MEMBERS of America’s most powerful gun lobby are fighting a “culture war” that goes beyond gun rights, the National Rifle Association’s incoming president has said.
The NRA’s annual convention in Houston this weekend is energised by the recent huge defeat of gun control proposals in Congress, proposed by president Barack Obama after a school shooting in Connecticut late last year left 20 young children dead. The high-powered rifle used was legally purchased.
More than 70,000 people are expected to attend the three-day “Stand and Fight” themed convention, which includes a gun trade show, political rally and strategy meeting. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s brash chief executive, speaks to the convention today. Conservative leaders speaking include former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who has become one of the top conservative voices in Washington since being elected last year.
NRA leaders and members are defining the recent battle over gun control in broader terms. “This is not a battle about gun rights,” said incoming president James Porter. He called it “a culture war”, telling delegates “[You] are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors.”