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NRA Members Must Stand Tall As Liberty’s Bodyguards

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

NRA Members Must Stand Tall As Liberty’s Bodyguards

This feature appears in the March ‘17 issues of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

With the 2016 election victories, NRA members saved the Second Amendment. We saved the country. We saved freedom. We saved the bedrock values and culture of liberty that throughout history so many Americans have fought and died for.

As I cross the country I have never experienced such a feeling of pride and relief, not just from NRA members but from ordinary people everywhere who know their country will indeed be great again and we, the people, will be free again.

With Donald Trump in the White House we will have the most pro-Second Amendment president in history. And we have majorities in both houses of Congress. You did it—you and your families, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

But that astonishing election victory is just the beginning.

We have so much work to do to make sure that we, indeed, take back our country. President Barack Obama has left a wasteland in his threat to “fundamentally transform the USA,” and as NRA members we must be the key to rebuilding the freedoms he tried to destroy.

As we said in our national ad campaign, “NRA is Freedom’s Safest Place.” But now each of us has a new, bold task. As activists, we must each work to be liberty’s bodyguard.

Nowhere is that role more important than in supporting Trump’s picks for the federal judiciary, especially the U.S. Supreme Court.

For each of us, the heart and soul of the 2016 election victory was indeed the U.S. Supreme Court—not only filling the vacancy left by the death of the truly legendary Antonin Scalia, but in filling perhaps up to three additional vacancies in the next four years. Scalia, among the most brilliant minds in the history of the court, penned the landmark 2008 Heller decision, which by 5-4 vote, recognized the Second Amendment as an individual right and struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on armed self-defense in the home.Sotomayor defined “mainstream” when she joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent declaring: “In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.”

Just weeks before the election, the gun banners were gloating as they thought that the White House and the U.S. Senate were theirs for the taking.

Archenemy of the Second Amendment, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, d-N.Y., boastfully assumed he would be U.S. Senate majority leader and would join President Hillary Clinton in loading the U.S. Supreme Court with an unstoppable gun-ban majority that would be hell bent on erasing the individual right to keep and bear arms.

In September 2016, Schumer told an Al Sharpton conference: “A progressive majority on the Supreme Court is an imperative, and if I become majority leader, I will make it happen!”

Thanks to you and millions of like-minded gun owners, Schumer isn’t majority leader, Hillary isn’t president of the United States, and the court will not be automatically tilted to the left by the likes of Schumer.

But in his role as U.S. Senate minority leader, Schumer is threatening to use his power to prevent confirmation of any Trump nomination to the high court who does not fill Schumer’s notion of “mainstream.”

Schumer once said Scalia was not “mainstream.”

He told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (who is still grieving over the election results) that if a Trump nominee were not “mainstream,” he would hold the Senate hostage to a filibuster and would “absolutely” keep the late Justice Scalia’s seat vacant. “It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,” Schumer told Maddow.

In a late November 2016 “Meet the Press” appearance, Schumer threatened, “If he [Trump] doesn’t nominate a mainstream candidate, we’re going to go at him with everything we’ve got ... because this is so, so important.”

Schumer forever gave proper meaning to the word “mainstream” with his characterization of Sonia Sotomayor during her 2010 confirmation to serve on the high court. When she was asked whether she supported the historic Heller decision striking down Washington D.C.’s gun ban, she told the Senate, she considered the landmark ruling to be “settled law.”

At the time of Sotomayor’s confirmation, Schumer declared, “... [N]o one questioned that she was out of the mainstream.”As we said in our national ad campaign, “NRA is Freedom’s Safest Place.” But now each of us has a new, bold task. As activists, we must each work to be liberty’s bodyguard.

Two years later when Chicago’s nearly identical gun ban was before the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonald, Sotomayor defined “mainstream” when she joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent declaring: “In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.”

“Settled law” was just convenient camouflage. And so is Schumer’s mantra about “mainstream.”

In July 2007, Schumer told the ultra leftist American Constitution Society, “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”

In fact, Schumer pledged to stop any further Supreme Court nominations by then-President George W. Bush, saying his “greatest regret” was not succeeding in crushing the nomination of Samuel Alito as Supreme Court justice.

It was Alito who in 2010 penned the decision in McDonald that declared Chicago’s gun ban unconstitutional and thus affirmed the Second Amendment applies to every corner of the nation.

Schumer is and always will be a political chameleon. I have never forgotten his snarling analysis of the Second Amendment in 1995 when he showed his true colors in an appearance before a House hearing on the Second Amendment. It bears repeating:

“The NRA and its friends … have planted a poisonous weed of political paranoia in the minds of hundreds of thousands of Americans. … This barrage of cynical, fundraising NRA propaganda about the Second Amendment has convinced many people that there is a vast plot to seize their guns and ‘take away their rights.’”

The Second Amendment, he said, “does not guarantee the mythical individual right to bear arms.”

That’s Schumer’s “mainstream.”

Just as NRA members and our allies were the key to electing Trump and a majority in the national legislature, our dedication and hard work are the key to making sure the U.S. Senate—under the very able leadership of U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—confirms Trump’s picks for the U.S. Supreme Court.

In that fight, we are and must be liberty’s bodyguard.

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.