The executive director of the National Rifle Association gun lobby, Wayne LaPierre, accused President Obama on Tuesday (January 22) of trying to take away fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed to Americans under the U.S. Constitution.
"We believe we deserve and have every right to the same level of freedom that our government leaders keep for themselves, and the same capabilities and the same technologies that criminals use to prey upon us and our families. That means we believe in our right to defend ourselves and our families with semi-automatic firearms technology," he said in a speech in Reno, Nevada.
"We believe that if neither the criminal nor the political class and their bodyguards and security people are limited by magazine capacity, we shouldn't be limited in our capacity either. We believe in our country. We believe in our Bill of Rights and we believe in our Second Amendment to theUnited States Constitution - all of our Second Amendment," he added.
A series of shootings in the last two months, including one at an elementary school in Connecticut in which 20 children and six staff were killed, has triggered a renewed debate on gun control.
Obama proposed a package of measures last week to combat gun violence that includes a ban on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition clips, expanded mental health treatments and improved school security.
Powerful gun-rights groups oppose a ban on assault weapons and could seek to unseat any lawmaker who backs it, as they have tried to do in the past.