Speaking at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum in Indianapolis, Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence declared that the Trump administration is not backing down from its strong support of the Second Amendment and law-abiding citizens.
“You know, the president and I stand with the NRA because, like all of you, we stand for freedom. And the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a freedom that is at the heart of the American story,” Pence said. “Our Founders won our independence with the power of their ideas and with the powder in their muskets. Our pioneers won the West with their daring, their courage, and their Springfields, Winchesters, and Colts.”
The vice president praised the gun rights organization and its five million members “because the National Rifle Association stands for freedom.”
Pence challenged the notion that increased gun ownership leads to higher crime rates in communities and promised that the Trump administration will protect law-abiding gun owners.
“Nowhere is this ongoing struggle for freedom more visible every day than in the struggle to defend the Second Amendment. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens don’t threaten our families, they protect our families. And we know that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens make our communities more safe, not less safe,” he said.
Pence continued, “Well, I’ll make you a promise: Under this president and this vice president, no one is taking your guns. Under this president and this administration, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The vice president also discussed the Trump administration’s support for law enforcement, as well as their signature policy of enforcing the border.
Video and transcript below:
Well, hello, NRA! Thank you, Chris, for that great introduction. Chris and I have been friends for a lot of years. I have great respect for him. But he knows the introduction I prefer is a little bit shorter: I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.
And as Vice President of the United States, it’s my great honor to be back home again in Indiana with so many freedom-loving Americans at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association. Welcome to the Hoosier State.
It really is great to be here with so many friends. Chris, and Ollie North, and Wayne LaPierre, and, really, with some outstanding leaders that we respect greatly and admire every day, like Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky, and so many distinguished members of the United States Congress, including the House Minority Whip, the courageous Steve Scalise.
And speaking of friends of mine, it’s especially great to be here with another friend, a great champion of freedom who I can tell you personally gets up every day and fights to keep the promises that he made to all the American people. I can’t wait to join you to welcome the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump back to the Hoosier State.
You know, the President and I stand with the NRA because, like all of you, we stand for freedom. And the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a freedom that is at the heart of the American story.
Our Founders won our independence with the power of their ideas and with the powder in their muskets. Our pioneers won the West with their daring, their courage, and their Springfields, Winchesters, and Colts.
Our forebears have fought our nation’s wars and defended our way of life with the skills they learned on the rifle range, in a deer stand, at the knee of a father, a mother, or a grandparent back home.
And in our own day, there are no greater champions of America’s tradition of responsible gun ownership than all of you and the 5 million proud men and women of the NRA. Thank you for your stand.
And I’m here today to tell you: We’re with you. President Trump and I are with the NRA today, and tomorrow and always, because the National Rifle Association stands for freedom.
Nowhere is this ongoing struggle for freedom more visible every day than in the struggle to defend the Second Amendment. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens don’t threaten our families, they protect our families. And we know that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens make our communities more safe, not less safe.
You know, at this podium, nearly two decades ago, Charlton Heston said those famous words, and I quote, “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
Well, I’ll make you a promise: Under this President and this Vice President, no one is taking your guns. Under this President and this administration, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
And the truth is, from the first day of this administration, President Trump has been fighting for freedom, and you all know that. And, really, I couldn’t be more proud to be Vice President to a President who fights every day not just for freedom but for those who defend it.
I mean, think about it: This President stood with those who defend our freedom when he signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Thanks to the President’s leadership, we’re once again giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and the support they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe.
And this President has stood with those who defend our freedom her at home, who protect and serve on the Thin Blue Line. And under President Trump’s leadership, we’re giving all the men and women of law enforcement at every level the resources and the respect that they deserve every single day as they protect our families.
I know there’s a lot of law enforcement members who are here today, who have taken time to be at this convention. Why don’t you all just show them how much we appreciate the men and women who serve on the Thin Blue Line and protect our families every day? (Applause.) God bless you all.
And this President has stood for freedom in the American economy as well. President Trump has already cut more federal red tape in the last two years than any President in American history. We’ve unleased American energy. And President Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. (Applause.) And the results are in: Businesses large and small have created 5.5 million new jobs. More Americans are working than ever before. And it was just reported this morning: The American economy grew by 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
And beyond our security and our prosperity, this President has also strengthened the very foundation of our freedom. At this point, President Trump has already appointed to our federal courts more principled conservatives in the last two years than any President in American history. And they are all conservatives who will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution — like the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. It’s an incredible group.
But despite the fact that this President has faced unprecedented opposition, obstruction, and resistance, I believe that when this President’s story is written, when he finishes his term in office, six years from now I believe history will record: No other President in all the modern era has done so much for so many in so little time. President Donald Trump has delivered.
So, under the President’s leadership here at home and around the world, America is winning again. But to keep on winning, I came here today to say that we need you to stay in the fight. Because the truth is, we live in a time when freedom is under assault. And it’s not just the freedom that the NRA so nobly defends, but the freedom to live, to work, and to worship God are all being threatened by the radical Left every day. It’s true.
And the same people who threaten your right to self-defense want to stifle our economy by raising taxes and increasing regulation. The same people who want to take away your unalienable rights routinely denigrate the faith of millions of Americans and advocate late-term abortion and even infanticide.
But I’ll make you a promise: Under this President and this administration, we will stand without apology for the sanctity of human life.
