In this recorded address, NRA CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre speaks to NRA members and their families at the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis over the April 25-27, 2014 weekend. LaPierre talks about American citizens’ distrust of government and also provides a response to Michael Bloomberg’s $50 million gun-control initiative. This speech originally aired live on April 25, 2014.
Welcome to this great celebration of American freedom! It’s great to be here today and I really appreciate your warm welcome.
To all of you NRA members, I want to thank you with all my heart for your support and vigilance in defending our freedom. You and NRA members all over the country have made a real difference in making this nation and our freedoms safer.
A little over a year ago, the NRA offered a simple, honest and effective proposal to make our schools safer. The political and media elites responded by calling me just about every nasty name in the book. You remember.
But Americans responded differently. In city after county after school board after statehouse, teachers, parents, police and legislators agreed with us and put armed security safeguards in place.
History has proven again the truth that President Obama and anti- freedom activists everywhere deny and try to suppress — the truth that firearms in the hands of good people save lives.
The political elites can’t escape and the darlings of the liberal media can’t change the God-given right of good people to protect themselves. For that fundamental human right, the NRA stands unflinching and unapologetic and in defense of our freedom. NRA’s 5 million members and America’s 100 million gun owners will not back down — not now, not ever!
Freedom has never needed our defense more than now. Almost everywhere you look, something has gone wrong.
You feel it in your heart, you know it in your gut. Something has gone wrong. The core values we believe in, the things we care about most, are changing. Eroding.
Our right to speak. Our right to gather. Our right to privacy. The freedom to work, and practice our religion, and raise and protect our families the way we see fit.
Those aren’t old values. They aren’t new values. They are core freedoms, the core values that have always defined us as a nation. And we feel them — we feel them — slipping away.
All across America, everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, “Wayne, I’ve never been worried about this country … until now.”
Not with anger, but with sadness in their eyes. “I’ve never been worried about this country … until now.”
We’re worried about the economic crisis choking our budgets and shrinking our retirement. We’re worried about providing decent health care and a college education for own children.
We fear for the safety of our families. It’s why neighborhood streets that were once filled with bicycles and skateboards, laughter in the air, now sit empty and silent.
In virtually every way, for the things we care about most, we feel profound loss. We’re sad not because we fear something IS going wrong, but because we know something already HAS gone wrong.
It’s why more and more Americans are buying firearms and ammunition. Not to cause trouble, but because we sense that America is already IN trouble.
We know that, sooner or later, reckless government actions and policies have consequences. That when government corrupts the truth and breaks faith with the American people, the entire fabric of our society — everything we believe in and count on — is in jeopardy.
Political dishonesty and media dishonesty have linked together, joined forces, to misinform and deceive the American public. Let’s be straight about it — the political and media elites are lying to us.
They lie bills into law. They pass legislation they haven’t even read, yet eagerly defend on television. Health care policies, economic policies, foreign affairs all seem repeatedly reckless.
The IRS is now a weapon. A weapon to punish anyone who disagrees with them, and that means every one of you.
They try to regulate our religion. They collect our cell phone and email data. They give us Solyndra, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, massive unemployment, a debt that will choke our grandchildren and one executive order on top of another.
Rather than expose government dishonesty and scandal — like they used to — the media elites whitewash it. Move on, they tell us, there’s nothing to see here.
Yet, one of America’s greatest threats is a national news media that fails to provide a level playing field for the truth. Now it’s all entertainment, ratings and personal celebrity. The next sensational story and the deliberate spinning and purposeful use of words and language — truth be damned — to advance their own agenda.
And here’s how you know the media is lying. They still call themselves “journalists.”
They’ve never been honest about the NRA. They hate us just for saying out loud and sticking up for what we believe — as if we have no right.
So they try to ridicule us into oblivion or shame us into submission. But their moral indignation should be directed into their own make-up 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!
People have become so weary of all the government and media dishonesty, the all-too-commonplace lying, that most Americans have stopped listening.
