CPAC 2018: Day One ... 1 of 3 >
Feb. 22, 2018 - The conference begins.
ACU communications director Ian Walters, executive director Dan Schneider, and Millie Hallow, vice chair of the ACU Foundation (and managing director, executive operations at the National Rifle Association). 
Panel on "An Affair to Remember: How the Far Left and the Mainstream Media Got in Bed Together" moderated by Larry O'Connor of The Washington Times and featuring Kim Strassel, Potomac Watch columnist for Wall Street Journal; Candace Owens of Turning Point USA; Chris Loesch, musician, graphic artist and husband of Dana Loesch; and Lawrence Jones, editor-in-chief at Campus Reform (and until recently host of a show at The Blaze).
Panel on "Do Not Pass Go! How Government is Killing Capitalism" moderated by ACU executive director Dan Schneider and featuring ACU Foundation senior fellow Dr. Greg Dolin; former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley (1987-89); and Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

The Agenda next listed "Special Programming," which turned out to be the National Rifle Association's Dana Loesch and Wayne LaPierre.  Their appearances came little more than a week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.  Loesch spoke for about 15 minutes and LaPierre for about 35 minutes.  The evening before (Feb. 21) Loesch participated in a CNN town hall on gun policy (>). 

Both argued that there is a system in place that would help prevent these shootings, national instant background checks, but that the government has failed to implement it.  Both emphasized the need to "harden our schools."  LaPierre stated, "Every day young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store, or some Hollywood gala. Schools must be the most hardened targets in this country."  LaPierre said, "Any American school that needs immediate professional consultation and help with organizing and defining the solutions, should call the National Rifle Association's School Shield Program, and we will provide immediate assistance and we will also provide it absolutely free to any school in America." 

Both speakers adopted a combative tone in their remarks, including towards mainstream media.  Loesch charged that, "Many in legacy media love mass shootings" because they boost ratings.  LaPierre spoke of the "breathless national media eager to smear the NRA" and warned of a wave of new European-style socialism (he used the word socialist 14 times).  [transcript]
Dana Loesch started with the NRA as a special advisor on women's policy issues in 2016 and was named national spokeswomen in Feb. 2017.
Wayne LaPierre started working at the NRA in 1977 and has served as executive vice president and CEO of the organization since 1991. >