In this hyperbolic age of Twitter memes, Instagram-polished images and one-sided mainstream media narratives, it is refreshing to know that honest outrage—sometimes a real breath of fresh air—can still rise right through the loud, partisan demagoguery of our current politics to give us Mark Robinson’s four-minute, tell-it-like-it-is speech to, of all the American forums, the Greensboro City Council in North Carolina.
It was 2018, and the Greensboro City Council was considering going for the peoples’ right to keep and bear arms. “All day,” Robinson said, “I was thinking about this town council meeting, a meeting where they were going to talk about banning our commonly owned rifles. I decided I’d been very vocal on Facebook, and now I needed to back up my words with action. I decided to go to the meeting. I didn’t prepare any speech, though. I didn’t even plan to speak. But then I got there and I found myself signing up to address the council.”
When his turn came, Robinson still didn’t know exactly what he was going to say. He knew the tone and the message he wanted to deliver, though. He had spent a lot of time educating himself on the basis of our freedom, and here it was being attacked right in his hometown.
He stepped behind a podium with a microphone in front and a video camera recording, and he just let it out: “What I really came down for is this; I’ve heard a whole lot of people in here talking tonight about this group and that group and domestic violence and blacks and these minorities and that minority, and what I want to know is, when are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? And here’s who the majority is: I’m the majority. I’m a law-abiding citizen who has never shot anybody, never committed a serious crime, never committed a felony. I’ve never done anything like that. But it seems like every time we have one of these shootings, nobody wants to put the blame where it goes, which is at the shooter’s feet. You want to put it at my feet. You want to turn around and restrict my rights; constitutional rights that are spelled out in black and white.”
Robinson’s four-minute speech went viral. He was soon being asked to speak all over. One place he spoke was the 2018 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. He rocked that big audience with passion infused in sharp truths like: “This nation was not founded on the principles of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; this nation was founded on the principles of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Jesus Christ.”
Robinson’s passionate and honest style quickly garnered him a lot of support. That first speech, more than any other, propelled him through a loaded field in a primary. Robinson is now the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of North Carolina. He’s also an NRA board member.
For this and other reasons, as we move toward this pivotal election, we decided to reach out to Robinson.
A1F: Did you grow up with guns in your home?
Robinson: No. I’m the ninth of ten children. As my father was an abusive alcoholic, I was put in the foster-care system when I was young. I went with two of my brothers to the same home. We were fortunate to end up with a caring family. We were able to move back in with my mother eventually. My mother was a devout woman of faith. She taught me about the Bible, and always told us we could be whatever we put our minds to.
My first real experience with guns came when I joined a high-school Junior ROTC program. I was taught to shoot a rifle then. I was even able to participate on the rifle team. Then I joined the U.S. Army Reserve. I served as a medical specialist for three years.
A1F: How did you learn about the need for the Second Amendment?
Robinson: My military experience mattered, but I was also a history major in college. I read deeply, and would join friends in reading discussions. I found out basic things like, in 1775, at the beginning of the American Revolution, the British soldiers at Lexington and Concord came for the peoples’ guns. They wanted to disarm the people so they could control them. The people rose up to stop them with arms. Later, this right was included in a list of amendments to the U.S. Constitution known as the U.S. Bill of Rights by the first U.S. Congress. It was then ratified by the states. Most states also protected our right to keep and bear arms, but it wasn’t a right that was always afforded to everyone. In the South, after the Civil War, blacks were often disenfranchised from this right. I learned about that and much more, and so came to really understand the vital importance of this freedom.
A1F: Why are you now going into politics?
Robinson: Well, my reaction when people told me I should do this was that my mouth is way too big for me to be a politician. I came around to it though when I recognized the need for me, and for everyone else, to stand up and do what they can do for our freedom. After careful thought, I saw that as lieutenant governor, right now I can do the most good.
A1F: What would you do as lieutenant governor?
Robinson: Protecting the citizenry’s right to keep and bear arms is fundamental. That’s a basic thing, and I will be steadfast on it. Beyond that, I am pro-life, pro-freedom and all about education. There is a lot I want to do to improve our schools and to help the young understand what they’ve been given. It’s astounding, you know. Other generations suffered, struggled and fought so this generation can have so much, but I see so many taking all of that for granted, or even being resentful that some have more. They need to understand they can do anything. My forefathers came here in chains. Now, 200 years later, look at me; look at all of us. We can do and be anything. Sure, there are still things to overcome, things to defeat, but there is so much good for us to grasp. In that process, we mustn’t give up the very fundamental things that got us here, such as the right to protect our own lives, and our loved ones, thanks to our Second Amendment.