Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin served as keynote speaker for hunting organization Safari Club International’s Jan. 29 convention in Reno, speaking to approximately 2,500 organization members, the Daily Beast reported Monday.
Palin discussed the importance of hunting and Second Amendment rights, both of which are key to the Safari Club, which describes the group as “the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide.”
“I personally understand the importance of protecting the environment,” Palin told audience members Saturday, as reported by the Gazette Journal.
In one instance, Palin altered her now-notorious “Don’t retreat, reload” catchphrase, which she repeatedly used during midterm 2010 elections when advising citizens to fight for gun rights.
“Don’t retreat, stand tall,” Palin said at the Safari Club convention, emphasizing the importance of “responsible conservation.”
But Palin’s aide Rebecca Mansour denied rumors that the former governor has nixed ‘reload’ from the motto.
“The governor actually did use the phrase ‘Don’t retreat, reload,’” Mansour told Politico in an email. “She also said, ‘Don’t retreat, stand tall.’”
Palin’s heavily scrutinized motto, “Don’t retreat, reload,” has been the subject of much criticism since the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting massacre, which resulted in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head, six deaths, and many injuries. During midterm elections, Palin created a map depicting rifle crosshairs over vulnerable districts, including Giffords’.
The Safari Club extended the speaking invitation to Palin less than a week after the Tucson shooting.
Citing the many media figures that have pledged not to give her any news coverage for the month of February, Palin said the boycott “sounds good…because there’s a lot of chaos in Cairo, and I can’t wait to not get blamed for it–at least for a month,” the Daily Beast reported.
As Palin discussed what she said were President Barack Obama’s “attempts to perhaps infringe further upon our Second Amendment rights,” a man in the audience reportedly began booing, leading others to join in.
Palin continued speaking to convention attendees, “We need to keep tabs on what the White House is telling us…Just think if we had even stricter gun control laws!”
Palin also addressed last year’s peculiar news story about an annoyed “Dancing with the Stars” viewer shooting his television set out of frustration that Palin’s daughter Bristol kept moving forward in the show.
“Here’s how I figure it. Remember that weird guy in Wisconsin who was so angry, so upset, watching a Palin win slot after slot each week on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ that he shot Bristol through his TV?” Palin asked. “He blasted his Panasonic? Well, I’m thinking, ‘Imagine more gun control. Then he’d have to attack his Panasonic with a butter knife.’”
Palin also talked about the importance of local governments creating policies.
“The best [management] is local,” Palin said. “[Not] bureaucrats thousand of miles away [in Washington].”
Palin gave condolences to Giffords and other shooting victims, stating her “heart of course aches for the families of those who lost their lives at the hands of a deranged evil criminal…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.”
Upon further addressing the Tucson tragedy, Palin explained “how important it is…for America’s sake, that we do not allow the evil acts of one mentally deranged murderer [to] change America’s way of life. We must not allow this tragedy to stifle our constitutionally protected rights, including our Second Amendment rights. Beware of what’s coming. I really do believe that God has shed his grace on thee…We can’t allow an atrophy of the foundation that is America, that is so exceptional.”
This article has been updated.