"Don't doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment," Palin told the annual NRA gathering Friday. She urged some 9,000 NRA members to "stop them in their tracks."
The NRA's "Celebration of American Values" event was part political rally, part Tea Party gathering, with a parade of mostly Republican warm-up acts before Palin, the day's star, spoke. An NRA member, she electrified the crowd with a speech that defended Alaska, the Second Amendment and America, and attacked President Obama, the "lamestream media," and gun control activists -- "anti-Second Amendment rights activists," she called them.
While some might dismiss her as an "NRA gun-nut chick," she said, those folks don't get it. "Criminals are, of course, to blame for the crimes," she said. "It's the bad guys, not the piece of metal." All gun bans do is "take them away from law-abiding citizens."
Palin said Second Amendment rights – which "protect the weak from the strong" -- are "so important especially" for women and minorities.
In front of this friendly crowd that interrupted her speech with applause and stood for much of it, she attacked hypocritical "celebrities, Hollywood types," who produce violent "shoot 'em-up action films." They employ armed bodyguards and live in gated communities, she said, but "have a problem with you owning a gun to protect you and your family."
"Those left-wing groups are supposed to be so tolerant of everybody's lifestyle, but they're intolerant of our lifestyle."
Palin took a comedy break midway through her speech to embrace her "redneck" spirit, saying that some jokes she has heard "aren't funny, these are me." If shopping for dinner involves an orange vest or camo, then you're a redneck? That's me, she said.
But, turning her remarks toward politics and November, she said, "I can't wait for these midterm elections . . . We'll show them what we think of this fundamental transformation of America that we have been promised."
Chelsey Vanderpool of San Diego gave her a thumbs-up. "She seems honest, a real person," said the 25-year-old student, who has served in the Navy. Her husband is deployed and most of her family is military, she told me.