It’s why the president’s State of the Union Address was largely ignored by the public. It’s why, according to a recent poll, 90 percent of Americans disapprove of Washington.
It’s why a majority of Americans, in poll after poll, say we don’t trust the White House, we don’t trust Congress, we don’t much trust either national political party and we sure as heck don’t trust the national news media!
We don’t trust government because government itself has proven unworthy of our trust. We trust ourselves and we trust what we know in our hearts to be right.
We trust our freedom. In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive, to protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want.
We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country
with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all.
I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you?
We are on our own. That is a certainty, no less certain than the absolute truth — a fact the powerful political and media elites continue to deny, just as sure as they would deny our right to save our very lives. The life or death truth that when you’re on your own, the surest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!
Now, what I just said will be sneered at and ridiculed as feverish fear mongering by the very same people who produce the television shows and movies that graphically depict and glamorize every evil act I just mentioned. Let them sneer. They can’t change the truth.
They can’t change the fact that all over America, there are more than 100 million good guys — and good gals, too — good Americans with guns, and a bunch of us are here right now.
We are good Americans. We love our country and we are not about to stand idly by as the dishonest political and media elites strip our values away.
The NRA, all we believe in and fight for, has become a metaphor for the core American freedoms we all want preserved. Standing with the NRA is a massive declaration of individual rights, an unwavering determination to secure the survival of everything we cherish.
Our struggle is noble, as like-minded people coming together to protect and defend what makes us free. We are exactly what our founding fathers were and envisioned us to always be.
So, I’ll put it to you — do you believe in that declaration of individual liberty? Come on, let me hear you! Are you willing to stand and fight for your rights?
America needs you as part of an even larger, stronger, tougher NRA. It’s how you resist and tell the world that you’re going to fight and protect everything you care about.
Trust, dignity, honor, civic duty, courtesy, kindness, the liberty to live and believe as we choose. To be as accepted as we are accepting of others. The freedom that only comes through the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the Bill of Rights!
To live without fear and tyranny as responsible, good people who exercise our individual right to keep and bear arms. To defend our families, our communities and our nation.
The NRA proudly stands for the America we all want. Where we can speak and gather as we choose — unashamed of our patriotism, unflinching in our defense of one unifying principle — individual freedom for all.
Our Second Amendment freedom separates us from every other country on earth. It makes us stronger than other countries. It makes us better than other countries. To save all of our freedoms, there is no cause nobler than saving our Second Amendment freedom.
This is your moment in history, your national movement, your time to join us and stand and fight. Our opponents are shrewd and skilled in spinning webs of deceit. Their coffers are full, their sights set squarely on this fall’s election.
This election is going to be a bare-knuckled street fight. They’re going after every House and Senate seat, governor’s chair and statehouse they can get their hands on — laying the groundwork to put a Clinton back in the White House.
They intend to finish the job, to fulfill their commitment — their dream — of fundamentally transforming America into an America you won’t recognize.
But mark my words: The NRA will not go quietly into the night. We will fight.
Now, some of you may have heard about Michael Bloomberg. Last week, he gave a big interview to The New York Times and the Today show.
Bloomberg vowed to spend $50 million to beat us in November. He said he would do everything he could with all of his $50 million to confront and defeat the NRA. Well, here’s our response.
This election will be won or lost on every street, every corner, in every coffee shop or store or church in America — where every NRA member lives and works and volunteers and campaigns.
Those NRA members — those great Americans — THEY are the real muscle of NRA’s clout. Together, we will stand as members of the NRA. Stand and fight and take back our country.
Stand up right now and you tell me, do you want to save this country and all that is good about America?
Come on. They need to hear you all the way back to the White House — will you stand to defend freedom with all your heart?
Are you proud of your individual liberty and ready to fight like hell to keep it?
Never, ever back down and always — always with all your heart — stand and fight for our great American freedom! Thank you.