Entries in NRA (13)


NRA's LaPierre Fires Away at Obama and His Inaugural Address

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- In a scathing attack on President Obama, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association told a gathering of hunters in Nevada Tuesday night that the administration is determined to either tax their firearms or take them away.

Wayne LaPierre, who has previously denounced the president's plan to curb gun violence in the U.S., claimed that remarks made in Obama’s inaugural address suggested that principles trumped the absolutism of Second Amendment rights.

LaPierre said that was a direct assault on the rights of the NRA and its members.

According to the NRA official, “When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti.”

LaPierre also spoke out against a possible federal registry to collect the names of gun owners, saying the real intent of the government was “Either to tax them, or to take them.”

Alleging that the president is only interested in protecting himself and his wealthy allies, LaPierre said that Obama believes "the only principled way to make children safe is to make lawful citizens less safe and violent criminals more safe."

He added that criminals will also benefit from expanded gun control measures.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA President Defends Ad Attacking Obama, Vows ‘Battle’ Ahead

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with ABC News Wednesday evening, NRA President David Keene said the gun-rights lobby is aggressively preparing for “battle” with the White House and Congress over President Obama’s sweeping new proposals to curb gun violence.

Keene criticized Obama’s announcement Wednesday -- during which the president was surrounded by four children from around the country -- for, “using kids to advance an ideological agenda.” And Keene expressed cautious confidence that few of the legislative measures would ultimately pass.

“It’s going to be very tough for the president to accomplish some of these things, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do it if he really turns it on,” Keene told ABC.

“All bets are off when a president really wants to go to war with you,” he said. "We’re gonna be there and we’re gonna fight it."

Keene said passage of the 1994 assault weapons ban remains fresh in the minds of NRA leaders, noting that initial widespread congressional opposition gradually gave way to a narrow margin in favor, thanks in part to pressure from then-President Bill Clinton.

NRA members would hold accountable any politicians who, “sell them out to some pie-in-the-sky scheme such as the president is proposing,” he said.

The group launched a new “Stand and Fight” advocacy campaign Tuesday night, opposing Obama’s gun control measures, anchored by a controversial new TV ad that began airing online and on the Sportsman Channel.

The ad calls President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for sending his daughters to a private school with armed guards while questioning whether all other U.S. schools should have the same security measures. The White House blasted the ad as “repugnant and cowardly.”

“When the question is the protection of children, which is what this is all about… it’s perfectly legitimate to ask why some children should be protected and other children should not be protected,” Keene said, defending the ad.

“We were not talking about the president’s kids. We were talking about an elite class who criticizes others in their desire to be safe while making sure that they and their families and their children are always protected."

“We’re not talking about the Secret Service protection the president’s children enjoy -- they ought to have that wherever they go,” he added.

Keene also ribbed Obama for using children as “props” for his announcement:  “We didn’t line them up on a stage and pat them on the shoulder while we were urging somebody to take our position,” he said.

The NRA has acknowledged some areas of common ground for curbing gun violence included the Obama proposal -- namely beefed up resources for mental health care, better background check data and increased presence of school resource officers (police) at public schools.

But Keene said many of those steps were just “fig leaves.”

“What the president did is say … ‘I care about armed security.’ He can check off that box on the Gallup polls. He can say to the people concerned about it, ‘It’s part of my package.’ … He said the problem of severely, mentally ill, 'We’re going to study it.'"

Obama called for federal aid to states for the hiring of up to 1,000 new resource officers and school counselors. Currently, there are armed resource officers at 28,000 U.S. schools.

“That’s a drop in the ocean in terms of the problem,” Keene said. “It’s simply a fig leaf so he can pursue an anti-gun agenda. It has less to do with security and more to do with guns.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA Blasts Biden After Meeting on Guns

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The National Rifle Association blasted Vice President Joe Biden after a meeting Thursday afternoon with gun ownership groups, arguing that the talks did not produce legitimate ideas about how to curb gun violence but instead went after the Second Amendment.

