CPAC Speaks Out Against Gun Control

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Pro-gun activists made a big splash at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, using the annual event to talk about Second Amendment freedoms in a way that CNN’s January town hall show did not. And it was that town hall, held to allow President Obama to explain and defend his unconstitutional executive actions, that came under intense criticism on Saturday.

At the “Thank Goodness for Guns in America” panel, the term “gun control infomercial” was used to describe the program. And one of the individuals who challenged Obama in that televised event also appeared on the panel. Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor, asked Obama on CNN why he wanted to take away the very rights that would have helped her protect herself. At CPAC, Corban slammed Obama for not giving her a decent answer and instead using it as an opportunity to turn a “political pivot” back to his prepared comments.

Sheriff David Clarke, one of the nation’s fiercest critics of the Obama administration, said Saturday that the Constitution was extremely important to him and other Americans. “These are your rights,” he said. “I am a defender of your rights.”

As an African-American, Clarke said that gun rights held special significance to him. “Slaves plus guns equaled freedom,” he said.

On Thursday, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre kicked off the conference by vowing to fight against Hillary Clinton if she became president in November. “Mrs. Clinton, if you want to come after the NRA, and if you want to fight over the God-given rights of America’s 100 million gun owners, if you want to turn this election into a bare-knuckled brawl for the survival of our constitutional freedoms, bring it on,” he said.

While the Second Amendment rhetoric at the event at uncompromising, some attendees thought CPAC’s own event rules ran counter to the ideology. Metal detectors were placed at the entrances next to signs reading: Absolutely No Weapons Allowed.

Interviewed by the Daily Beast, an attendee named Robert Owens said he had a problem with the policy. “I don’t like it,” he told the website. “I just think that the Second Amendment would allow somebody to carry a firearm wherever they choose to carry a firearm. There shouldn’t be a limit to it. Once you start one limit, it’s a continuous slide about eliminating the right.”

While there’s an obvious difference between government gun laws and the policies of a private event, the NRA and other pro-gun groups have explicitly challenged the idea of “gun-free zones” in the past. On the other hand, CPAC had plenty of armed security, which makes it different to college campuses and movie theaters where would-be criminals can freely open fire without worrying about armed retaliation.