NRA’s Wayne LaPierre Address at 2012 NRA Members Meeting

Wayne Lapierre
Wayne Lapierre

FAIRFAX, Va. –-( In human history, seldom has there been a meeting quite like this.

A voluntary gathering of people so devoted, so loyal, so fearless, so involved, so self-reliant, so determined, so patriotic.

A body composed of all ages, all political parties, all races and religions. Not just those of us in this room, but the 4 million NRA members you represent, all those watching online, and all of the gun owners who will see this speech through a viral Internet distribution that will eventually reach hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Millions and millions of watchful eyes, listening ears and feet on the ground — with the brains to comprehend and the courage to act. Millions of hearts beating as one with the lifeblood that sustains liberty. Kindred souls bound by a love, a reverence, an awe, an obsession, even addiction for human freedom.

That describes one body of people. It describes you, the National Rifle Association of America, and the millions of Americans who share our love of constitutional freedom.

Together, we are the human engine of freedom, fueled by 141 years of generation after generation passing the torch — only to the worthy, the alert, the vigilant and the brave. History’s toughest tests have revealed that we, the members of the NRA, represent the very best of America’s character and strength.

We stand for what America stands for. And that’s why when we fight, we win. And when it comes to defending freedom, no one fights harder, longer and stronger than we do!

And fight we must, for America needs us now more than ever as we gather together in one of the most dangerous of times in American history. Never has American freedom been so disregarded, denigrated, diminished and often destroyed.

All over this nation, people feel it in their hearts — that something has gone terribly wrong in our country. In almost every way you look at it, almost every aspect of American freedom is in some state of decline:

  • Our right to speak.
  • Our right to assemble.
  • Our right to practice our religion.
  • Our right to seek the kind of health care we want for our families.

The economic freedom to earn and spend and save … to own our own homes … to buy the kind of food we want to feed to our children … to raise and discipline our kids … even the simple right to fly the American flag.

The increasing collapse of freedom in America is becoming staggering. By almost every measure, we are less free today than we were even a short decade ago.

Not our issues, some may say. Oh, but they are. Less freedom anywhere threatens all freedoms everywhere — and don’t think our guns aren’t on their list.

Is it any wonder then that a recent CNN poll found that only 15 percent of Americans say they trust our government? We don’t trust THEM because they don’t trust US with freedom. We don’t trust them because government itself cannot be trusted.

Barack Obama won’t tell you that. No politician in any party will tell you that, and neither will the media. They’ll all keep spoon-feeding us idle-minded slogans, in hopes that we’ll ignore the truth, and the truth is this:

A complete collapse of political leadership in this country has led to an ever-increasing collapse of American freedom, in ways our forefathers could never have conjured in their worst nightmares.

The right to be heard? Not if President Obama is around.

The Secret Service, in the name of “safety,” can now expand zones to surround the president, or anyone else they are assigned to protect.

That zone can be deployed anywhere in the country. They can make that zone as wide as they want, essentially ensuring that you aren’t seen and you can’t be heard.

Congress passed that bill by a wide margin. Members of both parties overwhelmingly voted for it and President Obama signed it into law last month. They don’t care about us or about what we think or say. They are the elites … the political class … the powerful.

THEY are better than we are and THEIRS are the only opinions and rules that matter.

Well, Mr. President, you probably aren’t going to like this, but in this election year, the NRA is going to be heard — loud and clear. When we’re done speaking out, Sir, gun owners will have made the difference in key precincts in battleground states and you’ll have us to blame for your defeat in November!

Freedom to run a company? Whether it’s a large corporation or your family business? Not if President Obama is around.

The barrage of increasing regulations on American businesses has become so convoluted and contradictory that the cost of adhering to them is distressing our national economy.

Through generations of Americans, since the founding of our nation, perhaps no business has defined our American way of life more than the family farm. A lot of us grew up on a farm and spent our childhood helping to pick the fruit and vegetables, driving the family tractor or milking the cows — learning the daily cost of simple survival.

Now, the Department of Labor has proposed under-age labor investigations — on family farms. Imagine some federal agent, out in the field with a pair of binoculars and a clipboard, watching a teenager helping Mom get the eggs, documenting the abuse.

If that’s what our government is coming to, it spells the beginning of the end of free enterprise in America, and the beginning of the end of American family values. Our family farms and stores and companies and homes, that’s where we teach our children lifelong lessons of work, discipline and personal responsibility. And now some government agency is going to have us arrested for taking our kids to the office or asking them to do some chores around the house?

It’s one thing to undermine free enterprise and the American economy, but it’s quite another for the president and his agents to go after our right to responsibly raise our children. Government has no business in that freedom!

It’s not just here at home where freedom is being diminished. Even the brave men and women, serving abroad, in America’s armed forces have been undermined.

President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, visited Afghanistan a few weeks ago. Before entering a building to hear the secretary speak, hundreds of Marines — United States Marines — were ordered to leave their rifles outside.

I know there are a lot of current and former members of the military watching and listening to this speech. Imagine serving your nation on foreign soil, in harm’s way, and being ordered to disarm. Leave your gun outside.

