NRA Tells Conservatives to 'Remember New Orleans'

By Jeff Johnson | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - Larger than life images of law enforcement officers confiscating legally-possessed firearms from New Orleans residents, who were accused of no crimes, played on video screens at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre urged the audience to "Remember New Orleans!"

"We're gonna make New Orleans the worst nightmare the gun ban crowd has ever seen, I promise you that," LaPierre told listeners, many of them NRA members, in a packed banquet hall.

LaPierre listed numerous studies by both government and private researchers, including some who oppose gun ownership, that show no correlation between gun control laws and reductions in violent crime.

"No gun control law anywhere ever had, ever has or ever will have any effect on crime, period," LaPierre argued. "All of this information is readily available to any policy maker who chooses to live in reality. But, still, there's a steady supply of people who just don't get it."

Included on that list, LaPierre said, are New York City mayor and gun control supporter Michael Bloomberg; Mike Wallace from the CBS News program "60 Minutes," who emceed a fundraiser for the anti-gun Brady Center; and Rebecca Peters of the International Action Network on Small Arms, a George Soros-funded non-governmental organization at the United Nations working to enact international bans on private gun ownership and possession.

LaPierre featured video clips of anti-gun comments by the trio, including Peters' assertion that "American citizens should be prohi..., should, should, be like any other citizens of the world."

"If the U.N. gets its way, we'll be just like those poor souls down in New Orleans whose guns were confiscated by force. They were left with no 9-1-1, no police, no protection and no way to protect themselves," LaPierre said. "That's the United Nations' dream for America."

Videotaped interviews with several New Orleans residents whose firearms were confiscated by police were also played during LaPierre's speech. They included remarks by one man who was beaten by robbers while police allegedly stood by and did nothing. Officers later returned, the man claimed, and confiscated the gun he had armed himself with in case the robbers returned.

While LaPierre is angry over how police officers treated lawfully armed citizens in New Orleans, especially as armed looters and robbers ravaged the city, he said the experience has created a new rallying cry for those who support Second Amendment rights.

"New Orleans was the first place in American history to disarm peaceable citizens, house-by-house, at gunpoint," LaPierre said. "And I promise you this standing here today: We at the NRA are going to make sure it's the last place it ever happens.

"Never again can Michael Bloomberg or Rebecca Peters or Mike Wallace, or the United Nations, or the Brady Center, or anywhere else say that honest citizens don't need firearms because what happened in New Orleans proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what we've said all along," he continued.

"The next time some arrogant politician looks at you and says, 'Why does anyone need to own a gun?' I want you to look them straight in the face and say this: 'Remember New Orleans!'" LaPierre exclaimed.

"'Why do you need to own a gun?'" he continued. "Remember New Orleans!

"'Aren't you just being kind of paranoid?'" LaPierre asked on behalf of the hypothetical politician. "Remember New Orleans!

"'Why does anyone need right to carry?'" he added. "Remember New Orleans!

"'What makes you think our government would ever try to confiscate your guns?'" LaPierre asked. At this point, he was joined by a roaring chorus from the audience: "Remember New Orleans!"

"'Is the Second Amendment really relevant in the 21st Century?'" he asked, allowing the audience to reply, "Remember New Orleans!"

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