NRA's Wayne LaPierre: "Government Policies Are Getting us Killed"

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
WASHINGTON -- National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre harshly criticized gun control advocates, the Obama administration and members of the media at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, arguing that they are lying when they say bans on certain firearms or ammunition clips will protect Americans.

LaPierre said U.S. gun laws provide more protection to killers like the Virginia Tech and Tucson shooters than to the victims of their attacks, and suggested the current environment puts women at risk for rape. He condemned "gun-free zones and anti-self defense laws that protected the safety of no one except the killers and condemned the victims to death without so much as a prayer."

"Government policies are getting us killed," he said.

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LaPierre added that while the Tuscon attacks were "terrible," "it's time for some frank talk."

The media and "political elites," he said, "won't admit the truth." He said it's "dishonest" to suggest that by passing laws we can "legislate evil out of people's hearts."

In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, some commentators and members of Congress have called for stricter gun laws. The proposal with the best chance for passage is one that would ban the sort-of high capacity ammunition clips used by the alleged Tucson shooter, which can hold 33 rounds in a single clip.

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"These clowns want to ban magazines," LaPierre said. "Are you kidding me? But that's their response to the blizzard of violence and mayhem affecting our nation. One more gun law on top of all of the laws already on the books."

"It's going to make all of us less safe in this country, and you know what else it's going to do? Make the deranged and the violence more safe," he said. He added that even in the current environment, "as soon as you leave these halls, your life is in jeopardy."

LaPierre said that the situation in Egypt shows that the Second Amendment remains necessary, as illustrated by the protests in Egypt. He said that "the presence of a firearm" in the hands of good people "makes us all safer."

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"Good guys carrying guns can and do make a difference," he said, adding that "the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." LaPierre argued that everyone is safer when bad people "can't tell the difference between the lions and the lambs."

The NRA president said that violence in Mexico illustrates the folly of flawed gun laws, stating that conference attendees are "likely to be beaten, tortured and murdered" if they go there.

He also called for laws in the United States "that give all law-abiding Americans the right to carry a firearm for personal protection."

LaPierre opened his speech by playing a speech by former NRA president Charlton Heston in which Heston criticized the media for portraying the NRA as a villain. Heston, in the video, called media coverage of tragedies "pornography."

LaPierre then criticized the media for showing images of the Tucson shooter and not focusing more on the victims of his attack, stating, "the national media wasted no time in making a celebrity out of the deranged killer."

The media "turns a madman into a hero for every potential deranged copycat out there," he said. "It's sick, it's wrong and the media out to be ashamed of themselves."

Toward the end of the speech, LaPierre played a graphic 911 call of a woman being attacked in her home. He said she is "who we are fighting for."

"No more lies and laws and government failure," LaPierre told the audience of conservative activists. "At the scene of the crime, there's only the criminal and the victim."

The speech received a standing ovation.


Brian Montopoli is a senior political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here.

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