Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -
The final speaker at last Saturday night's Celebration of American Values Freedom Event during the NRA Annual Meeting was longtime NRA member and active Second Amendment supporter Governor Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee began the evening with telling the crowd about how his love of firearms began. Having a father and grandfather who were both "gun clingers" meant his family raised him from an early age to understand that a gun was not a toy — the same way most people starts out.
Learning to shoot with an old 16-gauge shotgun that he said was probably worth less than its instruction booklet, Huckabee collected pop bottles as a young boy until he had saved up enough for a single-shot .22 caliber rifle that "did a lot of squirrel hunting in South Arkansas," Huckabee boasted. As he grew older, he graduated from squirrel hunting and is now an avid duck and turkey hunter.
But as much as Huckabee and the members of the audience love hunting, "I want you to realize that the Second Amendment was not given to us to provide for and protect a hobby or a sport," he told them. "The Second Amendment is about preserving our freedom and without the freedom to make our own decisions as to what is right and what is wrong and what we do with our own families, it's not just hunting that we lose."
Huckabee then thanked Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox and the many people of the NRA who work every day to make sure our basic and fundamental rights as Americans are not taken from us. "Your membership is worth it's weight in gold," Huckabee said, explaining that it pays for the NRA to spend their time protecting Second Amendment rights so that you don't have to.
Another story Huckabee recalled was later in life, during his undergraduate studies at Ouachita Baptist University. For reasons he still does not understand, students were forbidden to bring any cooking appliances into the dorms except for popcorn poppers. Naturally everyone brought the one thing they were allowed to cook with, but Huckabee had other plans for his device. While he never did make popcorn with it, Huckabee admitted to the audience that it became very effective at frying squirrels.
At the end of his speech, Huckabee reiterated his love for America and appreciation for all the NRA does to a standing ovation from the crowd.
With night's event concluded, attendees began to make their way back from the Consol Energy Center to their hotels in preparation for the final day of the 2011 NRA Annual Meeting.