The National Rifle Association has come against President Obama's proposals to curb gun violence, saying they will only hurt legal gun-owners while leaving children unprotected.
Obama called on Congress to swiftly pass legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use and to require universal background checks for all gun buyers. Obama’s proposals include mental health and school safety measures, as well as a tough new crackdown on gun trafficking.
"We look forward to working with Congress on a bipartisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children," the NRA said in a statement. "Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
NRA President David Keene was more strident in an afternoon interview on former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's radio show.
"This is an anti-gun agenda pushed by an administration that is a committed anti-gun administration," Keene said. He called Obama's executive orders aimed at increasing school safety "a fig leaf to cover his real agenda, which is to go after guns."
The NRA has argued that putting armed guards in schools is a more effective response to the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shootings than new gun restrictions.
The NRA and other gun-advocacy groups attending the 35th annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference spent the day in closed-door sessions planning a response to the administration. In a letter circulated at the conference NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called opposition to Obama's policies “the fight of the century.”