At 5:15 ET, Wayne LaPierre will provide the NRA response to the State of the Union address and its focus on gun control. I’m pretty sure that LaPierre isn’t going to cheer on Barack Obama’s call for weapons bans and magazine capacity limitations, but there might be some room to talk about background checks and mental illness — an issue that Obama all but ignored on Tuesday.
The last time LaPierre provided a response to Obama, the media hooted at his proposal to provide schools with have armed guards on campus … until they remembered that Bill Clinton proposed exactly the same thing during his presidency, and actually funded it through his COPS program. Obama ended up backing that idea a few weeks later, which somehow also went unmentioned in the SOTU. In fact, Obama didn’t mention school security once in his speech.
This is part of the NRA’s “Stand and Fight” strategy, which has already come under criticism from Obama strategist David Plouffe:
“Hard to believe this is real,” David Plouffe said in an early-evening tweet on Wednesday. “Every GOPer should read and decide if this delusional person will call the shots.”
In the op-ed, LaPierre used alarming images to rally gun-rights supporters against what he described as “the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia.” …
The op-ed’s determined and emotional message reflected LaPierre’s unapologetic defense of gun-owners’ legal rights, and it contrasts with Obama’s election-trail efforts to stigmatize the NRA — and also supportive GOP legislators — as complicit in horrifying gun attacks on innocent children and law-abiding middle-class people.
Many GOP and gun-rights activists believe Obama has launched a campaign to win the 2014 midterm House elections, chiefly via the use of emotional wedge issues.
Those wedge issues include what White House officials describe “gun safety” and “common-sense immigration reform.”
LaPierre warns that the media will attempt to turn gun owners into “social lepers”:
Inevitably, the anti-gun media and the gun-ban lobbies are demonizing the purchase of firearms. They call us “extremists” because we wonder whether we will be able to buy a semi-auto in three years or, even in some states, later this year. That’s despite the fact that President Obama long ago made clear that he wants to ban them all!
The media try to make rank-and-file Americans feel guilty about buying a gun. The enemies of freedom demonize gun buyers and portray us as social lepers. But we know the truth. We know that responsible gun ownership exemplifies what is good and right about America.
Responsible Americans realize that the world as we know it has changed. We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster.
Gun owners are not buying firearms because they anticipate a confrontation with the government. Rather, we anticipate confrontations where the government isn’t there—or simply doesn’t show up in time.
To preserve the inalienable, individual human right to keep and bear arms—to withstand the siege that is coming—the NRA is building a four-year communications and resistance movement. The enemies of the Second Amendment will be met with unprecedented defiance, commitment and determination. We will Stand And Fight.
I assume that this will be the general tenor of today’s message, too, but I’m not convinced it will help the NRA advance its cause. I agree with the thrust of their policy position, but there are plenty of people who do who don’t want to hear that cast as a “resistance movement” or hear prophecies of Euro-style “debt riots,” which have been few and far between outside of Greece. The op-ed also functioned as a fundraiser, and those efforts usually require putting the worst case forward to reach maximum effectiveness, but the NRA is also competing in the court of general public opinion with these responses. LaPierre was vindicated in his policy position, but he needs to cast his message wider than the already-faithful among his membership.
The live stream should start at 5:15 ET on its own, but follow the link if you have issues. We’ll have this as an open thread in the run-up to showtime, plus below we have the NRA’s response to the proposal to limit magazine capacity.