This is part two of two. To read about Vice President Pence’s speech and the beginning of President Trump’s, check out part one.
Continuing the tradition he began in 2017, his first year in office, President Trump addressed the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Leadership Forum Friday, April 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. From the words of Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, to the messages of both Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump, the theme was the same: The right for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, and community stands at the core of American values, and Trump, Pence, and the men and women of the NRA are freedom fighters, defending that right and all others from the Hollywood elite, the billionaire Democrats, and socialists across the nation.
Defending Freedom and American Sovereignty
“I promise to defend the Second Amendment rights of every American, and I always will. I’ll never let you down,” President Trump vowed. “I haven’t so far, and I won’t. As the famous saying goes, when guns are outlawed, only the outlaws have guns.”
For this reason, the Trump administration is shutting down Operation Chokepoint. Ostensibly an attempt to “choke off” the financial support of businesses that exploit their customers, this policy calls for the DOJ to investigate any bank for fraud and money laundering that deals with certain types of borrowers. It should come as no surprise, of course, that firearms dealers made the list.
Trump also promised to back out of the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which seeks to regulate the international trade of conventional weapons of war strictly. Even though the U.S. had not yet ratified the treaty, we were already paying more to administer it than any other country save Japan, according to The Heritage Foundation. The U.N. will soon receive a formal notice that America is rejecting the treaty, the president promised.
Blue Lives Matter
President Trump explained that violent crime is down but then asked what the hell was going on in Chicago. The numbers could look a whole lot better if only they could get it together in Chicago, he said. And they could. The answer is simple, according to Trump: Let police officers do their jobs.
That’s why he has distributed military surplus to law enforcement agencies across the nation, finally equipping them to do their jobs effectively. This, he credits for the 6% drop in murders from 2017 to 2018.
Teachers or Terrorists: Who Gets the Rights?
Trump touted the states now allowing teachers to carry guns to school for the defense of themselves and their classrooms. “We’ve done a lot to improve school safety,” he said. Stop School Violence grants have funded not only more police presence on campuses but also the increased training of teachers and other staff members to recognize the early warning signs of mental illnesses. Who is in a better position to defend students, he asked, than the teachers? “We know that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the president said. “I wanted to be a little more original … but what’s a better phrase than that?”
When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talked about giving the Boston Marathon bomber and other violent criminals and terrorists the right to vote while still in prison, Trump said he thought the Sanders campaign was over. He expressed shock over the left’s agreement with the old socialist and warned: “If you let these maniacs into office, they will take away your constitutional rights.”
Good Guys with Guns
The president then invited three guest speakers up on the stage to share their stories. April Evans of Virginia, who was attacked in her home several years ago, recalled a terrifying evening. Her husband is a police officer, who, at the time, worked nights. She was home alone with her two-year-old daughter when someone beat on her door so violently it cracked in two places. She called 911, then ran to her bedroom to get a gun. By the time she got back out, the intruder was already in the house, charging down the hallway toward her. She shot him twice, then held him at gunpoint until the police arrived. Note that the intruder was already in the hallway when she shot him and that she had to hold him at gunpoint until the police arrived. Had she not been armed, there’s a good chance neither she nor her daughter would be alive today.
Next to take the stage was Mark Vaughan, the owner of a meat processing plant in Oklahoma. He was informed of a brutal knife attack by phone call while sitting in his office one day. He called the police, then rushed the 100 yards or so to the other end of the compound, where the attack was taking place. When he arrived on the scene – well before the police – and saw the carnage, he knew he had to stop it. He drew his gun and shot the knife-wielding former employee who had turned so violently on his once co-workers.
Finally, we heard from Stephen Willeford, the man who ended the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tx. On the day of the attack, Willeford – who would normally have been at that very church – stayed home to get some rest before work. When his daughter heard the gunshots, she alerted him, asking if it sounded like gunshots. She drove down the road to see what was happening, and by the time she returned to report that someone was shooting in the church, he had his AR-15 out of his safe and in hand. He ran down the street to the church, cried out, and when the gunman stepped outside to shoot at him, Mr. Willeford fired too. The first shots weren’t fatal, as they hit the murderer’s body armor, but they were enough to dissuade him from continuing. The gunman attempted to flee in his vehicle, and Willeford managed to get a round each in the attacker’s side and leg.
Stephen Willeford told those gathered at the NRA Leadership Forum that the gunman had already dropped multiple 30-round magazines inside the church, killing 26 and wounding 20 more. Of all the people present that morning, only seven walked away without being shot. If it weren’t for the Second Amendment – without restrictions against AR-15s – there would have been nothing to stop the shooter. Willeford’s daughter did call the police before her father charged into battle, but getting to a crime scene takes time – no matter how fast you drive.
Each of these stories highlights one simple truth: When seconds count, the police are minutes away. This is no fault of law enforcement officers – no one can be in more than one place at the same time, and no department can have officers on every block all the time. That’s especially true in the wide-open spaces of our most rural counties.
The Eternal Defense of Liberty
The president told the story of the patriots who resisted the British in Massachusetts before the Revolution officially began. The redcoats had confiscated muskets in Boston, gunpowder in Somerville, and were coming for the town cannons in Salem. When the soldiers arrived, those who had gathered at the bridge into town held them back until the crowd grew so large the king’s men had little choice but to retreat.
He honored those early Americans for their “defiant and determined spirit,” which they passed down through the generations to the defenders of the Second Amendment today, then wraps up with a call to action and a promise:
“Our duty, our responsibility, our sacred charge is to preserve the freedom our ancestors gave their very lives to secure because no matter how many centuries go by, no matter how much the world changes, the central drama of the human story remains the same. On one side are those who seek power, control, and domination, and on the other side are patriots like those in this hall, who stand upright and plant their feet in eternal defense of our liberty.
And with God as our witness, we swear today that we will defend our rights, we will safeguard our freedoms, we will uphold our heritage. We will protect our Constitution. And we will make America stronger, prouder, safer, and greater than ever, ever, ever before.”
To read about Vice President Pence’s speech and the beginning of President Trump’s, check out “Trump Brings Down the House at NRA Forum – Part I.”
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