The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre railed Friday against "elites," whom he accused of harboring a secret agenda of creating a registry of gun owners across the country.
LaPierre, a top official for the gun-rights lobby, forcefully attacked the Obama administration, Democratic lawmakers and the media during an address before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He ridiculed proponents of stricter gun controls, and won repeated cheers from the conservative activists in the audience for his defense of Second Amendment rights.
And LaPierre used his speech to slam a proposal before Congress to require background checks for all firearms transactions, a law that has won some new support in the wake of the deadly December shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
"You know what's really absurd? Not protecting our children in school," he said, repeating his call for funding armed guards in every school in America. "Here's what the political elites offer instead: a placebo called universal background checks."
LaPierre said the background checks would set the stage for universal gun registration.
"It's the real goal they've been pushing for decades," he said.
LaPierre sought to set up the battle over gun control as a battle between "elites" — a word he used repeatedly — who view gun owners as "crazy," another term the NRA executive used repeatedly in reference to himself, and how media had characterized him.
And he stoked fears that universal background checks would lead to newspapers publishing the names and addresses of gun owners, so that "gangs and criminals" or the Mexican and Chinese governments could access them.
LaPierre also mocked the Obama administration and Vice President Joe Biden for his suggestion that a warning shot could ward off an intruder.
"The vice president of the United States actually told women, facing an attack, to actually empty their shotguns in the air. Honestly, have they lost their minds over at the White House?" LaPierre said to wild applause.