NRA convention draws gun-lovers and vote-seekers
Tens of thousands of firearms enthusiasts gathered in Indianapolis over the weekend for the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting, a celebration of gun culture that’s also a magnet for Republican candidates looking to court the movement’s support.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin delivered the most discussed line of the weekend at a rally Saturday when she called on the government to return to torturing suspected terrorists.
“Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists,” Palin said.
On Friday, a bevy of potential GOP presidential candidates spoke, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Senator Rick Santorum, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Others, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, participated remotely by video.
The gun rights movement had plenty to celebrate over the weekend. Despite a push to restrict assault weapons, large ammunition magazines, and expand background checks in the wake of mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, states have mostly moved to expand the ability of residents to legally obtain and carry firearms in recent months. Organizers of the NRA meeting hope to carry that momentum to Congress, where they’re pushing for new laws that would force state and local governments to recognize gun permits issued elsewhere.
The movement’s recent successes are largely attributable to the intense political support generated by Second Amendment activists through groups like the NRA, whose clout forced politicians to think carefully before supporting even modest gun control measures that enjoy overwhelming majority support among the public.