NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre
Conservative Political Action Conference
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
Oxon Hill, MD
February 22, 2018

[Democracy in Action Transcript]


"We are conservatives.  We have the superior product.  We don't have to modify our views; we don't have to rationalize why we believe what we believe.  We don't need, we don't need platitudes and red meat because we have the superior product, the proven superior product."

Then this to the "legacy media":

"Now I'm going to say something that some people are going to say is controversial.  So I'll say it really slowly so all the people on the platform in the back [waves] can hear me loud and clear. 

"Many in legacy media love mass shootings.  You guys love it.  Now I'm not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings.  Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back.  And notice I said crying white mothers because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend and you don't see town halls for them do you?  Where's the CNN town hall for Chicago?  Where's the CNN town hall for sanctuary cities?  Where was the CNN town hall for Jamiel Shaw, Sr., whose son was murdered by someone who illegally entered the country and had been deported repeatedly.  Where was his voice?  Where was the voice of those Junior ROTC members last night, CNN?  If it bleeds it leads doesn't it?

"And I don't mean to ignore you all here but I really, I'm really looking at a lot of the legacy media back there on the platform and you can write whatever you want about me and you can come find me in the hallways and you can scream at me and you can try to confront me, but I'm here, we're here; we're not going anywhere.  I call B.S.."


"The government has proven that they cannot keep you safe.  And yet some people want all of us to disarm.  You heard that town hall last night.  They cheered the confiscation of firearms, and it was over 5,000 people.  I had to have a security detail to get out.  I wouldn't have been able to exit that if I did not have a private security detail.  There were people rushing the stage and screaming 'burn her,' and I came there to talk solutions, and I still am going to continue that conversation on solutions as the NRA's been doing for before I was alive.  But the government can't keep you safe and some people want us to give up our firearms and rely solely on the protection of the same government that's already failed us numerous times to keep us safe."


"Don't you think our kids deserve the same protection as our celebrities?  Don't you all think that our kids deserve the same protection as our athletes?  As our banks?  As our businesses.  But yet we leave them the most unprotected.  My condemnation is for those at the FBI—I know there are some good agents there—but for those at the FBI who dropped the ball eight separate times with catastrophic consequences.  You know James Comey when he wasn't busy taking directions from Loretta Lynch as to what to call Hillary Clinton's investigation or writing his self-aggrandizing memoirs, you know he said they made a mistake.  Maybe if you politicized your agency less and did your job more we wouldn't have these problems."


"I want you to all ask yourselves about where are the stories about how only 38 states submit less than 80-percent of criminal convictions to the background check system.  It's only as good as what's submitted to it."


WAYNE LAPIERRE: Thank you very much. I appreciate this opportunity. We have serious discussions ahead and serious issues that impact each and every one of us.

Just a week ago we were all horrified by another terrible tragedy at an American school. Each and every member of the National Rifle Association mourns the loss of the innocent and continues to keep their families and that community in our prayers. We share a goal of safe schools, safe neighborhoods, and a safe country.

As usual, the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. Saul Alinsky would have been proud. The breakback speed of calls for more gun control laws, and the breathless national media eager to smear the NRA.

Think about that. In the midst of genuine grief, an a very understandable passion, as millions of Americans searched for meaningful solutions, what do we find? Chris Murphy, Nancy Pelosi and more, cheered on by the national media, eager to blame the NRA and call for even more government control. They hate the NRA. They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom.

In the rush of calls for more government, they have also revealed their true selves. The elites don't care one whit about America's school system and schoolchildren. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them it's not a safety issue; it's a political issue. They care more about control and more of it. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms, so they can eradicate all individual freedoms. [applause]

What they want are more restrictions on the law-abiding. Think about that. Their solution is to make you, all of you, less free. They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of the school security, the failure of the family, the failure of America's mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI. [applause]

They fantasize about more laws stopping what other laws failed to stop. The truth is, laws succeed only when people obey them. That's what the law-abiding majority in this country practices. But once again, so many existing laws were ignored.

