FCC chairman gets NRA award for repealing net neutrality

The NRA bestows its "Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award" on Ajit Pai for withstanding criticism over his push to end net neutrality regulations.

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Rochelle Garner is features editor for CNET News. A native of the mythical land known as Silicon Valley, she has written about the technology industry for more than 20 years. She has worked in an odd mix of publications -- from National Geographic magazine to MacWEEK and Bloomberg News.
Rochelle Garner
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The National Rifle Association on Friday gave Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai its "Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award" for his push to repeal net neutrality regulations. 

The award was handed out on the second day of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Maryland, about 6 miles outside of Washington, DC. CPAC is the country's largest annual gathering of conservative activists. 

Conservatives Rally Together At Annual CPAC Gathering

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai received an award from the NRA on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. 

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

"Ajit Pai is the most courageous, heroic person that I know," said Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union, The Hill reported. "He has received countless death threats. His property has been invaded by the George Soros crowd. He has a family, and his family has been abused in different ways. Chairman Pai, thank you for everything you've done."

The award is a handmade Kentucky long rifle that will stay in the NRA's museum in Fairfax, Virginia.

On Thursday, the FCC published the final notice of the repeal in the Federal Register, which starts a 60-day clock until the rules are removed. The effective date for the repeal is April 23. The FCC voted to repeal the rules on Dec. 14. That same day, a coalition of 23 state attorneys general refiled a lawsuit challenging the FCC's rollback of Obama-era net neutrality regulations.

Net neutrality is the idea that all traffic on the internet is treated equally. In 2015, under President Barack Obama, a Democrat-led FCC passed rules that barred broadband companies from slowing or blocking access to certain websites or services. It also prohibited internet service providers from charging companies a fee to access customers more quickly.

"I don't play small ball," Pai told the CPAC crowd, according to a report from Gizmodo. "I decided that I wanted to make a fundamental change in the way the [FCC] operates. I think it's important for us to set rules for the road that allow the American people to take control of their own lives, instead of having it run out of an American bureaucracy."

Previous winners include Vice President Mike Pence and former sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, David Clarke.

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