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NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox introduced Vice President Mike Pence at CPAC yesterday and presented the former Hoosier State Governor with the Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire award for the “strength of character” he showed in defense of American liberties during his political career. The prize for the award was a “high powered weapon of war” — a flintlock rifle.

Mr. Cox talked a lot about the 2016 election, too. The NRA went all-in for 2016, he said, because “for those of us who support the Second Amendment, we knew our gun rights would be gone” if Hillary Clinton were elected. “Our right to keep and bear arms had survived the Supreme Court by just one vote, and he had just passed away…. So we made the earliest endorsement in our history when we endorsed Donald Trump for President in May.”

“You’re happy now,” Mr. Cox continued with what was probably the understatement of the convention, “but let me tell you: it was a lonely summer.” Of course, “the NRA hasn’t backed down from a fight in 146 years, and we sure as hell weren’t scared of Hillary Clinton.”

In response, Vice President Pence said…well, he didn’t say much at all concerning guns or the Second Amendment. Neither did two men from the White House who spoke earlier in the day, Presidential Advisor Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus.

Don’t get me wrong: all of these folks said many things said that, if sincere, should give gun rights supporters reason for optimism. Everyone was bullish on Neil Gorsuch, both about his temperament and judicial philosophy as well as his chances of confirmation in the Senate. (Ted Cruz offered a big “thank you” to former Senator Harry Reid for paving the way by changing the Senate rules to require only 51 votes to end a filibuster for confirmation of executive and judicial nominees instead of the usual 60 in 2013.)

Bannon expressed that “deconstructing” the undemocratic and officious administrative state was a top priority for the administration. Gun owners are all too aware of the dangers to our liberties posed by career bureaucrats based inside the beltway making up complicated rules with the force of law with barely any oversight from Congress. From a gun-rights perspective, all of it was a darned sight better than listening to Democrat Keith Ellison’s insistence that he didn’t really mean it when he said he wanted to repeal the Second Amendment.

I was struck, however, by a remark made by a mainstream media type: Pence’s speech “sounds like a State of the Union address” because it was a grab-bag of items for various interests. Despite earlier promises from President Trump to enact national concealed carry license reciprocity, however, I haven’t heard much talk about Representative Hudson’s bill on the matter or other pending legislation, such as the Hearing Protection Act. Even a Second Amendment stalwart like Senator Ted Cruz didn’t have much to say on pending legislation. It’s all the more surprising because this is CPAC; if one can’t throw a little red meat before this audience, where can you do it?

Gun owners played a vital part of Trump’s coalition in near-run states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida. States without which Hillary Clinton would be hearing “Hail to the Chief” when she arrives at the next Broadway show.

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan mentioned in the Wall Street Journal that some folks feel that Capitol Hill is currently “overstuffed” with legislation, and that a plan to roll out some legislation related to infrastructure won’t happen until closer to the midterm elections. Noonan doesn’t think much of the plan.

That struck me as exactly wrong. The first year’s legislative agenda defines a new administration. Early programs stand out before everything, in the following three years, becomes a blur…. Big endeavors can be promising in ways that aren’t always calculable…. The Democrats will have a hard time opposing such a bill in 2018? They’ll have a hard time opposing it now. And constituents aren’t stupid. They’ll remember in ’18 what a congressman didn’t do in ’17….

[O]ne wonders if the White House is getting snookered by longtime Hill urchins, or snookering itself.

Twenty-sixteen was an earthquake. The ground beneath Washington’s feet shifted. People here need to get over their shock and start recognizing the new lay of the land.

Perhaps everyone’s putting the gun rights mojo on the Hill into confirming Gorsuch and generally supporting the Administration’s plans on the regulatory state. Those are both worthy goals, but considering how much effort the NRA put forth last year (and is continuing to put forth this year,) I expected more.

Both President Trump and NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre will on Friday, so perhaps we’ll hear something more concrete. And if we don’t, well everyone has been stressing the importance of holding the Administration accountable. To his credit, during his talk, Steve Bannon went out of his way to say: “Hold us accountable, hold us accountable to what we promised, hold us accountable to for delivering on what we promised.”

Well, gun owners, you know what to do.

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  1. I think the theory that 2A voters elected Mr. Trump is well validated. I live in Pa, and the anti ad blitz was unbelievable (metro Phila). I mean staggering in it’s intensity ,and unambiguous in its animosity. Not just from the Democrats, either. The Republicans were either silent or cautiously in agreement. Pathetic, really.
    This leads me to this conclusion (remember, Pa, so Mr. Toomey is one of my senators): I believe that gun rights will be thrown under the bus in pretty short order. Demonstrating the minimal difference between the parties. Mr. Trump will say just about anything, but talk is really cheap. Call me when a national reciprocity bill is on his desk ( I do believe he would sign one). That will be the proof I’m wrong.

    • That is where I am at. I treat the federal government and my employer the same way: I do not believe anything they say until it actually happens. Talk is just too cheap these days.

      Agreed, get it on his desk and Trump will sign.

    • Eric- “…I believe that gun rights will be thrown under the bus in pretty short order.”

