Former US Vice President Mike Pence was recently booed at the annual meeting of the United States’s largest gun rights lobby even as he desired to present himself as a more determined defender of gun rights than his one-time boss Donald Trump.
Mike Pence was booed
Pence and Trump were among the top Republican hopefuls for the 2024 presidential race at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) three-day gathering in Indianapolis, with both promising to defend Americans’ right to bear arms at all costs.
The NRA’s most ardent members are meeting just days after mass shootings at a school in Nashville and a bank in Louisville that killed 11 people, including children. Last year’s convention followed the attack on a primary school in Uvalde in which 19 children were killed.
Boos rang out across the conference room as the former Indiana governor, Pence took the stage to deliver his speech in an indication of the tough battle he is likely to face if he decides to take on Trump for the Republican nomination.
Trump supporters have soured on Pence because he refused to back the former president’s false claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election and overturn Trump’s election loss in his former capacity as president of the US Senate.
“I love you too,” Pence joked to the crowd of hundreds, many of them wearing Trump-themed T-shirts and red baseball hats.
Pence, who has a “gold-plated rating” from the gun lobby for his stance on gun rights, called for armed officers at all schools and speedier executions of shooters.
“I believe the time has come to institute a federal death penalty statute, with an accelerated appeal, to ensure those who engage in mass shootings face execution in months, not years,” Pence said.
Trump, meanwhile, used the forum to declare himself “the most pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment president” in the nation’s history.
“I will be your loyal friend and fearless champion once again as the 47th president of the United States,” Trump promised, revealing plans to give a tax credit to reimburse teachers who obtain a concealed-carry weapon and get training “from highly-qualified experts”.