Their laws don't stop illegal criminals from crossing our borders every single day. Their laws don't stop the scourge of gang violence and drug crime that savages Baltimore, Chicago, and every major American community. Their laws haven't stopped the plague of opioids and Chinese fentanyl from Mexico that floods American streets and kills victims every single day in this country. No wonder law-abiding Americans all over this country revere their Second Amendment freedom to protect themselves more than ever. They don't care if their laws work or not; they just want to get more laws to get more control over people. But the NRA, the NRA does care. [applause]

We, we at the NRA are Americans who continue to mourn and care and work every day at contributing real solutions to this very real problem. Real practical action to truly protect our children. Think about it. It's a bizarre fact that in this country our jewelry stores, all over this country, are more important than our children. Our banks, our airports, our NBA games, our NFL games, our office buildings, our movie stars, our politicians -- they're all more protected than our children at school. Does that make any sense to anybody? [applause]

Do we really love our money and our celebrities more than we love our children?

Can we answer that question honestly? Any of us, can we answer that question honestly, knowing that we surround and protect so much with armed security while we drop our kids off at school, that are so-called gun-free zones, that are wide open targets for any crazy madman bent on evil to come there first?

In every community in America, school districts, PTAs, teachers unions, local law enforcement, moms and dads—they all must come together to implement the very best strategy to harden their schools, including effective trained, armed security that will absolutely protect every innocent child in this country. [applause]

And that has to happen now. Evil walks among us. And God help us if we don't harden our schools and protect our kids. The whole idea from some of our opponents, that armed security makes us less safe, is completely ridiculous. If that's true—and just think about this—if that's true, armed security makes us less safe, let's just go ahead and remove it from everywhere. Let's remove it from the White House, from Capitol Hill, and remove it from all of Hollywood. [applause]

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. [applause] and we will provide immediate assistance and we will also provide it absolutely free to any school in America. [applause]

I'll you this, that is more than anybody at the Democratic National Committee, or NBC News, or The Washington Post is offering.  [applause]

You know what, the shameful politicalization of tragedy, it's a classic strategy right out of the playbook of a poisonous movement. In my three decades of leading the NRA, I've had the pleasure of working with a number of Democrats who believed America to be the greatest country in the world because of our free market capitalism and because of our individual liberties. But during the last decade, the Obama decade, many of those leaders have been forced out as a tidal wave of new European-style socialists seize control of the Democratic party. [applause/boos]

Obama promised a fundamental transformation of our country . And you know what? It began with his own national party. A party that is now infested with saboteurs who don't believe in capitalism, don't believe in the Constitution, don't believe in our freedom, and don't believe in America as we know it.

Obama may be gone, but their utopian dream, it marches on. And President Trump's election, while crucial, cannot turn away the wave of these new European-style socialists bearing down upon us. I'm not just talking about Bernie Sanders. I mean he's near the end of his career. But how about Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo, Cory Booker, Christopher Murphy, and Keith Ellison? [boos] They are not Democrats in the mold of John F. Kennedy or Tip O'Neill; they hide behind labels like Democrat, left-wing progressive to make their socialist agenda more palatable. And that is terrifying. [applause]

And that should terrify every citizen who values the American ideal in this country of individual liberty. They politicize the Department of Justice, they weaponize the Internal Revenue Service, the EPA, perhaps cripple the FBI and the intelligence community, and seized and embedded leadership in all of them to advance their agenda. Absolute control in every corner of our government is their ultimate dream.

These intellectual elites, they think that they are smarter than we are. They think that they are smarter than the rest of us. And they think they are better than we are. They truly believe it, and you know it. The privileged and the powerful, they think they deserve to be in charge of every lever of power.