That is what happened to hundreds of our own Marines. They were told it was out of respect for a few unarmed Afghan soldiers who were present.

Excuse me? Respect for Afghan soldiers? What about our own men and women serving in combat? What about respect for them?

The truth is, they don’t trust Marines. Just like they don’t trust most Americans. They don’t even tell us the truth about the dangerous times in which we live. More and more people believe it’s no longer a matter of if, but when, our nation is violently attacked again by terrorists.

The government feeds us stories from time to time about how they caught this shoe-bomber, or thwarted that plot to hijack an airplane.

But they hide the truth we all know in our gut — that there are surely more terrorist cells operating in the U.S. That the collapsed border with Mexico has become a superhighway, not just for hundreds of thousands of violent drug cartel members, but for the untold number of terrorists bent on destroying us.

Tonight on our televisions, we’ll see more innocent, unarmed Syrians thirsting for freedom, being slaughtered by the thousands, by their own government. While our own government works in the shadows to support a United Nations treaty that could effectively ban or severely restrict civilian ownership of firearms worldwide. Yes, the Obama crowd is conspiring with the world’s dirty-handed, thug governments to destroy our Second Amendment by treaty.

I’ve been around long enough to know that the U.N. has little regard for our Constitution and none at all for the Second Amendment. But I never thought I’d see the day when an American president would tolerate a proposal that would literally gut one of our most fundamental freedoms.

So I went to New York and testified before the U.N. Talk about an outof- body experience. There were representatives from Libya and Russia and China and Cuba and North Korea and Syria and Iran — all those great bastions of freedom — and I looked them all right in the eye and told them about America and our freedom, and that they had no authority whatsoever to mess with it! No way, no how!

But you won’t hear those words from Barack Obama, because he wants to be part of that club of governments. The truth is, if you had a national referendum and asked Americans to vote on whether to hold fast to our Second Amendment or to throw the United Nations building, and all the liars and thieves inside it, onto the trash heap of history — those global elitists and all their friends in the White House would be dining on garbage!

We will never sacrifice our freedom upon the altar of international acceptance. And we will never surrender our guns — never! By the time I finish this speech, two Americans will be slain, six women will be forcibly raped, 27 of us will be robbed and 50 more will be beaten. That is the harsh reality we face every day.

But the media don’t care. Everyday victims aren’t celebrities. They don’t draw ratings and sponsors, but sensational reporting from Florida does.

In the aftermath of one of Florida’s many daily tragedies, my phone has been ringing off the hook. Now, the National Rifle Association will not comment on any story without a full, thorough understanding of the facts.

But if I were to answer a call from Diane Sawyer or Chris Matthews or Brian Williams or Rachel Maddow, let me tell you what I’d ask them: “Where’s your outrage about Willie Brewer III, from Akron, Ohio. Or Derrick Linkhorn, from Decatur, Georgia. Or Daryl Adams, from New York City?

“What about Antonio Duff? Just this past Monday afternoon, around the same time I got into town, he was killed — murdered. And he’s not the only young man murdered in this city just this past week.

“You reporters don’t know their names. You don’t care about those people. You manufacture controversy for ratings. You don’t care about the truth.

“The truth is, the national news media is a national disgrace! And your dishonesty, duplicity and moral irresponsibility is directly contributing to the collapse of American freedom!”

Because Americans cannot trust the media any more than they can trust the political class, people are anticipating dangerous times and are responding in the only sensible, logical way possible — they’re buying guns! In record numbers, Americans are turning to the Second Amendment.

And America’s women are leading the way! Today, gun ownership among women is at an all-time high. Nearly 30 million American women now own guns, and they know what all of us have known for a long time: the more women who buy and own and shoot guns, the safer and better off we’ll all be!

The elitists who hate our firearms freedom would deny that. But even they know it’s true.

Think about it. Everything the elites care about, they surround with guns. They care about their money, so they surround their banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses, even sports stadiums, are all protected by armed security.

Even that gun-hating Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, surrounds himself with armed security. And the elites of New York City have their guns — 35,000 permits have been issued there to the celebrities and the rich and the connected.

That’s less than one half of one percent of the population of that city.

You and I couldn’t get one. Neither can 99 and a half percent of New York residents, left unarmed and defenseless against the repeat offenders let loose by Bloomberg’s “Let’s Make a Deal” criminal justice system.

All of the elites protect themselves and everything they care about with their own guns and armed security, but they would deny us that same right. Because we’re not part of that elite club, we’re not worthy of that same level of freedom.

For the elites, freedom is selective. It’s for them, not for the rest of us. They are special and wealthy and powerful. They count, we don’t.

Americans have had enough of that double standard. That is why, while freedom has been in decline in so many ways, Americans are relying on one freedom more than any other, and above all others, like never before — the right to own a gun. In the face of all the dishonesty, corruption and hypocrisy, Americans are facing the reality that they’re on their own.

Twenty years ago, 65 million Americans owned a firearm. Today, 100 million Americans own firearms — an all-time high — and the numbers keep going up. And it’s driving the anti-gun media and politicians nuts!

