At the annual NRA convention in Houston, the organization’s public face was not shy about invoking the latest tragedy to defend gun rights, linking the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing with the fight against increased gun control. "How many Bostonians wish they had a gun two weeks ago?" NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said. “Residents were imprisoned behind the locked doors of their own homes,” he added, according to CBS News. “Frightened citizens sheltered in place with no means to defend themselves.”
LaPierre reiterated that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." He said that “Boston proves it” because “good guys with guns stopped terrorists with guns." LaPierre also added that while there will always be people who want to harm others, recent events have shown how individuals need to arm themselves for protection.
Later, television and radio host Glenn Beck spoke at the conference and warned that the “freedom of all mankind is at stake,” reports ABC News. He added: “They feel they must regulate us until we comply, but I will not comply.”
The NRA annual meeting put on display just how much the group that is supposed to represent gun owners has really become a wing of the Republican Party, points out Politico. Democrats were “glaringly absent” from the roster of speakers at the convention. This trend is evident from the group’s political spending over the last electoral cycle. Of the NRA’s $18.6 million on independent expenditures, $13.3 million was used against Democrats, $6.2 million for Republicans, and only $41,506 on helping friendly Democrats, notes Politico, citing figures from the Center for Responsive Politics.