"We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment," the NRA said in a statement. "While claiming that no policy proposals would be 'prejudged,' this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners -- honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans."

"It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems," the NRA said. "We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works -- and what does not."

Biden, whose office released a photo of the vice president meeting with gun ownership groups Thursday, told reporters earlier in the day that he has already started putting together a list of gun-control recommendations that he plans to issue next Tuesday.

He has suggested the administration would be ready to take executive action on the issue, which would not require votes from Congress. That prospect has raised alarm bells for gun rights advocates.

Biden told reporters Thursday, during a meeting a with sportsmen, women and wildlife groups, that he would deliver the list of recommendations to the president on Jan. 15, and that an improved system for background checks has emerged as a a priority for the stakeholders he's met so far. Guns have been at the top of the White House agenda since the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"I am putting together a series of recommendations for the president that will, that he will take a look at. There's a real, very tight window to do this," Biden said. "I committed to him I'd have these recommendations to him by Tuesday. And it doesn't mean it's the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act."

Biden said he has not reached any conclusions just yet but recounted the recommendations that have been made to him from the various stakeholders he's met with over the past month. The vice president said a consensus emerged from the meetings on the need to strengthen the background check system.

"So far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks, not just close the gun show loophole, but total, universal background checks, even including private sales," Biden said.

Other suggestions offered at the meetings have centered on gun safety and the responsibility that goes along with gun ownership, dealing with high-capacity magazines, and the ability of federal agencies to do research on gun violence.

Biden sat down with representatives of the NRA and other supporters of gun rights on the second day of this week's meetings on gun violence.

He said at one meeting that he has "never quite heard so much talk about high-capacity magazines" as he has since the shootings in Newtown.

Biden met with gun-violence victims' groups and proponents of gun control on Wednesday. Thursday was his opportunity to get a different side of the story. Biden met with the National Rifle Association and Attorney General Eric Holder met with representatives from Walmart, one of the largest sellers of firearms in the country.

"There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet, but we're compiling it all with the help the attorney general and all the rest of the cabinet members, as well as legislative action, we believe, is required," Biden said.

In addition to the NRA, sportsmen's groups, women's groups, wildlife groups and representatives of the entertainment industry were invited to meetings with Biden.

In December, the NRA called for armed officers to be placed in every school after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Walmart initially turned down an invitation to participate in the talks but reversed its decision after it "underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person," a spokesman said.

"We take this issue very seriously and are committed staying engaged in this discussion as the administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward," David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications for Walmart, said.

The latest meetings come one day after Biden held a first round of talks this week with gun safety advocacy groups and victims of gun violence. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, the vice president expressed the administration's commitment to develop effective gun policy by considering all ideas.

Biden also held conference calls with 15 governors and 16 state and local elected officials Wednesday.

Shortly after the shootings in which 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary last month, President Obama assigned Biden to head a task force and offer suggestions on curbing gun violence.

"Every once in a while there's something that awakens the conscience of the country, and that tragic event did in a way like nothing I've seen in my career," Biden said Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA to 'Offer Meaningful Contributions' to Prevent More Gun Violence

NRA/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- For the past week, leadership at the National Rifle Association has largely stayed away from the media.  But on Friday morning, the group may weigh in on how to keep a deadly shooting massacre like the one last week at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school from happening again.

The NRA will hold a news conference in Washington, D.C., just before 11 a.m.

Its leadership has held off on interviews this week after refusing to appear on Sunday morning public affairs shows this past weekend.

The group came under pressure after Adam Lanza, 20, killed 20 children and six adults before shooting himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Friday.

"Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting," the group said in a press release Tuesday.  "The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

NRA News anchor Ginny Simone said on Thursday that in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, membership surged "with an average of 8,000 new members a day."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the NRA is partially to blame for the tragedy.

