The head of the powerful US gun lobby railed against American media Thursday, saying it was biased and lying about the heated debate on regulating weapons.
“One of America’s greatest threats is the national news media that fails to provide a level playing field for the truth,” NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre told an annual conference of conservatives just outside Washington.
Congress failed to pass a hotly contested gun control law last year, despite a series of recent mass shootings that shocked the nation.
The failure came after stiff opposition by the National Rifle Association and other gun groups, which mounted a successful counter-campaign and warned members that the US government was bent on taking guns away.
“The political and media elite are lying to us,” LaPierre told the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
LaPierre, whose group counts about five million members, said the media “hate us, just for saying out loud and sticking up for what we believe, as if we had no right.”
“But their moral indignation, it should be directed right into their own makeup mirrors,” he added.
His comments echoed criticisms often made by conservatives about the mainstream media, which former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin once memorably dubbed the “lamestream media.”
LaPierre vowed that “NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media.”
Recalling that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, LaPierre declared that “standing with the NRA is a massive declaration of individual rights.”
And he promised a “bare-knuckle street fight” for this November’s mid-term elections.
US President Barack Obama, a Democrat, issued targeted executive orders and actions aiming to tighten rules for gun ownership and to help states provide information about the mentally ill for federal background checks.
The rules were announced after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting that left 20 young children and six staff dead in December 2012.
The massacre relaunched a push for gun control laws in America and a handful of states have since tightened gun rules.
But the national measures Obama sought, including a plan for enhanced background checks on gun buyers and a ban on assault-style rifles, failed in Congress.
“The NRA will not go quietly into the night. We will fight. I promise you that,” LaPierre said.