Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), challenged President Obama to an hour-long debate on guns.
“I’ll meet you for a one-on-one, one-hour debate, with a mutually agreed moderator, on any network that will take it,” LaPierre said in an 8-minute video, which blasts Obama for his lengthy record of opposition the private use of firearms.
The video is apparently prompted by Obama’s new White House initiative that seeks to crack down on the sale of guns through more rigorous back-ground checks.
The president doesn’t have legal authority to unilaterally change how gun sales are regulated, but he does have to power to shift resources to toughen the enforcement of existing laws.
The NRA had declined to send representatives to a town hall meeting Obama held on gun control earlier in January, referring to it as a “public relations spectacle,” according to USA Today. In the challenge, LaPierre specifically said that the debate would have no “pre-screened questions.”
Obama’s new gun control initiative has been criticized for its vagueness, as some of the background check requirements he’s called for already exist. LaPierre suggests that the confusion is a feature, not a bug.
“In the fog of vague rules and mysterious definitions, honest Americans are made vulnerable, forced into a maze of government bureaucracy,” he said.
Law professor Jonathan Adler says that it’s likely the new initiative is meant to scare people who are on the fence about buying guns by making them think a significant hurdle to purchasing a gun has been newly erected.