"We're not trying to take away your right to advance the interests of gun owners, hunters, people who want to protect themselves," Bloomberg told ABC's Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden in an interview Thursday.  "But that's not an absolute right to encourage behavior which causes things like Connecticut.  In fact, Connecticut is because of some of their actions."

The guns used in the attack were legally purchased and owned by the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, who Adam Lanza shot to death before his assault on the school.

In the aftermath of the shooting, many, including Bloomberg, have called for stricter regulations on the types of weapons used in this and other instances of mass gun violence this year.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she intends to introduce a bill banning assault weapons on the first day of next year's Congress -- a step the president said he supports.

President Obama announced on Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will head a task force of leaders from across the country that will evaluate the best solutions to reduce gun violence in the United States.

Obama said he will "use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this."

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, of which Mayor Bloomberg is a co-chair, released a letter to Obama signed by more than 750 mayors calling on him to produce a plan to "make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns."

The letter asked for mandatory background checks for gun buyers, a ban on high-capacity rifles and ammunition magazines, and a designation of gun trafficking as a federal crime.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bloomberg Blasts NRA: 'Connecticut Is Because of Some of Their Actions'

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday placed partial blame on the National Rifle Association for the Connecticut elementary school massacre in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down last week.

"We're not trying to take away your right to advance the interests of gun owners, hunters, people who want to protect themselves," Bloomberg told Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden in an interview Thursday. "But that's not an absolute right to encourage behavior which causes things like Connecticut. In fact, Connecticut is because of some of their actions."

In the days after the massacre, the NRA has remained silent, only speaking up Wednesday to announce it would hold a press conference on Friday morning. But in the meantime, people with various stances on guns, from stark anti-gun advocates to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., a pro-gun politician who famously shot a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle in a 2010 re-election ad, are clamoring for something to be done.

"I think the public has finally come to the conclusion that, what the Supreme Court said you can do is have reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms, is something that our society finally has woken up and said, 'We are going to do this whether you like it or not,'" Bloomberg said.

In 2007, Bloomberg was one of 50 mayors who gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand that Congress eliminate a law that restricts the ability of local police to trace criminals' weapons. At the time, gun advocates claimed the law, which was an amendment attached to the House appropriations bill in 2003, infringed on their Second Amendment rights.

But if he had his preference, Bloomberg said he would go farther than the 1994 ban and outlaw all automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. The mayor said magazines shouldn't be allowed to contain more than five or even three rounds.

"If you haven't hit the deer with three shots, you're a pretty lousy shot. The deer deserves to get away," he said.

Bloomberg said he doesn't absolve the public, including himself, for waiting until a massive tragedy to take national action on gun control.

"I hold you and me responsible," Bloomberg said, "We didn't pay attention to what our legislators were doing, [the NRA] as well... we have let our society degenerate -- our country degenerate to the point where we have a murder rate that you cannot compare it to other countries."

Police say Adam Lanza, 20, entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on the morning of Dec. 14, and used three firearms to kill 26 people before turning a gun on himself.

The weapons police recovered from the scene included a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle, a Glock 9-mm handgun and a Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun. A fourth weapon was found in the shooter's car in the school parking lot. All of the weapons were legal and registered to Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, police said.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms between 2006 and 2010.

President Obama announced Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden, who was formerly the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a leader on the original Federal Assault Weapons Ban in the '90s, would lead a task force to formulate a package of gun control policy recommendations and collect proposals that will curb an "epidemic of gun violence."

While Bloomberg, who endorsed Obama for president, praised his decision to have Biden work on a plan, the mayor took Obama to task, saying in the last four years the president has "gone in the wrong direction" on guns.

"[President Obama] signed two pieces of legislation, one which lets you carry guns in national parks where our kids play," Bloomberg said. "And the other one, he signed a bill so that you can carry a gun on Amtrak. I assume that's to stop the rash of train robberies, which I thought stopped in the 1800s."

Several politicians have also vowed to introduce new gun control legislation when Congress starts a new session in January. But Bloomberg called Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's proposal this week to make greater use of the National Guard to provide more safety in schools "ridiculous."

