The NRA's executive vice president Wayne LaPierre responded to President Obama's inauguration speech by accusing him of trying to take away guns and freedom, and reducing the Constitution to "a blank slate for anyone's graffiti."
Speaking in Reno at the annual Weatherby International Hunting and Conservation Awards on Tuesday, LaPierre latched on to a line from Obama's speech in which the President argued: "We cannot afford to mistake absolutism for principle."
"Absolutes do exist, it's the basis of all civilization," said LaPierre. "Without those absolutes, Democracy decays into nothing more than two wolves and one lamb voting on who to eat for lunch."
"When 'absolutes' are abandoned for 'principles,' the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone's graffiti and our rights and freedoms are defaced," he argued.
“They are God-given freedoms. They belong to us in the United States of America as our birthright. No government gave them to us and no government can ever take them away," LaPierre said, adding: "We believe that we deserve and have every right to the same level of freedom that government leaders reserve for themselves -- to defend ourselves and our families with semi-automatic firearms technology."
And, as the Huffington Post points out:
LaPierre quoted former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a one-time Democratic congressman who served on the high court in the 1930s. "Justice Black understood the danger of self-appointed arbiters of what freedom really means, like President Obama," LaPierre said.
But Black is a problematic hero for LaPierre. In 1939, Black and fellow Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously in a landmark gun control case, United States v. Miller, that the Second Amendment does not protect blanket access for citizens to any type of firearm.
You can read LaPierre's full set of remarks here.