Growing numbers of Americans believe something has gone wrong in this country, they're worried, and that’s why more people are buying firearms, according to Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, who spoke yesterday afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.
While other coverage of the nearly-20-minute speech has focused on LaPierre’s bristling, and many believe well-deserved, attack on the mainstream press and political elites, The Gun Mag caught that remark. His speech can be watched here.
“Freedom has never needed our defense more than now,” LaPierre told an enthusiastic audience. “Almost everywhere you look, something has gone wrong. You feel it in your heart, you know it in your gut. Something in our country has gone wrong.
“All across America,” he said, “everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, ‘Wayne, I’ve never been worried about this country until now.’ They say it not with anger, but with sadness in their eyes…
“In virtually every way,” he added, “we’re sad, not because we fear something is going wrong, but because we know something already has gone wrong. That’s why more and more Americans are buying firearms and ammunition, not to cause trouble but because…America already is in trouble.”
Regardless whether LaPierre is on to something, last week’s report from National Shooting Sports Foundation President Steve Sanetti confirms that firearms production is up. Citing the most recent figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, firearms production in 2012 “topped 8.57 million, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011.” And while all those guns were being sold, crime has been on a steady decline.
“It has become an article of faith in the firearms industry,” Sanetti wrote, “that even reports from our federal government that show a continuing decline in crime will get little media attention.”
The audience appeared to believe that LaPierre was spot-on yesterday when he observed, “Political dishonesty and media dishonesty have linked together. They’ve joined forces to misinform and deceive the American public.
“Let’s be straight about this,” he added, “the political and media elites are lying to us. You know they are. They lie bills into law. They pass legislation they haven’t even read and yet eagerly go on and defend them on television.”
LaPierre’s biggest beef with the mainstream press is that, “They’ve never been honest about the NRA.”
“They hate us,” he asserted. “So they try to ridicule us into oblivion or shame us into submission but their moral indignation, it should be directed right into their own makeup mirrors. The media’s intentional corruption of the truth is an abomination. And NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media.”
In a room full of conservative activists, it is not likely anyone disagreed. This is an annual event that has occasionally been dismissed as a gathering of fringe extremists, yet this week has seen appearances by the leading conservative politicians and public figures in federal and state governments. Hundreds of young activists were present and their activism can turn into votes.
At the end of the day, however, perhaps LaPierre is having a well-deserved last laugh on the media. One year ago, in the wake of Sandy Hook and the NRA’s recommendation to have armed security at schools, was ridiculed and dismissed.
“The political and media elites responded by calling me and the NRA just about every nasty name in the book,” he recalled. “But Americans responded differently, in city after county after school board after state house teachers, parents, legislators, police agreed with us and put armed security safeguards in place.
“History has proven the truth that President Obama and anti-freedom activists everywhere deny and try to suppress,” LaPierre said, “the truth that firearms in the hands of good people save lives.”
It may be, as this column reported yesterday, that increasing numbers of people are concluding, as did Valinda Rowe, the Illinois Carry activist that “gun-free” zones are “killing zones.”
LaPierre looked ahead to November. He predicted a “bare knuckle street fight” pitting average freedom-living Americans against wealthy elites and their media soulmates who want to change the country into something unrecognizable.
“But mark my words,” he said, “the NRA will not go quietly into the night.”
Read conservative Examiner Joe Newby's take here.