HOUSTON, TX. - If you’ve been to any of the National Rifle Association’s annual meetings, you’ll understand what I mean when I say the gathering is a true representation of what makes America exceptional.
This year, the NRA held its annual meetings and convention in Houston and was attended by more than 85,000 people. Last year it was held in St. Louis and the year before in Pittsburgh. Over the past few months, the NRA has seen their membership balloon and just last Friday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced the organization has reached 5 million members.
The common thing that brings all of these people together is obviously a celebration of the Second Amendment and the guaranteed right embedded in our Constitution for the people to keep and bear arms without infringement, but there are many other common American values and themes found at the convention that are often overlooked.
Each year no matter the venue, the NRA convention center floor is an amazing example of capitalism as hundreds of companies show and sell thousands of different products. Major companies from Midway USA to Remington to Ruger are there in addition to smaller start ups who have been able to find a comfortable home in the firearms industry. The NRA advertises the convention as “acres and acres of gear,” something that isn’t possible without embracing the ideas of competition, the free market, choice and entrepreneurship.
The NRA annual meetings aren’t just about looking at all the new gear available on the convention floor. There are many seminars and speeches where people with both big and small voices can be heard. Only in America can you have speakers standing in front of a crowd of thousands to directly call out the President of the United States by name without persecution or punishment. Only in America do you see thousands of people peacefully standing up and saying ‘no’ to an infringement on their rights.
The National Rifle Association is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States and serves as one of the most important in the world. After all, without the Second Amendment, there is no First. Founded in 1871, the NRA has always promoted equality of rights for everyone.
As a reminder:
Following the firebombing of his house in 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, who was, among other things, a Christian minister, applied for a gun permit, but the Alabama authorities found him unsuitable. A decade later, he won a Nobel Peace Prize.
How's that "may issue" gun permit policy working for you?
The NRA opposed these discretionary gun permit laws and proceeded to grant NRA charters to blacks who sought to defend themselves from Klan violence -- including the great civil rights hero Robert F. Williams.
A World War II Marine veteran, Williams returned home to Monroe, N.C., to find the Klan riding high -- beating, lynching and murdering blacks at will. No one would join the NAACP for fear of Klan reprisals. Williams became president of the local chapter and increased membership from six to more than 200.
But it was not until he got a charter from the NRA in 1957 and founded the Black Armed Guard that the Klan got their comeuppance in Monroe.
Williams' repeated thwarting of violent Klan attacks is described in his stirring book, "Negroes With Guns." In one crucial battle, the Klan sieged the home of a black physician and his wife, but Williams and his Black Armed Guard stood sentry and repelled the larger, cowardly force. And that was the end of it.
As the Klan found out, it's not so much fun when the rabbit's got the gun.
The NRA's proud history of fighting the Klan has been airbrushed out of the record by those who were complicit with the KKK, Jim Crow and racial terror, to wit: the Democrats.
Women are the fastest growing demographic in the country and this fact was clearly embraced at this year’s convention. The NRA has launched an entire media organization dedicated to women with role models like Second Amendment advocate Natalie Foster and shooting champion Julie Golob leading the way. There is nothing more empowering as a woman than to be able to understand how to protect yourself.
As the old saying goes, “God made man and God made woman. Sam Colt made them equal.”
There were thousands of guns at the NRA annual meetings and not one jumped up and killed someone, imagine that. Each and every person who is a member of the NRA and attends the annual meeting understands the important and basic fundamental principle of individual responsibility, especially when it comes to owning a firearm. The NRA understands and promotes this idea through education, Refuse to Be a Victim courses, legal self-defense courses and more. Those who choose to participate in educating themselves about how firearms work and their proper use, only make themselves more responsible. After all, an educated gun owner is a responsible gun owner.
Despite what we’ve heard from the politicians in Washington and the media elites living in ivory towers protected by armed guards, the NRA is in fact full of good people and does well to represent many of the values Americans hold dear.