By David A. Keene, President
In 2011 when I assumed the presidency of our NRA in Pittsburgh, Pa., if anyone had told me that I would spend as much time on the road as proved necessary, I would have thought they were kidding. But we all knew when Barack Obama won a second term last November that it was only a matter of time before he came after America’s gun owners.
The Newtown tragedy gave the president and his allies the kind of opportunity they could not pass up, and they came after gun owners and constitutionalists on all fronts. Their shameless exploitation of Newtown gave them what they saw as their best opportunity in decades to impose restrictions on our Second Amendment rights as they tried to push us down the slippery slope to a “gun-free America.”
Fortunately, we were ready.
The president knew from the beginning that the millions of NRA members and those who agree with us had to be taken down to achieve his ultimate goal, and he went after us with a vengeance. You remember the narrative, with falsehoods like: the NRA no longer represents American sportsmen and gun owners; the NRA exists and is financed by firearm manufacturers simply to shill for their products; NRA membership is collapsing because most of our members want what Obama, Dianne Feinstein and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg want; Wayne LaPierre and the rest of us are delusional and paranoid; and the kicker, if the NRA would just get out of the way, Obama and Bloomberg would be able to stop the ever-escalating epidemic of “gun violence” that plagues America.
The narrative collapsed.
NRA members and gun owners nationwide responded to the newest threat to their rights and made it clear to elected officials and the media that we are united and as strongly committed to preserving our rights as ever. In the end, common sense prevailed over Obama’s nonsense and the president’s agenda failed to pass the senate.
They haven’t given up, however, and the next phase of their war on our rights is already under way. Mayor Bloomberg and his gun-ban cronies are working to defeat senators next year who have particularly offended his Manhattan sensibilities.
We will not let that happen. Those who stood with us this year will be able to count on us next year. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who resisted the pressure from the White House and media, and the threats from Michael Bloomberg, to stand with us and the American people. We should take every opportunity to thank them.
As the dust settles after the current battle in the senate, data is coming to light that proves the lie regarding our opponents’ fraudulent claims that their proposals are needed to stem a rising tide of gun violence in this country.
The government’s own Bureau of Justice Statistics released figures a few weeks ago showing a truly dramatic 39 percent decrease in gun-related homicides from 1993 to 2011. The Pew Research Center simultaneously released a study showing that not only had homicides dropped during this period, but non-fatal gun crimes were down by 70 percent from 1.5 million in 1993 to 467,300 last year. That number would be even lower if states like Illinois actually prosecuted armed, violent criminals.
Thus, current laws—where they are actually enforced—seem to be working, and the empirical evidence reveals that there is no crisis that would justify further restrictions on our Second Amendment rights. Indeed, the passage of concealed carry laws around the country and the increased willingness of law-abiding citizens to take responsibility for the defense of themselves and their loved ones have made just the difference that we have always believed they would.
But the Pew results demonstrate that the Big Lie works. The continuing alarmist assertions coming from the president and his allies that we are a nation wallowing in blood from out-of-control increases in what they like to call “gun violence” has convinced many Americans that contrary to all the evidence, gun crime and violence are reaching new heights.
Fully 56 percent of Americans, according to Pew’s research, believe that gun crime is up, while only 12 percent believe it has declined. The president and his allies have a clear strategy: to fool enough people long enough to win support for their anti-gun agenda. Abraham Lincoln warned politicians long ago that “you can’t fool all the people all of the time.” It’s up to us to make sure that Obama-Bloomberg won’t fool enough of the people long enough to get their way.
I’ll do my part to make sure the truth gets out, even though this will be my final column as your president. I know you will, too.