Sarah Palin, who took a pummeling this week in the heated debate over guns following the mass shootings in Tucson, will make a keynote address to a gun convention
later this month.
Coming off what some critics call her "worst week," Palin has had little success fending off accusations that she had directly or indirectly helped fuel the vitriolic and violent climate that some say may have contributed to the shootings that left six dead and 14 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a moderate Democrat
who represents Arizona's Eighth District.
Palin's speech is expected to focus on "her past hunting experiences and how politics affects the current state of hunting and fishing," said the website of the Safari Club International
in Reno, Nev., which describes itself as "the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide." Palin will speak to the group on Jan. 29.
The former Alaska governor has long been a champion of hunting and the culture of guns. Her reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," celebrates the killing of fish and wildlife. A controversial episode in the series showed an unsuspecting caribou in Palin's crosshairs, her finger on the trigger, the sound of the shot, and the caribou crumpling to the ground.
Palin was brought to the center of the debate this week after liberals criticized a map her political action committee put up on its website showing targeted Democratic districts in the crosshairs
of a rifle. She also came under criticism for her campaign refrain, "Don't retreat, reload."
Palin tried to defend herself with a 7 1/2-minute video message on Wednesday that blew back in her face, stirring more controversy.
In a misguided and badly timed move, her video came out on the day of a memorial service in Tucson just hours before President Obama's stirring speech to
a crowd of 14,000 in a sports arena there. Obama's emotional and measured words to an audience that included Giffords' husband, the astronaut Mark E. Kelly, and members of Congress and the Supreme Court, served as a counterpoint to Palin's defensive and provocative message, marked by her use of the term "blood libel,"
which stirred more controversy.
Palin's speech to the gun convention comes as members of Congress in both parties are pushing for gun-control measures. On Friday, Rep. Peter King, a conservative New York Republican, said he planned to introduce legislation
making it illegal to carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of certain government officials, according to The New American. He made the announcement at New York City Hall along with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who opposes gun rights, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and several other mayors, mostly Democrats, from New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
But House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has not been supportive of recent gun-control efforts, and the White House has not taken a stand.
Ironically, Giffords, whose nearly fatal shooting ignited the week's debate, is a Second Amendment supporter
who backs gun rights and ownership of guns. She has stood up against the District of Columbia's ban on guns and was given a zero rating by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.