Obama Says NRA ‘Willfully Lied’ To Beat Background Check Bill

AP

President Barack Obama held an emotional press conference in the Rose Garden this afternoon reacting to the failure of legislation to expand background checks on gun sales in the Senate. After being introduced by the father of a child killed at last year’s shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama attributed the defeat of the bipartisan background check compromise to “untruths” about the bill spread by the National Rifle Association.

“The current leader of the NRA used to support these background checks. So while this compromise didn’t contain everything I wanted or everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress. It represented moderation and common sense,” Obama said. “That’s why 90 percent of the American people supported it. But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.”

Obama said the NRA exagerrated the effect of the bill, which scared gun owners and mobilized them to oppose the legislation. 

“They claimed that it would create some sort of big brother gun registry even though the bill did the opposite,” said Obama of the NRA. “This legislation in fact outlawed any registry, plain and simple, right there in the text. But that didn’t matter. And, unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose. Because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.”

Despite the defeat of this bill, Obama vowed to continue pushing for expanded background checks saying, “We’re going to be able to get this done, sooner or later.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

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