"You don't want your kids to think that everybody in America is a bad person and that we are locking ourselves down and that we live like we're in a prison," Bloomberg said. "Our National Guard has other things to do. Putting more guns in schools, I mean, the National Guard is not the answer to everything."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NRA Breaks Silence on Connecticut Shooting

NRA/ABC News(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- The National Rifle Association has broken its silence on the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it is ready to “offer meaningful contributions” to the effort to make sure there are no more incidents like the one in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza used an assault rifle to kill 27 people before killing himself.

In the wake of the massacre, in which 20 children were killed, advocates for stricter gun control laws called for Congress, President Obama, and other lawmakers to act swiftly to ban assault weapons from public use.

But the pro-gun organization and lobby refused to comment on the shooting until Tuesday. The group took down its Facebook page, stopped using its Twitter account, and refused to participate in Sunday morning political talk shows on which they were invited to discuss gun control.

On Tuesday, they announced a news conference for Friday, and released a statement saying that NRA members were “heartbroken.”

“The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters — and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” the statement read.

“Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting,” the statement said. “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill his mother at their home, and then to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the rampage. He also had two handguns with him at the time he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting prompted many politicians to make statements supporting gun control, including New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Opponents Protest in Face of NRA Silence on Conn. School Shooting

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Faced with the National Rifle Association's silence in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., opponents of the group are taking to Washington, D.C., to protest.

Chanting "Shame on the NRA," a couple hundred activists marched on Monday from a park on Capitol Hill to the NRA's office.

A nonprofit group called CREDO Mobile organized the "emergency march" in the wake of the killing of 20 children and six adults last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School and suggested that the NRA contributed to the gruesome murder through the policies it promotes.

Holding a sign reading, "I'm a victim of gun violence," Eddie Weingart, a massage therapist from Silver Spring, Md., recounted how his mother was shot and murdered by her ex-husband, who also tried to shoot him when he was just 2 years old.

"My mother was slain by her estranged ex-husband with a 12-gauge shotgun.  He then turned that gun on me, and it malfunctioned, the fortunate reason is why I'm here today," Weingart told ABC News.  "I refuse to be silent.  That's why I come to these protests.  I choose to be a voice to let the NRA and other supporters of the Second Amendment and gun advocacy rights know that this affects me, this affects my family, it affects many families throughout our country."

The National Rifle Association has kept for the most part silent for the days following the attack, which was carried out with legally-purchased guns.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NRA Silent Following School Shooting and Calls for Stricter Gun Laws

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Groups and lawmakers in favor of stricter gun laws haven't wasted any time speaking out following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., but the pro-gun National Rifle Association has been silent.

The NRA, which frequently communicates through social media, hasn't tweeted since before the shooting and its Facebook page has been taken down, a day after the group boasted of reaching 1.7 million "likes.".

On Thursday, a tweet went out from the NRA's official account saying: "@NRA "Did you hear? Our #facebook page reached 1.7 million "likes" today! Thanks for being a friend!"

The NRA couldn't be reached for comment regarding whether the deactivation of its facebook page was connected to Friday's mass shooting.

The debate over the nation's gun laws took center stage on Sunday, when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.

Two handguns were also found at the scene, but law enforcement officials described the Bushmaster as Lanza's primary weapon.  A fourth weapon was found nearby.  The weapons discovered at the school apparently belonged to a family member, possibly his mother, according to authorities.

The NRA was a trending topic on Twitter Sunday with thousands showing their support and distaste for the gun lobbying organization, which plays a significant role in American politics.  That role was denied by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press.

"The NRA's number one objective this time was to defeat Barack Obama for a second term.  Last time I checked the election results, he won and he won comfortably," Bloomberg said.  "This myth that the NRA can destroy political careers is just not true."