      Correct, and NRA will participate in the treason. What else can anyone expect from the org that sold out Otis McDonald?

  2. I suggest everyone watch “I’m just a Bill”. This way you will see just how difficult is it is to pass a law. I just found out why Saturday morning cartoon disappeared. The government killed them with regulations. Very sad. I miss them.

  3. They need to be pushed.
    The worst time (used to be anyway) in a battle is immediately after a position is overrun. In the following jubilation and breakdown in discipline units become vulnerable to a determined counter attack, at worst and at least, become unwilling or unable to press the attack.
    It’s time to stop hi-fiving over the election and get back to work.

  4. “In response, Vice President Pence said…well, he didn’t say much at all concerning guns or the Second Amendment. Neither did two men from the White House who spoke earlier in the day, Presidential Advisor Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus.”

    This tells you everything you need to know, period. The Trump Train caught the tiger. They have until September to steamroll their agenda. After that, the campaign season sets in for 2018. The less the establishment Republicans have to show for their “mandate”, the more likely they will lose ground in the elections. Repubs still live in the 1920s, where things were slow, and deliberate, and genteel. They do not know how to play smash mouth politics. Prediction: Gorsuch will not be confirmed because Repubs really are afraid of “the nuclear option”, really believe that if they do not use it, neither will the Demoncrats.

  5. We Don’t need Pro 2A legislation at all we just need courts to strike down unconstitutional laws. More laws never make us more free remove the bad ones. And the courts can do this.

    • Yeppers. The founders new this and that’s why we have a house and senate. The less they can do the better off we really are.

  6. CPAC is just a joke. The very fact that they went out of their way to slander that Milo guy on behest of the Evan McMullin ‘Reagan Battalion SuperPac’ proves that they’re here to play politics instead of trying to support actual rights. Read about over at Gateway Pundit the other day.

      • I bet Dana “cool shirt” Loesch approves of the Milo purge whole heartedly. She’s a hard-core Never Trumper and is the newest shill for the “never back down” NRA.

        A female neocon ( oh but …..she’s purty ?) speaking for the largest FUDD organization in the US.

        They’re perfect for each other.

        • PDW- “..speaking for the largest FUDD organization in the US.” Good one!

          In military or intelligence terms, NRA is co-opted, controlled opposition.

          I watched NRA legal and the Illinois state lobbyist Todd Vandermyde sell out Otis McDonald, then set up armed citizens to be murdered in the following carry bill. I’ve never seen more dishonest scum in my life since the day I was born.

  7. I voted for Trump and I’m getting the sinking feeling now I will be disappointed. Let’s face it, there are MANY things he could have done by now without Congress to at least throw us a bone. He could have rescinded George Bush Sr’s directive to the ATF banning importation of many “assault rifles”

    He could have also directed the new Attorney General to loosen the definition of “sporting purposes” to include a bunch of so called “assault rifles” so they could be imported. He could have already issued a directive to allow the importation of all those Korean Garands.

    The fact that these very easy things have not been done(things that would have gone a LONG way for gun owners) tells me that maybe it’s time to start getting worried.

    We’ve seen this so many times with Republicans. “IF we can just win back the House we’ll get things done. Oh, well now if we can ONLY win back the Senate. those..but if we could ONLY win the White House..THEN we’ll get things done!”. Well, here we are with all three and they are pulling the same old crap. They had 8 years to think of how to kill Obamacare and there’s nothing. They’d had just as long to work on Tax Reform, etc…have things ready to go on day one and NOTHING.

    I see the same thing down here in Florida. Republicans control the house, senate, and governor’s mansion ans ZERO movement on Open Carry, etc. They promised it would be a top priority during the elections and once they won they already started backpedaling…it’s basically DEAD again.

    • He’s been in office all of one month and people are already whining………if he hasn’t done anything six months from now, then I’ll start to worry.

      • “He’s been in office all of one month and people are already whining…:

        No, we are holding him accountable. Trump is still running his victory lap, congratulating himself for accomplishing the upset. Demanding others see how wonderful was the win.

        How long would it have taken to set up a conference call with Ryan and McConnell, telling them, “You have the House, the Senate, the Presidency. You have had eight years to prepare. Where are all those bills you promised to enact ‘if only’?. I expect them all on my desk in 30 days. If not, don’t look to me for help getting things done. I’ve go a phone and a pen.”

      • In 2009 the Dems passed a ton of stuff including Obamacare in the first couple of months. That’s because they had a bunch of bills waiting on the shelf. The Republicans have had 8 YEARS to get ready for January 2016…8 YEARS to develop a bill to repeal Obamacare, Tax cuts, etc… there is no excuse.

        But on the topic of gun rights…there really is no excuse. I agree that Trump could have thrown the NRA a bone with overturning the Bush Sr regs on imports. Also could have easily signed an exec order allowing guns on Army Corps land, etc. He could have easily said to the NRA “What do you want me to overturn day one with my Pen? Give me a list of things that I can do and I’ll get them done.”. It would have taken just the amount of time to sign them an nothing more so there is no excuse.

