NRA leader Wayne LaPierre: 'Stay Ready'
Here's a transcript of a discussion about the NRA convention in Charlotte between WFAE's Mark Rumsey and Julie Rose.They spoke Friday evening following former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's address to the NRA. Mark: Julie, what was Governor Palin's message? Julie: She spent quite a bit of time criticizing the "lamestream" media for their coverage of firearms issues. She says the media too often shows the negative consequences of guns rather than the positive. She also went after liberal celebrities and animal rights activists. She told some redneck jokes that she said perfectly describe her as a proud redneck. The NRA crowd is really her people - (she) definitely relates (to them). They enjoyed her folksy stories. She really only touched on political stuff briefly toward the end of her 30-minute speech. "President Obama and his allies like Nancy Pelosi have been relatively quiet on the gun control front -not because they don't want to limit your rights but because they're afraid of the political consequences. Don't doubt for a minute that if they thought they could get away with it they would ban guns and ammunition and gut the Second Amendment," Palin said. She said she can't wait for the midterm election and gave pretty high praise to the Tea Party movement for shaking things up around the country(with) some incumbent members of Congress denied their party's nomination because of the anti-Washington sentiment. Mark: How do NRA members feel about the Tea Party movement? Julie: Certainly some crossover. I spoke to a lot of NRA members who say they agree with the Tea Party, but haven't been to any of their rallies. The Tea Party really opposes taxes and big government. But they also talk a lot about returning to fundamentals in the Constitution - the limited role of the federal government, the importance of individual freedoms. And that definitely resonates with NRA members like Carl Hasler of Brunswick, Ga. "You know, we cherish our personal freedoms and right now this administration is very much big government, it's turning us into a nanny state and it's taking away our ability to take care of ourselves," Hasler said. Mark: But President Obama hasn't proposed any legislation that could be viewed as anti-gun, has he? Julie: No. But here's what the head of the NRA - Wayne LaPierre - says about that: "I tell firearms owners and Second Amendment supporters to stay ready. The fact is his administration is stacked full of people that have spent a life time attacking the Second Amendment and I believe there are storm clouds on the horizon and stay ready's the word," LaPierre said. For NRA members, things like the health care legislation - which requires that everyone have insurance - are signs that President Obama and Congress are willing to step on individual rights and make government bigger and stronger. Gun rights advocates say it's only a matter of time before that stretches to the 2nd amendment. Mark: Well, President Obama's not up for re-election for another couple of years. Does the NRA have a plan for this November's mid-terms? Julie: The NRA has always been a player in elections, particularly with money. The focus this year is more grassroots. They're hoping to tap into the momentum the Tea Party movement has built up and try to reshape the playing field in Congress toward conservatives more inclined to champion gun rights. And they're launching a TV advertising campaign to get out the vote featuring Chuck Norris. That campaign's called "Trigger the vote."