NRA Convention Series - NRA Board Member Grover Norquist on the 2nd Amendment

Grover Norquist at NRA Annual Board Meeting Houston TexasOn the last day of the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting, I had the opportunity to sit down with board member Grover Norquist to discuss the NRA Board and the politics related to the 2nd Amendment. Norquist explained the makeup of the NRA Board and the roles the various people in the board play. We then went on to talk about the current political climate related to guns and the real issues related to gun violence. It's not the hardware, it is the behavior of people we should be trying to control.

"Unfortunately," Norquist stated, "the Left, once again, tried to use the murders in Connecticut for political purposes and claiming 'Oh now we need to do…' that which they wanted to do 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and 20 years from now. Of course, the laws they wanted to pass would not have stopped the murderer in Connecticut. They acknowledge that. But they still feel we should do something. And the something they want to do is what they always wanted to do."

When I talked to some of the 20-30 or so protesters outside the NRA Annual Meeting their main objection seemed to be a perceived opposition by the NRA to background checks for people buying firearms. I asked Norquist about the boards position on background checks. Norquist replied, "Well, certainly the NRA, which has supported dealer going through that instant check, there are about 25 states that don’t cooperate with that for people who have been adjudicated to be mentally problematic."

"Twenty-five states," Norquist continued, "oddly enough mostly liberal Democrat states, don’t cooperate with that. And it wasn’t in the original law because Ted Kennedy objected to it. So the shootings that we’ve seen recently, with crazy people involved –now they generally got their guns in other ways but –it would be something to be said for liberal Democratic states cooperating with the instant check before they run around going 'How come we don’t mandate everybody use this system which is incomplete?' And the problem that we have with the liberal Democrat governors, state legislatures, courts, not allowing them to cooperate and make that whole. So let’s do those things. The other one is, look, we need to combat crime. Gun control is not the way to do it. And there’s just something fundamentally wrong when a crime is committed and they say, 'Oh, let’s go after the inanimate objects.' 

Despite having the toughest gun control laws in the United States, Chicago continues to lead the nation in per capita murders. Yet states with more lax gun control laws, like Texas, Arizona and Florida have much lower murder rates.  

"We need to figure out how to talk about the fact that people are getting killed," Norquist responded, "and they’re not solving that problem. They’re trying to use murders in their own city to get gun control, which they know from comparing Chicago to other cities that have concealed carry that don’t have the onerous gun control, you’re safer in other cities, you’re not safer in Chicago because honest people don’t have concealed carry permits. How many people are these Leftists willing to kill – kill – with policies that for decades we’ve known are counterproductive? And that’s pretty gruesome. That’s pretty cold. Those guys are letting kids die, knowingly. This is not a mistake. This is not, you know, like they haven’t read the books, More Guns Less Crime. It’s not like they don’t know the statistics, they do know the statistics. They don’t care. They don’t care."

Bob Price and Grover Norquist at the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting In Houston TX

Liberals would rather focus on the hardware, the gun. Perhaps because to focus on the real problems surrounding gun related crimes you have to look at the failures of Democrat policies that have controlled major cities for decades. The "Super-Massive Blue Hole" effect described by Dallas Republican Debbie Georgatos, is what is left to cities like Detroit and Chicago after generations of Democrat policies leaving people feeling hopeless about their condition and losing the very value of human life we all are supposed to cherish. Until we address the social ills related to the cause of gun violence, no laws that only affect law-abiding citizens will ever reduce crime.

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Bob Price: Well, we've been here at the NRA convention in Houston for the last four days now and it's been a great convention, maybe perhaps one of the largest conventions in the history of the National Rifle Association. Tomorrow morning starts the annual board meeting where all of the boards of directors come in from all over the country to kind of set the policy and where the NRA is going. Here today with Grover Norquist, huge tax man in terms of cutting taxes, cutting the government, and also some immigration reform things that we’ll talk about later. Welcome to Houston.

Grover Norquist: Good to be with you. Good to be here. 

Bob Price: It’s good to see you here in our great city. I know you were here just about a month ago, I guess it was, and I got to meet you then, and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to TexasGOPVote about these issues. Tell us about the board meeting and where is the NRA going, you had a huge victory now with the Senate, where do we go from here? 

Grover Norquist: Sure, there are 76 members of the Board of Directors. So it looks like a small legislature, and they seat us alphabetically. So I sit next to Ollie North, and if Ollie’s not there, Ted Nugent. So it’s a fascinating collection of people from all 50 states. Some are collectors, some are shooters, some are hunters, some are political people. Some are celebrities, Tom Selleck. And all play a very important role in highlighting the importance of the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, the Left, once again, tried to use the murders in Connecticut for political purposes and claiming “Oh now we need to do…” that which they wanted to do 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and 20 years from now. Of course, the laws they wanted to pass would not have stopped the murderer in Connecticut. They acknowledge that. But they still feel we should do something. And the something they want to do is what they always wanted to do. If you’re Obama, and you’re out there exploiting these murders, for political purposes, you really have to step back. If you believe for a second that these laws he wants to pass would reduce crime, which they wouldn’t, he should have done something in 2009 and 2010 where he had super-majorities of Democrats in the House and Senate. I mean not only he didn’t do it, he didn’t even try. He doesn’t care. He’s just using the issue for politics. He didn’t care in 2009. He didn’t care in 2010. He doesn’t care now. And he also in the back of his mind knows that it has nothing to do with reducing crime and everything to do with increasing government control.

