Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell received the National Rifle Association's Defender of Freedom Award today at the NRA's national convention at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
The award was well-deserved, because few Americans have a greater respect for our Constitution and the plain meaning of its words than McConnell. And that includes all the enumerated powers, including the second amendment's right to bear arms. As McConnell noted, the Framers viewed the right to bear arms as so central to the cause of freedom that they put it at the top of the list -- right after the right of free speech.
Here are excerpts of McConnell's remarks:
On the one side are people like Howard Dean and Barack Obama, those who seem to think the people need the state more than the state needs the people. They are the heirs of a centuries-old line of thinkers who think that the few, the elite, should diagnose and cure the ills of the many. …
Occasionally those opinions slip out, at cocktail parties in San Francisco and New York. Reporters usually refer to these slips as gaffes or blunders. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but it seems to me a better word for it would be honesty. Someone who says that Americans cling to guns and religion because they’re bitter doesn’t say it because he misspoke. He says it because that’s what he really thinks. And here’s what I think: he’s dead wrong.
When I hear that most of the families in this country say grace before meals, I think it’s a tribute to America’s greatness, not a sign of its weakness. And when I hear that about nine out of ten NRA members show up to the polls on Election Day, I don’t think it means that gun owners are bitter. I think it shows that the spirit of freedom is alive among the millions of members of the NRA. …
I voted to put John Roberts and Sam Alito on the Supreme Court because I thought they’d have a deep respect for the words of the Constitution and for what the Framers intended, including a faithful interpretation of the Second Amendment. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against both of them. And Obama went even further. You might recall that as the vote on Judge Alito was approaching, John Kerry tried to phone in a filibuster from the ski slopes in Switzerland. Senator Obama, along with a handful of other far-left liberals, opted to join him. It should be no secret what kind of judges Obama would like to nominate if he were president. And I can guarantee you this: None of them would ever be asked to keynote an NRA convention.
Update: The full text appears in Human Events.