In a Sunday interview with CBS host John Dickerson, about a week after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse night club, Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive President, called on American families to arm themselves because terrorists “were on the verge of overwhelming us.”
According to the NRA chief, as Americans mourn the victims of the deadly shooting at the Orlando night club in which nearly 50 people were killed, they should remember that “we face a terrorist challenge where they [terrorists] were on the verge of overwhelming us.”
He accused President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers of playing politics with the threat of terrorism. Obama and Democrats are not trying to address the threat of terrorism, LaPierre argued, they are only trying to divert attention from it and exploit the latest tragedy to push gun control agenda, especially ban on assault weapons.
LaPierre said Obama and Democrats were blaming guns, rather than terrorists, for mass shootings, because they are trying to avoid the embarrassment of admitting their failure to fight terrorism effectively.
“The whole gun ban movement, said don’t look at terrorists, look over here, divert your attention, take your eyes off the problem because they don’t want to face the embarrassment of their failure in this terrorist area and they want to cover their butts and not talk about it,” LaPierre said.
“But you can’t save the country with politics,” he told Dickerson. “It’s all being politicized with a politically correct White House’s nose and fingers in areas they don’t belong.”
He argued that the proposal to stop people on the FBI terror watch list from buying guns was not the most effective way to address the threat of terrorism because it only “tips off the bad guy.” The measure would frustrate efforts of law enforcement officials trying to gather evidence they need to build a case against terror suspects.
“The whole gun ban movement… they don’t want to face the embarrassment of their failure in the terrorist area…”
“What law enforcement wants to do 90 percent of the time — 99 percent of the time — is let it go through. They want to watch it; they want to build a case,” he said.
When Dickerson countered, saying, “But you also don’t want terrorists with guns in their hands,” LaPierre argued that a better strategy would come from realizing that the “bad guys” do not care about the law and that they are not going to stop doing evil because legislators passed a law banning assault weapons.
“We need to look right in the face of what these people are that we are facing, they don’t care about the law,” he said. “I mean, these bad guys we’re facing, they don’t say, ‘Oh gosh, they passed a law. Oh gosh, I don’t think I can do it.’ “
He accused lawmakers of pursuing ineffective solutions to the threat of terrorism.
“It’s like what we’re doing with this debate on the hill right now, it’s like they are trying to stop a freight train with a piece of Kleenex,” he said.
He argued that the most effective way to deal with terrorists was to attack them directly rather than trying to disarm law abiding citizens. Gun control laws did not stop terrorists in Boston, San Bernardino, and Paris, so there was no reason to believe it would stop them in the future, he argued.
He said it was important that government should not infringe on the right of people to own guns because terrorists focus attention on “soft targets,” such as schools, malls and churches, where they know law enforcement are not present
“The fact is, we need to face what’s coming,” he warned. “They’re trying to kill us. They’re not going to attack hard targets… They’re going to go for shopping malls; they’re going to go for churches. The fact is, we need vigilance; we need preparedness.”
But he disagreed with the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, saying he did not think people should be armed at places where people consume alcoholic drinks.
“I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” he said. “But I’ll tell you this: everybody, every American needs to start having a security plan, we need to be able to protect ourselves, because they’re coming.”
But he praised Trump, saying he is a candidate who wants to protect law abiding citizens and fight criminals.
“They [terrorists] are coming, and they’re going to try to kill us,” he said, “and we need to be prepared.”
“Let’s get the bad guys off the street, attack the terrorists and leave the good guys alone,” he concluded.
[Photo by Susan Walsh/AP]