National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Saturday linked the Boston terror bombings to gun rights for the first time by asking attendees at the organization's annual convention, “How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?”
“Residents were imprisoned behind the locked doors of their homes — a terrorist with bombs and guns just outside,” LaPierre said at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. “Frightened citizens, sheltered in place, with no means to defend themselves or their families from whatever may come crashing through the door.”
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LaPierre was referring to the lockdown of the Boston region on April 19, four days after the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ordered the unprecedented lockdown as authorities searched for the two bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in an overnight shootout with police four days after the blasts — and Dzhokhar was captured later on April 19 while hiding in a boat in suburban Watertown, Mass.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains in a prison hospital outside Boston. He has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, which carries the death penalty.
Authorities said the Tsarnaev brothers had illegal firearms — and those weapons were used to kill MIT security officer Sean Collier.
“Imagine living in a large metropolitan area where lawful firearms ownership is heavily regulated and discouraged?” LaPierre asked on Saturday. “Imagine waking up to a phone call from the police, warning that a terrorist event is occurring outside and ordering you to stay inside your home?”
He said that polls after the bombings indicated that 69 percent of those surveyed said “yes, I want my freedom. I want my Second Amendment. I want my gun.
“No bill in Congress, no Rose Garden speech will ever change the inescapable fact that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre added.
“Boston proved it. When brave law-enforcement officers did their jobs so courageously, good guys with guns stopped terrorists with guns.”
Introduced to the stage by Col. Oliver North, LaPierre attacked Obama’s gun-control agenda, describing it as “an all-out siege against our rights.”
“When it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals or the mentally deranged, NRA members agree 100 percent.
“But Mr. President, the bill you backed wouldn’t accomplish that goal,” LaPierre added. “Your bill was for a check that criminals avoid. Your bill ordered the law-abiding to participate in a maze of regulation that could criminalize lawful firearms transactions and potentially create a massive government list of every gun-owning citizen in the country.”
He also praised senators for handily defeating the background-checks proposal last month.
“To those senators and congressmen who have stood with the Second Amendment, we say thank you and ask you to keep defending our rights,” LaPierre said. “You have stood with us and represented your home states — let there be no doubt we stand firmly with you.”
He described the recent legislation’s battle as “but one skirmish in what can only be defined as a long war against our constitutional rights.”
LaPierre called on the five million NRA members to resist every government effort to restrict gun ownership.
“This is a fight for our freedom, the freedom that separates us from every other nation on earth,” he said. That freedom makes us stronger than other countries. It makes us better than other countries.
“That freedom is on the line and never more on the line than right now and through the 2014 congressional elections.
“This NRA will go the distance,” LaPierre declared. “And no matter what it takes, we will never give up or compromise our constitutional freedom — not one single inch.”
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