LaPierre says gun owners are ready to ‘stand and fight’
By Ashley Killough, (CNN) — Continuing his charge against the Obama administration on gun control proposals, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association is scheduled to respond to the president’s State of the Union while speaking Thursday at the annual convention for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Nashville.
The speech comes one day after LaPierre issued a rally-cry for gun owners, writing in an op-ed that “good Americans are prudently getting ready to protect themselves” against what he described as an onslaught of doom.
“Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face-not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival,” the NRA’s executive vice president wrote in the op-ed published Wednesday by the conservative news website, The Daily Caller.
“It’s responsible behavior,” he continued. “And it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that.”
LaPierre has been a leading yet controversial voice against gun control proposals as Washington grapples with a flood of firearm legislation in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting. President Obama also renewed his plea for Congress to vote on tougher gun laws during his State of the Union address earlier this week.
“Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote,” Obama said. “Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”
LaPierre wrote that defenders of gun rights are more fired up than ever to purchase firearms-not because they fear conflict with the government, as some have argued, but because they “anticipate confrontations where the government isn’t there.”
As examples, he cited stories of looting after Superstorm Sandy, claimed terrorists would infiltrate through the U.S. southern border and warned of a lack of funds to pay for police protection should Obama’s fiscal policies result in economic disaster.
“No wonder Americans are buying guns in record numbers right now, while they still can and before their choice about which firearm is right for their family is taken away forever,” he wrote.
White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe responded to the op-ed, writing on Twitter Wednesday that it’s “hard to believe this is real. Every GOPer should read and decide if this delusional person will call the shots.”
LaPierre further laid out a four-year plan for a “resistance movement” that entails fighting legal battles against gun law legislation, boosting NRA membership, and strengthening the organization financially. Deep into his op-ed, he called for donations-“$20, $50, $250, or $1,000 at a time-and dedicated several paragraphs to reasons why the group needed more members.
“An even stronger NRA is the only chance gun owners have to withstand the coming siege,” he wrote, saying the group is launching a “full-court initiative” to recruit more “lover(s) of freedom.” The group already one of the largest advocacy organizations, with four million members.
“This begins with remembering to keep your own membership active, or reactivate it if it has lapsed,” he continued. “It means reminding yourself, ‘I have a son and daughter who aren’t members and should be’.”
LaPierre also blamed the media, certain lawmakers and high-profile figures, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for making Americans “feel guilty about buying a gun.”
“The enemies of freedom demonize gun buyers and portray us as social lepers,” he added.
Concluding his op-ed, LaPierre vowed that NRA members “will not surrender.”
“We will not appease. We will buy more guns than ever. We will use them for sport and lawful self-defense more than ever. We will grow the NRA more than ever. And we will be prouder than ever to be freedom-loving NRA patriots,” he wrote. “We will Stand and Fight.”