Hundreds of gun rights activists from across the nation gathered at Cincinnati, OH over the weekend of Sept. 21-23 for the 16th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, sponsored jointly by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

“Our turnout was not surprising, considering that we had a record 736 pre-registrations. We also had over 100 walk-ins,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Still, it was especially heartening to see so many travel from great distances, considering the problems they had with airline flights in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on America.”

One of the 18 presentations concerned terrorism and high-tech threats to the Bill of Rights, specifically addressing concerns of firearm owners who worry that the events of Sept. 11 could result in restrictions on all civil rights, not just gun rights. Speakers on several panels noted that the individual right to keep and bear arms has suddenly been elevated from its traditional importance to personal protection, to its rightful position as a cornerstone of national security.

“One significant revelation of the conference was that gun sales in several regions rose sharply following the terrorist attack,” Gottlieb noted. “Americans are now more convinced than ever that safety is their personal responsibility, and that under the right circumstances, an act of self-defense might also be in the national defense.

“Gun owners went away from the conference more determined than ever to protect all of their civil rights,” he continued. “They are concerned that so-called anti-terrorism measures will translate to restrictions on Constitutional rights of free speech, press, religion and bearing arms. No such restrictions would stop a single terrorist act and they never have, and gun owners know that.

Gottlieb said the fact that so many firearms activists turned out for the conference is clear evidence that gun rights is an important national issue.

“This was one of the most energetic Gun Rights Policy Conferences in memory,” he stated. “Hundreds of activists in attendance paid repeated tribute to the memory of the thousands of their fellow citizens who died on Sept. 11. They went home with the promise that America will come out of this tragedy stronger, and that terrorists will not win, nor will their actions be used as an excuse to erode our Constitution.”

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