending up trial balloons, tightening regulations on gun dealers and building a case for after the elections.
They are hoping that this strategy will allow them to avoid Al Gore’s fate 12 years ago when he and his managers decided to make his anti-Second Amendment stand a part of the 2000 campaign. Whether this strategy will work depends both on the president’s ability to avoid blurting out his true feelings as he did four years ago, the media’s willingness to cover for him when he slips and the gullibility of you and me.
Discipline, however, is not this crowd’s strong suit. It is as if they just can’t help themselves. They continue almost daily to remind gun owners that the Obama administration is dedicated to eradicating our Second Amendment rights by harassing firearms dealers and those involved in the shooting sports.
As a result, the attorney general brags to Congress that he and the president would like to reimpose the Clinton era “assault weapons” ban, and administration officials can hardly wait to deliver on the president’s earlier commitment to ban all recreational shooting on federally owned lands.
The president and his strategists may think this tactic will work and the media may refuse to give much attention to their anti-gun agenda, but none of us were born yesterday, and from my travels, I can assure you that NRA members, supporters, hunters and virtually everyone involved in the shooting sports realizes exactly what’s going on. I have personally visited thousands of NRA members and supporters over the last few months at sports shows, banquets and conventions from one end of this country to the other, and they know that everything we believe in is at risk this year.
They know in their bones that we could lose it all in 2012, that a second term will give Barack Obama the chance to appoint as many as three anti-gun Supreme Court justices and rewrite the Second Amendment.
NRA members and non-members who frequent the same events I love know that the Obama administration favors a federal ban on the right to concealed carry and looks favorably on the way certain jurisdictions from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Chicago have acted as if the Supreme Court holdings in Heller and McDonald are either completely meaningless, or mere bumps in the road to further restrictions, registration and even confiscation of privately owned firearms.
This isn’t alarmism, but a clear-headed view of what could easily happen if we don’t prevail in our effort to help elect a Second Amendment-friendly president this November. It’s why we are truly “All In” this time and it is why we need every single NRA member to step up to the plate to honor the freedoms we are pledged to protect.
If we all do what we need to do between now and November, we’ll have more time afterward to enjoy our rights without fear. If we don’t make every vote count this year, we are going to find ourselves targets of a government dedicated to stripping us of our rights. The future is in our hands and will be determined by what we do.