The NRA’s top lobbyist used his prime time speaking slot at the Republican National Convention — all four minutes of it — to level a broadside attack against Hillary Clinton, who he said is committed to removing guns from the private homes of citizens.
“A Hillary Clinton Supreme Court means your right to own a firearm is gone,” Chris Cox said.
Cox is the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the gun group’s lobbying arm. The NRA and other gun groups have seized on Clinton’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns for self defense.
Clinton has called for “common sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.” But she has also directly confronted the NRA on the campaign trail. At a New Hampshire campaign stop in October, she called on the group’s members to “take back the Second Amendment from the extremists.”
Shortly after Cox’s remarks, Clinton issued a statement saying that the “debunked claim” that she wants to repeal the Second Amendment “couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
The NRA that Cox presented before the Republican establishment on Tuesday night is an organization intent on protecting the right of people, especially vulnerable women, to defend themselves from criminals.
“Imagine a young mother at home with her baby when a violent predator kicks the door in,” he said. “What’s she going to do? She’ll dial 911, and pray.”
Clinton, he said, doesn’t want a woman to have the choice to save her own life. In remarks that echoed those he delivered at the NRA’s Annual Meeting in May, he painted her as an elitist who will never have to rely on the police to respond to a threat because “for the past 30 years, she hasn’t taken a walk, a nap, or a bathroom break without a good guy with a gun there to protect her.”
Donald Trump was the main attraction at the NRA’s annual meeting, where he received the organization’s ringing endorsement, nearly two months before he officially became the Republican party’s nominee. In 2012 and 2008 respectively, Mitt Romney and John McCain didn’t receive endorsements until shortly before Election Day — months after their nominating conventions.
Over the last few decades, the GOP has moved ever closer to toeing the NRA’s strict line on guns. The shift began in the 1990s, after the NRA supported the Republican takeover of Congress, and accelerated after the election of President Barack Obama.
As recently as 2010, the NRA still supported dozens of Democratic candidates for national office. By the 2014 cycle, when the NRA was spending tens of millions of dollars on elections — more than it had at any time in its history — its disbursements in support of Democrats had dwindled to virtually nothing.
On Tuesday, Cox said that the upcoming presidential election is one that could make or break the country.
“We are on the cusp of losing this great American freedom. And with it, this great nation,” he said. “The only way we save it … is by electing Donald Trump the next president of the United States.”
[Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite]