Well, hello, hello, hello, everybody. You guys have had a full day and I appreciate you sticking around with us. This has been a lot of fun, of course.
I love the NRA annual meeting so much and I want to thank you guys so much for coming out here, for being plugged in, for being active.
You know what—I was at a luncheon earlier for all of the women that people in media say don't exist, all of the women in the NRA that the media says, you know, because the NRA is just a bunch of old white dudes. I was there in a room with my mother, my mother-in-law, a dear friend of mine, a bunch of women, all different ages, fellowshipping, raising money, and we raised I don't even know what the total amount was but thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars for the NRA School Shield program.
This is the solution, yeah, this is the real common-sense solution when it comes to securing our schools. And I would love to see Moms Demand match that. I would love to see Moms Demand match with their money, not with Michael Bloomberg's, what all the women in those room put together with what they all did together. It was amazing, and you know, it was it was a fantastic event.
I know Chris Cox who has done such amazing work. He mentioned the Broward sheriff. And a lot of people asked me, "Why did you go down to Florida? Why did you go down there? Why did you walk down there? Why did you sit on that stage? Why did you endure all of that?"
Because I will always go whenever freedom needs a voice. I will always go whenever our members are being defamed and dehumanized and their characters being impuned. I will always go relentlessly and speak the truth and tell the world we're not terrorists, we're not murders and we have nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud to be a lifetime NRA member. I am so proud to be an NRA member.
Just last week the deputies' union gave Sheriff Scott Israel a vote of no-confidence by over 85 percent. They were upset with his leadership in the response to the Parkland massacre. They were upset with his showboating. They were upset with his mismanagement. And they showed that to him with an 85 percent vote of no-confidence.
So now it is up to Florida Governor Rick Scott, as I understand it, to determine whether or not he wants to remove Sheriff Scott Israel, who sat there on that stage and lied to America's face. He didn't stand for students. He stood for camera lights. He didn't stand for students. He ran for CNN and MSNBC and NBC and ABC's cameras. He's the coward from Broward and he has no-confident vote—totally.
You know, I was real nice to him. I went up…backstage his deputies came up to me and I could tell immediately right from the start that there was tension between the sheriff and his deputies. They made it real clear what side they were on. They made it very clear that there were things going on in their department and I could immediately see it. And they really didn't have a lot to do with him backstage, while he went out there and electioneered and blamed all of you, blamed so many law-abiding Americans for his incompetency.
Did you know, for instance, that he and the superintendent of the Broward school district, they together signed this pledge to implement the Promise program in their schools? Robert Runcie, who's the superintendent of that district, is very proud of the fact that he reduced criminal offenses, criminal arrests by 63%. And you want to know how he did it? He stopped reporting them. That's exactly what happened. It's like saying, "Well, we prevented crime because we stopped arresting people." That's exactly what they did in Florida.
And you need…one of the things that I really want you to leave here with when you go back to your homes is to find out if your school district has similar programs. Because these programs are the kind that actually contributed to the massacre in Parkland, because they coddled these students. And Runcie's proud of it. He liked those federal dollars.
And Sheriff Scott Israel signed this pledge and he was so proud of it and now he's nowhere to be found. His incompetency—Robert Runcie's incompetency—contributed to this, and that man sat there with me on stage and lied to my face and lied to America's face, and he allowed a mother that lived thousands of miles away who left her children to fly in a storm to go down there to Parkland to take the blame for his lack of action.
No. We are owed an apology. I am owed an apology and I will get that apology.
They've tried to shame us for believing in self-defense. They've tried to shame us because we love our children and we want to protect our children. The things that they've said about us.... I mean, I've met so many of you. I know who you are. You're grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads. You're not terrorists. You're not murderers. That's insulting for our elected officials to say such things, first and foremost.
You know what, family—we love life. We love life. And we love life so much that we're willing to defend it. We're willing to train. We're willing to prepare, to advocate, all in case, God forbid, of that fateful day when our experience, when our training, when our love of life is called upon to defend that which we love—our lives, our family's lives, the lives of innocent people.