What they don’t get — what their elitist minds can’t grasp — is that when faced with diminishing freedom, Americans have found in the Second Amendment the means to meet their most basic of needs to survive.

Our Founding Fathers enshrined the Second Amendment for one purpose: survival. Survival of each citizen. Survival of a nation. More Americans today than ever before understand the principle of the Second Amendment, the freedom it gives them as individuals to be responsible for their own safety, protection and survival. Americans are suspect of criminal attack, have witnessed the slaughters of tyrants and know that terrorists are lurking and plotting to murder us.

These aren’t just distant fears. They are coming realities, gathering and approaching as certain as dark storm clouds. And we know that our government lies and shrouds the truth about very real threats to our lives and our way of life.

We know they are concealing the fact that an army of hundreds of thousands of Los Zetas, Sinaloa Cartel, LFM, Juarez Cartel and other violent gangs has already invaded our nation from the south, and infiltrated every American city.

We know our government knows how vulnerable we are to a terrorist attack that could freeze our transportation systems, black out our cities, shut down our distribution of fuel and food, and lead to perhaps months of unprecedented elimination of social order.

We know these threats are real, and yet there is a reporter out there, right now, writing that I’m crazy, that the NRA is paranoid. That reporter should think of what it must have felt like on that fateful September day in the World Trade Center. Think about the reality those innocent Americans were forced to face — the fire and darkness, the confusion and fear, the chaos.

Think about Samantha Koenig, the 18-year-old coffee barista in Anchorage, Alaska. On February 1, she vanished, abducted at gunpoint. Imagine the fear she must have felt, the horror forced upon her. Authorities found her a month later, brutally murdered and dumped into a frozen lake.

Think, you sanctimonious reporter, of the drug gangs embedded in this very city. In neighborhoods you don’t dare enter because it’s not safe. Better and safer to stay in this room, isn’t it?

Can any reporter, or any government official, promise that the horrors of terrorists and tyrants and gangs and violent thugs will never again be forced upon the innocent? Go ahead, write about our paranoia, as if we should just close our eyes and buy some duct tape and candles and extra water. You are irresponsible, duplicitous and dangerously dishonest.

One by one, 100 million of us have already decided the first thing we’ll do if and when the lights go dark — get my family and GET MY GUN!

Americans are not just buying guns and ammo in record numbers.

They’re joining the NRA, writing checks of support, and signing on to this great cause of defending their freedom.

I’ve been leading our association now for 21 years. I can’t count how many times the media predicted the demise and death of the NRA.

We’ve lost political credibility and clout, they would report, claiming our strength would soon fade into oblivion.

Well, I’ve got news for the media. We’re still here and we aren’t going anywhere … except to the polls on Election Day!

The Second Amendment has never been more relevant than it is today. When all is said and done, we may have nothing left but our gun rights, but that’s the one right that gives us a fighting chance to reclaim freedoms lost and preserve all of our rights, and all of our freedom.

Barack Obama hob-knobs at cocktail parties and denigrates people who cling to their religion and guns. That is HIS America.

We bow our heads at night, pray for our families and keep our firearms close. That is OUR America.

We are the millions of Americans who have found faith in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We are the millions who understand there is no greater freedom than to own a firearm to protect yourself, your family, your community and your nation. We are the millions of Americans who worry about the future of our country and say to President Obama, and all the political and media elites:

Get out of our kitchens. Get out of our homes. Get out of our cars, get off our farms, get out of our wallets, and get out of our churches.

We don’t want you in our hospitals and doctors’ offices. Get your hands off our children, our lives, and our way of life. And we sure don’t want you anywhere — ever — near our guns!

And we’ve seen enough during your first term, Mr. President, to know that we sure don’t want you back for a second term.

We live in the most dangerous of times. As more and more Americans turn to the Second Amendment, the NRA has never been more vital to our nation.

Every American gun owner must join our cause to defend this great freedom, and every NRA member must do everything possible to help keep our association strong.

If it were not for America, there would be no freedom in the world. If were not for the Second Amendment, there would be no freedom in America.

And if it were not for the NRA, there would be no Second Amendment. That is our legacy, but a legacy that only endures if we ALL remain vigilant in the preservation of our freedom for future generations. Even now, in this most dangerous time, we face the most dangerous election of ALL of our lifetimes.

All of our Second Amendment liberty, all of the rights we’ve worked so hard to defend, all of what we know is good and right about America — all of it could be lost if Barack Obama gets re-elected. This is an all or nothing election and we must be ALL IN, every one of us. No one sits this one out.

Every time freedom is at risk, it is fought for and preserved by the work, the wallets and the will of millions of NRA members, gun owners and patriots. In the face of great peril, we always stand up. We always stand our ground. So stand up, together, right now and you tell me:

  • Will you defend freedom with all your heart and might?
    • Come on, stand up and let them hear you all the way to the White House!
  • Will we fight to preserve our liberty and keep our nation strong and safe and free?
  • Will we save America and our freedom?
  • Will we save the Second Amendment from a second Obama White House?

This is our moment, our destiny, our place in the history of preserving American liberty! This is our time, our election to rise up and fight for ALL our rights.

About NRA

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military. Visit: