Monday, May 19, 2008

NRA Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum

The Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum was the first event that V and I attended at the 137th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Louisville. It is not the main reason I attended this years annual exhibit, but there were speakers included in the roster that I admire and wanted to see and hear in person. The fact that John McCain and his Secret Service detail decided to make the event a no firearms zone was a disappointment, but not an unexpected decision. As I have mentioned before, Sen. McCain had an opportunity to make a bold statement supporting gun owners and our right to keep and bear arms. He had the opportunity to show is trust in the citizens of these great United States, and he blew it. Again, it was not unexpected. That was not the only disappointment provided by the Senator and Republican candidate this day, but more on that later.

Karl Rove did an excellent job of pointing out exactly what Obama's stand on our right to keep and bear arms really is.

  • In 1996 Barak Obama filled out a questionnaire for the Independent Voters of Illinois in which he stated that he supported a complete ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of all handguns.
  • In 1998, according to his responses to that years Project Vote Smart Illinois State Legislative Election National Political Awareness Test, he pledged to ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
  • In 1999 the Chicago Defender reported that State Senator Obama "is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner who's firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in the home".
  • In 2001 Obama pressed for a law to require gun owners to register with the State of Illinois. As the State Journal Register put it "The proposals would make gun owners apply in person for a firearms identification card and supply their photos and fingerprints."
  • In 2001 the Hyde Park Herald reported "State Senator Barak Obama (D 13) helped defeat a bill that would allow people who receive an order of protection to possess and carry a concealed firearm". He told the newspaper "It was a bad idea and I'm glad it failed".
  • In 1999 The Wall Street Journal reports "Mr. Obama urged enactment of a federal law prohibiting the operation of any gun store withing 5 miles of a school or park. This would eliminate gun stores from almost the entire inhabited portion of the United States".
  • In 2003 State Senator Obama voted for State Bill 1195, which the Illinois State Rifle Association stated would have banned most of the privately held shotguns, target rifles and black powder rifles in the entire State of Illinois.
  • In 2004 State Senator Obama voted 4 times against legislation protecting homeowners from prosecution in cases where they use a firearm to halt a home invasion.
  • In 2004, when asked in a questionnaire "Do you support legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of assault weapons", his response was short and to the point. "Yes".
  • In 2004 Obama told the Chicago Tribune "On the issue of carrying concealed weapons, Obama said he believes national legislation should be passed to prevent other states laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents. Pass a federal law to do away with the state law on concealed carry". He went on to say "I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry."
There is more, but you get the gist of it.

During Oliver North's speech, Mitt Romney held a mini interview while the Colonel was talking. That was quite rude as it distracted from what the Colonel was saying.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson gave a good speech, but did not touch upon her statements at the Heritage Foundation concerning her support of an assault weapons ban.

John Bolton was an excellent Ambassador to the United Nations and it was a pleasure to hear him talk about foreign affairs and the Middle East.

Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal, Survivor, and author of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, and Sgt. Greg Stube, a true American hero were the best part of the forum. No political BS, just a quick recounting of their stories and a call to serve in any way we can. These heroes received the real applause. These American Men stood in for those who continue to serve overseas and at home, and we did what we could to show our appreciation.

For the most part, this was a political rally for McCain. It was amusing to listen to Mitt Romney, past Governor of the anti gun state Massachusetts, talk about his support of our right to keep and bear arms. I wonder if he even feels a twinge of hypocrisy over signing that Mass. AWB?

Then there was Huckabee. I cringed, as did much of the audience (but not as many as I would have thought) when he joked about someone pointing a gun at Obama. They were politely received, but not much more than that.

Then we had the keynote speaker. Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for the upcoming presidential election. Once again he missed an opportunity to impress.

When talking about gun shows:

Over the years, I haven't agreed with the NRA on every issue. I have supported efforts to have NICS background checks apply to gun sales at gun shows. I recognize that gun shows are enjoyed by millions of law-abiding Americans. I do not support efforts by those who seek to regulate them out of existence. But I believe an accurate, fair and instant background check at guns shows is a reasonable requirement. I also oppose efforts to require federal regulation of all private sales such as the transfer between a father and son or husband and wife. I supported campaign finance reform because I strongly believed our system of financing campaigns was influencing elected officials to put the interests of "soft money" donors ahead of the public interest.
It was at this point, early in his speech, that a slow but steady trickle of people started leaving the venue. He had lost our interest. John McCain's determination to do away with the private sale of firearms is unacceptable. Yes David, no one booed. Honestly now, would you have? This was not a crowd of liberal college students bent on making a disturbance, but a crowd of good and decent Americans. They offered up polite applause and stood when he was done. They clapped again when he came back on stage, it was the polite thing to do. I did not hear one enthusiastic comment about McCain's platform from anyone not on a stage the entire weekend. There is hope (but not much faith) that he will pick a VP that will do us proud. There was a mixture of disappointment and disgust that this is the best that the Republican Party could come up with as a candidate. No one booed, no one walked out of there fired up for McCain either.

Folks. We have to work extra hard to get good legislators elected on our local and state levels this year. I am not sure if there is any hope for Congress at the moment. I doubt McCain would sign an AWB, but at the moment it looks like any veto from him will be easily overridden by congress. It is pretty much guaranteed that he will do away with private sales of firearms if such a bill crosses his desk, we have to keep such a bill from making it there.

Wayne LaPierre was the last speaker of the forum, he spoke to an audience heading out the door.

I have the audio of Karl Rove, John Bolton and Kay Bailey's speeches. I'll email them to anyone who asks. I'm really kind of irritated that I somehow deleted Luttrells's and Stube's talks. If anyone has them, let me know.

1 comment:

Fits said...

Nice job, JR.