President Barack Obama’s references to the nation’s recent gun attacks in his State of the Union speech were exploitative and wrong, National Rifle Association President David Keene says.
“The thing that I found kind of tasteless was his exploitation of victims of firearms tragedies to try to achieve an ideological agenda,’’ Keene tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
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“In his box he had the parents of the poor girl [15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton] that was shot down recently in Chicago after having been at the inaugural to play in a band there.
“The criminal who shot and killed that girl was out of jail after having been recently arrested for a firearms crime, the second firearms crime that he’s been arrested for . . . In Chicago, very little is done to prevent criminals from using firearms in the commission of crimes.”
Keene said he blamed Pendleton’s death on federal and local officials who “have not gone after criminals and instead . . . [talk] about the guns themselves and ways in which they can restrict access of honest citizens to those firearms that they use for self-defensive purposes.”
While the president doesn’t appear to have the votes on Capitol Hill to pass his gun-control proposals, the legislation is by no means off the table, Keene said.
“[When] you’re up against the concerted public relations effort that now being financed by Michael Bloomberg of New York, gun control legislation is never dead,’’ Keene said. “You’re up against the most anti-Second Amendment president that we’ve ever had.”
Keene notes NRA membership has surged, showing that more and more Americans are ready to stand up to what they see as unconstitutional gun laws.
“We began this battle with about four million members. We’re now at about four and a half and it’s growing by the day . . . that’s the vote of confidence that we want,” Keene said.
“That’s what gives the lie to the charge that we don’t represent America’s gun owners and that there’s some kind of split in the Second-Amendment community. We’re all united.”
He said the NRA is continuing to educate the public about its call for armed guards in every school in the nation in response to the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings, in which 26 kids and educators were killed.
“There are about 135,000 schools in this country. About 30,000 of them, today, are protected by armed security, have armed security. Sometimes those are police officers. Sometimes they’re private security,” Keene said.
“There are hundreds of schools who have teachers and administrators who are trained in arms and have concealed carry permits. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all formula for the protection of our children.
“What we’re putting together independently is a group of things that can improve security in the schools and that’s going to be rolled out publicly relatively soon. We’re convinced that that’s what people want.”
Keene said the NRA believes the kinds of gun-control measures pushed by the White House and some members of Congress “won’t do anything to protect our children and, given the fact that they don’t prosecute gun crime in any meaningful way, won’t do anything to stop gun criminals from misusing firearms.”
: Read Other Excerpts of the Newsmax Interview With David Keene Below
NRA's Keene: LaPierre Is Champion of 2nd Amendment
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