WASHINGTON — NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wanye LaPierre aggressively criticized President Barack Obama's second inaugural address late Tuesday at a function in Reno, Nevada.
"Obama wants to turn the term of absolutism into a dirty word," LaPierre said in remarks, televised on cable news and broadcast on the gun owners organization's website. "It's a way of redefining words so that common sense is turned upside-down and no one knows the difference," he said, accusing Obama of double-speak, adding that the term is "Obama-code for extremist."
LaPierre's remarks centered on a single line from Obama's 2,108-word speech — one thought to be targeted at congressional Republicans.
"We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate," Obama said.
"We're told that to stop insane killers, we must accept less freedom," LaPierre charged. "Barack Obama is saying that the only principled way to make children safe is to make lawful citizens less safe and violent criminals more safe."
LaPierre also attacked Obama's gun control proposals, which include efforts to ban the new manufacture of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and mandate universal background checks for all gun transactions.
"Obama wants you to believe that putting the federal government in the middle of every firearm transaction — except those between criminals — will somehow make us safer," he said. "He wants to put every firearm transaction ... right under the thumb of the federal government."
"We're not children who need to be parented or misguided 'bitter clingers' to guns and religion," he added in a reference to Obama's notorious 2008 campaign gaffe.
And LaPierre said there are only nefarious reasons for gun registry like the one Obama is proposing.
"There are only two reasons for that federal list of gun owners —to tax them or take them — only two reasons," he added.
LaPierre defended the NRA's opposition to new gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, citing the purpose of the Bill of Rights: "To ensure that fundamental freedoms of a minority can never be denied by a majority," he said. "Mr. President, you might think that calling us 'absolutists' is a clever way of 'name-calling' without using names. But if that is 'absolutist,' then we are as 'absolutist' as the Founding Fathers and framers of the Constitution ... and we're proud of it!"