The National Rifle Association is revving up its attacks following President Obama’s State of the Union speech–in which the commander-in-chief pleaded for Congress to take quick action on gun control.
On Thursday the powerful gun lobby released a vitriolic, new ad ripping the Obama’s plan to curb gun violence, which includes a pitch to ban on high capacity magazines.
The ad’s narrator declares it’s not geared toward “the security that surrounds the president, Congress, Mayor Bloomberg, rock stars, CEOs and wealthy big shots,” in addition to “mad men, drug cartels and home-invading killers.”
The narrator concludes, “It’s just the rest of us, the law abiding, average people who will have to defend our families with limited capacity magazines.”
And then there’s the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre’s op-ed in the Daily Caller. In it, the executive vice president of the group says gun owners are ready to “stand up and fight” and that “good Americans are prudently getting ready to protect themselves,” against what he claims is an onslaught of violence.
“Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival,” he wrote. LaPierre is expected to respond to the president’s State of the Union at a speech in Nashville later in the day.
And now, an NRA-backed group for law enforcement is rolling out its own gun agenda. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America—which claims to work on behalf of law-enforcement authorities and victims of crimes—has received at least $2 million form the NRA from 2004 to 2010.
It’s a direct counter to President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which Obama declared that each of the gun-limit proposals he’s outlined (including universal background checks, bans on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines) deserves a vote in Congress in light of the deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The litany was the emotional high point of the speech. “If you want to vote no, that’s your choice,” he told the chamber. “But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”
Obama conjured the memory of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, recalling her love for Fig Newtons and lipgloss. “Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote,” said the president.
“Gabby Giffords deserves a vote,” he continued. “The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence–they deserve a simple vote.”
So what’s the point of the NRA’s big push, when polls show the majority of Americans support gun-control initiatives, like background checks?
“This is to me akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater,” Democratic political strategist Peter Fenn told msnbc.com. “This is precisely a pattern of behavior, which can create violence that they supposedly decry.”
Fenn said the NRA wasn’t trying to win over anybody. “What they’re trying to do is solidify their base and get money from their contributors…It’s a very calculated move. The me it’s reprehensible, uncivil and dangerous.”
For more on the NRA’s big push following Obama’s State of the Union, turn into Hardball at 5 and 7 p.m. ET. We’ll have Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and former Gov. Ed Rendell to weigh in.