The National Rifle Association’s CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre finally broke the organization’s silence about the Newtown, Connecticut shooting at a press conference today, delivering a long indictment of the media violence and its demonization of gun owners. LaPierre will also appear on NBC’s Meet the Press this Sunday.
LaPierre, who has been with the organization since 1991, has been one of the nation’s most visible and vocal opponents of gun control laws. Over his tenure, he has drawn bipartisan criticism for a wide array of extreme public statements — in addition to his most recent comments following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here are some of LaPierre’s more stunning statements:
1. Law enforcement are “Jack-Booted Thugs.” In March 1995, LaPierre sent a fundraising letter to 3.5 million NRA members calling federal law enforcement agents “jack-booted government thugs” and arguing that “in Clinton’s administration, if you have a badge, you have the government’s go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens.” President George H.W. Bush resigned his membership in protest and LaPierre was forced to apologize.
2. Bill Clinton purposely tolerated violence in order to ban guns. In March 2000, the New York Times reported LaPierre “said President Clinton tolerated a certain amount of violence and killing to strengthen the case for gun control and to score points for his party. Mr. Clinton called the comments ‘smear tactics.’ Then Mr. LaPierre said Mr. Clinton had blood ‘on his hands’ because he had not enforced existing gun laws.”
3. Gun-Free zones are killing people. After the January 2011 Tucson shootings, LaPierre claimed “gun-free zones and anti-self defense laws that protected the safety of no one except the killers,” and said that “by its lies and laws and lack of enforcement, government polices are getting us killed, and imprisoning us in a society of terrifying violence.” This, despite the fact that the shooting had not taken place in a gun-free zone. He added, “These clowns want to ban magazines. Are you kidding me? But that’s their response to the blizzard of violence and mayhem affecting our nation. One more gun law on top of all of the laws already on the books.”
4. Obama spent a lifetime destroying the Second Amendment. LaPierre refused to take part in discussions with President Obama’s administration after Tucson shootings to discuss possible ways to avoid future mass shootings. “Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States,” he asked.
5. Fast and Furious was engineered for “political advantage.” In March 2011, LaPierre said on a Fox News program he hosted that “someone in the government” engineered the failed Operation Fast and Furious “to seek political advantage.”
6. The UN is coming for American guns. In July 2012, LaPierre told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that a proposed United Nations treaty regulating the global arms trade “says to people in the United States, turn over your personal protection and your firearms to the government.”
7. Obama will confiscate “our firearms.” In July 2012 — just three days after the movie theater shootings in Aurora, CO — LaPierre sent a paranoid fundraising letter warning that the group needed to defeat President Obama’s re-election. “The future of your Second Amendment rights will be at stake,” the letter said. “And nothing less than the future of our country and our freedom will be at stake.” . . . The solicitation letter says that Obama’s re-election would result in the “confiscation of our firearms.”
8. Obama’s inaction on guns is a conspiracy to win re-election. In September 2012, LaPierre suggested a novel theory as to why President Obama had not opposed gun rights in his first term. He said the administration’s inaction was “part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country…Before the president was even sworn into office, they met and they hatched a conspiracy of public deception to try to guarantee his re-election in 2012.”
9. All will be lost if Obama is re-elected. In February, LaPierre predicted that gun owners will rally en masse to defeat Obama in November. “All of what we know is good and right about America, all of it could be lost if Barack Obama is re-elected,” he said. “It’s all or nothing.”