Guns.com is reporting live form the 142nd NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, Texas (GO ROCKETS!).
We have a ton of great interviews scheduled. In fact, as I write this, we’ve already interviewed ‘Urban Gun Enthusiast’ Mr.ColionNoir, Navy SEAL Dom Raso, GLOCK spokesman R. Lee Ermey aka ‘Gunny,’ and the Lone Star State Gov. Rick Perry.
Everyone we interviewed was super cool and friendly. Exactly like you’d expect them to be in person. So, keep an eye out for the interviews, we’ll be posting them over the course of the next few days.
The other big thing going on right now, at this moment, is the NRA Leadership Forum, a collection of the nation’s top Second Amendment leaders in government, the media and the entertainment industry.
Headliners include: former Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, and, of course, the NRA’s top brass, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox and future President James Porter.
The stated goal of the Leadership Forum is to “chart the course for defeating Barack Obama’s gun ban agenda.” So, with that in mind, who stood out? Who had insightful things to say?
Well, one of the highlights for me was Sarah Palin’s brief reference to Shakespeare’s Henry V, in particular the St. Crispin’s Day speech. In a sorta jocular fashion, at the outset she compared her remarks to that famous and inspirational address that Henry gives his troops before they march into battle at Agincourt. You know the one, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”
I thought it was both funny and apropos and it broke up some of the monotony, which to be honest, there was a lot of. Perhaps “monotony” is the wrong word, but there were similar threads and themes in every speech and there are only so many times you can hear someone say “Gun control only affects law-abiding gun owners,” or “We need to stand and fight for our freedoms” before it all starts to sound like pabulum and you want to start shouting back, “I get it! Obama stinks, Second Amendment rocks, what else do you have to say!?”
I’m probably being hyper-critical and unreasonable. Again, I don’t disagree with those sentiments, but I also don’t need to be told the same thing 20 different times. In the future, I’d suggest that organizers have each of the political speakers take up a different topic to avoid so much repetition.
That said, Sen. Ted Cruz gave an informative address and touted the merits of a provocative video that takes Congress and President Obama to task on gun control. His speech was different and while there was some overlap with the others, he stood out by speaking about specific areas of concern, e.g. the federal government’s declining interest in prosecuting gun crimes (see video below):
In any event, the audience seemed to dig it and overall the mood was very upbeat and positive.
The other highlight for me, which completely kicked butt, was Gov. Rick Perry’s introduction video. It was by far the best part of the forum. It didn’t last very long, but it set the tone for his rather animated and spirited speech (see intro video below).
I love the video (note the music it is set to, ‘Stranglehold,’ by the Motor City Madman Ted Nugent). The Governor can’t hide his enthusiasm for shooting. And for me, that’s a big part of what this whole convention is about, our collective affinity for shooting guns.
Yes, obviously, politics is at the fore given that the nation is still debating gun control reform in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but it’s also nice to be reminded that in addition to strategizing about how to beat down the Obama-Bloomberg gun-grabbing agenda, we’re also here because guns are a lot of fun. In short, the NRA convention is many things, but at its core it’s a celebration of the Second Amendment. Let’s not forget that amongst all the political blustering.
EDIT TO ADD: I was interviewing Gov. Rick Perry when Chris Kyle’s wife, Taya, gave her speech. Word on the street is that it was incredibly moving and the real highlight of the Leadership Forum. I’m pissed I missed it because I’m sure it was awesome. We’ll find video and post it in the near future, stay tuned.
UPDATE: Here is Taya’s heart-rending speech.