The same week President Barack Obama used his State of the Union to warn Congress that the victims of gun violence "deserve a vote" on gun legislation, the National Rifle Association has gone on the offensive against attempts to ban high-capacity magazines that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The NRA, the nation's largest gun rights lobby, released an ad on Thursday that suggested banning high-capacity magazines will turn the country into a crime-ridden nightmare where only the wealthy are protected from murderers and thieves.
The ad points out that Secret Service and other law enforcement officers will not be barred from using the high-capacity magazines, while criminals would still be able to purchase them on the black market. "It's just the rest of us, the law-abiding people, who will have to defend our families with limited-capacity magazines," a narrator intones. "Welcome to Barack Obama's middle class."
High-capacity magazines and some semi-automatic weapons were banned for 10 years under a law signed by President Bill Clinton. It expired in 2004.
Meanwhile, the NRA's vice president, Wayne LaPierre, wrote an op-ed in the Daily Caller on Thursday warning that gun owners must "stand and fight" against any attempts at gun control. “Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival. It's responsible behavior, and it's time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that," he wrote.
Polls show a majority of Americans support banning high-capacity magazines, as well as closing loopholes that allow some gun buyers to evade federal background checks before purchasing a weapon. (The background checks screen out felons and people who have been declared mentally ill by a judge from purchasing weapons.)
The NRA has also taken a stand against the background checks.
"When it comes to the issue of background checks, let’s be honest—background checks will never be 'universal'—because criminals will never submit to them," LaPierre said at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting last month.
A ban on certain semi-automatic weapons pushed by Obama and some Democrats in Congress enjoys less popular support than either the magazine ban or background checks.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to a magazine as a clip.
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- President Barack Obama