You know it as well as I do—politicians let you down. Principles never do. And it’s by fighting on principle that the National Rifle Association is the oldest and most successful civil rights organization in the history of mankind. In fact, throughout our history, our fight for civil rights has seen us not only defending the Second Amendment, but also the First Amendment.
Eighteen years ago, when freedom-hating politicians in Washington tried to muzzle political speech by making it a crime to mention the name of any candidate for office 60 days before an election, it was the NRA, the American Civil Liberties Union and others who fought back to defend the First Amendment.
And today, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his attorney general Letitia James continue to weaponize government power to silence and destroy your voice, my voice and the voices of all NRA members, we’re fighting back again with the help of the ACLU and others. Not only to defend our right to free speech, but also the First Amendment rights of all Americans.
Cuomo and James think that if they can kill the NRA, they can extinguish the torch of freedom that NRA members have kept burning bright for 150 years. What they don’t understand is that NRA isn’t just a concrete building outside of D.C. The NRA, our values, passions and principles beat strongly in the hearts of tens of millions of Americans across this nation. Cuomo and James can no more kill the NRA than they can stop the sun from rising in the east!
But now more than ever, you, me and every NRA member need to recruit as many of our fellow, patriotic Americans to join us as we possibly can. It’s our strength in numbers and member commitment that will ensure our next 150 years will be as successful as our first!
You’ve probably heard me say this before: When you fight for freedom, you get more of it.
And NRA members fighting together over the past four decades have achieved a historic restoration of freedom that all Americans can be thankful for. The truth is, after everything’s said and done, you and I win because we fight for truth and justice.
There are about 25,000 violent crimes a week in the United States. The 911 calls are chilling. The statistics are numbing. The innocent are being preyed upon. Everyone knows it. Who is more responsible for protecting our lives and the lives of our loved ones than we are? Why should we give up our right to survive? We all deserve a say in our own destiny!
However, by refusing to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate violent criminals, politicians abdicate their responsibility to protect anyone.
So we’re not going to apologize for defending our most basic freedom, because far too often in a dangerous world, the Second Amendment is all we have. The fact is, at the scene of any crime, it’s most often just the criminal and the victim. Despite the best intentions of our police officers, when seconds matter, they’re minutes away. And if a growing number of anti-gun politicians get their way, the police won’t be there at all.
We know that all of human society is best served when good people can arm themselves. At the very root of our American consciousness is the truth that I have a right to defend myself!
Even gun-ban elitists live that truth! They have armed protection. They lean on political connections to game the system and get their carry permits. If you’re a celebrity, a billionaire, a .300 hitter with the Mets, a Wall Street executive or a friend of the mayor—all of them get the permits they want. They all believe strongly in their Second Amendment rights. They just don’t believe in yours.
In fact, the history of the gun-control movement has always been rooted in elitism, racism, terror and oppression of the worst kind. The very first gun-control laws put in force after the Civil War were designed for the singular and specific purpose of denying African Americans their Second Amendment rights. Why?
Because racist politicians and their allies in the Ku Klux Klan wanted to oppress, terrorize and murder African Americans at will and without resistance. It was the NRA—from our founding—that fought for and helped secure the Second Amendment rights of African Americans and all Americans.
The fact is, before the color barrier was broken in professional sports, before it was broken in schools, lunch lines, water fountains, in the media or in Hollywood, the National Rifle Association of America was already welcoming all Americans—we’ve fought for civil rights and constitutional freedom for all Americans.
And I promise you: We will never ever stop fighting for the right of every law-abiding American to protect themselves with a gun! I still remember that powerful news clip from Hurricane Katrina, when a reporter asked an African American woman—in the midst of all the devastation, looting and lawlessness—if she was okay. She paused, thought about it, and said, “I have my Bible and my gun—I’m fine!” Our strength is in the hearts of Americans like her all across this country.
And so to Joe Biden, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and their sycophants in the media, I say: If you don’t care about our Second Amendment right to protect ourselves, then you don’t care about us at all!
Don’t talk to us about your plans for safety—unless you defend our Second Amendment rights.
Don’t go on TV lamenting another tragic, violent crime—unless you do your damn jobs, enforce the laws on the books and take the criminals off the streets.
Don’t give us your hollow, empty rhetoric and sound bites—because we’re on to you. We don’t believe you. You’re not honest. Because you would deny us our most basic, fundamental right to stay alive.
As NRA members, we are all still united by a single promise. It’s a promise we first made when we were kids: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Don’t let the chaos of current events tarnish the majesty of its meaning.
We don’t promise to try when it’s convenient, we pledge our allegiance. Not to who’s powerful or popular, but to the flag of the United States of America. And not just to its stars and stripes, but to the republic for which it stands. Which isn’t one faction, but one nation. Not under tyranny, but under God. Not divided, but indivisible. With liberty and with justice, not for a few, but for all!
You and I have now come to a point in time when the full weight of that promise rests squarely on our shoulders. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their allies in Congress are publicly vowing to flat-out decimate the Second Amendment and destroy the promise of liberty and freedom that is America. They don’t want to simply regulate your gun rights, or chip away at your freedom around the edges. They want to register, ban and confiscate your firearms.
At the same time, they’re making it easier for violent criminals to run wild and have their way with innocent, law-abiding citizens. These are the stakes, and they couldn’t be higher.
I know many of you are beaten down by the seemingly endless stream of struggles the past many months have presented. And I know the vultures in the media are working overtime to convince Americans the Second Amendment’s days are numbered—that our children and grandchildren will never know the freedom and opportunity that you and I enjoy today.
But I say they’re wrong. And I say that with full confidence because of NRA members like you.
Never forget that the power of your voice resonates far and wide, carrying the weight of millions of NRA members and tens of millions more Americans who support our cause and look to us for leadership. There is no more unstoppable force in the history of American politics than NRA members.
I know that because I’ve lived it—up close and personal—over the past 40 years. And I can tell you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, our freedom-hating enemies know it too. When we Stand and Fight, freedom flat-out wins.
So from where you sit right now, I’m asking you to fight. Fight by recruiting your fellow freedom-loving patriots across this nation to join the National Rifle Association of America. Fight like your very right to survival is on the line. Fight with the same patriotic spirit our Founders fought with when they established the greatest nation on earth.
Let history remember that when Joe Biden, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and their billionaire backers tried to destroy our freedom—you were there and you fought back. You stood in the breach. You defended America and our Constitution.
And you were the reason our Second Amendment rights, our American values and our freedom not only survived, but thrived, for decades to come!