HOUSTON - As the final speaker at the National Rifle Association convention in downtown Houston, legendary guitarist and 2nd Amendment rock star Ted Nugent implored an enthusiastic crowd to increase NRA membership 20-fold as the culture war over guns continues.
I want to show them how much we will fight for freedom, he said as the crowd stood and cheered.
Nugent had just spent two hours signing autographs for the same fans who lined up by the hundreds just to shake his hand and thank him for aligning his 2nd Amendment beliefs with their own.
We should be allowed to have arms, my goodness, said Houstonian and NRA member Zeke Young. That s in the Constitution.
Nugent, in a speech he has repeated consistently over the years, told his choir that the Constitution is the only document he needs to carry a gun concealed or not.
And we don t think anyone should be exempted because of political correctness or political pressure, said NRA member Wilma Heckman, of Colorado, when asked about gun control measures recently voted down in Congress. It is the heart that kills people, not guns.
While the trade show portion of the convention entered its final hours with 550 vendors selling everything from guns to hunting attire, a small group of protesters also made their last stand across the street in Discovery Green.
As they have done since the start of the three-day convention, protesters continued to read names of victims of gun violence and tried to convince skeptical NRA passersby that guns are the problem.
But they kill so many people, said Tim Campbell holding a placard that read Hey John Wayne, what about cold dead kids?
The more guns we have out there the more people get killed, said Campbell.
I noticed the protesters, said Nugent during his speech. And I notice this all the time, both of them, he said to laughter from the NRA crowd.
Nugent called President Barack Obama a bad, bad man and Attorney General Eric Holder a gun runner. And he said proponents of any form of gun control will remain easy targets for his verbal attacks.
Because if you dare attempt to argue with me about my right to self-defense, I will just have to destroy you, he said as the NRA crowd cheered again.
The public portion of the three-day NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits was scheduled to end at 5 p.m. Sunday with board meetings and executive sessions continuing Monday and Tuesday.