Huffpost Politics

Sarah Palin's Safari Club Speech Addresses Second Amendment Rights, Tucson Tragedy

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SARAH PALIN SAFARI CLUB SPEECH

Sarah Palin spoke about Second Amendment rights while addressing members of the Safari Club, an international hunting organization, on Saturday night in Reno, Nev., the Reno Gazette Journal reports.

The former Alaska governor's remarks on the contentious issue came in a 40-minute speech delivered to roughly 2,000 guests dressed in formal attire, according to the local outlet. Tickets for the event reportedly cost $100.

The Daily Beast reports:

But in the middle of a story about her daughter's stint on Dancing with the Stars, Palin is suddenly reminded of the pachyderm in the room--"this recent talk coming from the White House," as she puts it, "about President Obama's attempts to perhaps infringe further upon our Second Amendment rights." Somewhere, a man boos, and a few others follow his lead. Palin nods in agreement. "We need to keep tabs on what the White House is telling us," she continues. "Just think if we had even stricter gun control laws!"

The Gazette Journal reports:

But Palin emphasized the importance of local governments in setting policy.

"The best (management) is local" not "bureaucrats thousand of miles away" in Washington making the decisions, she said, drawing on her experience as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, before becoming that state's governor.

Organizers of the annual Safari Club event announced Palin's appearance less than one week following the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz. in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and numerous others were left wounded or killed.

Palin's initial response to the tragedy sparked criticism from both sides of the aisle. In a nearly 8-minute video address, the conservative favorite expressed sympathy for the victims; however, she also lashed out at those who suggested her role in politics -- and specifically a crosshairs map released by her PAC during the 2010 midterm election season -- could have contributed to vitriolic political discourse pervading the country in the wake of the violence.

"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," she said. "That is reprehensible."

In her first interview after making the comments, Palin declined an opportunity to walk back her words. The New York Times reported on what she had to say during an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News:

She dismissed suggestions that she did not know the historical significance of the phrase.

"Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands and in this case," Ms. Palin said, "that's exactly what was going on."

The AP reported at the time:

Palin said her political action committee's use of crosshairs to identify targeted congressional districts for Republican pickups was not original and has been used by Democrats. As she spoke, a Democratic map was shown on the screen with circular targets of districts Democrats wanted to win.

The former governor said the crosshairs graphic was taken down by the PAC's hired graphic artist after the criticism began. "I don't think that was inappropriate," she said.

In the speech she delivered to members of the Safari Club, Palin also didn't shy away from addressing the tragedy in Arizona. The Hill recently noted that the former Alaska governor would likely be watched to see if she alluded to the incident in her address.

"My heart of course aches for the families of those who lost their lives at the hands of a deranged evil criminal, OK," she said, the Daily Beast reports. "And like you I'm praying for the victims, for their full recovery, watching in amazement reports of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, pulling for her, so thankful that her life was spared."

Palin went on to share what appeared to be a take-away point for her following the incident. She said, "We must not allow this tragedy to stifle our constitutionally protected rights," adding, "including our Second Amendment rights. Beware of what's coming."

Click here to read more details from the Daily Beast's report on the event and Palin's speech.

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