Over the course of a single, three-day weekend in May 2013 in Houston, Texas, nearly 90,000 law-abiding American citizens came together to celebrate freedom at the 142nd annual convention of the National Rifle Association of America. Those men, women and children who came to Houston did so despite nearly six months of relentless attacks on their values and beliefs by President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and many others.
These many thousands of law-abiding citizens came together in the heart of the Lone Star State not out of fear, as the gun-control advocates who demonize the NRA would have us believe; rather, these every-day folks joined together based on a firm understanding that our Founding Fathers got it right two and a quarter centuries ago, when they crafted a Constitution that guaranteed to us the principle that power resides in the hands of We the People not They the Government.
Roaming the floor of the Convention Center prior to the Monday morning NRA Board meeting, at which I was sworn in to a sixth three-year term as an NRA Board member, I was struck yet again by the decency, the sense of responsibility, the patriotism, and the everyday common sense of my countrymen who support the NRA. There were parents, grandparents and children browsing the acres of exhibits, not in protest, but in celebration. Mixed among theme were bikers, students, military veterans and police officers who shared in the sense that, left to our own devices as citizens, we can rally together and accomplish great things and simple, everyday tasks alike.
There were protests, of course; Michael Bloomberg would have it no other way. But they were small in number, and barely noticed among the throngs of decent, average families who came to thank the NRA and share in a celebration of the values of individual freedom and common sense that have united us as a nation and as a people since 1776. There were political speeches, of course; that too is part of our American heritage – a demonstration of what President Ronald Reagan called the “American Sound.” But the fear and the bitterness that Obama, Bloomberg and their cohorts claim to be the root of the surge in the sale of firearms and in the membership numbers of the NRA in the first half of this year, was nowhere to be seen or felt in Houston.
The NRA convention was a celebration of confidence, not the huddle of fear the gun-control crowd assert it to be. This convention – just as those 141 before it – was about values not fear. Those who attended understand far better than Obama or Bloomberg that the Second Amendment at its core is not about guns; it is about Liberty. And it is that understanding – alien to the top-down, Big Government mindset of gun-control advocates -- that is precisely why the repeated attacks on the Bill of Rights in general and on the Second Amendment in particular, will continue to fail.