Friday, February 23, 2018

NRA Chief Offers Fierce Defense of 2nd Amendment

The head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, leveled a searing indictment on Thursday against liberal Democrats, the news media and political opportunists he said were joined together in a socialist plot to “eradicate all individual freedoms.”

According to The NYTimes, LaPierre’s remarks, his first since a gunman took the lives of 17 people at a Florida high school last week, seemed aimed at blunting the rising public pressure for stricter gun control. Conservatives, he said, needed to push back even as liberals tried to smear them.

“The shameful politicization of tragedy — it’s a classic strategy, right out of the playbook of a poisonous movement,” he said to a friendly but largely restrained crowd at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. “They hate the N.R.A. They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom.”

The solution Mr. LaPierre offered was not to pass new laws but to better enforce the existing background check system and, he said, “harden our schools” with more armed guards.

Mr. LaPierre’s name was initially left off the program. Then, on Thursday morning, the conference’s organizers released a revised schedule with both Mr. LaPierre and Dana Loesch, an N.R.A. spokeswoman, added as speakers.

Loesch, a syndicated radio talk host and NRA spokesperson,  also saw fault for the shooting in the news media, saying killings were always good for business. “Many in legacy media love mass shootings,” she said. “Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back.”

But the temperature on stage was noticeably hotter than in the audience, which gave Mr. LaPierre and Ms. Loesch polite but mostly unenthusiastic applause.

Mr. LaPierre evidently noticed, prompting him to comment on the stillness in the hall, which he wrote off as fear over the government oppression he warned was coming. “I hear a lot of quiet in this room,” he said. “I sense your anxiety. And you should be anxious. You should be frightened.”

He repeatedly returned to his attacks against gun control advocates as socialists lying in wait.

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