â Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) January 16, 2013
The National Rifle Association cast its opposition to Obamaâs plans as âtheÂ fight of the centuryâ in a letter circulated at the 35th annual Shooting,Â Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, known in the trade as âthe SHOTÂ show,â in Las Vegas.
âI warned you this day was coming and now itâs here,â Wayne LaPierre, theÂ NRAâs fiery executive vice president, wrote in a fund-raising letter to theÂ groupâs 4 million members. âItâs not about protecting your children.Â Itâs not about stopping crime. Itâs about banning your guns âŚ PERIOD!â
The letter reflected the NRAâs tough, no-holds-barred campaign againstÂ tighter restrictions on weapons and echoed a sharp video released by theÂ group that calls Obama an âelitist hypocriteâ for having the Secret ServiceÂ protect his two daughters at school while saying that he is âskepticalâÂ about armed guards in all schools.
The SHOT show draws more than 60,000 gun enthusiasts, dealers andÂ Â manufacturers to see the latest weapons and accoutrements. The conventionÂ floor contains 12 miles of firearms displays, mostly military-style assaultÂ rifles, and many booths display the kinds of high-capacity clips theÂ administration wants to ban.
On Wednesday, the brass from the NRA and other gun-advocacy groupsÂ spent the day in closed-door sessions planning a response to ObamaâsÂ proposals, according to people close to the groups who spoke on conditionÂ their names not be used in describing internal deliberations.
LaPierre accused Vice President Biden of lying when he saidÂ there would be an open discussion before the administration developed itsÂ plan to restrict access to certain weapons and clips.
âThe NRA sat in on a White House meeting that was sold to the public as anÂ âopen discussionâ about how to improve school safety.â LaPierre wrote. âButÂ that was a dirty lie. They didnât listen to gun ownersâ concernsâŚtheyÂ didnât consider any real solutions on how we can keep our kids safe.Â Instead Barack Obama, Joe Biden and their gun ban allies in Congress onlyÂ want to BLAME you, VILIFY you, BULLY you, and STRIP you of your Second Amendment freedoms.â
LaPierre warned his members about Obamaâs plan, saying: âRight now,Â theyâre steamrolling ahead with legislation that would ban your guns,Â register your ammunition purchases and even force you to register theÂ firearms you already own with Obamaâs anti-gun bureaucrats.â
The president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is sponsoring the SHOT show, said in a dinner address to more than 1,000Â attendees last night that the huge multibillion gun industry isÂ misunderstood.
âYou didnât cause the monstrous crimes in Newtown,â said Steve Sanetti,Â the CEO and president of the foundation. âAnd neither did we.âÂ In his speech, he specifically addressed military assault rifles, whichÂ the NSSF has rebranded âmodern sporting rifles.â
âMillions of law-abiding sportsmen across the nation own them, and whenÂ those misinformed about firearms say that 'no sportsman has any need for aÂ gun that is only used to kill people,' they are in effect calling millionsÂ of American sportsmen murderers---not exactly the way to promote civilÂ discourse,â said Sanetti.
LaPierreâs letter took a tougher line.
âThe media has been on a vicious tirade to slander and intimidate you,Â me and our fellow NRA members, â LaPierre wrote. âWeâve been calledÂ terrorists and worse. Theyâve blamed us and our Second Amendment freedomsÂ for the actions of violent criminals and madmen. Our lives have beenÂ threatened.â
Several gun industry executives now have 24-hour armed guards since theÂ Newtown shootings, according to firearms industry officials interviewed here.
âBut I wonât let these brutal and bitterly personal attacks on you andÂ me go unchallenged. Iâll fight freedomâs enemies. Iâll fight to make ourÂ schools safer. And Iâll fight for your fundamental right to self-defenseÂ and your sacred Right to Keep and Bear Arms,â LaPierre wrote. ââŚI need youÂ in our corner TODAY.â
How NRAâs true believers converted a marksmanship group into a mighty gun lobbyÂ
Transcript: President Obama announces gun-control actions
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