That's why we believe in what we believe. That's why we do what we do. It's why we advocate. It's why we are here today, as brothers and sisters, here in the NRA. That is who we are. Not the things they say about us.
You know what—we do all of this willingly, on our own time, on our own dime, because we believe in it that much.
You know, I went to a Michael Bloomberg anti-gun rally once and there was a small group of people who I wouldn't doubt were paid to be there. They had box lunches and they had like fancy throne rooms instead of just like porta-johns and that's what it takes to get people out to advocate for gun control laws.
And I hate the arguments that they present out there. I hate the way they frame this. They try to say that because you love your children and you love life so much that you are willing to defend it and train to do so that that somehow means you love life less or you love your children less or you love your country less.
They have no argument but the tactic of shame. That's all they have. That's why they will never d…that's why I can't ever get any of these people to debate me. That's why they never want to talk to Chris or Wayne. They won't talk to any of us. Because they don't have an argument. Gun control has failed in every single instance in which it's been implemented. It has failed. Why do you keep doing the same thing when it fails?
You know…exactly, insanity.
You know, I was thinking about…because I was watching the way that media was trying to present the annual meetings this year and the narratives that they were trying to build around it. Like "Oh, the NRA is under assault." You know, "Gun ownership—hmm, you know, it's a really hard time for the NRA. It's a hard time for people who love their Second Amendment."
No, it's not. My goodness, we had more women at this luncheon than we've ever had. This was a record. We're gonna have a higher attendance this year than I believe we've ever had. There's nothing wrong with gun ownership. There is nothing wrong with the Second Amendment movement in this country. It is alive and well. We are winning. Gun control is what's failing.
People who seek to disarm you while preferring to have the same means of defense for themselves. Michael Bloomberg—my friend Tucker Carlson said this today so I can't steal it without attributing it to him. He said that Michael Bloomberg wants to ban every single gun that his bodyguards carry. Now think about that. That's true.
Moms Demand, Everytown—I don't know why it's Moms Demand. It should be Dads Demand because they're the ones who got to go and check and see what that noise was at 2:00 a.m.
But they're…they all want to deny you this the defense that they demand for their children and themselves. I've never seen any of these people without armed security. They don't, they don't hate guns, they just don't want you to have them. Because they think they're better than you. That's what this is.
I look at them and I think they're the type of people who are not prepared for liberty. There are some people that just can't handle freedom. There are some people that just simply can't handle liberty.
Liberty isn't easy and happiness isn't guaranteed. Liberty doesn't mean comfort. It doesn't mean forever happiness with no hard times and no trials. That's not what liberty is.
And these people are too afraid to acknowledge that. I feel badly for them. They don't intimidate me and I'm not afraid of them and I don't think that they're gaining any ground. I just feel badly for them. Imagine having to go through life not having the confidence in your own skills, not feeling confident enough in yourself to even so much as defend your own family, having to outsource your security.
You want to know what empowerment is? Empowerment is not having to outsource the defense of your family. That's empowerment.
One of the big parts of the debate that has been happening all this for the past several months is those young adults between ages 18 and 21. You know, one of my oldest children is in high school and he's going to be soon moving into this age bracket, and I just hope that people out there realize what we're talking about when we are discussing increasing the age to purchase a firearm.
You know we're talking about stripping people's natural rights from them, right? You're talking about slicing off a bit of the Constitution for those people, discriminating against them because of age without even so much as a nod to the courtesy of due process.
That is what we are doing. That's the discussion. Let's be real about it. We're talking about disenfranchising and stripping natural rights away from a huge segment of the population.
I didn't…I…how many people do you know who are 19 and 20 and living on their own? And we want to, we want to deny them the right to defend themselves.
I heard from a woman who is married to an active duty soldier—God love 'em—she's at home with her children and she's 20 years old. She called in to my radio program. They married very young. They're dedicated to their country. They're good people. She wants to be able to defend herself when her husband is overseas. These people exist.
