“We’re not going to make America great again. It never was that great.” —Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) at a bill signing event in New York City on Aug. 16, 2018, as cited by NRA President Lt. Col. North in an address to the Texas State Rifle Association on Mar. 2, 2019
American patriot, combat-decorated U.S. Marine and NRA President Lt. Col North packs a room—and no wonder. Who wouldn’t want to meet one of the NRA’s most famous leaders, who also happens to be a No. 1 best-selling author, inventor with three U.S. patents, a syndicated columnist and—until stepping down to assume the NRA presidency in 2018—the 17-year host of “War Stories” on the Fox News Channel as he travels the countryside promoting the NRA and American freedom? North addressed yet another sold-out crowd over the weekend, this time as keynote speaker at the Texas State Rifle Association’s (TSRA) 100th Anniversary and Awards banquet in Georgetown, Texas, on Mar. 2.
Fitting, considering Texas is North’s birth state and the event also happened to mark the 183rd anniversary of Texas’ Independence Day (1936), North shared his gratitude for TSRA in standing with the NRA to protect the right to keep and bear arms, provide gun safety training and support the shooting sports, hunting and wildlife conservation.
“I admire your patriotism and independent spirit, your love of country and commitment to America’s traditional values and our freedom,” North said. “That’s really what the NRA is all about: freedom,” pointing to how the past four decades have witnessed the greatest expansion of Second Amendment freedom for all law-abiding Americans.
NRA’s Ongoing Victories in the Fight for Freedom North, who TSRA leadership welcomed as “the 100th candle on its birthday cake,” addressed how the enemies of our freedom have called gun owners, hunters and shooters every evil name in the book. “They’ve tried to shame us, blame us for tragedies that could have been avoided and threatened to destroy us, but the NRA has stood firm and fought them back,” he said. “Because of the NRA and state associations around this country, every American—especially the 100 million who lawfully own firearms—can see their freedom more clearly than ever.”
Need examples? He explained it is the gun you keep for personal protection. It’s in your wallet where you keep your concealed carry permit. It’s in the preemption bills the NRA has fought to keep state laws uniform. It’s in the lawful commerce protection legislation the NRA worked to pass to save the firearms industry from baseless lawsuits. For us hunters, it’s in the millions of acres of hunting lands the NRA has fought to open and it’s in our hunter protection and range protection laws. It’s in the Castle doctrine and shall-issue right-to-carry laws sweeping through this country. Just as importantly, it’s on the emergency powers measure the NRA worked to pass so government officials cannot confiscate our firearms in the event of a natural disaster. It’s in the Heller and McDonald court decisions upholding the individual right to own a firearm.
“You can see the NRA stand for freedom in the victorious election results of 2000 and 2016, and no one can dispute that our freedoms were reinforced when the NRA went all out to get Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Mark my words: Freedom must win again in 2020 or all those hard-won achievements are in peril.”
Poising for the Fight to Come Never one to pull punches, North emphasized the need to note where we are today. For law enforcement officers and military personnel, it’s called “situational awareness”—knowing what is happening around you and having a plan to deal with it. He reminded the crowd that two years ago the NRA warned Americans of the dangers of the increasingly violent Left, exemplified through their raging mobs and fiery protests. Last year, the NRA sounded the alarm about the rising scourge of socialism. Citing words from President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union address, North said: “America was founded on liberty and independence—not government coercion, domination and control. … Tonight we renew our resolve that American will never be a socialist country.”
As long as the NRA and groups like the TSRA remain strong, socialism will never ruin our great nation, but he said the fact is that progressive socialists have seized the U.S. House of Representatives. “If they get the Senate in 2020 and, God forbid, if they capture the White House in two years, we can all kiss our freedom goodbye.”
“When [Cuomo] made that assertion, I was at a cemetery in Normandy with a group of NRA members and firearm supporters who provide scholarships to children of military personnel killed in the line of duty, hurt heroes of this long war against radical Islamic terrorists. We were stunned.” Adding that the United States is indeed the greatest country on Earth, North showed one of the NRA commercials he made. In reminding people what America is all about, in the ad North says, “We the people are supposed to govern America—not wealthy oligarchs who despise us as ‘deplorables’ and denigrate us for clinging to our Bibles and our guns.” In truth, America is the only nation with a constitution beginning with “We the people” that recognizes God as grantor of the blessings of liberty and offers a bill of rights protecting citizens from the powers of government…”
North added, “Ours is also the only country where every law officer, member of our armed services and elected official takes an oath of office beginning with words like these: ‘I solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to bear true faith and allegiance…’ That pledge is not to a person or a political party. It’s to the Constitution—all of it—and ends with the words ‘so help me God.’” North has raised his right hand to take and administer that oath hundreds of times since doing it in front of a Marine recruiter on Dec. 29, 1961.
Keeping company with the men and women of the NRA—America’s oldest civil rights organization—full of members who defend our freedom here and at home, drives him to step up his role in the fight of our lives.
Joining the Fight North warned that while our opponents call themselves gun control advocates, they should call themselves what they really are: the militant, well-funded vanguard of the disarm-America movement as they seek to repeal the Second Amendment and confiscate every privately owned firearm without full and fair due process.
"The Second Amendment is the purest metaphor for freedom because if you aren’t free to defend yourself, then you really aren’t free at all,” North said. “If the disarm-America movement takes control of our government in 2020, every one of the God-given individual rights and freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution will be up for grabs.”
Opponents already have introduced legislation in Congress to disarm America by banning the most commonly owned semi-automatic rifles nationwide. North stressed this legislation seeks to ban commonly owned magazines, put the government thumb on private transfers between friends and family and more.
“They’re not stopping at Congress, and they’re not just disarming folks in New York or California or other bastions of progressive socialism,” he explained. “Red-flag laws have passed and are moving in a number of states, including Texas. For those unaware, Texas is facing legislation to restrict gun shows, expand gun-free zones and repeal the Castle doctrine, campus carry and open carry. Oregon is facing a five-round magazine limit and restrictions on the amount of ammunition that can be purchased in a month. And in Florida, young adults who can serve and defend America in the armed forces are considered too young to purchase a rifle to defend themselves and their families. How long until they get to the rest of us?
As North wrapped up his remarks, he emphasized that the NRA has five million members but needs more. “You know, Charlton Heston was a great leader and I’m honored to follow in his footsteps as president of the NRA. But Charlton Heston was Moses. He delivered the Ten Commandments. I’m a United States Marine. I’m here to deliver 10 million NRA members.” So he asked for a show of hands as to how many in the room were members. “Good, but what the hell are the rest of you waiting for?”
As someone fond of talking about God, North asked for the crowd to pray for our country and the NRA. “We know freedom is what makes America great—and the NRA is still Freedom's Safest Place.
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Amen, I thought, as North’s words were affirmed by the hundreds of all-American gun owners who rose for a standing ovation.
About the TSRA and TSRAF: In step with the NRA, the TSRA and its counterpart, the TSRA Foundation (TSRAF) work to provide firearm and hunter safety training, a positive exposure to the shooting sports and public education regarding America’s firearms traditions. A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the TSRAF raises funds to support programs for youth, women, individuals with physical disabilities, gun collectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and competitive shooters. In 2011, the TSRAF secured funding from NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum donors Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA through the Larry and Brenda Potterfield Trust to fulfill a mutual mission to introduce youth to the shooting sports. For more information on the TSRA’s Scholarship Endowment Fund, contact TSRAF Executive Director Angele Gerlich at 512-426-1329.