Bob Price: Now yesterday, we had a protest outside the NRA convention, a whopping 25 people, I think, was the max that were out there at one point in time. I got in a conversation with some of the people down there and they expressed, the main thing they seemed to be upset about was the opposition to a universal background check. And when we talked to them about the fact that the government doesn’t enforce the law now on the existing background checks, and background checks probably cover 95% of all gun purchases in the United States anyway, and certainly upwards of that if you’re looking at just dealer-to-consumer sales, whether it’s internet-based or direct to-consumer sales. So why is the NRA opposed to that, and what is it that the NRA favors in terms of enforcement of existing law? 

Grover Norquist: Well, certainly the NRA, which has supported dealer going through that instant check, there are about 25 states that don’t cooperate with that for people who have been adjudicated to be mentally problematic. I don’t mean some guy who went to a therapist 10 years ago. I mean – 

Bob Price: Somebody who has been institutionalized. 

Grover Norquist: Someone where a court or a judge said, “You’re crazy and you’re dangerous to yourself or others.” Those lists are supposed to be made available to the national instant check. Twenty-five states, oddly enough mostly liberal Democrat states, don’t cooperate with that. And it wasn’t in the original law because Ted Kennedy objected to it. So the shootings that we’ve seen recently, with crazy people involved –now they generally got their guns in other ways but –it would be something to be said for liberal Democratic states cooperating with the instant check before they run around going “How come we don’t mandate everybody use this system which is incomplete?” And the problem that we have with the liberal Democrat governors, state legislatures, courts, not allowing them to cooperate and make that whole. So let’s do those things. The other one is, look, we need to combat crime. Gun control is not the way to do it. And there’s just something fundamentally wrong when a crime is committed and they say, “Oh, let’s go after the inanimate objects.” 

Bob Price: Right.This is probably the only area in criminal law enforcement where people want to go after the object and not against the person committing the behavior. It just, you know, when you see deaths from DWI’s, we don’t go after alcohol, we don’t go after cars, we increase the punishments on people that break the law. And, you know, in so many cases with gun laws, there are existing laws that you can enhance the penalties for people that use a gun in the commission of a crime and they just don’t do that.

Grover Norquist: Yeah, those laws are there. That’s not the challenge that we have. We’ve actually found the best way to reduce crime is to have more people with concealed carry permits. Today there are 9.3 million Americans with concealed carry permits in the country, up a million, a million and three, from about a year ago. So, it’s growing. And people are taking control of protecting themselves and their families. They’re carrying as well as owning. And that really is the backbone of the modern Second Amendment community. It’s not just hunters, it’s people who carry. Hunters, a couple weeks a year, go out and annoy Bambi’s relatives. Fine. Worth doing. That said, that person doesn’t have a connection with the Second Amendment as strong as the person who carries. And that’s where the movement is actually growing. The number of hunters has declined a little bit over the last couple of generations. But not deer hunters, that keeps going up. But bird hunters have been declining, interestingly. But the 9.3 million concealed carry – growing every year. The states that passed concealed carry laws to make it so that you have to get a permit, not that they may give you the permit, but they shall give you one. When those laws pass and they’ve been in place for a couple of years and more people get concealed carry, you can see measurable drops in murders, rapes, assaults. Thousands of are alive today because of the expanded concealed carry laws. Thousands of people were not raped because of that. And it’s compared to other states that didn’t have those laws. So the best way to reduce crime is to have more honest gun owners carrying. 

Bob Price: And then when you see a city like Chicago, that has the highest murder rate in the country, the Police Chief there, you know Illinois has been mandated to come out with a concealed carry program by the courts, and the Police Chief in Chicago said that when that happens that citizens with concealed carry permits will be shot by the police, at some point in the future. This mentality that somehow the law-abiding citizen is the problem, it’s just pervasive throughout that liberal mentality.

Grover Norquist: We need to avoid doing what the Left does. And in the murders in Chicago that take place in a city with a complete ban on owning a pistol, in a state, the only state in the nation with no concealed carry permit available, not shall-issue, not may-issue. Yeah, they’ve got completely phony one that if you jump through 25 hoops you can – 

Bob Price: Friends with the Chief of Police, and stuff like that. 

Grover Norquist: But we need to figure out how to talk about the fact that people are getting killed, and they’re not solving that problem. They’re trying to use murders in their own city to get gun control, which they know from comparing Chicago to other cities that have concealed carry that don’t have the onerous gun control, you’re safer in other cities, you’re not safer in Chicago because honest people don’t have concealed carry permits. How many people are these Leftists willing to kill – kill – with policies that for decades we’ve known are counterproductive? And that’s pretty gruesome. That’s pretty cold. Those guys are letting kids die, knowingly. This is not a mistake. This is not, you know, like they haven’t read the books, More Guns Less Crime. It’s not like they don’t know the statistics, they do know the statistics. They don’t care. They don’t care.

Bob Price: It makes you wonder if the crime rate in Chicago is cause or effect. I interviewed a man this weekend that wrote a book called Guns Across the Border. He was actually the undercover gun store owner that was selling guns to the Mexican cartels on behalf of the U.S. government, in Operation Linebacker, before Fast and Furious. And he said it became very clear, in that whole operation, that their intent was to increase the number of gun-related deaths in Mexico, to kill Mexican citizens, to further the anti-gun agenda in the United States. 

Grover Norquist: The challenge is, it’s so gruesome, it’s so awful, that to talk about what they’ve done is to sound like a hysteric, because what they’ve done is so hysterically evil. But we see it with Fast and Furious. We see it every day in Chicago, people are being killed and the police aren’t being helpful and they’re deliberately keeping guns out of the hands of honest people who could have stopped a lot of this crime. 

Bob Price: Well Grover, thank you for taking the time to talk with us here. 

Grover Norquist: Absolutely. 

Bob Price: We enjoyed it, and I know tomorrow is going to be a busy day with the board meeting, so we appreciate you talking with us tonight. 

Grover Norquist: Thank you. 

 

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