A number of the Sunday news talk shows including, ABC's This Week, invited an NRA representative on to their shows to discuss gun control. But the programs received a statement from the NRA declining to comment because details of the investigation into the shooting were still pending.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bloomberg Blasts NRA over ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for the nationwide reform or repeal of Stand Your Ground laws Wednesday at an event in Washington, D.C. to announce the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign.

The campaign is intended to prevent killings like that of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and Bloomberg blamed the National Rifle Association for the Florida law that many feel empowered George Zimmerman to shoot the unarmed Martin.

“In reality the NRA’s leaders weren’t interested in public safety. They were interested in promoting a culture where people take the law into their own hands and face no consequences for it. Let’s call that by its real name, vigilantism,” he said. "The NRA should be ashamed of themselves. This has nothing to do with gun owners' rights. It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.”

Bloomberg, who was joined by civil rights leaders and Florida State Sen. Chris Smith, said the laws had undermined the justice system and have done harm to public safety.

“They justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results,” he said.

ABC News reached out to the NRA for comment, but it has yet to respond.

Two dozen states have enacted laws similar to the one in Florida, and while the laws vary from state to state, most grant varying degrees of immunity to anyone who uses deadly force in self-defense.

Bloomberg cited statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to show an increase in justifiable homicides after the Stand Your Ground laws went into effect.

In Florida, he said, justifiable homicides increased from 12 per year to 36 per year when the five years before and after the passage of the law were compared.

Bloomberg was also joined by former Army Major Jon Soltz, the chairman of Soltz said that U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan had a higher standard of when to use deadly force than Americans who lived in states with Stand Your Ground laws.

“There is no shoot first law for our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. We cannot just shoot somebody because they have a hijab on in Iraq and kill them and say we’re scared. Everybody in Iraq has a weapon and all U.S. forces are always scared,” Soltz said. "This is a legal protection in these states that is actually afforded to Mr. Zimmerman that is not afforded to our troops in combat. Unless I’m wrong I didn’t think Florida was a war zone.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NRA Turns Up Heat on AG Holder for 'Fast and Furious' Controversy

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The National Rifle Association is turning up the heat on Attorney General Eric Holder, running television ads charging that he committed perjury in Congressional testimony about the controversial “Fast and Furious” undercover, gun-running operation.  The ad calls on President Obama to fire Holder.

Things could get even hotter for the attorney general on Tuesday, when he returns to Congress to be questioned again about Fast and Furious.

The NRA ad is the latest salvo in a battle between critics in Congress and the Justice Department on the controversial “gun-walking” operation.  Run by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Fast and Furious involved tracking weapons sold to straw purchasers, who then passed the guns along to their hidden buyers in the Mexican drug cartels.

Hundreds of guns flowed into Mexico under the program, while ATF agents watched and did nothing.  The ATF says it hoped to track the guns to their ultimate destination, and then make arrests.  Instead, many of the guns were used in crimes, including one that was used in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

The controversy has focused on testimony Holder provided to the House Judiciary Committee on May 3, 2011.  During that hearing, Rep. Darell Issa, R-Calif., who is spearheading the Congressional investigation, asked Holder, “When did you first know about the program officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious?  To the best of your knowledge, what date?”

Holder answered: “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released last month a series of Justice Department memos sent to Holder’s office going back to July 2010, that made reference about the gun trafficking investigation being run out of Arizona.

Justice Department officials say the memos are only generic updates and offer no detail or specifics of ATF strategies to allow the guns to pass in large numbers.

Holder has stood by his previous statements, writing to members of Congress on Oct. 7, “Much has been made in the past few days about my Congressional testimony earlier this year regarding Fast and Furious.  My testimony was truthful and accurate and I have been consistent on this point throughout.  I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious or of hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it."

In prepared testimony released Monday evening, Holder reiterates previous comments about the flawed operation in a statement, asserting, “This operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution.  And, unfortunately, we will feel its effects for years to come as guns that were lost during this operation continue to show up at crimes scenes both here and in Mexico.  This should never have happened.  And it must never happen again.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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