In a speech billed as his official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre on Thursday accused the President of only pretending to care about school safety in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting in December.
“That charade ended at the State of the Union, when the President himself exposed their fraudulent intentions,” LaPierre, speaking about gun control advocates, told a receptive crowd. “They only care about their decades long, decades old gun control agenda. Ban every gun they can. Tax every gun sold. And register every gun owner.”
The short speech, given at the annual convention of the National Wild Turkey Federation, featured the defiant, confrontational tone that LaPierre has maintained since his first post-Newtown public comments, on Dec. 21.
“This was the address in which the President laid out his most ambitious agenda,” LaPierre said. “In an hour long speech, nowhere were the words school safety to be found. Just think about that. … When nothing else matters to every parent in America, President Obama had nothing to say about school security.”
LaPierre said the NRA had agreed with Obama when he said after Newtown that “we’re going to have to look at schools.”
“A few days after the President’s press conference we announced the NRA School Shield safety program,” LaPierre said. “When we did that, the media, they scoffed at our proposal. The President said he was skeptical.”
LaPierre renewed his call for “armed police and security officers in every single school in America.”
As for proposed new gun control measures, LaPierre said that he had warned people last year that if Obama was re-elected, the President would attempt a “dismantling” of the Second Amendment. He dismissed any bans on firearms and magazines, and criticized the idea of universal background checks.
“There’s nothing universal about it at all,” he said. “Think about it, criminals won’t be part of that universe. That’s common sense. They’ll steal their guns, or they’ll get them, and everything else they want, on the black market.”
The people who would be checked, LaPierre said, are the “sane, decent, law-abiding American citizens,” whose names would be put into a “massive” database.
“None of it does anything to keep our children safer,” LaPierre said.
The NRA has not ceded ground in the gun control debate that erupted after the December massacre in the Connecticut elementary school.
LaPierre’s speech Thursday came a after day he had an op-ed published in the conservative website The Daily Caller titled “Stand and Fight.” In that piece, LaPierre called gun owners and gun lovers to action, and warned of the dangers of gangs, terrorists, and society-destroying disasters.
“Responsible Americans realize that the world as we know it has changed,” LaPierre wrote. “We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster… Gun owners are not buying firearms because they anticipate a confrontation with the government. Rather, we anticipate confrontations where the government isn’t there—or simply doesn’t show up in time.”
“So they want to ban high capacity magazines. Not for the security that surrounds the president, congress, Mayor Bloomberg, rock stars, CEOs and wealthy big shots,” the ad’s narrator said. “And the mad men, drug cartels and home-invading killers will still get them from the same black market that sells drugs, stolen cars and everything else that criminals buy.”
“It’s just the rest of us, the law-abiding average people, who will have to defend our families with limited capacity magazines,” the narrator continued
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com