NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has been laying low since his poorly received appearance on Meet the Press last month, but on Tuesday night, he reemerged with what the organization called a “major response” to President Obama’s inaugural address on Monday. The president actually only made one specific reference to gun violence, saying America’s children, including those in “the quiet lanes of Newtown,” must know that they’re “cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.” LaPierre didn’t address that point, and instead the 12-minute speech at a hunting conference in Nevada fixated on Obama’s remark that we shouldn’t “mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” which was widely interpreted as a reference to congressional Republicans.
LaPierre suggested that Obama was actually talking about the NRA, and accused the president of wanting “to turn the term of absolutism into a dirty word” and “redefining words so that common sense is turned upside down and that nobody knows the difference.”
He went on to attack the president’s gun control proposals, including banning military-style assault weapons and implementing universal background checks. “He wants to put every private, personal firearms transaction right under the thumb of the federal government,” LaPierre said. “He wants to keep all of those names in a massive federal registry. There’s only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners: to either tax ‘em or take ‘em. That’s the only reasons. And anyone who says that’s excessive, President Obama says that’s an absolutist.”
La Pierre also repeated the sentiments expressed in the widely panned NRA ad that called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for rejecting the organization’s call to put armed guards in every school, while his own daughters have Secret Service protection:
“We believe in our right to defend ourselves and our families with semi-automatic firearms technology. We believe that if neither the criminal nor the political class and their bodyguards and their security people are limited by magazine capacity, we should not be limited in our capacity either.”
So if anyone was wondering if the NRA is listening to the many people who say their current tactics are too extreme and counterproductive, the answer is clearly no.