If you were to read the so-called “mainstream” media’s take on the National Rifle Association, you could think that the organization is made up of heartless, callous haters bent on destroying the country by arming vicious criminals. But if you attended the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits—like the one last weekend in Nashville—you would know for certain that just the opposite is true.
There’s no doubt that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is the public face of the organization. And he’s a great leader, to be certain. He has rallied the NRA to victory over and over again in critical times for our freedom. In fact, he has been such a great leader that most gun-banners in the media hate him for his success.
But LaPierre will be the first to tell you that the real NRA is the 5 million Americans across this great land who know that our God-given right to keep and bear arms, as protected by the U.S. Constitution, is worth fighting for—and worth preserving for our children and grandchildren. And a microcosm of that membership showed up in Nashville last week, reminding me once again that the media’s stereotyping of NRA members couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I watched as members—from the very young to the very old—enjoyed the celebration of freedom available there. And the people I saw were not haters. They were families who love life, love each other, love liberty and love living in the greatest, freest country ever founded on this earth.
I saw moms (far more than the 150 protestors down the street), dads, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, grandsons and granddaughters. I saw a slice of the real America—what the national media like to derisively refer to as “flyover country.” And I saw a big slice, as every function I attended was packed, and aisles on the show floor were so crowded that navigating them was a very slow process.
I’ve noticed the same thing at past annual meetings. But a year of covering politics, gun rights and the Second Amendment can make me a little jaded. If I’m not careful, I can fall into the trap of actually starting to believe some of the national medias’ narrative. I’m always thankful for a trip to the annual meetings each year, where I can reconnect with NRA members from around the country, reminding me what the NRA truly is. It is reinvigorating, humbling and gratifying.
Truth is, NRA members are the good guys, no matter what those in the media and the political class would have you believe. We can all feel good knowing that together we are working diligently to protect the Second Amendment—truly America’s first freedom.