"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NRA on Gun Control at Senate Hearings

"Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: It's an honor to be here today on behalf of more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters, in every state across our nation, who make up the National Rifle Association of America. Those 4.5 million active members are joined by tens of millions of NRA supporters.

And it's on behalf of those millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding citizens ... to give voice to their concerns ... that I'm here today.

The title of today's hearing is "What should America do about gun violence?"

We believe the answer to that question is to be honest about what works — and what doesn't work. Teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works — and the NRA has a long and proud history of teaching it.

Our "Eddie Eagle" children's safety program has taught over 25 million young children that if they see a gun, they should do four things: "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult." As a result of this and other private sector programs, fatal firearm accidents are at the lowest levels in more than 100 years.

The NRA has over 80,000 certified instructors who teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers and hundreds of thousands of other American men and women how to safely use firearms. We do more — and spend more — than anyone else on teaching safe and responsible gun ownership.

We joined the nation in sorrow over the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. There is nothing more precious than our children. We have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and keep them safe. That's why we asked former Congressman and Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchison, to bring in every expert available to develop a model School Shield Program — one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible.

It's time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. About a third of our schools have armed security already — because it works. And that number is growing. Right now, state officials, local authorities and school districts in all 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in their schools.

In addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. Unfortunately, we've seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. Overall in 2011, federal weapons prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration. That means violent felons, gang members and the mentally ill who possess firearms are not being prosecuted. And that's unacceptable.

And out of more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution and only 44 were actually prosecuted. Proposing more gun control laws — while failing to enforce the thousands we already have — is not a serious solution to reducing crime.

I think we can also agree that our mental health system is broken. We need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection and treatment, to civil commitment laws, to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

While we're ready to participate in a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectfully — but honestly and firmly — disagree with some members of this committee, many in the media, and all of the gun control groups on what will keep our kids and our streets safe.

Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals. Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.

As I said earlier, we need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future.

Semi-automatic firearms have been around for over 100 years. They are among the most popular guns made for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Despite this fact, Congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms and magazines from 1994 to 2004. Independent studies, including a study from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that ban had no impact on lowering crime.

And when it comes to the issue of background checks, let's be honest — background checks will never be "universal" — because criminals will never submit to them.

But there are things that can be done and we ask you to join with us. The NRA is made up of millions of Americans who support what works ... the immediate protection for all — not just some — of our school children; swift, certain prosecution of criminals with guns; and fixing our broken mental health system.

We love our families and our country. We believe in our freedom. We're the millions of Americans from all walks of life who take responsibility for our own safety and protection as a God-given, fundamental right.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I thank you for your time and consideration."
Wayne LaPierre
CEO and Executive Vice President

