Louisville, Ky. — Rand Paul is running in a different race than he hoped to be at this moment: reelection for a second term in the U.S. Senate instead of the presidency. Today Paul made his case to attendees of the NRA Annual Meeting that his Libertarian-flavored vision of the Republican Party was their best bet to ensure their Second Amendment rights.
“You can’t defend the Second Amendment unless you defend the First Amendment,” Paul said. “If we diminish the right to free speech by one iota, we risk not having the voice to defend the Second Amendment. You can’t defend the Second Amendment unless you defend the Fourth Amendment,” adding that a government that ignores prohibitions on unreasonable search and seizure has little safeguards to prevent gun confiscation.
Paul, greeted the crowd with a relaxed, cheerful tone and showed little sign of the irritated tone he exhibited in some of the Republican presidential debates.
“I am a defender of the Second Amendment,” Paul said. “If you don’t believe me, come to my house… unannounced.”
The senator echoed other speakers at the convention contending that the national media tells only half of the story when it comes to America’s gun owners. Mass shooters with serious mental health issues are portrayed as common, while armed citizens who protect themselves and prevent crimes are ignored.
Paul told the story that he felt the national media wasn’t willing to tell, that of Chris Gaither of Talladega, Alabama, who was home alone when he heard an intruder. Gaither discovered it was a burglar, one who had robbed his family before. Once discovered, the burglar started swearing and threatened to kill him; Gaither responded with a handgun, shooting the burglar in the leg.
“What they also don’t tell you is that Chris is just eleven years old,” Paul said to cheers and applause, before adding, “Chris seems like a well-trained eleven year old.”
“There is no better defense against evil than self-defense,” Paul continued. “Ask the unarmed citizens of Chicago, New York and yes, our nation’s capital if they would feel safer if they had access to a gun. The police chief of Washington D.C. said a few months ago, ‘if there’s an active shooter, take ‘em down.’ I asked, ‘with what, my bare hands? It’s almost impossible to get a gun in Washington, D.C.!’”
Paul told of his December 2015 effort for an amendment that would have required the government of the District of Columbia to grant concealed carry permits to both District residents and nonresidents, and also require the District to recognize concealed carry permits issued in other states.
“I still get hateful looks from [District of Columbia delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton],” Paul said. “But I don’t mind making other people uncomfortable if it’s in the defense of liberty!”