Gun Rights Policy Conference 2018

Gun Rights Policy Conference 2018


Leaders of the Second Amendment Foundation giving opening remarks on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Chicago. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

The Second Amendment Foundation kicked off the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference on Saturday in Chicago, marking the 33rd gathering for gun rights groups to discuss policy agendas.

Joe Tartaro, President of the Second Amendment Foundation, opened the event by sharing this year’s theme, “The Fight for Freedom.”

“The fight for freedom is an ideological war and political war — a war for the hearts and minds of men, women and children,” Tartaro told the crowd.

Tartaro detailed how each decade has fought its own battle against “anti-freedom” politicians and feelings. Pointedly calling out politicians like Dianne Feinstein and Bill Clinton, Tartaro condemned anti-gun politicians for actively seeking to remove rights from American citizens.

“The anti-gun crowd is always coming up with deceitful strategies,” he said. “They’ve locked out the elderly … most recently they have tried to change the age to own a gun for law abiding citizens who can legally vote.”

Moving into the retailers sphere, Tartaro attacked Dick’s Sporting Goods and other retailers who have sought to place restrictions on who can purchase firearms, ammunition and gear as well as what gear can be purchased.

“They’re imposing their own rules as to who can buy what guns and ammunition and at what age,” he argued, emphatically.

Closing his speech, Tartaro encouraged gun owners to fight for what is rightfully theirs. “A free people fight back by any means at their disposal. As long as we fight freedom we will have it.” Let’s close ranks now and fight for freedom,” he said.

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, passionately urged gun owners to fight for their rights. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

Alan Gottlieb took the stage after Tartaro to discuss the threats the gun world faces.

“Things have changed in the gun rights battle since the Florida shooting,” “We’re facing a whole new way of fighting for gun rights,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb immediately went after the Bloomberg group citing how the organization has planned to destroy gun rights by throwing money behind anti-gun legislation, candidates and organizations. Supporting Democratic state attorney generals, Gottlieb said politicians are using their platform to attack individual gun rights.

“They attack the NRA and insurance companies as well as financial institutions. They’ve filed lawsuits against Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation by denying the First and Second Amendments.”

Calling out Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel , Gottlieb said Emmanuel’s city is evidence that stricter gun laws don’t work as they infringe law abiding gun owners rights. “Nearly 50 years after politicians enacted laws, parts of Chicago remain a shooting belt. They blame law abiding gun owners for gang related shootings,” Gottliebb said.

The SAF powerhouse didn’t just go after Democrats, however, Gottlieb also gave equal time and blame to Republican politicians who he blamed for “cold feet” and inaction resulting in a back slide in gun rights.

“The Republican party itself is partly to blame,” he said. “After Trump’s election gun owners expected quick and decisive action but it didn’t happen because Republicans got cold feet and decided to put policies on the back burner.”

Gottlieb also used attacks on federal agencies to showcase how politicians are seeking to cripple gun owners. Using the Environmental Protection Agency as an example, Gottlieb explained gun owners suffer punishments like hiked taxes and limitations on ammunition as well as bans on lead, limiting gun ranges and shooting activities.

In addition to attacks on the political front, Gottlieb gun owners also face attacks internally. Citing lazy and complacent gun owners, Gottlieb also called out internet commandos who deter new gun owners from entering the Second Amendment Fight. “Internet keyboard commandos chase off people who we need in our battle,” Gottlieb said. “We’re attacking ourselves.”

Closing out his speech, Gottlieb urged gun owners to stop complacency and join the fight to preserve gun rights. “Complacency is a threat to gun owners. Complacent gun owners think the fight is over. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Eric Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of American. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

Executive director of Gun Owners of America, Erich Pratt, delivered remarks for the Federal Affairs Briefing in which he described 2018’s activities on gun rights as “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” a reference to the famous Clint Eastward western.

For the good, he praised gun rights activists for preventing gun control legislation following multiple mass shootings. “Stopping these bans is a very very very good thing,” he said.

He also praised Republicans passing a national reciprocity bill, which would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry across state lines, in the House of Representatives. Out of that, he said his organization identified a “hero,” Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan for leading 25 other Republicans to advance the bill. He said GOA will support him as speaker to replace current House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan, who will retire at the end of this year’s session.

For the bad, Pratt also slammed “spineless” Republicans in the Senate for failing to pass the national reciprocity bill and for federal lawmakers advancing red flag laws, which are designed to keep potentially dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms. He said such laws could be easily abused.

For the ugly, he warned of bump stock bans and the passing of Fix NICS legislation. Last year, President Trump directed federal regulators to re-write interpretations to effectively ban bump stocks, a device that allows a rifle to mimic full auto fire. The device became a subject of debate after a it was used to murder 58 people and injure some 850 others by a single gunman in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017.

Although the Fix NICS bill largely directed more funding to the federal background check system and had the support of mainstream gun rights organizations, Pratt said the legislation will allow the system to have “a lot more innocence being denied gun rights.”

Joe Waldron, legislative director of Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, praised the efforts of grassroots gun rights supporters. (Photo: Jacki Billings/Guns.com)

A “Make America Great Again” hat was displayed by a patron attending the event. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

Guns.com staff writers Jacki Billings and Daniel Terrill contributed to this report





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