        I saw Wayne LaPierre at CPAC and his speech…watch it It’s all about Trump and fear mongering about terrorism and left wing protests. Why is the leader of the NRA talking about this? Why isn’t he talking about GUN RIGHTS and what he’s pushing Trump to accomplish? Or demanding that Congress do?

        I’m sorry….but I agree…I think we are all about to be played AGAIN by the Republicans. We’ve seen this again and again and again. Every time we say “Well, not this time”…but it’s starting to look like that again.

        • We might give it 100 days, don’t you think? If not, which of you is running to replace him, and let’s see YOUR platform! Now. I mean, NOW! Right freaking NOW! You’ve been bitching since before Trump was even nominated, show us your PLATFORM!

  8. What was said earlier. All laws should have an expiration date. If it was a decent law, re-submit it, if not allow it to fall by the way side.

  9. “Of course, “the NRA hasn’t backed down from a fight in 146 years, and we sure as hell weren’t scared of Hillary Clinton.” Tough talk and hot air, the usual NRA carney fare.

    Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA/ILA should focus on doing their jobs, before they take over D.C. Like watch what their lobbyists are doing? Since NRA state lobbyist Todd Vandermyde put up llinois state Rep. Brandon Phelps “NRA backed” concealed carry bill in 2013, it continues to get worse, if that is even humanly possible. Right now there are over 2,000 applicants waiting over a year for their concealed carry licenses, because some cop objected. No help from NRA legal department so far.

    Wayne LaPierre & Chris Cox at NRA reflect their membership: second rate. Now that they have “won” they don’t want to succeed too much. They might be out of a job.

    • And your contribution is… … … WHAT? A nasty mouth and know-it-all attitude? Go to DC and get that bill you want on Trump’s desk, or stfu until he has had an opportunity.

  10. LarryinTX ….get a grip on yourself. People (especially ones like me who VOTED for Trump) are allowed to express concerns. You say he hasn’t had an “opportunity”….sorry but he most certainly has. People are complaining that National Reciprocity hasn’t passed yet. They are concerned that VERY EASY things that could have been done to reward the NRA and gun owners who supported him have not been done. You don’t need 100 days to do simple things like the overturning the import ban. Remember his promise on DAY ONE to get rid of gun free zones on Military bases? How about allowing guns on Army Corps land?

    Fact is.if he were really so pro gun he’d have done those things by now. There is no argument why he couldn’t have…not if the NRA and gun owners are important to him and keeping his promises is as well.

    Also….WE pay the NRA as members to get stuff done…I don’t have to fly to Washington to meet with Trump with a bill I wrote, that’s moronic. The NRA should have had all this stuff already to go. And maybe they have….but Trump blew them off….he hasn’t done a single thing for gun owners yet. My job is to vote for the candidate that says he’ll uphold my gun rights…it’s not MY JOB to then write the bills and hound them to uphold their FREAKING PROMISE.

    When you’ve seen this pattern again and again by Republicans where they promise everything to get you to vote for them but once in office they start dragging their feet it’s only logical to assume the same thing is happening again. Stop blindly supporting the guy and open your eyes. Hold him and the Republicans accountable.

    • Monty- Larry sounds exactly like the Todd Vandermyde fanboys in Illinois. The less education the rubes have, the more they fall under the spell of the cult of personality. They see Wayne LaPierre on stage from 500 feet away with binoculars, and the next thing you know he’s the father figure they never had.

      Hicks like these are why we have Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties in Illinois’ concealed carry bill, which is really just legalized execution for police criminals.

      Conforming to the crowd and hero worship is a small town thing, we see it here all the time.
      Two weeks ago the rubes on this site were crowing about how Wayne LaPierre and Trump must be best buddies, because they were in the same picture frame.

      • After years we had concealed carry in Illinois, imperfect as it might be to be in order to get it to pass, how many licence holders were legally executed by LEOs so far?

        How exactly did NRA sell out Otis McDonald?

        What is the deal with you and ISRA and NRA? Did they kick you out? Or did Todd Vandermyde forgot to call you next morning?

        And last question, when will you finally choke on your hatred?

        • Grow out your beard for the IGOLD March of the Hicks- 2017, you still have a month. ISRA can’t afford buses for the foot soldiers this year, so you will have to double up and take someone on your bike. If your gut is not too big, you may be able to fit a yellow IGOLD shirt over your biker vest.

          It’s been almost four years since Illinois’ shit carry bill was passed in 2013, and it just keeps getting worse. There are over 2,000 people waiting for their concealed carry licenses due to police objections, but that will never happen to you, because you are “one of the good guys.”

          There’s still a public transit ban, but that only affects black people in Chicago, so you and the racist hicks don’t care.

          There’s still Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties, so any cop who walks up to you has an excuse to blow you away like Philando Castile in Minnesota, but that won’t happen to you since you’re a good old boy who knows the secret handshake.

          Let us know how it goes at IGOLD, if Brandon Phelps doesn’t run away and duck like the coward he is.

          Thanks for illustrating the ignorance and lack of self-respect of Illinois gun owners. It’s impossible to describe without seeing it firsthand.

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