But you know what? The United States Constitution makes it absolutely clear that they are not in charge. We, the people, are in charge of this country. [applause]

But Washington, oh my gosh, the city likes to ignore that. Our intelligence community shrouds everything in secrecy, driving into darkness every dirty memo, and every dirty institutional secret and memory, in the name of national security . But when the leaks come, as so often occurs in the light of day, it reveals nothing about the security of our country and it reveals everything about the corruption of those in power. [applause]

That's because in a captive society, the loss of transparency results in the loss of truth. They also eliminated internal resistance to wrongdoing in these great institutions. There is no stronger supporter of our law enforcement than the National Rifle Association. My gosh, we are one of the largest law enforcement organizations in the United States, if you look at our membership. [applause]

And we're proud of that. [applause] Everywhere I go I get a police officer coming up to me, thanking mem and saying, I'm a member of your organization; keep up what you are doing. And there are tens of thousands of incredible men and women at the FBI; these are honorable, decent, hard-working people. And they are dedicated to keeping our country safe every single day. [applause] and we're proud of them and we thank them. But as we have learned in recent months, even the FBI is not free of its own corruption and its own unethical agents.

Look—and I know that you probably all share this sentiment and I get people telling me from coast-to-coast, and they kind of shake their heads when they say it to me—I can understand a few bad apples in an organization as large as the FBI, but what's hard to understand is why no one at the FBI stood up and called B.S. on its rogue leadership. [applause]

I mean, really, where was the systemic resistance and repulsion that should protect every powerful institution that serves us? The lowest ranking Marine knows to resist an on lawful order. The rank and file in every powerful institution must police its own leadership. But still, too much of today's Washington, no one speaks out. No one challenges authority. Everyone keeps their mouth closed and their heads down, and that is exactly how socialistic societies function. When leaders do whatever they want, when resistance and repercussion disappears, and when the fundamental concept of moral behavior is expunged, the state rules the day. And anyone who attempts to resist is smeared right into submission. [applause] Yep. You know it. [applause] Ah yes, the art of the smear, we do live in the socialistic age of the art of the smear.

It does not have to be true, it just has to stick somewhere, anywhere. It's designed to degrade, destroy, and it's all over the national media to serve their agenda. And socialism is a movement that loves the smear. Racist, misogynist, sexist, xenophobe and more. These are the weapons and vitriol, these character assassinations scream to permanently hang on their targets and create a growing segment of victims. Because socialism feeds off of manipulatied victims. You name the group, and they will find a way to turn them into victims. They keep their movement growing by finding someone to be offended by something every minute of every day. From the Occupy movement, to Black Lives Matter, to Antifa, they agitate the offended, promote uncivil discourse, and ignore any sense of due process and fairness to destroy their enemies.

The elimination of due process is the very gold standard of the socialist state. Imagine this, and this happened and it's true. Imagine telling an elderly couple that because they sought help to do their taxes, that they could no longer exercise their fundamental Second Amendment right. That's exactly what Obama did. His administration proposed to some Social Security recipient, who granted financial authority to a family member, friend or financial professional, was banned from purchasing a firearm, no questions asked, just like that. Good, law-abiding people were automatically, and unjustly, declared mentally incompetent and put on a new government list. And oh how socialists love to make lists, especially lists that can be used to deny citizens their basic freedoms. And now some people are calling for a new list of anyone, anyone who has sought mental health care, to deny them their Second Amendment rights.

Look, and this is really important and you never hear this on the national media, so I want to say it to all of you now and I need your help in telling all of America this because it's the truth. The National Rifle Association originated the national instant check system. It was our bill, No one on the prohibited persons list should ever have access to a firearm—no killer, no felon, no drug dealer. [applause]

And anyone adjudicated as mentally incompetent or dangerous to society should be added to the check system and prevented from getting their hands on a gun. [applause]

But, but watch what I released three years ago and the media machine all over the country, they so callously and completely ignored it. Watch this.

