About a month to the day after a stunning press conference in response to the massacre in Newtown, Conn., NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre returned to the public scene with a lengthy diatribe in which he panned President Barack Obama’s inaugural address.LaPierre tore into a single line in Obama’s speech, broadening his attack to accuse him of making a “mockery” of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
LaPierre’s criticism centered on this line from Obama’s speech:
“We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”
That line did not seem to specifically target the NRA, but LaPierre accused Obama of trying to “turn the term of absolutism into a dirty word.”
“It’s a way of redefining words so that common sense is turned upside down and no one knows the difference,” LaPierre said at the 56th Annual Weatherby Foundation International Hunting and Conservation Awards in Reno, Nev.
“We’re told that to stop killers we must accept less freedom,” he added. “If that is absolutist, then we are as absolutists as the framers of our Constitution and our founding fathers. And we are proud of it!”
LaPierre said that Obama wanted to “whittle away God-given freedoms,” slamming Obama’s plans to reduce gun violence that he introduced last week. He said that the rights to own semi-automatic weapons and own guns without limits on high-capacity magazines was protected by the Constitution. He also rejected a suggestion to create a federal registry of gun transactions, saying the only purposes of that would be to “tax them or take them.”
“He doesn’t understand you,” LaPierre told the crowd. “He doesn’t agree with the freedoms you cherish. If the only way he can force you to give them up is through scorn and ridicule, he’s more than willing to do it — even as he claims the moral high ground.”
LaPierre’s speech was his first public comment since an appearance on “Meet the Press” two days after the NRA’s press conference. Since then, the NRA had turned to President David Keene to handle most of its media appearances.
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