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Standing Guard | “Defending Your Right To Defend Yourself” Remain Our Watchwords

Monday, February 1, 2016

This feature appears in the February ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

With the horrific home-based terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., virtually every U.S. citizen realized that war has reached our soil, placing our lives and our culture in peril. Americans equally realize that the Second Amendment is critical to our personal and national survival, giving renewed meaning to our guiding principle: Protect your right to defend yourself, your family, your community and the nation.

Yet, with Barack Obama, we have a president who cannot bring himself to call it what it is by saying the words “Islamic terrorism.” In 2009, when radicalized Army Maj. Nidal Hasan—screaming “Allahu Akbar!”—shot and killed 13 fellow soldiers and gravely wounded 30 others, Obama’s Department of Defense called it “workplace violence.” Despite terror attacks, the Obama administration still seeks to disarm law-abiding gun owners.

In December 2015, when two jihadists—armed with illegally altered firearms, pipe bombs and other destructive devices—attacked a Christmas party killing 14 and wounding 17 celebrants, Obama declared it another case of “workplace violence.” After the FBI unequivocally declared it terrorism, Obama finally addressed the nation on national security—only to deflect public attention from his failures to keep our homeland safe by demanding new gun controls to punish good citizens for the acts of murderers. His response is always the same: disarm the innocent—you and me—when our nation, our American values and our culture are under attack.

Under the mantra of “common-sense gun safety,” Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, following his lead, dredged up that focus-group-tested phrase as if Americans can’t see the truth beyond those cynical words.

But gun owners know what those words really mean: the ultimate destruction of our Second Amendment-protected rights and the loss of our right to self-defense. They know the potential dangers from hundreds of thousands of violent criminals Obama refuses to prosecute, and they have now been reminded about the very real and deadly dangers from terrorists in our midst.

Good and peaceable citizens in unprecedented numbers are exercising their Second Amendment-protected rights, many for the first time in their lives. The reason that gun sales are off the charts has to do with the fact that individual Americans are grasping the true evil meaning of “common-sense gun safety” that threatens our liberties and our lives. And they are qualifying for concealed-carry licenses in equally unprecedented numbers, knowing that they alone are ultimately responsible for their safety against violent criminals and unbridled terrorists.

Part of Obama’s unending “conversation” demanding confiscatory gun control revolves around the big lie that ours is the only nation on Earth with mass shootings, and that these high-profile tragedies are caused by “easy availability” of guns. Obama shamelessly offered that big lie to grieving Parisians who only weeks before had suffered a massive loss of life and injury when Islamic terrorists bombed and shot their way into history in a nation that has some of the strictest gun laws anywhere.

Exploiting such tragedies in America, Obama has tried with all his power to liquidate the Second Amendment. In all else, especially when it comes to failed policies on national security—where he seems a ditherer—disarming peaceable Americans is still Obama’s singular, unshakable obsession. Indeed, he sees the loss of our Second Amendment-protected rights as the final legacy of his presidency.

You and I know there is one force that stands between the end of freedom and the salvation of individual liberty—the men and women of the National Rifle Association of America. We are, after all, the oldest civil rights organization in America. No matter what the threat is, we will defend our civil rights and our right to self-defense.

Our effectiveness, measured by actions you take in defending freedom, has engendered the deepest degree of media hatred for us and our cause in anyone’s memory. We are even called “terrorists” for our unbending will to preserve freedom. To gun banners like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we are the enemy because NRA speaks to the hearts and minds of millions of Americans with our message of liberty.

That upside-down worldview of the gun-ban elites takes us back to the seminal meaning of the Second Amendment—armed defense of self, family, community and the nation against violent attack.You and I know there is one force that stands between the end of freedom and the salvation of liberty—the men and women of the National Rifle Association.

In this time of infiltration by terrorists that the FBI confirms are on our soil, the right to keep and bear arms has never been more important.

Law enforcement officials like Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and Brevard County, Fla., Sheriff Wayne Ivey encourage an armed citizenry in the face of criminal and terror attacks. Even the chief of police of the District of Columbia has come to the same conclusion. Terrorists like the pair in California, or the Fort Hood killer, or the murderers in Paris could have been stopped by their intended victims. These law enforcement leaders agree that a good guy with a gun can trump a bad guy with a gun.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier recently told a “60 Minutes” reporter, “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

“Take the gunman out.” That’s a shocking admission—an acceptance of reality—for an official of a city awash with violent crime that is still fighting the U.S. Supreme Court declaration striking down its ban on armed self-defense.

“Defending your right to defend yourself” remain our watchwords. And we are not alone in accepting that ultimate responsibility.

A majority of Americans believe in our cause, and the NRA’s public approval has never been higher. Using that strength, we must draw more fellow citizens to our cause in fighting gun bans in the current Congress and state legislatures, and in registering our families, friends and colleagues to vote in the upcoming primary elections and in the crucial November elections.

We must increase our pro-gun majorities in both houses of Congress and defeat the gun-ban crowd’s bid for the ultimate prize, the White House.

Our right to defend ourselves is on the line and the time is now to fight with all our might and take our country back.

Wayne LaPierre

BY Wayne LaPierre

Executive Vice President, NRA

Since 1991, Wayne LaPierre has led the NRA through a period of unprecedented membership growth and political clout in defense of our Second Amendment rights. And that strength has been put to the good benefit of NRA members and gun owners. In large part because of Wayne's leadership, Right-to-Carry is now the law in 41 states. All 50 states have enacted laws to protect shooting ranges, and all 50 passed legislation to protect hunters from harassment.

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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.