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NRA boss keeps details of CPAC speech concealed, as gun control fight heats up

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With the gun control debate heating up in Washington in the wake of the Parkland shooting, the CEO of the National Rifle Association is keeping details about his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference under wraps – apparently as a precaution. 

A spokesman for the NRA confirmed to Fox News that Wayne LaPierre will speak at the conservative conference, which kicked off Wednesday outside Washington. 

But unlike for other speakers, information about his appearance was not publicly released.

A time for the speech has not been finalized, the spokesman said. The Washington Examiner reported that his name is deliberately being kept off the schedule as a precaution due to possible outrage from anti-gun protesters in the wake of the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A related panel discussion was also left off the schedule.

“Wayne LaPierre will be speaking, he’s my friend, he’s a leader in this area, and I’m glad he’s going to be there,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which is heading up CPAC, said on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing.”

The shooting has re-ignited the long-running debate over the Second Amendment and gun control laws. President Trump announced late Tuesday that he has ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft new regulations to ban firearm modifiers like the “bump stock” used in the Las Vegas shooting in October.

TRUMP CONSIDERS RAISING PURCHASE AGE FOR CERTAIN FIREARMS, AMID GUN CONTROL TALKS

A White House source told Fox News on Wednesday that Trump is open to a number of measures to address mass shootings, including a rise in the minimum age for owning certain firearms — proposals likely to see some resistance from the NRA and other gun-rights groups.

LaPierre, and other high-profile pro-Second Amendment speakers such as Dana Loesch, will be closely watched to see how they respond to the proposals from the White House.

Trump himself will speak Friday and it is unclear if he will address calls for new gun legislation, and how that will be received.

The prominence of the gun debate will also tap into a tension between more traditional conservatives — who consider Second Amendment protections paramount — and nationalist-populists more focused on immigration and Islamism.

Targeting the latter wing is the appearance scheduled for Thursday by right-wing French former lawmaker Marion Maréchal-Le Pen — the niece of 2017 French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and the granddaughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

French far-right Front National Parliament member Marion Marechal Le Pen takes part in the "La Manif Pour Tous" (Demonstration For All) to protest against PMA (Procreation Medicalement Assistee or Medically Assisted Reproduction) and GPA (Grossesse pour Autrui or Gestation for Others) during a march in Paris, France, October 16, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - S1BEUHICYDAC

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen will speak at CPAC.

 (Reuters)

The 28-year-old Marion is widely viewed as more conservative than her aunt Marine — who worked to distance herself and “de-toxify” her party of the racist and anti-Semitic views of her father Jean-Marie, who was convicted and fined for comments in which he called the Holocaust a “detail of history.” Marine made it to the run-off in 2017 where she lost to now-President Emmanuel Macron.

While both share hardline views on issues such as Islam and immigration, Marion has expressed more traditionally conservative views on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. According to French newspaper L’Incorrect, Le Pen’s theme at CPAC will be “conservativism on both shores.”

Schlapp defended the invite in the face of criticism from conservatives.

“She’s her own person, she’s a young person, she’s broken with her family on those positons and she’s a new voice in France and by the way she’s a voice that resembles a lot of conservative voices here,” he said on “The Daily Briefing.” “She’s for traditional marriage, she’s pro-life, she doesn’t believe that the welfare state solves problems and, yes, she wants to make sure when people immigrate into France that they want to be French and love the country.”

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg was unconvinced, calling the move a “bad decision” and asking whether she was a classical liberal or a “National Front Kardashian with better messaging?”

The tension hits at the center of the debate within conservative circles over whether the GOP should stick to its free-market Reaganite conservatism or lean toward the more European-style nationalist-populist movements — reflected in the 2016 candidacy of Donald Trump. 

CPAC generally has tilted toward the former, and has had a sometimes-rocky relationship with populist speakers and lawmakers. Trump pulled out of a planned appearance there in 2016 over concerns of a backlash from more traditional conservatives.

With Trump now president, there is evidence of more populism seeping into CPAC. Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage will speak, as will former Trump adviser and Fox News contributor Sebastian Gorka — both of whom have called for restriction of immigration and warned against the dangers of Islamism.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and John Roberts contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.



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Federal prisons on lockdown in run-up to Biden inauguration

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NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The lockdown at more than 120 federal Bureau of Prisons facilities took effect at 12 a.m. Saturday, according to an email to employees from the president of the union representing federal correctional officers.

“In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.

The lockdown decision is precautionary, no specific information led to it and it is not in response to any significant events occurring inside facilities, the bureau said.

To avoid backlash from inmates, the lockdown was not announced until after they were locked in their cells Friday evening.

Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, wrote in his email to staff that inmates should still be given access in small groups to showers, phones and email and can still be involved in preparing food and performing basic maintenance.

Prison officials patrol around the United States Penitentiary at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., on. Jan. 15, 2021.Bryan Woolston / Reuters

Messages seeking comment were left with Fausey on Saturday.

The agency last put in place a nationwide lockdown in April to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

During a lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is canceled. Because of coronavirus, social visits only resumed in October, but many facilities have canceled them again as infections spiked.

One reason for the new nationwide lockdown is that the bureau is moving some of its Special Operations Response Teams from prison facilities to Washington, D.C., to bolster security after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Authorities are concerned there could be more violence, not only in the nation’s capital, but also at state capitals, before Trump leaves office Jan. 20.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency was coordinating with officials at the Justice Department to be ready to deploy as needed. Earlier this month, about 100 officers were sent to the Justice Department’s headquarters to supplement security staff and were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service and given special legal powers to “enforce federal criminal statutes and protect federal property and personnel,” said the spokesman, Justin Long.

The specialized units typically respond to disturbances and other emergencies at prisons, such as riots, assaults, escapes and escape attempts, and hostage situations. Their absence can leave gaps in a prison’s emergency response and put remaining staff at risk.

“The things that happen outside the walls could affect those working behind the walls,” Aaron McGlothin, a local union president at a federal prison in California.

As the pandemic continues to menace federal inmates and staff, a federal lockup in Mendota, California, is also dealing with a possible case of tuberculosis.

According to an email to staff Friday, an inmate at the medium-security facility has been placed in a negative pressure room after returning a positive skin test and an X-ray that indicated an active case of tuberculosis.

The inmate was not showing symptoms of the lung disease and is undergoing further testing to confirm a diagnosis, the email said.

As a precaution, all other inmates on the affected inmate’s unit were placed on quarantine status and given skin tests for tuberculosis.

The bacterial disease is spread similarly to Covid-19, through droplets that an infected person expels by coughing, sneezing or through other activities such as singing and talking.

Mendota also has 10 current inmate cases and six current staff cases of Covid-19.

As of Wednesday, the last day for which data was available, there were 4,718 federal inmates and 2,049 Bureau of Prisons staff members with current positive tests for Covid-19.

Since the first case was reported in March, 38,535 inmates and 3,553 staff have recovered from the virus. So far, 190 federal inmates and 3 staff members have died.

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Victory for Germany's ‘mini-Merkel’ will push more countries to quit EU, warns ex-MEP

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ANGELA Merkel’s probable replacement as Germany’s leader – sometimes referred to as ‘mini-Merkel’ in recognition of his close ties with the departing Chancellor – is likely to pursue policies which will drive more of the EU27 to consider following the UK out of the bloc, a former MEP has said.

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Thank God we are out! MEPs explode as Turkey’s Erdogan begs to join Brussels bloc

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MEPs have exploded at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan after he begged to join the bloc.

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