National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre will be the “exclusive” guest on NBC's Meet the Press on December 23, nine days after the horrific shooting in Newtown, CT, and five days after the NRA mustered the courage to finally comment on the tragedy. Meet the Press moderator David Gregory is soliciting questions for LaPierre via Twitter, and we're happy to propose a few that touch on LaPierre's and the NRA's credibility on gun rights, drawing from LaPierre's long record of conspiratorial rhetoric in the name of aiding the firearms lobby.
LaPierre: Obama will “erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and excise it from the U.S. Constitution.”
At the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, LaPierre delivered a speech sketching out what he saw coming should President Obama win reelection:
LAPIERRE: We see the president's strategy crystal clear: Get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms' freedom, erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and excise it from the U.S. Constitution.
The only way to “erase” a constitutional amendment is with another constitutional amendment. Given that the passage of an amendment requires two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of Congress (one of which is controlled by Republicans) and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures (more than half of which are controlled by Republicans), the chances of the Second Amendment being “erased” any time soon are infinitesimally small - even if Democrats supported such a thing. And in fact, Obama himself has repeatedly stated that he supports both the Second Amendment and passing reasonable restrictions on guns - as do most NRA members.
QUESTION: “There is no plausible scenario in which President Obama or the Democrats could possibly remove the Second Amendment from the Constitution, so how can you justify your claim that the president will do so in his second term?”
LaPierre: “Someone in the government” engineered Operation Fast and Furious “to seek political advantage” on gun rights
Appearing on Fox News in March 2011, LaPierre claimed that the botched ATF gun-running operation Fast and Furious was actually an intentional plot by the Obama administration to boost gun violence in Mexico so that it might restrict gun rights in the U.S.
LAPIERRE: What it looks like to a lot of people is the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, and Attorney General Holder have spent the last two and a half years blaming the Second Amendment freedom in this country for what's going on with the cartels in effort to set the stage for more gun restrictions on the law abiding people in this country. And yet they can only prove a trickle of guns going down to Mexico. Someone in the government, it looks like to a lot of people, decided to change that trickle into a river of guns going down there to seek political advantage. I mean, they have almost no prosecutions, very few out of it. They sent thousands and thousands of guns over to the cartels, and there was such a long period of time while great law enforcement officers said, “It's crazy, it's idiotic. Why are you going it? It makes no sense and people are going to get killed.”
The claim is outlandish on its face, and there exists not a scrap of evidence to substantiate it. House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) noted in his June 2011 report on Fast and Furious that the goal of the operation was to “build a large, complex conspiracy case” against members of gun trafficking networks supplying Mexican drug cartels.
QUESTION: “You've called the failed ATF gun-running sting Fast and Furious an intentional plot to undermine gun rights in the U.S., but there exists no evidence to support the accusation and even Republican investigators disagree with that claim. So how can you justify it?”
LaPierre: The UN will force “people in the United States turn over your personal protection and your firearms to the government”
Appearing on Fox News in July, LaPierre claimed that a United Nations treaty regulating the import and export of small arms between nations will actually force Americans to surrender their firearms to the government.
LAPIERRE: The UN gun control plan is the most extreme imaginable. It says to people in the United States turn over your personal protection and your firearms to the government, and the government will protect you.
Not a word of that was true. In fact, it was so off-base that Fox's Megyn Kelly actually pushed back against LaPierre, pointing out that the treaty affects only the trade of arms between nations. The UN made clear that that countries will “exclusively” maintain the right within their borders to “regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownerships.”
QUESTION: “You've said the UN's proposed arms trade treaty would force Americans to give up their guns. The language of the treaty specifically says that is not the case. So how can you justify saying the UN will curb American gun rights?”