March 23, 2016 : By Drew Menard - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA), spoke at Liberty University Convocation on Wednesday about the role of personal liberty and a strong justice system in maintaining freedom.
Liberty President Jerry Falwell introduced LaPierre as a man who “has dedicated his life to protecting the Second Amendment.”
“Through six U.S. presidents, Wayne LaPierre has led the National Rifle Association in some of its most difficult fights,” Falwell said, noting that LaPierre rarely accepts invitations to speak at universities. “He has not only won those battles, but has also overseen the dramatic growth in membership since it was founded in 1871. It is because of that leadership over the past 25 years that our Second Amendment freedom has been strengthened and the NRA has never been stronger. Liberty University has long prided itself on its unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the NRA.”
LaPierre expressed his appreciation for the university.
“(Liberty) is truly a gem in the United States of America that we as Americans should all be proud of, and our country is a lot better off for it,” he said.
LaPierre said that he has visited Liberty several times over the past decades and that he developed a great relationship with Liberty’s founder, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. He shared a video that shows Rev. Falwell receiving a lifetime membership to the NRA, joining the ranks of President Theodore Roosevelt, President Ronald Reagan, and actor and former NRA President Charlton Heston.
In a fiery speech, LaPierre explained that the media often spreads misinformation about politicized issues such as gun safety and personal rights. He also noted that dangerous criminals are largely not being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“We face an epidemic of untruth at the highest levels of our country,” LaPierre said, noting many would rather tell people what to think than give them the facts and let them think for themselves. “And yet, when someone does tell the truth, they get clobbered. It is like it is all upside down. Lies seem normal; the truth seems bizarre.”
He said this irresponsibility has a “devastating impact on the kind of values, freedoms, and beliefs that our country was founded on.”
LaPierre expressed his confidence in ordinary, law-abiding Americans, some of whom responsibly own and carry firearms. He said they are what sustain freedom in “the greatest country.”
“Our nation is going to be put back on its rightful course,” LaPierre predicted, “where individual freedom is respected, where justice is restored, where laws are enforced, and government gets off our backs and leaves us alone.”
In closing, he challenged the students to be vigilant in their lives, to not be deceived by misinformation or twisted facts, and to uphold the values that make America strong while standing for liberty.
“Keep getting up every morning and fighting for freedom every day.”