The National Rifle Association is at it again. This time in the form of a rebuttal to the president’s inauguration speech. Some may recall that the president said we cannot mistake absolutism for principal. The NRA apparently disagrees.
Executive vice president Wayne LaPierre took the occasion yesterday to set out the NRA’s position. Among other things, LaPierre insisted that semi-automatic weapons, including assault style weapons, remain legal and that universal background checks for gun sales would put an end to American tradition.
Never mind that 90% of Americans agree with universal background checks. Some even wistfully believed that the NRA might support strengthening the background check system. Silly optimists.
LaPierre opined that absolutism is a virtue. He went on to say that universal background checks would prevent heirlooms from being passed on from generation to generation. That, of course, is not a sale by current definition, but that isn’t the only thing he got factually wrong. He also insisted, though it is not true, that Obama called for a federal registry of all guns. LaPierre said specifically,
“He wants to put every private, personal firearms transaction right under the thumb of the federal government. He wants to keep all of those names in a massive federal registry. There’s only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners: to either tax ‘em or take ‘em. That’s the only reasons. And anyone who says that’s excessive, President Obama says that’s an absolutist.”
In addition to misrepresenting what Obama called for, LaPierre also failed to recognize potential uses for a federal registry beyond the two he named. The most obvious use of any federal registry would be in crime solving. The ability to track weapons once they are matched to a crime can only be accomplished if one knows who last had possession of those weapons.
For more on the NRA’s reaction to the president’s inaugural address check here , including a video of some of LaPierre’s remarks.