NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks on universal gun registration. (Photo: NRA)
National Rifle Association executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre continued speaking out against President Obama's recent gun control proposals Saturday night, zeroing in on "the real consequences of background checks," according to the NRA.
The organization has been targeted by many on the left in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary last December. While the NRA argues that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens creates a safer community, many in the administration and on the left disagree, saying it leads to more gun violence and accidental deaths.
Most recently, the NRA has been publicizing a memo it obtained from the Justice Department that says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on "requiring gun registration," and says gun buybacks would not be effective "unless massive and coupled with a ban."
LaPierre began his speech with a reminder on why he believes it's so important to counter strict gun control measures:
"The Second Amendment -- it's not just words on parchment. It's not a frivolous suggestion from our Founding Fathers to be interpreted on a whim. It lies on the very heart of what our country was founded upon. Our Founding Fathers knew that without the Second Amendment, all of our other freedoms could be in jeopardy. [And] our freedoms are the very essence of America. They are what make America unique."
Now, he said, we're witnessing the single-most devastating attack on that right that "our country has ever seen."
He discussed NRA proposals to make schools safer, noting that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) admitted that she had gun control legislation in her desk for a year and was waiting for the "right time" to introduce it. In his opinion, many gun control opponents more about politics than they are proven solutions.
"Waiting for an unspeakable act to occur so the American people could be persuaded to buy her political agenda?" LaPierre commented with disgust. "It's not about making our kids or our streets safer, it's all about their decades-old agenda."
He soon got to the heart of his speech: universal background checks, and what he claims they're really all about:
"Don't you be fooled. There is nothing "universal," nor "reasonable" about it. They ought to stop pretending and stop calling it what it will never be. Criminals will never be a part of it, and I have come to believe that the adjudicated mentally incompetent [won't either]...This so-called universal background check that you're hearing about is aimed at one thing: it's aimed at registering your guns and, when another tragic opportunity presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns."
"Imagine right now, your name on a massive government list," he asked the audience, noting that it would be pretty "handy" for a drug dealer, thug, or criminal. "How safe do you think that government list will be?" he continued, noting the flood of personal information released this year by various media outlets on gun owners.
The crowd stands and cheers after the NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre urges them to stand for their rights. (Photo: NRA)
LaPierre proceeded to highlight other gun control proposals state by state, concluding with a word on how the Mexican government has asked the U.S. Senate for a registry of all gun owners in the United States.
"What is the point of that?" he asked.
"They have all the security they want," LaPierre said, referring to politicians. "Our only means of security is the Second Amendment when the glass breaks in the middle of the night, and we have a right to defend ourselves...They don't have the right to take that right away."
"Was this what our Founding Fathers intended?" he asked. What Washington needs to do is recognize that Americans really have shared goals: they want their communities to be safer, and they will do anything to protect their kids.
Start focusing on that, he said, and "stop trying to convince the American people that all law-abiding gun owners are criminals in waiting."
He concluded with an inspiring statement on how many gun control proposals have failed, and NRA members and Americans need to continue standing up and making their voices heard. He told the crowd to call their congressmen and senators this week, then sit down and write a hand-written letter, and follow up with an email.
"We will not be duped. We will not be demonized. And we will not be divided," he said.
"As lawful gun-owners, we deserve nothing less than absolute respect as people that believe in our individual rights, believe in individual responsibility, believe in protecting our families, and believe in defending our country."