Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani took his best shot at befriending the members of America’s largest and most influential gun rights organization today in a speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Emphasizing the need state and local government to control crime and gun laws, Republican presidential candidate Giuliani made sure to highlight personal freedoms and said the 2nd Amendment “is just as important as free speech” and every other part of the Constitution.
Giuliani said that gun rights improved under President Bush and guaranteed that they will continue to improve even more if he becomes President. “The bottom line is that we need to step up enforcement against gun crimes and leave law abiding citizens alone,” he said to a grateful applause.
“A person’s home is their castle…[and] people have a right to protect themselves in their home. It’s a right they should have,” he said.
He spoke on the importance of crime reduction locally, relying heavily on his well known record of such action in New York City and his experience dealing with a post-9/11 New York City as well. “It’s the allocation of time and priorities in the law enforcement system that determines if you reduce crime,” he said, referring to better resources and support for local branches.
As Mayor, Giuliani saw the murder rate drop 66% and experienced a 72% reduction in criminal related shootings. According to his website, he “will make sure that if someone commits a crime with a gun, they will go to prison for the mandatory sentence.”
He said that local law enforcement officials are America’s “first preventers” and they are the ones who will thwart the next terrorist attack. “You’ve got to give them the support they need to support the laws that presently exist.”
Throughout the speech, Giuliani emphasized that individuals must respect what the framers of the Constitution set out to bestow — whether or not you agree with that notion. “The 2nd Amendment is a personal right,” he said. “Whether you’d like it to be or wouldn’t like it to be, you’ve got to respect that.”
When asked his opinion on waiting periods for gun buying, Giuliani stuck with strictly enforcing current law given the level of crime in America today.
“Emphasis and energy should be spent on enforcing the law as it presently exists,” he said, adding that the single most important thing the next President will do is to organize an effort within the federal justice system to increase enforcement strength locally.
Giuliani also used the speech as platform for his ongoing battle with MoveOn.org, saying they “moved to a new low” with their libelous ad attacking the integrity of Gen. David Petraeus. “MoveOn.org has been spending hundreds of millions in the politics of personal destruction now for some time,” he said. “Those are always focused on Republican candidates, so they are a major fundraising source of the Democratic Party.”
He mentioned that yesterday, 25 Democrats who “defined the left wing of the left wing of the Democratic party” in the Senate chose to side with MoveOn when they voted against a resolution condemning the group’s ad.
He asked the crowd to consider which presidential candidate would best “keep it on offense against Islamic terrorists” and said that “may be the single most important question for us all.”
“With Democrats…we’re going to go in a direction of bigger government…but if you’re like me, you’re gonna find a President that by and large moves in a direction of more private choice…and has respect for the amendments we talked about,” he said.
He ended the speech saying, “Personal freedoms…are the thing we are fighting for.”