The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is an unabashed glorification of the firearms industry.
Even though the National Rifle Association (NRA) is fending off a political movement helmed by school shooting survivors, the organization is deeply entrenched in CPAC. The NRA is listed as a corporate sponsor next to Google and has an outpost for its television vertical set up at CPAC’s “media row” next to The Daily Caller.
“Many in legacy media love mass shootings,” NRA spokesperson Dana Loesh thundered to the crowd. “I’m not saying you love the tragedy, but you love the ratings.”
The night prior, Loesh spoke at a CNN Town Hall before the survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. After fending off questions—and death threats after the show—the guns right advocate arrived at CPAC on Thursday morning to a standing ovation. Attacking the FBI and national security agencies for lack of oversight in her address, Loesh doubled down on her organization’s fierce support for the firearms industry.
“It is not our job to make sure people are safe,” said Loesh, adding that her “condemnation was for the FBI” and that “the government has proven it cannot keep you safe.”
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre followed Loesh to another standing ovation.
“These intellectual elites think they’re smarter than we are,” said LaPierre. “What they want is more restrictions on the law abiding. Their solution is to make you, all of you, less free. They want to sweep under the carpet the failure of school security.”
“Do we really love our money and our celebrities, more than we love our children?” asked the CEO while arguing that the lack of firearms at high schools has contributed to school shootings.
Calling reports on gun reform a “breathless national media desperate to smear the NRA,” and Black Lives Matter and Antifascist activists “gangbangers,” LaPierre claimed that neither the Virginia Tech shooter or the San Bernardino shooter had a proper background check.
“This growing socialist state dreams of manipulating school children,” said LaPierre following attacks against conservatives at Berkeley.
“Put armed security in every school,” a pre-recorded video asserted. “That’s what common sense gun laws look like.”
“I call right now today to every citizen who loves this country and treasures this freedom to stand and unflinchingly defend the second amendment,” finished LaPierre to another standing ovation.
Outside the conference hall, secret service wearing kevlar wielded semi-automatic rifles.