We should not punish people simply because they want to be safe and punish them for the actions of a madman that Sheriff Scott Israel knew about, but we're the individuals that get blamed for it.
Or what about the 20-year-old hunter? What about the 18-year-old hunter? What about, what about firearm education and safety? I mean, we ignore all of this. We ignore what we're doing to a huge segment of the population.
And we're told that this is common sense. They're telling you that stripping constitutional rights away from people is common sense. No, what's common sense is when you get 45 reports on a madman, you finally…you get up and you go to his house. That's common sense.
Common sense is when someone sends a digital message threatening to shoot up a school, you go and follow that up. That's common sense. Common sense is when someone assaults another student at school and punches their own adoptive mother so hard in the face that they knock her teeth out, that you maybe do something about that, Sheriff Scott Israel. That is common sense.
Gun control advocates like Sheriff Scott Israel…if he can't do his job, send me to Florida and elect me. I'll do his job for him.
We have all these protesters that are in town. Have y'all seen any of them walking around? They try to get to know all you good, fine people? No! No, it's easier for them to be down the street and try to make up what they think we are.
Do you know why we scare them so bad, why we scare the media? Because we're not monolithic. These are Democrats and Republicans sitting in here. There are atheists and Christians sitting in here. There are agnostics. There are, there are Jewish members. There are young and old, black and white, male and female, gay and straight.
This is the original big tent, and if there is one thing that we agree on, it is our right to self-defense. And we believe in it so much…we believe in it so much that we assemble together and fellowship every single year. We believe in it so much that we win elections.
Do not think, friends, for one second that, what was it, Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Ohio was delivered by anything other than gun owners. That is who delivered that election.
And so you terrify legacy press. They're scared of what they can't stereotype. They're, they're scared of what they can't define. And this is why you threaten them so much.
And this is why gun control fails. People who want to disarm you—they have no good argument and they're fighting all of you. You are people who go back to where you live and you plug into your community and you hold the line. You have been holding the line all over the country.
And I'm telling you—the fight isn't, the fight isn't at the federal level anymore. It's now in your backyard. It is…there is a city in Illinois that has banned semi-automatic firearms. But then there have been two counties that have been declared sanctuary cities for the Second Amendment. Fightin' in your back yard's where it's at.
I'll tell ya—if you can't do it in your own backyard, you can't do it in DC. You got to hold the line where you are.
Like I said, you all delivered a number of states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio—you delivered a Supreme Court justice that respects the Second Amendment. You have delivered appellate judges whose decisions are going to come down in one way or the other on this issue. It will happen. The time is at hand.
You delivered an AG. Who by the way—Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he increased prosecutions of those repeat offending prohibited possessors unlike anything we've ever seen these past eight years. Because Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch did nothing. They did nothing and Jeff Sessions has actually been slapping the very people and going after the very people that gun control advocates had been blaming us for.
Like for instance, the superintendent of Chicago PD had said at one point that Chicago's crime, over 85 percent, is driven by about 1,400 prohibited possessors unbelievable. And those people were being used to blame the innocent individuals. Unbelievable. I'm glad that we have a law-and-order AG, and he's increased those prosecutions. You all delivered that. You all did that when you went and voted. That's what happens. Those are the results that you get.
It has been a very, a very interesting time when it comes, when it concerns discussions about Second Amendment, because this is a cultural thing and it's it's actually a policy discussion. But defending yourself and loving your family—that's a way of life. I mean that's who we are. We're not, none of us are we're not paid to be here. We're not, we're not paid to want to defend our families and ourselves.
They are. They're paid to argue against us. They're paid to…. I don't know if you're on social media. Have you seen an increase in these, like, newly created accounts that are trying to cause division in the ranks, and they're, I mean, it's the bots. That's, you know, they're these individuals that try to go after empowered people who speak up in favor of the Second Amendment and self-defense.
