Governor Mike Pence urged gun enthusiasts at the National Rifle Association convention today to “stay in the fight” to protect freedom, including the right to bear arms.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 1,000 gun owners and NRA members, Pence didn’t spend much time talking about gun issues.
Instead, the governor touted Indiana’s record on tax cuts, job creation and education. He also railed against Washington D.C., urging quote “freedom-loving Americans” to demand leaders who drastically reduce the scope of the federal government.
Still, Pence says the fight for freedom is no more visible than in the fight over the Second Amendment.
“Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens don’t threaten our families, they protect our families,” Pence says. “Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens don’t cause crime, they help in the fight against crime.”
Pence did not direct attacks against specific political leaders in his speech, but Florida Senator and possible presidential contender Marco Rubio took aim against President Obama for his stance on gun rights.
Rubio brought the crowd to its feet several times. He railed against the liberal media, activist judges, and political leaders that he says are trying to suppress the freedom of law-abiding citizens to own guns. Rubio says gun owners should be worried about President Obama’s belief that he can remake firearm policy through executive order.
“Passing along a family tradition of hunting and shooting is not something that we should have to ask our leaders for permission to do,” he says. “It is fundamental to achieving happiness in America.”
But groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America say that’s not what their fight is about.
Jennifer Longdon describes herself as an avid shooter and gun owner. She was paralyzed by a drive-by shooting nearly ten years ago. Longdon says she and Moms Demand Action want to see common sense gun regulation.
“I’m not here to disrupt the NRA Convention,” she says. “I’m here to call on my fellow gun owners who overwhelmingly support sensible reform to end gun violence.”
Longdon says NRA leadership needs to listen to its membership, which she says supports reforms.
Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, also took part in a rally by national gun control organizations advocating for universal background checks. He says gun rights aren’t under attack in Indiana.
“There is no threat to gun ownership in Indiana. We need to get off pretending that we’re protecting gun owners and get on to protecting people,” DeLaney says.