Wayne LaPierre: Here is what the media won't tell you. The NRA has fought for 20 years to put the records of those adjudicated  mentally incompetent into the national instant check system and until the politicians demand they are submitted, killers who are prohibited from owning firearms, will walk into gun stores and pass every background check they take.

So if they really wanted to make a difference, the media would lead every newscast with a reminder that the names of millions of a violent felons, criminal gang bangers, and adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous people are missing from the background check system. But no one gets ratings by telling the truth about how to stop mass killers. So they don't report that 38 states submit less than 80-percent of their felony convictions in the system, leaving more than seven million felony convictions in the dark. They don't tell you the truth. Instead, the only thing the average American has heard about background checks is the absolute fallacy that what we need is more.

The system is only as good as the records within it, and the records only get submitted if the politicians demand it. What did the Oregon killer, WDBJ killer, the Charleston church killer, the Santa Barbara killer, the Maryland mall killer, the L.A. airport killer, the D.C. Navy Yard killer, the Aurora movie theater killer, the Tucson killer, the Virginia Tech killer, and both Fort Hood killers have in common?

Everything single one of them passed a background check. If you cast a net and the fish swim through the holes, you don't need a bigger net, you need tighter holes. But when it comes to a background check system that is missing the names of prohibited people, the politicians do not want to fix it.

The best kept secret is that the national instant check system wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for the NRA. It is true. Back in the 1990's, President Clinton forced to passage of a mandatory waiting period on every handgun purchase in America. Not a background check, a wait. But NRA said as soon as the technology was available, their wait had to be replaced by an instant background check done by the dealer at the point-of-sale. NRA supported it, NRA got the votes, and NRA got it passed.

We demanded an honest system that was supposed to make sure good people can purchase firearms as quickly as possible, a system that catches violent felons, the adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous, and every other prohibited person right at the point-of-sale, where they would be prosecuted for a federal felony. But they aren't.

What has happened instead is one of the greatest failures in the history of American leadership. In 2010, roughly 80,000 prohibited people committed a felony by trying to buy a gun. Just 44 were prosecuted for it. Does that sound like a good number to anybody? So when you hear politicians who won't fix the broken system, talk about expanding it, don't buy it. Demand what works.

Put armed security in every school;

Fix the broken mental health system;

Enforce the federal gun laws against every criminal thug on the street;

Prosecute dangerous people when they show up to buy a gun;

and for God's's sake, put every prohibited person into the system.

That's what common sense gun laws look like. [applause]

You know, the whole discussion of the Second Amendment and the gun issue in this country has become so dishonest in the national media and so dishonest among politicians that you can barely stand it. That's not a new video, as I said. I've said for years, I've said for years, and I've been ignored by the same opportunists who don't give a damn, yet you see them on TV every day whining away. Here's what I said on CBS way back in 1993, that was 25 years ago.


Wayne LaPierre: Let me ask you this. Are you in favor of computerizing the mental health records of people into a national computer bank?

Charles Schumer: You bet. You bet.

Wayne LaPierre: Well can we join hands on that and go to Capitol Hill right now?

[they shake hands]

Now here's the real tragedy. Charles Schumer shook my hand to get all the mental health records into the system, and then he went back to Capitol Hill and you know what he did? Absolutely nothing. How many lives might have been saved if he had just kept his promise? They are liars to the core and I'll make this prediction right now [applause]—a year from today many of those records may still not be in the system, not if some of these whining for television politicians and their media enablers have their way. [applause]

Instead, what they'l do is they'll keep coming after the NRA. And when another monster slips through the cracks, the very cracks that they have enabled in the system, as the records of prohibited persons remain out of the database—it'll happen again.

But here's something that we must be careful of as we go forward. We all have to be careful that this doesn't become a runaway train. What if all of your medical records, perhaps your conversations with your doctor, your prescription information, do we really want all that on a government list and in a government database?

[Audience: No.]

