Just a month after exploiting the death of Martin Luther King Jr. as a chance to discuss concealed carry, the National Rifle Association is following a very different set of rules for Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence will speak at the NRA’s convention this weekend in Dallas. And no weapons will be allowed in the area where Pence is making his speech.
In light of the 50-year anniversary of King’s death, Dana Losech, spokeswoman for the NRA, suggested that the civil rights leader’s life may not have ended so tragically if he had a firearm.
“King sought to own a weapon for his own self defense, and he was denied,” she said in a video for NRA TV. “In fact, this was the time around the Montgomery boycott his home had been firebombed and Dr. King realized, ‘I was close to death. I need to protect myself.’ And he sought a gun permit. And was denied because gun control’s roots are racist.”
While King’s beliefs on gun ownership changed throughout his life, Losech noted that he “also recognized how important it was for everyone to be able to defend themselves.”
Apparently, the same reasoning does not apply to Pence. Since Pence is a prominent figure and a very public supporter of the NRA, it appears their own self-proclaimed beliefs go out the window.
The Secret Service, not the NRA, is in charge of security for the area where Pence will be speaking. So the Secret Service is in charge of those security measures.
“Weapons of any kind” are
completely forbidden from the arena, as are “Gun parts, Holsters, Magazines, etc.”
While the NRA did not implement the ban, it begs the question: why would the organization agree to those conditions if they really believe their message that firearms make America safer
The Secret Service implemented the same rules last year when President Donald Trump spoke at the convention. At the time the agency told
CNN in a statement: “The Secret Service works closely with our local law enforcement partners in each state to ensure a safe environment for our protectees and the public. Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event.” Regarding Pence, the agency sent a statement with the exact same wording to The Washington Post.
The NRA has said numerous times that legally carrying firearms makes American families safer. Just after the massacre in Las Vegas last year the organization said in its
statement that the right to carry “will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
After the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., NRA President Wayne LaPierre suggested that more guns would make American schools safer.
On April 25th the NRA tweeted an article called “CDC, in Surveys It Never Bothered Making Public, Provides More Evidence That Plenty of Americans Innocently Defend Themselves with Guns” along with the caption: “It just goes to show that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun!”
CDC surveys in the 1990s that were never publicly reported, indicate there were nearly 2.5 million defensive uses of guns a year. It just goes to show that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun! #DefendTheSecond #2A #NRA https://t.co/08s07O8231
NRA (@NRA) April 25, 2018
Apparently this argument only works when it’s convenient for the NRA. And now that the organization is allowing for a gun-free zone to keep Pence safer, members of the Parkland community have questions.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was shot and killed during the Parkland massacre, wrote on Twitter:
On so many levels, this is enlightening. According to the NRA, we should want everyone to have weapons when we are in public. But when they put on a convention, the weapons are a concern I thought giving everyone a gun was to enhance safety. Am I missing something https://t.co/f4wgNhJ7RI
Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) April 28, 2018
One person suggested that Guttenberg is missing the point since the rule is not an NRA requirement but a Secret Service one.
Guttenberg tweeted back:
I understand and support that requirement. We should protect the VP. My point was we do not get the same protection from people who plan to do harm with guns. If we did, my daughter would not have been murdered.
Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) April 29, 2018
Wait wait wait wait wait wait you’re telling me to make the VP safe there aren’t any weapons around but when it comes to children they want guns everywhere Can someone explain this to me Because it sounds like the NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.
Matt Deitsch (@MattxRed) April 28, 2018
NRA supporters (and former ones, now) also gawked at the decision. One wrote on Twitter:
The Secret Service is in control of security. The NRA is yeilding to them. That said, the NRA should uninvite Pence. My point being, too bad the NRA isn’t as concerned about the safety of students as they are about the Veep’s. Longtime former NRA member.
On a message board discussing the ban NRA members admitted that allowing the ban takes away the legs of the concealed carry argument.
“… if I was a dem, I’d have a field day with this. Obviously even republicans and so called leaders don’t trust the “good guys”. I realize it’s the VP, but still makes our whole argument look foolish. You may disagree…but in my opinion the very people that claim to protect the 2A should never host an event that requires disarming the good guys. Sad. No excuses for this…it makes us look stupid,” said one person who identified as an NRA endowment life member.
“I’m not saying Pence shouldn’t have security. I’m saying that by having him speak at the largest gathering of 2A supporters, but not allowing good guys to carry guns makes our entire argument weak. We should not put ourselves in this situation. He could have done this remotely without saying why and accomplished the same thing. Now the left will be saying that even the republicans don’t trust good guys with a gun. And they will be correct,” the same user added.
“I hope he speaks to an empty room,” an NRA member said.
“It’s essentially the nations largest get together for gun owners and they won’t let law abiding legal gun owners carry guns because someone who’s supposedly pro 2A thinks its too ‘dangerous’ thats liberal logic right there…,” another member said.
According to reports, Trump may also address the NRA’s convention.