I've seen all their tricks before. They can try to do it. They're just not going to win. Any day or time they want to have a substantive discussion on policy, we are here. We've been having this discussion. We've been doing this for longer than I've even been alive, than for a lot of you have been alive. We're the ones who have offered solutions. We're the ones who have been pushing it.
And they—they have nothing. What do they call us? Um, well, excuse the language, but they call us terrorists and whores. Honestly I can't even tell you how many times I've been called an NRA whore. No, no, but goodness. I love my family and I want to defend it. Bottom line. That's it. That's why I'm here. That's why I do what I do.
This, this little midterm election is gonna be kind of tough. I don't know. It depends on if you want to listen to the media or not. I just think—I cannot encourage you all enough to get involved and get engaged.
If we lose, if we lose the House of Representatives, I'm afraid what that's going to do to the next Supreme Court nominee. I'm afraid of what that's going to do the next time that we have any kind of legislation that comes up. I'm afraid of what that's going to mean in our states and in our city councils.
There's a storm coming, but you all are the thunder. All of you out there are the thunder. Just as you brought it the last election, I know that you're gonna bring it this election.
We…it is an honor. I know you and…. You all hear that every election, right? This election is the most important. This election is the most important. Because it is! Because every election is important. We have the greatest gift in having too much liberty to which to attend. And I am so grateful for that because I would rather have too much of it than none of it, or too little of it. We are so blessed in this country that we can make the impact that we do every single election.
It is incumbent on each of you when you go back home to not allow your town to be the precedent that is set for the next town to pass a gun ban and the next town to pass a gun ban, like we've been seeing in Illinois. It is up to you to hold that line.
And I will be there with you, fighting with you every step of the way, going to wherever the debate may lead, in every lion's den, anytime, anywhere—name it. I will be there because you're gonna be there in your towns doing the same thing, in your school districts, in your city councils, in your churches. You are the evangelist for the Second Amendment and self-defense. Remember that you are the front line. Be the thunder. The storm is coming.
And this meeting doesn't end today. This meeting will conclude on November 6 when we stake our flag on that hill of freedom, when we win this election, when we protect our Second Amendment rights and when we ensure that our Supreme Court is safe—that is when this weekend's meeting ends.
I'm doing this for my family. I'm doing this for my kids, just like you're doing this for you and all of the people you love and you hold dear. You never want to be without the means of self-defense. You don't want your children to be deprived. I never want to look at my child and say, "I'm sorry I didn't fight hard enough for your rights. I'm sorry that we let them slip away."
Look at your grandchildren and look at your kids. Because when we do not engage, that is ultimately what we're saying. And I'm not, that's not an emotional appeal, that's real. That is fact. That is what we're telling our kids.
Our lives, their lives are worth defending. Your lives are worth defending. This country's…. This country was built on people like you. It was built with people like you. We are all products of it.
So when you feel attacked or when you feel as though you can't proudly state that you support the Second Amendment and you believe in the right of self-defense, do not allow people who wish to turn you into a target—a soft target—do not allow people who wish to render you defenseless determine how you feel about the things in which you believe and determine your arguments. Do not allow those people to do that mind job on you.
I am proud to be a gun owner. I'm proud to own a buttload of guns. I am so proud of it. I'm proud to be carrying. I am proud to go to the range. I am proud of all of it, and you all be proud of all of it, too.
We are not ashamed. We are innocent, God-fearing, freedom-loving, Second Amendment practitioners and there isn't anything that any frillionaire boy from Manhattan like Michael Bloomberg can say against that. And there isn't anything at any carpetbagging Hollywood activist can say about that.
We love what we do and we love who we are. God bless it, I love it.
Folks, I want you to leave encouraged. I want you to leave happy. I want you to leave positive and optimistic about what we can do together. Because we've seen what we can do together and we're going to continue on down that line. I'm thrilled.
Folks, this November, once more into the breach, dear friends, once more. And I'm going to be with you every step of the way.
God love ya. God keep ya. I hope to see you around more this weekend. Thank you so much folks.