Here's another one. A military vet comes, goes to his or her local VA, comes home goes to his or her local VA, and tells the doctor they're having trouble sleeping at night, or anyone who shares nightmares, their nightmares with a medical professional, they all become potential triggers that somebody, somewhere could define as a mental health barrier to owning a firearm. I even heard a television pundit recently suggesting that people seeking to buy a firearm should be interviewed first. I mean, interviewed first? Who's going to conduct that interview and what will they ask?

That is the challenge that we as a free society face. How do we create a step along the way called due process that protects the innocent, law-abiding people of this country from being falsely accused, politically abused, and permanently stigmatized unjustly?

Come on, socialists oppose all of our most fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights. They don't like free speech any more than they like the Second Amendment. They like only limited speech, controlled speech, controlled by them through safe speech zones where they can shame the outspoken or riot to shut them up.

If you still think we have full First Amendment freedom in this country, try going right now out to  Berkeley and is speaking out in favor of conservative causes, or even the Second Amendment. [applause]

This growing socialist state dreams of manipulating schoolchildren to squeeze and squeeze information about their parents. They'll be asking your kids if mommy and daddy spank them or what mommy and daddy feeds them for dinner. They'll want to know what TV shows you watch, what magazines, newspapers you read, and oh yes, do mommy and daddy own a gun? And all that private information will be entered into that ultimate list, that cloud of data storage, that couldn't care less about due process and constitutional freedom and your privacy as an American citizen. And then it's just a short hop to the systematic destruction of our most basic freedoms in this country.

And you all know what they are, but let me say them—family, faith, individual responsibility and self destiny, a free market economy, patriotism, respect for our national flag and national anthem, personal liberty and justice for all. [applause]

Going back a decade or more, these essential freedoms and these essential values have been increasingly and sadly ridiculed and disrespected and diminished in this country and it won't take long if we stay on the path we are on, to erase them completely. That's the real consequence of this new socialist wave in America.

You know, I hear a lot of quiet in this room and I sense your anxiety. And you should be anxious. And you should be frightened. If they seize power, if the so-called new European socialists take over the House and the Senate, and God forbid they get the White House again, our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever. And the first to go will be the second amendment to the United States Constitution.

History proves it. Every time, in every nation, in which at this political disease rises to power, its citizens are repressed, their freedoms are destroyed, and their firearms are banned and confiscated. And It's all backed in this country by the social engineering and the billions of people like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer and more. And gleefully promoted by those who have risen to power in the so-called national news media, and seized control of social media to spread their propaganda. They don't tell us news. And you all know it and people know it all over the United States; they say it to me every day. They don't tell us news; they tell us what we need to think. That's the way it is these days.

On college campuses, the Communist Manifesto is one of the most frequently assigned texts. Karl Marx is the most assigned economist. And there are now over 100 chapters of Young Democratic Socialists of America at many universities, and students are even earning academic credit for promoting socialist causes. In too many classrooms all over the United States, and I know you think about this when you decide where you will send your kids to school and your kids think about it too, the United States Constitution is ignored, United States history is perverted, and the Second mendment freedom in this country is despised.

You know, some people out there think the NRA should just stick to its Second Amendment agenda and not talk about all of our freedoms. But real freedom requires protection of all of our rights. And the Second Amendment isn't worth its own words in a country where all of our other individual freedoms are destroyed. [applause]

So I promise you this—the NRA will not only speak out, we will speak out louder and we will speak out stronger than ever before. [applause] We will do it through NRA TV and our media operations, which will expand to reach a growing audience of Americans that are looking all over this country for the truth. They're going to do it with a strong voices like Dana Loesch that you've just seen [applause], Dan Bongino and others who are engaging in new programming to make our message just as accessible as NBC, the New York Times, and the rest of the so-called national news media.

