Photos: Andrew Hunt
Gathered at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville, the nation’s top Republican leaders discussed the importance of protecting the Second Amendment, while taking jabs at President Barack Obama and his administration in the process.
At the 144th Annual National Rifle Association Convention on Friday, many potential Republican presidential candidates spoke to a sold-out crowd, voicing their support for the Second Amendment.
“Our Second Amendment right shall not be infringed upon,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
Jindal also spoke on the war on religious freedom citing the Religious Freedom Acts in Indiana and Arkansas and the “bullying from Hollywood liberals and big corporations.”
“Freedom is the right of every individual, but it’s not a guarantee, it has to be protected and preserved,” Jindal said. “These are rights endowed by our Creator. America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America.”
Many of the key speakers, including former senator Rick Santorum and Dr. Ben Carson, also voiced their support for the Second Amendment, touting a common idea that new leadership is necessary for America to get back on track.
“We have to get new leadership. We need to understand that freedom is not free; you have to fight for it everyday,” Carson said.
Senator Ted Cruz, who announced his candidacy for president in March, discussed his “regret” over the letter sent to Iran from 48 senators.
“The only thing I regret is not making my signature bigger,” Cruz said.
At points, the speakers strayed from the Second Amendment issue and spoke largely on stopping radical Islam. They also took shots at President Obama and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
“We need a president that won’t pick and choose which parts of the Constitution they defend,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said.
After announcing that he may run for president in 2016, Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Walker’s statements regarding a president that follows the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
“The presidential oath has no asterisks, no fine print,” Rubio said.
Other speakers at the NRA-ILA Leadership forum included Donald Trump, former Gov. Rick Perry, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker.
More than 70,000 people attended the convention over the three-day period.