While the nation's top gun lobbying group continues to fight, momentum seems to be building for tighter gun control measures.
The National Rifle Association's Executive Vice President responded to President Obama's emotional State of the Union plea while speaking Thursday at the annual convention for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Nashville. Accusing the president of displaying "a level of public deception that simply cannot be ignored," Wayne LaPierre said President Obama has been waiting "for the opportunity to destroy our Second Amendment rights."
"They only care about their decades long, decades old gun control agenda," said LaPierre. "Ban every gun they can, tax every gun sold and register every American gun owner. The president has taken the art of public deception and manipulation to a whole new level on this one."
After LaPierre published an op-ed rallying gun owners to get "ready to protect themselves" against a range of threats such as "Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals." He argued, "These are perils we are sure to face--not just maybe. It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival."
LaPierre wrote that civilians need to arm themselves for circumstances where they cannot be protected by the government. "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."
Two months after 26 children and educators were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, more than 5,000 supporters rallied on Connecticut's Capitol steps Thursday morning demanding tighter controls on firearms.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told the crowd, "We cannot let what happened here in Connecticut ever be forgotten. We have to use it as the justification for making the kind of change that we all desire seeing. We will not rest until we have changed America."
Jillian Soto, sister of elementary school teacher Victoria Soto who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, tearfully told the crowd, "It's not about political parties or hidden agendas, it's about life. And my life and the lives of so many others are changed forever," said Soto. "Nothing I can say or do will ever bring her back, but I don't want this to happen to anyone else."
The Connecticut gun control rally was not the only large gathering scheduled Thursday. Hundreds of gun-rights advocates stormed a New Jersey state hearing in Trenton as the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee approved 20 bills that would further restrict access to firearms and ammunition.
"Whether it’s the streets of New Jersey communities, a movie theater in Colorado or an elementary school in Connecticut, enough is enough is enough," said the committee chairman, Charles Mainor. "No more talk. It’s time for action."
The Democrat-led committee approved stricter gun legislation ranged from reducing the maximum capacity of magazines from 15 to 10, to a symbolic resolution urging Congress to enact more gun-control measures. Additional bills imposed requiring ammunition sales to be conducted in person, disqualifying those included on the federal terrorist watch list from buying guns, and requiring the seizure of guns from people who mental health professional deem a threat to themselves or others.