Head of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday to slam those seeking stricter gun laws -- currently led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida -- as people who "hate individual freedom" and further stoke pro-gun paranoia.
LaPierre used his address to the conservative conference CPAC to hit out at anti-gun campaigners, who, led by young survivors of the shooting, have attempted to make political headway in the last week.
“They fantasize about more laws stopping what other laws have failed to stop,” the National Rifle Association executive vice-president said. “So many existing laws were ignored.”
LaPierre said anti-gun activists do not care if the laws they promote actually work, they simply "want to get more laws to get more control over people".
He also took aim at the media:
Many in the media “love mass shootings,” he said, adding: “Crying white mothers are ratings gold.”
Elites want to “eliminate our firearms freedoms and eradicate all the individual freedoms”, he said. “They hate the NRA, they hate the second amendment, they hate individual freedom.”
LaPierre heavily poured on the paranoia as well, invoking 'slippery slope' theory to deride any attempt at beefing up background checks:
“We all have to be careful that this doesn’t become a runaway train. What if all of your medical records ... do we really want all that on a government list, in a government database?
“I even heard a TV pundit suggest that people seeking to buy a firearm should be interviewed first. Who’s going to conduct that interview and what will they ask?”
“This growing socialist state dreams of manipulating schoolchildren to squeeze them for information about their parents ... Do mommy and daddy own a gun?” he said.
“And all of this private information will be entered on to that ultimate list, that cloud of data storage ... and then it’s just a short hop to the systematic destruction of our basic freedoms in this country.”
For good measure, LaPierre also warned that Democrats regaining control of Congress or the White House would mean "our American freedoms will be lost forever".
In response to the diatribe, President Donald Trump took to Twitter with support for both LaPierre and the NRA, saying:
"What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
But earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted his support for shoring up background checks, raising the legal purchase age to 21, and banning the sale of bump stocks -- all of which are diametrically opposed to the NRA's position.
The president also advocated arming and training teachers as a deterrent and first line of defense should a school shooting occur, echoing LaPierre's mantra that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with gun.