Earlier this week, NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre proposed to meet with President Barack Obama in a public, one-hour debate with a mutually agreed-upon moderator.
The challenge came after Obama appeared in a televised town hall meeting hosted by CNN, in which the president spoke extensively about gun control. Obama had recently unveiled a new executive action to focus on expanding background checks on firearm purchases. The move, which is considered Obama’s strongest push for gun control since 2013, has been widely debated and criticized by many Second Amendment advocates.
LaPierre characterized the executive action as little more than a chance for the president to “score political points and claim a cheap victory.”
“Let me be clear: The NRA will fight this illegal overreach more aggressively than we have ever challenged anything,” LaPierre said in a video released on Wednesday.
You can watch the full video below:
NRA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre calls out Obama’s executive actions and challenges the president to a fair debate. Watch “A Challenge For The President” below.
Posted by National Rifle Association on Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The NRA CEO added that if Obama wanted to truly make America safer, he would strengthen enforcement on criminals that illegally possess guns. LaPierre pointed specifically to Chicago, which has a notorious reputation for crime and gang activity despite its strict gun control laws.
“THAT would make a difference. THAT would save lives. But he’s had seven long years to issue THAT order… and he has failed,” LaPierre stated.
The NRA’s request for a public debate with the president went viral overnight, generating more than 120,000 likes on its Facebook post in less than 24 hours. Supporters of the NRA also started a petition on the White House website, seeking 100,000 signatures before February 13.
The White House has not yet responded to the challenge but Obama did recently indicate that he might be open to a public debate regarding gun control. At the town hall meeting with CNN last Thursday, Obama commented on the NRA’s absence, despite being invited. LaPierre countered that the president was known for arranging pre-approved questions that work in his favor.
“That is why we won’t get suckered into any of Obama’s fixed fights. Mr. President, pre-screened questions that lead to your long-winded answers are anything but an honest dialogue,” LaPierre said. “But I’ll tell you what. I’ll meet you for a one-on-one, one-hour debate—with a mutually agreed-upon moderator—on any network that will take it. No pre-screened questions and no gas-bag answers.”
The idea of a debate between two heavyweights on guns has drawn enormous approval from the NRA’s supporters, but it remains to be seen if Obama will accept the challenge. The president has seen a mixed reception to his new executive action. In the last Republican Presidential Debate, GOP candidates roundly bashed Obama’s plan to close the so-called “gun show loophole” by increasing background checks.
“Criminals don’t buy their guns from a gun show. They don’t buy their guns from a collector and they don’t buy them from a gun store,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio during the debate. “They steal them; they get it from a black market.”