During the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month, it was apparent that the NRA still holds a good deal of significance for Republican presidential candidates.
About 70,000 gun enthusiasts showed up to the convention and nearly every major Republican presidential hopeful, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Texas senator Ted Cruz, Florida senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas senator Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, was scheduled to speak.
“When our next president is elected, we vow on this day that name will not be Hillary Rodham Clinton,” said NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre during his keynote speech. He added Clinton’s presidency would bring, “a permanent darkness of deceit and despair, forced upon the American people to endure.”
Cruz echoed the sentiment and called Clinton a “gun-grabber.” Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal was somewhat more descriptive and said Clinton was part of a “vast leftwing conspiracy” and said the NRA is “the most effective civil rights organization” in the U.S.
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Walker took a different route by attacking President Obama. “Mr President, the last time I checked, the second amendment is part of the constitution. You don’t get to pick and choose which part of [it] you support,” Walker said.
Clinton’s presidential run has reinvigorated gun control advocates, The Hill reported. Though she hasn’t made any sweeping policy announcements regarding the issue, she has been critical of gun culture before. "I don’t think any parent — any person — should have to fear about their child going to school or going to college because someone, for whatever reason — psychological, emotional, political, whatever it means — could possibly enter that school property with an automatic weapon and murder innocent children, students, teachers,” she said at a CNN town hall.