May 21, 1995 in Nation/World

Nra Vows To Return Fire In Presidential Elections ‘Patriots Are Being Confused With Grade A Terrorists’

Associated Press

Far from chastened, a defiant leader of the National Rifle Association taunted President Clinton on Saturday, warning that the group will help “clean your clock” in the next presidential election.

Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told a cheering crowd at the NRA’s annual meeting that the nation’s largest gun-owners’ organization will rebound from weeks of battering by Clinton and other foes.

“Who do these people think we are?” LaPierre roared before 1,800 NRA members. Addressing himself directly to Clinton, he added:

“We’re the people who helped clean out Congress in 1994 - and we are going to help clean your clock in 1996.”

Gun-control advocates have accused the NRA of promoting a climate that encouraged terrorists to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City last month.

In the past week, as the NRA prepared for its meeting, the furor escalated when former President Bush resigned his NRA life membership to protest a fund-raising letter referring to federal law enforcement agents as “jack-booted government thugs.”

In his speech, LaPierre said “NRA patriots are being confused with Grade A terrorists.”

“Well,” he went on, “I’m going to put a stop to that confusion right here and now. … There is a difference between sound reason and sheer treason. There is a difference between acting within the law and acting above the law. And believe me, there is a difference between 3.5 million NRA members and some scattered band of paranoid hate-mongers.”

The NRA insists it has been the victim of a biased news media, political opponents and a misinformed public.

“Our opponents have crossed the line,” said Marion Hammer, an NRA vice president.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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