NRA Board of Directors (75 Total not all shown):
Tom Selleck:
Tom is an inductee of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum's Hall of Great Western Performers. Tom has appeared in or produced more than 30 films and television programs, including Magnum P.I. (receiving an Emmy and a Golden Globe), Ike: Countdown to D-Day, Monte Walsh, Friends, and Quigley Down Under. He currently co-writes, produces and stars in CBS television's Jesse Stone movie series and stars as Frank Reagan, New York City Police Commissioner, in CBS' hit series Blue Bloods.
Karl Malone:
Malone spent 17 years with Utah Jazz and 1 season with Los Angeles Lakers. Holder of many NBA records including second-leading NBA scorer of all time and selected "most valuable player" twice. Member U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Basketball team 1992 and 1996. Taught to shoot by his mother, he shares and promotes that heritage with disadvantaged and at-risk youth through the Karl Malone Foundation for Kids. Malone campaigns across country on behalf of pro-Second Amendment political candidates.
Lt. Col Oliver North:
#1 best-selling author, small business founder, holder of three U.S. patents, syndicated columnist, host of War Stories on FOX News. His latest book is Heroes Proved. U.S. Naval Academy graduate, served 22 years as a U.S. Marine. Combat awards include Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts for wounds in action. As NSC Staff Counter-terrorism Coordinator, he helped plan the rescue of students on Grenada and capture of the Achille Lauro hijackers. Acclaimed for award-winning coverage of U.S. Military units in the War on Terror and Freedom Alliance college scholarships for children of Service Members killed in action.
Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee "THE GUNNY" Ermey:
Enlisted in USMC at 17, serving 11 years, including 14 months in Vietnam. Best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket. Shoots annually at numerous High Power rifle matches with Dennis DeMille's team. Regularly demonstrates his support for the Second Amendment and NRA programs. Was guest speaker for two of the past three National Police Shooting Championships. Serves as spokesman for The Young Marines, providing leadership and guidance to youths and avidly supports our troops making numerous personal appearances, including five trips to the Middle East.
J. Kenneth Blackwell:
He has served as Mayor of Cincinnati; an undersecretary at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission; Ohio State Treasurer and Secretary of State. He was the first African-American elected to statewide office and nominated for Governor of Ohio. He serves on the Board of Directors for the National Taxpayers Union, recipient of the American Conservative Union's John M. Ashbrook Award, and a Senior Fellow at the Family Research Council. He is a best-selling author and a leading conservative voice as a contributing editor for Townhall.com and a commentator for Salem Radio Network.
Bob Barr:
Bob was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995, and served until January 2003. Throughout his congressional service, Bob earned and enjoyed the support of the NRA. During his congressional career he was a leader on virtually every firearms rights issue that came before the Judiciary Committee. He championed Second Amendment issues on the floor of the House as well; for example, leading the repeal in 1995 by the full House of Representatives of the "Clinton Gun Ban." He has actively fought U.N. efforts to control firearms. Bob was the 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for President, and a major part of his platform was strong and open support of the Second Amendment.
Grover G. Norquist:
President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), grassroots taxpayer group founded at President Reagan's request in 1986. ATR asks all candidates to sign Taxpayer Protection pledge against raising taxes: Forty-one Senators, 238 House Members, 13 Governors, and 1,249 State Legislators have signed the pledge. Member: Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Fifty Caliber Shooters Association, Board member: American Conservative Union, the Nixon Center, ParentalRights.org. Campaign staff 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000 Republican Platform Committees. Author: Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives. Chairs "Wednesday Meeting" in Washington, D.C., where 150 center-right leaders meet weekly to organize pro-freedom coalition. Sixty-two similar meetings held in 48 states.
Cleta Mitchell:
Tireless advocate for NRA and the Second Amendment. Dedicated fighter for the Constitution and our freedom as Americans. Helped defund ACORN. Testified before Congress and appeared on television many times about voter registration fraud and misuse of federal funds by ACORN. Frequent commentator on Fox News, NRANews, other media. Strong advocate for nomination of pro-gun, rule of law judges in federal judiciary and Supreme Court. Attorney, specialist in political law, counsel to numerous pro-gun candidates, members of Congress and conservative issue groups on state and federal campaign finance law. Represented NRA in Supreme Court case challenging McCain-Feingold campaign finance law; Board of Directors, American Conservative Union, Board of NRA Freedom Action Foundation; named a Best Lawyer in America, and twice named a Top Lawyer in Washington, D.C. Co-chair, Republican National Lawyers Association; Vice Chairman, NRA Legal Affairs Committee.
Roy Innis:
National Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Proudly served in U.S. Army, tour of duty during Korean War. After losing two sons to urban gun violence, became an advocate for victims rights and the Second Amendment, leading to involvement in highly publicized cases: "Subway Gunman," Bernhard Goetz and "Subway Token Booth Clerk", James Grimes. Appointed by President Bush to serve as U.S. representative to UN Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Sent as a NRA representative to South Africa to speak on issue of individual civilian ownership of firearms. Lectures throughout US/foreign countries on gun issues and individual rights. Nationally recognized as a key leader of 1960's Civil Rights movement, Innis is now a most eloquent spokesman for the NRA and Second Amendment freedoms.
Susan Howard:
Susan Howard is actively committed to the defense and protection of the Second Amendment. Born and raised in Texas, she is a shooter, strong constitutionalist, ardent supporter of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, and Life member of The Texas State Rifle Association. Featured in NRA-ILA public service ads on firearms issues, "Eddie Eagle®" child safety videos, NRA membership commercials and Refuse to be a Victim®. Well-known for her TV role in Dallas, her career has been highlighted by professional awards including Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. She was the 2001 recipient of the NRA Sybil Ludington Women's Freedom Award. She has served as Commissioner for the Texas Parks and Wildlife and Commissioner for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Susan Chairs the Public Affairs and Women's Policies Committees for the NRA and is a member of the Executive Committee.
Ted Nugent:
With over 40 million albums sold and more media face-time than most active politicians, Ted Nugent has earned his status as an American icon. Nugent is a New York Times best-selling author whose works include Ted, White and Blue—The Nugent Manifesto; God, Guns & Rock 'n' Roll and Kill It & Grill It. Acclaimed for his bold, insightful commentary on issues ranging from the American Dream to bio-diversity, Nugent is a regular guest on top-rated programs like Dennis Miller, HUCKABEE, Howard Stern, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and more. Recipient of numerous commendations from state police, sheriff departments, FBI and police agencies nationwide. Lauded for his Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids, Freedom's Angels and work as a national spokesman for D.A.R.E., Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Nugent continues to set attendance records at venues nationwide.
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