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Gun owners will 'stand and fight' for freedom, NRA chief says

8:32 AM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
Wayne LaPierre headshot, as National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer/AP
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By Brian Haas, The Tennessean

The head of the National Rifle Association vowed to fight new gun legislation and renewed his call for armed guards in schools on Thursday, speaking before the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual convention at Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre heavily criticized President Barack Obama's State of the Union address for not mentioning school safety.

LaPierre told the crowd of more than 600 wild turkey hunters and conservationists that Obama's proposals to ban military-style semiautomatic rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, and to require background checks for all gun sales, are efforts to "dismantle" the Second Amendment.

He said the president's initiatives were not about making schools safer.

And he said NRA members will fight those proposals.

"For our Second Amendment freedom, Mr. President, we will stand and fight throughout this country as Americans for our freedom, we promise you that," LaPierre said to applause. "Every single one of us from one end of the country to the other, we will stand and fight."

LaPierre also repeated the claim that pending legislation would lead to the registration of all guns. But that claim that has been widely criticized since the president has not proposed such a measure and federal laws prohibit background check information from being retained for more than 24 hours.

"It's gonna be our names, the names of good people, that will be put into this massive database, subject to federal legislation and subject to abuse of your privacy," LaPierre said.

Guards needed

The NRA's leader also renewed calls to put armed guards or police officers in every school, something that Obama also is proposing in the form of more funds for school resources officers.

After the speech, National Wild Turkey Federation CEO George Thornton applauded LaPierre's speech, saying that he worried that any new gun regulations would lead down the path of fewer gun rights.

"We're also very concerned about the movement in the United States to limit access to weapons," he said. Once you start to limit things, the limits begin to chip away."

Enforce current laws

He acknowledged that turkey hunters don't use military-style rifles. And he supports universal background checks. But instead of new laws, he said the federal government needs to do a better job of enforcing current laws.

"I support all the legislation that we have now," he said.

Mike Sentell, a Dyersburg hunter and state turkey federation board member, said the proposed legislation is "destroying our Second Amendment, one inch at a time."

"Semi-automatics are needed across the country for home protection or sports," he said. "If they're successful at doing that, then they can take the rest of them away."

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