When the NRA said I was a coward, it was wrong
Posted On July 23, 2021
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said on Monday that his group had a history of “playing with words” in defense of guns, but in the end he said the American people should be able to decide whether to arm themselves.
Speaking at the NRA convention in Dallas, LaPierre made a rare appearance to defend his group’s longstanding stance against arming Americans, which he said “isn’t going away.”
“We don’t have a right to have weapons, and we’re not going to disarm,” LaPierre told the group, which is hosting its second annual convention.
“But the people of this country, I think they’ve been saying it for decades.
And the way that’s been articulated, the way it’s been expressed over the years, is not right, is wrong.
And that’s what I think is really wrong.”
LaPierre added that the NRA’s position on guns was “not the same thing as the NRA.”
“It’s not the same as the gun industry,” LaPoure said.
“It’s the NRA.
They’re a powerful lobby that has a lot of money.
They’ve got lots of influence over Congress and the executive branch.
And they’re not willing to compromise with anybody.”
LaPoures views on guns have evolved over the decades.
He first supported arming Americans in the early 1980s, and in 1996 he signed an amendment into law that established a national registry of people who purchased guns.
He later joined with other gun rights groups and led an effort to create a National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, that would have given the federal government access to records of gun purchases and sales.
That initiative failed in the Senate, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) said it had never endorsed a specific form of gun control.
In an op-ed published in The Washington Post in 2015, LaPoulous wrote that he was not in favor of “tough-on-crime” measures that he believed would have “killed more people” than the current laws.
“If you want to talk about a country with fewer homicides, a country that’s safer,” he wrote, “there are more people in prison than there are guns.
It’s a lot easier to get rid of a person than it is to disarm them.”
LaPainter told reporters Monday that the decision to hold a conference to discuss gun rights and other issues was not a reflection on the NRA, but a “political statement.”
He said he was “a little surprised” by the criticism that LaPierre has received.
“I’m a little surprised at how much that has been misrepresented,” he said.
LaPaint, who previously was an NRA board member, said that he and other members of the organization’s board of directors had “never been against the Second Amendment.
I’ve always been for it.””
But, you know, I also think that we have to be mindful of that in this political climate,” LaPaint said.