The one speaker at today’s NRA Convention who managed to deliver a speech that was almost entirely about the Second Amendment? Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
Rubio started out by setting the right of the people to keep and bear arms in its necessary practical and philosophical context, and then by noting that to suggest that it doesn’t apply anymore is as absurd is to suggest that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to the digital world. Hitting a likely theme of his campaign, Rubio took on executive overreach, establishing that the president has absolutely no power to “tell a young woman that she is better off without the protection of a firearm,” or to “tell a father that he cannot own a gun to defend his family or his property.” President Obama, Rubio lamented, has “wielded human tragedy in an attempt to subvert our rights.” But “the sins of the evil do not justify restricting the rights of the good,” he added.
Later, Rubio drew a link between the Second Amendment and American foreign policy, proposing that just as a chaotic world requires a strong American military presence so man’s imperfections render self-defense protections imperative. “Stricter gun laws will never deter criminals and terrorists,” Rubio submitted. He did not explicitly say so, but in his discussion of the manner in which international terrorism dovetails with the right to self-defense it was difficult not to detect an echo of sentiments that have been expressed by Interpol chief Ronald Noble:
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya — and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.
Rubio reminded the crowd that he was currently attempting to change the strict anti-gun laws in Washington D.C. ”My legislation,” Rubio told the audience, “would allow D.C.’s law-abiding residents and visitors firearms to protect their homes, their families, and their businesses.”
Rubio will announce his candidacy for the presidency on Monday. His full speech is here:
— Charles C. W. Cooke is a staff writer at National Review.