Second Amendment Foundation Recognizes Ron Paul

By Mark Noble

Last weekend, the Second Amendment Foundation's (SAF) Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) convened in Fort Mitchell, KY. With eight hundred pre-registered attendees, this was the largest SAF event ever. From the buttons, bumper stickers, and familiar faces, it was clear that a sizable chunk of the morning's record figure could be attributed to interest in Congressman and Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul.

The conference began on Saturday with a Federal Affairs Briefing that explained the many ways that bloated federal government and bureaucracy is currently attempting to regulate as well as legislate away our rights. The crowd was unified in their disgust at regulatory initiatives that would have effectively eliminated firing ranges, gun stores, and even private stores of ammunition. Candidate Paul's supporters were very familiar with these issues - and other examples of the unintended consequences of regulation without representation. Calls to continue to light fires under troublesome regulators were met with widespread enthusiastic applause.

The Paul supporters, libertarian-leaning folk from all parts of the political spectrum, listened intently as Robert A. Levy of the Cato Institute updated the crowd on the status of Parker v. District of Columbia and what to expect in the coming months.
By 3:15pm, a large group was beginning to trickle in to hear Gordon Hutchinson's account of "The Great New Orleans Gun Grab", yet another issue that resounded with the group of SAF regulars and Ron Paul supporting newcomers alike.

By 3:15pm, a large group was beginning to trickle in to hear Gordon Hutchinson's account of "The Great New Orleans Gun Grab", yet another issue that resounded with the group of SAF regulars and Ron Paul supporting newcomers alike.

The SAF had perfect timing as they moved on to another issue near and dear to the audience - the calculated attempts of the UN, EU, and NAU to ban gun ownership around the globe. The attendees were united in their desire to defeat these powerful global foes.

When asked for a show of hands of how many were first time attendees - at least half indicated this as their status, yet the first timers (many of them Ron Paul supporters) were familiar with the dangers all of these issues pose to our civil liberties. As one speaker put it, "I feel like I've come home!".

One of the key questions from a member of the graying crowd was how to attract young people to pro-gun groups. A later panel discussion explained the need for Second Amendment groups to develop expertise with new technologies to effectively influence policy in the future. An answer to both of these concerns was all around them.

By now the hallways were teeming with supporters. There were tables with literature on Ron Paul's career-long history of tireless insistence on the restoration of the Second Amendment and protection of gun owners rights. The crowd was now so massive that it was clearly overwhelming the event support staff - but the recent arrivals set to work helping to move tables and do anything else possible to make the event a success.
Sunday afternoon the SAF would put the total number of attendees at twelve hundred - the eight hundred pre-registered attendees plus another four hundred people that arrived for Ron Paul's speech.

Buckeye Firearms Association was recognized with the prestigious honor of being named "Grass-roots Organization of the Year"! The most applause of the day had either gone to pro-gun US Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH 2nd Dist.) or to Venus Ramey, Miss America, 1944 who at 82 confronted thieves on her farm and held them at gunpoint until police arrived. Both won awards, and both received standing ovations. As enthusiastic as it was, it wasn't close to what was in store for that evening.

As Ron Paul entered, the venue, the crowd went up in a deafening roar - you don't have to take my word for it - watch for yourself.

Alan Gottlieb introduced the candidate and talked about the many other presidential candidates that were invited but that couldn't come for one reason or another - Hillary Clinton's invite was the only one that went unanswered. He was also careful to explain that due to the legal status of the Second Amendment Foundation they could not make endorsements. He then explained that this was not Ron's first time attending a SAF event and handed over the podium to the candidate for his remarks.
The links to the video of his speech, in two parts is below:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2

    The second video ends with a pan of the crowd and video of Ron Paul being awarded as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) "Gun Rights Legislator of the Year" by Alan Gottlieb. Amazingly this video was online for the world to see by the following morning at 4:00am.

    In the crowd among SAF regulars, I saw smiles and nods of approval as Ron Paul spoke. I saw young and old, men and women, people of every size, shape, color, and orientation united for a common cause - the restoration of the US constitution. I'd hear people near me interjecting "That's right!" and turn to see that it was a person I had first met at the SAF Grassroots training earlier that spring. It was clearly heartening to the event sponsors to have such a massive turnout of people energetic on the same issues that they had been championing for decades.
    Consider two pieces of Second Amendment legislation he has introduced this year:

  • HR 1096
  • HR 1897

    I heard a few grumbles about the newcomers - but mostly from people who were frustrated that the throngs of passionate supporters stood between them and the buffet-style dinner. All told, I think the best summation of the attitude of most SAF regulars could be summarized by a Ron Paul supporter's T-shirt that said "Who is this man - and why is he trying to save my country?"
    After the candidate was whisked away, I mingled with the crowd, grabbed a quick bite to eat (kudos to the event staff for ensuring that nobody had to go hungry in the face of a tsunami of a crowd) and happened across a chat among some key grassroots leaders.

    They asked what percentage of them were Second Amendment supporters. I explained that easily 75-90% of them were die-hard Second Amendment advocates. In retrospect, I'd have to revise that to a sliver away from 100%. The reason is that in the heat of the moment I had forgotten a key fact - even the libertarians I've met that were uneasy about guns in their own hands were still ardent supporters of my constitutional right to keep and bear arms. In the years I've been around libertarians, and the months I've been watching the Ron Paul campaign grow, I've met hundreds of people but not a one would sell out my rights for their personal appeasement.

    I pointed out a few other observations as well.
    Namely, that the American public are losing interest in the Republican and Democratic parties in general and the Ron Paul movement has been able to re-capture lost voters - these are people that even the minor parties didn't know existed. They've feel betrayed, and they see Congressman Paul as one of their last hopes the restoration of Constitutional government - aside from the Second Amendment itself. If Paul does not receive the Republican nomination these folks will not even consider voting for a major party candidate. They'll either vote independent or not vote at all.

    The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll predicted Clinton trouncing all Republican contenders with the closest being a Hillary v. Giuliani race - a lose-lose situation for those who hope to restore our Constitutional rights. Consider a Hillary v. Paul presidential race - and before you say "he can't win", just imagine a debate between the two. Who wouldn't want to see her debating a physician? Consider the fact that he raised $5 million last quarter, and last week he raised a million of that in just 7 days.[1] He's the only Republican contender to post notable fundraising gains in the 3rd quarter, and he's received more donations from the troops than any other Republican candidate.[2] As of noon on October 9th Paul has nearly raised another half-million since the quarterly figures were announced last week (see the live fundraising stats at www.ronpaul2008.com).
    Our movement has had some great accomplishments, but to accomplish our future goals we'll need a more passionate and diverse group of volunteers and supporters than ever before. Shooters should embrace these enthusiastic newcomers and invite the members of this grassroots movement to join the in our fight to restore our firearms freedoms, win future key elections, and restore hope for America.

    Mark Noble is a Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Volunteer and former Libertarian candidate for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Ohio.

    Footnotes:
    [1] http://blog.ronpaul2008.com/ron_paul_2008/2007/10/what-you-have-d.html

    [2] http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2007-09-13-military-donors_N.htm

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