NRA TOUCHES DOWN IN HOUSTON
"We lost some battles, but ... sometimes defeat is a necessary prelude to victory. The key is to never give up. And you never gave up!" said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre after the film. "It took 25 years, but you restored the Second Amendment." NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox stressed the need to erase Bill Clinton's anti-gun legacy and continue to defeat "Clinton-clone" candidates. "Now, if laws could talk ... Bill Clinton's 1994 gun ban would sue for libel ... . To claim that those guns are crime guns is a bigger load of bull than you'll find at the Houston stockyards," Cox quipped to the crowd's delight.
While LaPierre and Cox focused on the legislative and executive branches of government, new NRA President Sandra Froman warned against allowing activist federal judges to reach the bench. "... [I]t's clear that a single federal judge could have more power than all 535 members of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the president combined," she cautioned.
Bringing Houston To Your Living Room
NRA members unable to make the trip to Houston had the opportunity to experience the 2005 Annual Meetings through the popular radio/Internet news program "Cam and Company" on NRANews.com and Sirius Radio. A variety of special events were covered, including the Opening Celebration, and host Cam Edwards interviewed such gun-rights champions as NRA President Sandra Froman, former Georgia Sen. and NRA Board member Zell Miller, television personality R. Lee Ermey, Idaho Sen. and NRA Board member Larry Craig, former NRA President Marion Hammer, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Oliver North, NRA First Vice President John Sigler and Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Harold Volkmer (D-MO). Just in case you missed the exceptional coverage, a selection of interviews and footage of events is available for online viewing at NRANews.com.
Calling Out To God In The Desert
The annual Sportsmen's Prayer Breakfast inspired a crowd of hundreds with music, dramatic readings and a keynote address by Thomas Hamill, the American truck convoy commander kidnapped in Iraq and miraculously delivered from his captors' grasp back to U.S. forces.
The soft-spoken Hamill relayed a tale of terror that began when his convoy was attacked outside Baghdad. As the vehicles moved through a "kill zone," an Iraqi armed with an AK-47 jumped onto his truck and began firing, seriously wounding Hamill in the arm. After killing five of Hamill's associates, the insurgents forced him into a car. Hamill's Iraqi captors confined him to a small building in the blistering desert heat. During a 24-day imprisonment he cried out to God to take away his pain.
Toward the end, Hamill said he heard the sounds of "angels outside his cell," U.S. soldiers moving in a convoy only a short distance away. "I put all my faith and all my trust in God," he said, as he slipped away toward his rescuers.
Airgun Range Attracts Nearly 1,500
The airgun range's strategic location in the main exhibit hall attracted the attention of a lot of shooters. Fewer shooting lanes than usual, and airgun velocities limited to 550 f.p.s. did little to thwart enthusiasm, as a total of 1,498 five-shot tickets were sold.
Youngsters and many adults who were interested in getting into airgun shooting or who had never shot before took advantage of the range, according to John Venskoske, NRA assistant manager of the Airgun Program. Participants chose from a wide variety of air rifles and pistols on loan from Daisy and Crosman, and put five rounds downrange for every dollar they spent.
Next door, new or renewing NRA junior members could have their pictures taken and instantly placed on a souvenir front cover of NRA InSights magazine.
New Officers And Board Members Elected
For only the second time in its 134-year history, a woman was elected as NRA President. Sandra S. Froman, of Tucson, Ariz., is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and has practiced law for 30 years. NRA's First Vice President, John C. Sigler, is a retired City of Dover, Del., Police Dept. captain and now practices law in Delaware and Maryland as corporate in-house counsel. NRA's Second Vice President, Ronald L. Schmeits of Raton, N.M., is a member of the Board of Trustees and executive committee of the NRA Whittington Center and is a bank president and financier. The NRA Board of Directors also welcomed several new members to its ranks, including renowned actor and NRA supporter Tom Selleck. His career includes starring in or producing more than 30 films and television programs. Zell Miller, former governor and senator from the state of Georgia, is this year's recipient of the Harlon B. Carter Award. James Gilmore, III, served as the governor of Virginia from 1998-2002. Det. Lt. Dennis Willing of Michigan is a Vietnam veteran and highly successful competitive shooter. Joel Friedman has been a tireless defender of the Second Amendment in California. And finally, Don Turner of Nevada is well respected for his efforts to ensure that sportsmen and shooters have access to proper shooting facilities and have the right to exercise their Second Amendment freedom.
Tune In Next Year
Nearly 60,000 NRA members enjoyed the camaraderie of the meetings in Houston, Texas. If you missed out on the fun this year, mark your calendars for next year's Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 19-21, 2006.