NRA director speaks at Reagan-Lincoln Dinner
Posted: February 18, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Frederick County’s Republican Committee cheered a guest speaker Saturday night who enlisted them in the National Rifle Association’s fight to protect the Second Amendment.
Glen A. Caroline, a director of the NRA and a former chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, told more than 100 county Republicans gathered for the Reagan-Lincoln Day Dinner that the Constitution’s Second Amendment is not about guns, it is about liberty.
The dinner, in its fourth year, is a fundraiser for the committee, according to organizer Tom Reed. Its timing in February honors the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who shares the top billing on the program with President Ronald Reagan, another Republican.
Both Lincoln and Reagan were born in February.
The money raised will go to help elect Republican candidates on the local, state and national levels, Reed said.
Four candidates vying for the GOP nomination for Virginia lieutenant governor — Jeannemarie Davis, Scott Lingamfelter, Steve Martin and Corey Stewart — took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the local party members Saturday night. Shenandoah Valley resident Mark Obenshain, who is seeking the party backing to run for attorney general, also spoke to the gathering.
With Democrats pushing for more gun control laws, keynote speaker Caroline said it’s up to Republicans to ensure that “America’s first freedoms remain intact.”
Caroline said gun-control advocates use gun-related tragedies as an opportunity to erode the right of Americans to own guns because of the emotions unleashed.
“We fight the fight based on facts,” Caroline said.
He sees no reason to ban assault weapons or large capacity magazines.
“Guns shouldn’t be banned, based on the way they look,” he said.
Criminals, he added, won’t cooperate with new gun laws.
“We need to keep the right to have semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines.”
Caroline applauded the 1998 law that requires gun dealers to do background checks on those purchasing guns.
The problem, he said, is that states have been sluggish in providing information for the National Instant Check System.
States have an “abysmal record,” he said.
With the current system ineffective, Caroline sees no reason to expand background checks for weapons purchases.
He made no mention of secondary sales of guns at shows and privately, where no background checks are required.
In fact, Caroline implied that expanding background checks might be skating close to a 1968 congressional ban on the federal government creating a registry of gun owners.
He praised Virginia for “defeating all gun legislation,” and noted the NRA is conducting its own study on ways to make schools safer for children across the nation.
That report should be out in April, but Caroline suggested that there is a “unique need for an armed presence” in every school.”
Restating an NRA official comment made shortly after the Newtown, Conn., school slayings in December, Caroline said the only effective counter to “a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
The NRA is also suggesting the country improve its mental health system.
Caroline said 38 of 61 perpetrators of mass shootings had prior mental health issues.
“That needs to be a major part of the discussion.”
He also pointed a finger at Hollywood and at video games and pop culture for their “glorification of violence.”
And he warned that the Obama administration might try to change the conservative slant of the U.S. Supreme Court over the next few years, which might reverse opinions upholding gun rights.
Turning back to gun violence, Caroline said, “You can’t make the acts of Newtown more illegal” by putting more laws on the books.
More laws would “sacrifice the rights of people like you and me.”
He told the audience to pressure legislators to block any gun control measures.
“If they check to see which way the wind is blowing, make sure there’s a hurricane blowing from the NRA side,” he said.
The fight, he reminded them, is not just over guns and gun control. “The fight is for the core of our liberty. They want to drive a stake through the heart of the NRA. You are the only thing standing in their way.”
— Contact Val Van Meter at firstname.lastname@example.org