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Gingrich promises NRA he'll take the right to bear arms worldwide

April 13, 2012|By Mitchell Landsberg
(Whitney Curtis/Getty Images )

ST. LOUIS -- Once he’s elected president, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday, he’ll work to extend America’s 2nd Amendment right to bear arms to the entire world.

In a speech to the National Rifle Assn.’s annual convention in St. Louis, Gingrich glossed over the fact that he has effectively suspended his campaign for president and spoke boldly about what he intends to do in the White House.

He said he will begin with an investigation into the “Fast and Furious” program, a failed effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to monitor gun sales along the Mexican border. And, displaying the outsized thinking for which he is known, he said he would work to get the United Nations to recognize the right to bear arms as a universal right.

"The right to bear arms comes from our creator, not from our government,” he said, to cheers. “It is one of the inalienable rights alluded to in our Declaration of Independence. ... Far fewer women would be raped, far fewer children would be killed ... and far fewer dictators would survive if people had the right to bear arms everywhere on the planet.”

Gingrich spoke after Mitt Romney, who is now considered the presumptive GOP nominee, and before former Sen. Rick Santorum, who delivered a bittersweet address just days after suspending his campaign for president.

Santorum noted that he was there “under very different circumstances than I signed up” for. But he drew enthusiastic applause for a speech that was a mix of his campaign stump speech, personal asides about his experiences in the campaign, and a promise to remain active in the fall campaign. He alluded to the NRA’s campaign to defeat Obama, which it calls “All In.”

"I pledge to you that although I'm no longer in this race, that I'll be 'all in' in this election,” Santorum said. “I will do everything I can to make sure we elect Republicans up and down the ticket."

He also spoke about his daughter, Isabella, who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder and whose bout of pneumonia may have played a role in the timing of Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign.

"She is out of the hospital and on the mend, and I want to thank everyone for your prayers,” he said. Referring to his wife, he said, “Karen and I are life members of the NRA and we want to announce today ... that Bella is now a life member too. And I hope it's a long life."

mitchell.landsberg@latimes.com

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