But our freedom is under assault every day in other ways. The same blue states and cities that are trying to bankrupt the NRA have become sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, including dangerous gang members and human traffickers. And the same people who want to restrict the right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding citizens believe the Boston Marathon bomber should be given the right to vote on death row.
I got news for you, Bernie: Not on our watch!
Violent convicted felons, murderers, and terrorists should never be given the right to vote in prison — not now, not ever.
You know, I heard the other day that another Vice President actually said that “we’re in a battle for the soul of our nation.” And, for once, I agree with him — but not for the reason he thinks. We are in a battle. We’re in a battle for the soul of America, but it’s a battle between liberty and tyranny. As the President has said before, it’s a battle between independence and government control. And, ultimately, it’s a battle between freedom and socialism.
You know, under the guise of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, the same Democrats who want to take away your freedom openly advocate a failed economic system that has robbed the liberty and impoverished millions of people around the world.
But let’s be clear: It was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the most prosperous economy in the history of the world.
It was freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won two world wars, and stands today as a beacon of hope for all the world.
It was freedom, not socialism, that’s moving us beyond the prejudices of the past to create a more perfect union and extend the blessings of liberty to every American, regardless of race or creed or color.
And it was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the highest quality of life, the cleanest environment, and improved the health and wellbeing of millions around the world.
You know, what Medicare for All really means is quality healthcare for none. And the only thing green about the so-called Green New Deal is how much green it’s going to cost all of us if they ever sign it into law.
You know, Margaret Thatcher probably said it best: “The trouble with socialism is [you] eventually run out of other people’s money.”
So I say, from my heart, to all of you freedom-loving Americans gathered here: The moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment America ceases to be America. And as President Trump said in his State of the Union Address, so we must say with one voice: “America will never be a socialist country.”
So, men and women of the NRA, the stakes have never been higher, but the choice has never been clearer.
It won’t be enough just to win the next election; we’ve got to win the next generation. And this is our challenge. It won’t be easy. But it never has been.
Thomas Paine explained, during the American founding, that the battle for freedom is always arduous. As he said, quote, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” And then Thomas Paine added, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly” and that “Heaven knows how to put a [proper] price upon its good[s]; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
It’s really about freedom that we gather here today, and preserving the freedom that’s at the heart of America. But as you’ll hear in just a few minutes, President Donald Trump and I are ready for the fight. (Applause.) We are ready to stand with all of you and fight to defend and expand freedom for every American.
But we can’t do it alone — so keep doing your part. Talk to your neighbors and friends and tell them what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last two years. And tell them about the challenges that we face, and tell them what the opposition offers. I mean, tell them this President and this administration have been fighting for all the liberties you hold dear. Tell them we’re setting things right in Washington, D.C. Tell them we’re draining the swamp —because we are. And tell them the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more, because it’s the God’s honest truth. (Applause.) Go tell them.
So thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Thank you for coming here to the Hoosier State and giving me a chance to be home.
You know, it’s amazing for me to think about the journey that my wife and I have been on. Five years ago, when I was governor of the state of Indiana, I stood at this podium in that role. And I have to tell you, for this small-town boy from southern Indiana, the grandson of an Irish immigrant, it’s hard to describe how humbling it is to have the privilege. So I want to — I want to thank you for the honor of serving as your Vice President. And I want to thank you for your support.
And because of your support of this President, his Vice President, and this administration, I’m proud to report America is standing strong again. America is prospering again.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is secure again. And freedom is winning all across America.
And I know we’re going to keep on winning. I know we’re going to keep on winning because I have faith — faith in this President I serve alongside every day. I mean, I got to tell you, somebody said to me the other day, “Tell the President to keep on going, keep on fighting.” And I said to them, “That’s not something you got to tell him.”
You know, as we say here in the Hoosier State, all the reverse is stripped out of that pickup truck. It is straight ahead, straight forward. He’s bringing the energy, the leadership, and the fight for the American people. And I promise you we’re going to do it every day in the next two years.
But I got faith in my friend. I got faith in conservative leaders that you’ve helped elect all across this country, who have been standing with us for the principles and the ideals that we hold dear.
And lastly, I’ve got faith in all of you. As I travel across this country, I see Americans every day who are standing with us, encouraging us. I meet them at grocery stores. I meet them on rope lines at airports. I meet them at rallies and in diners. And they’re folks just like you and me who always knew that we could be strong again; who knew that we could be prosperous again; who knew that we could be standing tall again. And they’re standing with us every step of the way.
And so, for their sake, I just want to encourage all of you: Be confident as we go into the days that lie ahead in the next year and a half. Because I have faith that if we hold the banner of freedom high, if we put into practice those words inscribed on the Liberty Bell to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land [and] unto all the inhabitants thereof,” those same Americans will rally to our cause again and we’ll keep on winning a great victory for the American people.
And remember, as you leave Indiana and go to your homes, and all of you that are looking on from afar, remember that when we fight for freedom, we do not fight alone because where the spirit of the Lord is, there’s freedom. And that means freedom always wins.
So thank you for the honor. Thank you for the honor of addressing you today. Thank you for the stand that you’ve made and the stand that each one of you take. We’re proud to stand with you.
And I truly do believe that with your continued support, with President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years with freedom-loving leaders serving at every level all across this nation, and with God’s help, we’ll finish what we’ve started. We will make America safe again. We will make America more prosperous than ever before. And as I know you’ll hear in just a few minutes, we will make America great again.
Thank you very much. God bless you all. And God bless America.