SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre says he thinks the federal government wants universal background checks on gun owners to make it easier for federal officials to seize firearms.
LaPierre told a crowd of more than 1,000 people in Salt Lake City on Saturday that President Barack Obama’s call for universal background checks fails to address the problem of the nation’s gun violence.
“This so-called background check is aimed at one thing — registering your guns,” he said. “When another tragic opportunity presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns … Imagine right now your name on a massive government list.”
The CEO of the nation’s most powerful gun lobby said such lists would be vulnerable to being hacked and ending up in the hands of criminals. He noted the secret-busting WikiLeaks website was able to obtain classified government documents.
“Picture this: your name, your address on a map giving directions to your home that could include a list of all the specific firearms you own,” LaPierre said. “That’s a pretty handy list if you’re a seasoned criminal or a drug dealer or a gang member, isn’t it? How safe do you think that government list would be?”
LaPierre received a standing ovation after delivering the keynote address at the annual Western Hunting and Conservation Expo — and warning gun owners to remain vigilant.
“We are now facing the single most devastating attack on the Second Amendment this country has ever seen,” he said.
Miriam Walkingshaw, founder of Utah Parents Against Gun Violence, criticized the speech, saying it played on the fears of gun owners.
“He made this chain of logic that universal background checks equate to registering guns and that leads to confiscation,” she told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It went more and more into the paranoia, and then he mentioned the catch-and-release justice system — this constant fear that there are so many criminals out there.
“It’s always more and more guns” with the NRA, she added.
Isaac Holyhoak of Alliance for a Better Utah said LaPierre can characterize universal background checks as gun control, but it all boils down to public safety.
“Buying a gun should be at least as hard as getting a driver’s license,” he told the Deseret News.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)