POLITICS
01/16/2013 03:39 pm ET | Updated Jan 16, 2013

NRA Slams Obama Gun Control Proposal

WASHINGTON -- Following President Obama's announcement on Wednesday of sweeping measures to help prevent gun violence, the National Rifle Association accused the president of "attacking firearms and ignoring children."

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the nation's largest gun rights lobby said, "Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy." The group also vowed to "continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law."

The NRA's response to the president's far-reaching proposals to address the nation's epidemic of gun violence, underscored by the tragic shooting of 26 children and teachers last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School, struck a much different tone than the group's incendiary attack ad, released just a day earlier.

In it, a narrator argued that the Secret Service protection provided to Obama's two daughters, Sasha and Malia, is evidence that the president is an "elitist hypocrite," who wants armed guards for his own daughters, but not for other people's children. The ad was widely panned as soon as it was released, and White House spokesman Jay Carney called it "repugnant and cowardly."

The NRA's response to Obama's Wednesday press conference contained no direct mention of the president or the administration, nor did it address the 23 executive actions Obama signed immediately following his remarks at the White House. Instead, the NRA said it looks "forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset –- our children."

In many ways, the NRA's tone was similar to Obama's, with its emphasis on protecting children, working with Congress and exploring multiple ways to address factors that may have contributed to the shooting massacres that occurred in now-infamous places -- Newtown, Conn.; Virginia Tech; Tucson, Ariz.; an Aurora, Colo., movie theater; a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and elsewhere.

But behind the scenes, the NRA is gearing up for a vicious fight against Obama's proposals. An urgent fundraising email sent to NRA members from NRA chief executive Wayne La Pierre Tuesday night accused the administration of telling "a dirty lie" when it invited NRA representatives to be part of White House talks last month. "Barack Obama, Joe Biden and their gun ban allies in Congress only want to BLAME you, VILIFY you, BULLY you, and STRIP you of your Second Amendment freedoms," LaPierre wrote.

"This is the fight of the century and I need you on board with NRA now more than ever," LaPierre said in the email.

In the coming weeks the NRA plans to apply its legendary lobbying pressure to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, in the hopes that any gun regulations in Congress will fail to garner enough votes to pass.

Read the NRA's complete statement below.

Fairfax, Va. –- Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.

The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset –- our children.

Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Oak Creek is in Illinois.

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