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NRAAM 2015 Speeches

This afternoon and this evening, I watched the speeches given at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum.

To me, as a gun owner and NRA member, this is a chance for politicians to get their 2nd Amendment opinions and positions front and center at a large gathering of gun-owning voters.  When they stray from that core subject, it is distracting and annoying.  I sort-of grade the speeches, at least partly, on how well they keep to the core subject of gun rights and the 2nd Amendment.

One thought – Rand Paul was conspicuously absent.  I’m not saying that kissing the ring of the NRA is mandatory, but not taking advantage of a chance to get your point across when it comes to the 2nd Amendment and gun rights says a lot to me.  By the time the next NRAAM happens next May, we will probably know who the Republican candidate is.  Paul should have been here today.

Here are my thoughts on the speeches given today.  Please note that I left out several speakers who didn’t seem to be cogent to the political nature of the gathering.  If you’d like to watch all of the speeches, they have been posted to YouTube.

Wayne Lapierre

  • Pro-gun Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents should be welcomed at the NRAAM, not just Republicans.
  • “Somewhere along the line, the political class and the media class stopped giving us their best.”
  • Spending a lot of energy on Hillary Clinton.  Wonder if he’ll mention other Democrat possibles.
  • OK, we get it, the NRA doesn’t like the Clintons.  Can we talk about guns and the Second Amendment now?  Seriously, stay focused on your core subject.
  • Since he brought up a pay difference between men and woman in the Clinton Senate office, does the NRA have data on their own pay rates?
  • “Hillary Clinton has more “Gates” than a south Texas cattle ranch.”

Bobby Jindal

  • Goes off the rails and plunges right into the culture war
  • Takes shots at Obama on executive orders
  • Claims to have written the law that restricted seizure of guns in a disaster – research
  • “The National Rifle Association is the most effective civil rights organization in our country”
  • Making about a 50/50 mix of first and second amendment rights
  • Jindal gets a star for being the first to say that 2016 is a history making election.
  • Calls for national right to carry legislation
  • The republican party stands up to big government?  Really?
  • Nice stump speech from someone who isn’t officially running.

Scott Walker

  • Doesn’t speak from behind podium.  No jacket.  Sleeves rolled up.
  • Goes for points by honoring military and veterans.
  • Staying on topic about second amendment.  Mostly.
  • Good populist talk about American values of work and prosperity and opportunity
  • Mentions April 15.  Reminds me I need to finish our tax return.
  • Tried to get the crowd going at the end, but they didn’t seem to respond.

David Clark

  • Thanks the NRA for their support
  • Does good job speaking to the base.
  • Stays on point about second amendment
  • “Don’t trust politicians.  Trust the National Rifle Association.”
  • Talks about national reciprocity.
  • Very plain spoken, down to earth.
  • “I don’t blame the gun.  I blame the subhuman behavior of someone who would shoot another human being without justification.”
  • Suggests that members upgrade their membership and look to get new members.

Rick Perry

  • “We do not believe that the Constitution is a cafeteria plan.”
  • More polished than other speakers.  But then, this isn’t his first rodeo.
  • Goes over his 2nd Amendment accomplishments.
  • Goes off topic when talking about national security and foreign affairs.

Jeb Bush

  • First speaker to mention, obliquely, Operation Choke Point
  • First to tell us how long he’s been a Life member (1986)
  • Lays out his 2nd Amendment record as governor of Florida
  • $5 million fine for creating a gun registry In Florida – wow.
  • 8:40 – Says that the 2nd Amendment creates the right, as opposed to protecting it.
  • Kind of a rocky start, and had to refer to notes very often, but a well-delivered speech.

Marco Rubio

  • Goes right into the 2nd Amendment and arguments that it is outdated.
  • “American strength requires leaders and presidents who execute their responsibility to protect our nation, and a people who exercise their right to protect themselves.”
  • Goes after President Obama over reaction to Islamic terrorism.  Agree with him, but off topic.
  • Does a good job tying foreign terror into the right to self defense.
  • “The sins of the evil to not justify restricting the rights of the good.”
  • Brings up his efforts to force Washington DC into better recognizing gun rights.
  • Says that he will announce in three days whether he will run for President, reelection to the Senate, or to be commissioner of the NFL. (He was the one to be most definite about this)

Lindsey Graham

  • Relatively polished speaker, but consults notes often.
  • Thanks Democrats who support the 2nd Amendment.  That’s kind of refreshing.
  • Shows a sense of humor.  Even pokes fun at himself.  I kind of like that.
  • Personalizes the conversation by talking about the 4 guns he owns that mean the most to him.
  • “You may not like the fact that I have these guns.  You may disagree with the fact that I own these guns.  But all I can say to you is that I have a right to own these guns.”
  • “I have a duty to be responsible with these guns…. With every right comes a responsibility.”
  • Goes a bit off topic by bringing up foreign affairs and Israel.

Ted Cruz

  • Starts off with a joke.  Connects with the audience.  Does speech away from the podium and delivers it well.
  • Brings up the Fort Hood shootings and that the Purple Hearts were awarded to those who were hurt or killed.  Cruz was involved in legislation to award the Purple Heart in this case.
  • Stays off topic by talking about Israel and the Iran nuclear negotiations.
  • Discusses his role in 2nd Amendment litigation.
  • Makes a point that there are a lot of people who say they support gun rights, but can’t point to any concrete actions to back that up.
  • Talks about his role in stymying post-Sandy Hook attacks on gun rights.
  • Does a bit of marketing for his campaign (mentioning website, asking that people identify themselves by sending a text.)
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  1. my understanding is that Rand Paul was not invited. Too anti establishment Republican or something like that.

    • I’ve heard the same thing.

      I suspect that he’s pissed off too many in the establishment for the current NRA leadership to be comfortable with him. Plus Rand, as usual, is burdened by association with his father, who has also pissed off a lot of people.

      Besides, they probably figure he can’t win. And you know how the NRA is about backing people they don’t think can win, no matter how good that person is on gun rights.

  2. Thanks for the update!

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