As gun owners gathered yesterday for the opening day of the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Houston, there were acknowledgements — not admissions — in the press that their strategies about dealing with violent crime and school security just might be right, such as putting cops in schools.
Today wraps up the 28th annual conference, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Saturday saw a jam-packed agenda that attracted hundreds of activists from Texas and beyond. Gun Talk radio host Tom Gresham presided over the annual awards ceremony and luncheon, there were panel discussions ranging from legal action to grassroots politics, and Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller became the first back-to-back two-time winner of the Journalist of the Year award.
In the background, reports emerged that the Justice Department is supporting the hiring of more police officers for school security — an idea promoted by the National Rifle Association following the Sandy Hook massacre last December that was ridiculed at the time by the press and political anti-gunners — and in Rochester, N.Y. they observed the 15th anniversary of Project Exile, another program championed by the NRA that targets armed criminals without affecting law-abiding gun owners. Perhaps surprisingly, the NRA was not represented at this year’s conference.
The hypocrisy is not lost on gun owners, who contend that infringing on their rights with burdensome regulations and exorbitant fees is the wrong approach to fighting violent crime. When an idea comes from the much-demonized “gun lobby,” it is roundly criticized by left-leaning media pundits and Capitol Hill anti-gunners. Later, however, when the same programs — such as armed police or security in schools to prevent or react to school shootings — are supported by the administration, they get the good headlines.
During his remarks, Gresham noted that sometimes, gun owners can be their own worst enemies, rejecting good candidates because they cannot find “perfect” candidates, and bickering amongst themselves, rather than unite behind a common cause.
Today’s panel discussions begin with a presentation on using “the new media” to advance gun rights, and continue with an overview of the Second Amendment and how it covers more than just firearms. There’s a mid-morning presentation on “Gun Rights under Obamacare,” and a panel on media bias.
Next year’s conference goes back to Chicago.