Let's be clear, we are never talking about an armed resistance against the socialist corruption of our government. We are always talking about a resistance armed with the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights in our country. [applause] [cheers]

The genius of those documents, the brilliance of America, of our country itself, is that all of our freedoms are for every single citizen. And there is no greater personal individual freedom than the right to keep and bear arms, the right to protect yourself, and he right to survive. [applause]

It's not bestowed by man, but granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright. [applause]

So i call right now today on every citizen who loves this country, and who treasures this freedom, to stand and unflinchingly defend the Second Smendment, the one freedom that protects us all in this country. [applause]

And I refuse to leave this stage until I say one more time that we must immediately harden our schools. Every day—[applause]—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. And evil must—[applause]—and evil must be confronted immediately with all necessary force to protect our kids. [applause]

I said five years ago, after that horrible tragedy in Newtown, and I wish, oh God I wish, more had heeded my words. So lean in, listen to me now, and never forget these words: to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun. [applause] Thank you very much. [applause] Thank you.


Ed. Note: Here is a countering view.  It does look like there is a possible area of agreement on strengthening the background check system.  It is interesting how both sides are "calling B.S.."

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
February 21, 2018

Jen Reidy

Brady Calls for Congress to Strengthen and Expand Background Check System, Ban Assault Weapons and Enact ERPO "Red Flag" Laws

Proposals reflect the pleas of the majority of Americans, according to new Quinnipiac Poll

WASHINGTON (February 21, 2018) — The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence today called upon Congress to immediately pass legislation to make it significantly harder for deadly weapons to be used by dangerous people. One week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Brady recommends comprehensive gun violence legislation around three critical legislative initiatives:

1) Brady background checks on all guns sales: Completion of a Brady Background check on every gun sold. Those convicted of gun crimes, assault, or domestic violence should no longer be able to purchase guns without passing a background check in any state, no loopholes and no exceptions. Guns should not be sold if a background check is still pending. While some states have expanded their background checks, approximately half of the population still lives in states without these common-sense laws. Dangerous exceptions to the system that allow private sales to take place without conducting a background check at gun shows or via online sites put all Americans at risk.

2) Pass the assault weapon ban: Shooters in the recent deadly mass shootings like Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, and Sandy Hook have all used assault weapons and high capacity magazines to massacre people. Today you can buy an AR-15 style rifle in as little as 25 minutes. Weapons of war belong in military and police forces, not in our schools and churches.

3) Enact "Extreme Risk Laws": Laws that allow family members and law enforcement to seek court permission to temporarily remove guns from a person in crisis empower families, communities, and law enforcement to help keep guns out of the hands of those at risk of injuring themselves or others. We are taking action to pressure politicians to support these in every state.

Today, Brady Co-President Kris Brown joins with Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the Florida State Capitol today to call for a ban on assault rifles. The direct appeal to the Legislature follows protests outside schools, social media appeals and national television appearances.

These proposals strongly align with the demands of Americans based on new Quinnipiac Poll research published this week, including:

  • Support for universal background checks is now up to 97 percent, including those living in gun owning households.
  • 67 percent now support a nationwide ban on assault weapons.
  • 66 percent of American voters support stricter gun laws, a 19 percent point increase over two years ago.
"Americans of every age and background are calling ‘BS' on the lack of action from Congress and the President. Americans aren't more dangerous or more criminally-inclined than people in other nations, but we have the highest rate of gun deaths in the developed world. That's because our laws continue to allow easy access to the deadliest weapons, and it is well past the time to change those laws," said Brady Campaign co-president, Avery Gardiner. "It is no secret which members of Congress pander to the gun lobby. With all 435 seats in the House and 34 seats in the Senate up for reelection in November, it is time for them to act. If not, we'll vote them out."

"These straightforward initiatives will help prevent violence and save lives, and are meant to stop the next Parkland, Columbine, Newtown, Charleston, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, or Orlando," said Brady Campaign co-president, Kris Brown. "The time for platitudes, spin, fearmongering and regurgitating NRA message points is done. Voters and our children say #ENOUGH, and we have a nation that wonders will it be #MeNext ?"


The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.

About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000.