In response to a Democratic presidential debate question on Oct. 13, 2015, Hillary Clinton put the 5 million members of the NRA at the top of the list of enemies she is most proud of.
This is unprecedented: On national television, a candidate for president of the United States named peaceable, law-abiding gun owners, who are simply trying to protect the Second Amendment, as her biggest enemies. She even listed NRA members ahead of Iran—the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. Drug cartels, Vladimir Putin, North Korea and ISIS terrorists didn’t even get a mention.
Clinton’s declaration made us wonder how NRA members feel about being recklessly declared her enemy. So we decided to ask them: How does it feel to be named Public Enemy Number 1 by Hillary Clinton?
Today we hear from Cam Edwards, husband, father and host of NRA News “Cam & Co.”
Far from being my enemies, I am proud to call them friends and fellow NRA members.There are a lot of things I love about my job hosting NRA News “Cam & Co.,” but the best thing of all (and there’s no close second) is getting to meet and talk with my fellow NRA members on a daily basis. Grassroots activists like Sean Maloney and Maj Toure; brave women like Kimberly Corban and Kristi McMains speaking up about the attacks they survived and why self-defense and the Second Amendment are so important to them; legal champions like David Kopel, Stephen Halbrook, Chuck Michel and Evan Nappen; veterans like Clinton Romesha and Ron Bellan … I could go on and on here, but the point is that every day, I am inspired by the NRA members I talk with. Far from being my enemies, I am proud to call them friends.
I wasn’t always pro-gun. Growing up in Oklahoma, I really didn’t think anything about it. I was raised by a single mom from the time I was eight, and while her dad and brothers owned guns and hunted, she didn’t. I didn’t either. It wasn’t until I was 22 that I even thought about guns and gun laws. That’s when I fell in love with a single mom living in Camden, N.J., which at the time was the murder capital of the United States (it hasn’t gotten much better, unfortunately, in the years since). We met online, which was pretty unusual at the time. She actually won her computer in a contest held by the local newspaper. Otherwise, there was no way she could have afforded one. As the months continued, things progressed to us talking on the phone almost every evening, exchanging stories and details about our lives. And then one night as we were talking, I heard gunshots over the phone line. I called her name, but she didn’t answer.
After screaming into the phone until I was hoarse, I spent a long, sleepless night waiting for her office to open so I could call and ask a co-worker to check on her. When I finally called, she was the one who answered the phone. After a couple of minutes of me freaking out, she was able to explain to me that she had simply fallen asleep while we were talking. I wondered how she could fall asleep when there were gunshots so close, and she said that they had just become background noise. She didn’t even hear them anymore.I didn’t know much about gun control back then, but I knew that all these laws weren’t protecting the woman I loved.
New Jersey had a lot of gun-control laws on the books back then, and they’ve only added more since, but those laws didn’t stop the bad actors in her neighborhood from getting a gun. They did, however, make it almost impossible for the woman who became my wife to become a legal gun owner. Instead, she was defenseless in her home, unable to protect her children with anything more than a baseball bat, while predators, gang members and young toughs battled to own the streets outside. I didn’t know much about gun control back then, but I knew that all those laws weren’t protecting the woman I loved.
Less than a year later I became her husband, and a dad to two incredible kids. They left Camden and moved to Oklahoma, where we were still poor, but we could be safer. We both became gun owners. We both joined the NRA. We had three more kids, and we’ve taught them all to be safe and responsible around firearms.
In 2004, when I became the host of NRA News “Cam & Co.,” we moved to Virginia. We’ve lived in the inner city, the suburbs and now on a small farm (all, thankfully, in pretty pro-Second Amendment states). Through it all I’ve never stopped thinking about the countless people like my wife—the good people in bad neighborhoods left defenseless because of gun-control laws that are aimed at people trying to lawfully exercise their Second Amendment-protected rights.
Hillary Clinton may have declared me, my family, my friends and all NRA members to be the enemy. But those good people in bad neighborhoods would be much better off if, instead of declaring war on those who protect our Second Amendment rights, she targeted the relatively few individuals in these communities who are the ones committing so many wrongs.