Annual Meetings: NRA's LaPierre calls out Obama administration's Dept. of Justice and ATF for growing "gunwalker" scandal

by Jim Shepherd

"We've never witnessed anything like this rottenness, lying and corruption," said Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President and CEO "and we've had it. We've had it with Erica Holder and Hillary Clinton and the rest of this administration. And Lord knows, Americans have sure had it with the arrogant, sanctimonious, gun-hating liars who call themselves the national news media."

That's only a build up to the calling-out of Attorney General Holder, the President and his entire administration that took place Saturday at the National Rifle Association's annual member's meeting.

In Saturday's membership meeting, LaPierre, NRA-ILA head Chris Cox and other members of the NRA executive team made it abundantly plain that the NRA was speaking out regarding the growing scandal that proves the NRA's longstanding claim that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is a rogue organization.

As Congressional investigators are being stonewalled regarding the ill-conceived ATF operation that not only encouraged, but sanctioned the movement of illegal guns into Mexico, the nation's largest pro-Second Amendment group is going on the offensive.

"We've never witnessed anything like the rotten level of corruption, conspiracy and cover-up confronting us today. All because they hate Americans and our rights, more than they care about the lives of innocent people," LaPierre told a crowd that sometime seemed to sit in shock at his unvarnished challenges to the administration.

"I'll say that again," LaPierre hammered, "Our government has been willing to let people die ... to advance their assault on the Second Amendment. Our southern border proves it. When ATF officials ORDER lawful gun dealers to make illegal sales ... that's corrupt."

In what was a blunt, no-nonsense indictment that included video presentations with ATF field agents, victims of violent crimes and outraged members of congress who are determined to move a national investigation of "Operation Fast and Furious" going.

And Mr. LaPierre minced no words when addressing the administration's contention that key leaders were unaware of the entire matter: "If Holder didn't know," LaPierre thundered, "then Holder's gotta go."

This year's Annual Meeting was characterized by direct calls on members to get involved, the media to get honest and the administration to come clean. In other years, it might have been viewed as unduly confrontational, but 2011 is proving to be anything but a typical year.

Exhibition traffic was heavy, with brisk individual and distributor sales. Several manufacturers told me they were writing an unusually large number of large volume orders. That's uncharacteristic for an annual show normally described as being slower-paced than SHOT, allowing more interaction with the thousands individual attendees.

Exhibit traffic was brisk, and moved at a considerably better pace than the traffic surrounding the David L. Lawrence Convention Center where the latest industry offerings in everything from firearms to accessories that ranged from the sights and optics to brassieres for concealed carry. This event, despite a lower than usual number of new product announcements, seems to have had a little of something for everyone, and several other happenings not so obvious to most.

While consumers walked the aisles, industry officials held meetings to discuss topics ranging from opposition to legislative restrictions on gun owners, nationwide reciprocal concealed carry laws and the new media.

Before the event opened Friday morning, one meeting brought together a number of media and industry representatives to explore a strategy that would recognize new media, and encourage more of the fine reporting already being done by bloggers who have not only emerged as prime outlets of product news and information, but have lead - or driven - the news process on important issues.

On Saturday evening at a Second Amendment Foundation reception, that point was brought home when the pair of bloggers who uncovered and then doggedly pursued the story that is now the "Gunrunner/Fast and Furious" scandal, National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea and independent blogger Mike Vanderboegh, were recognized for their work.

The pair, along with well-known writer/blogger Dave Workman and Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News -virtually the only "mainstream" news organization to follow and advance the reporting of the Fast and Furious scandal - were recognized for their service to protecting Second Amendment rights.

Their fine work, individually and collectively, may well be the tipping point that convinces industry leaders that the new media contains both solid writers and responsible journalists ,despite the fact most don't have business cards with familiar logos or mastheads.

From a business standpoint, there were several products that drew considerable attention at the exhibits, from Ruger's new take on the venerable 1911 pistol to Mossberg's "Chain Saw" -a decidedly different take on the home defense shotgun.

This year's meeting, however, may be remembered as the meeting where the NRA assumed a sharper, more confrontational tone in its dialogues with officials.

LaPierre's directly "calling out" the administration on the ATF's actions and other outrages and challenges to firearms owners is the direct pronouncement that the gloves are off entering another election cycle.

If that does prove to be the case, the NRA will escalate pressures on legislators and administration officials who have shown an inability to exercise fiscal responsibility, but no reluctance to scapegoat law-abiding gun owners as the causes of societal issues.

This weekend, the NRA called for a variety of tangible actions in Washington from the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, and the reform or dissolution of the ATF, but it also called American women to arms in order to protect themselves from "animals roaming our streets" because the government coddled criminals while simultaneously attempting to blame gun owners for escalating violence. It makes for heated rhetoric, but the NRA's continuing to hold the administration's figurative feet to the fire may be another indication that average Americans have, indeed, had enough of business as usual.

Republished from The Outdoor Wire.

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