WASHINGTON -- Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, accused the president on Sunday of wanting a universal gun registry, "trying to take away" guns and believing his children deserve security while others do not -- all of which led to a testy exchange with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.
At the end of an already tense interview, Wallace asked LaPierre to explain the NRA's video accusing President Barack Obama of wanting armed security for his own children but opposing it for others. Wallace pointed out that the president's children face a larger threat than most.
"Tell that to the people at Newtown," LaPierre replied, referring to the town where an armed shooter killed 20 young children at an elementary school in December.
"Do you really think that the president's children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in America?" Wallace asked. "It's ridiculous, and you know it, sir."
Several days earlier, LaPierre had appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and reversed his previous support for gun-show background checks, saying the measure he once called "reasonable" wouldn't work anyway.
On Sunday, he said it was the fault of the "mental health lobby" that gun laws do not work.
"We've been fighting for 20 years to get the records computerized, and I know what goes on behind the scenes in this town," LaPierre said. "They won't do it. The mental health lobby won't do it. The HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws won't do it. I wish it would happen -- we're all for it -- but it's not."
He said there must be reform of the mental health system and argued there could be more severe law enforcement against gangs, but that measures such as regulating certain semi-automatic weapons would have dire consequences.
"If you limit the American public's access to semi-automatic technology, you limit their ability to survive," LaPierre said.
Wallace asked LaPierre for his thoughts on a photo of Obama shooting a gun, released by the White House this weekend.
"I think of the same thing I did during the campaign when he said to people, 'I'm not going to take your rifle, shotgun and handgun.' They leafleted the country with flyers like this: 'Obama is not going to take your gun'; 'Obama will protect gun rights.' And now he's trying to take away all three," LaPierre said.
He predicted a universal gun registry is next -- a measure that, as Wallace reminded him, has not been proposed.
"Forgive me, sir, but you take something that is here and you say it's going to go all the way over there," Wallace said. "There's no indication -- I mean, I can understand your saying that's the threat, but there's nothing that anyone in the administration has said that indicates they're going to have a universal registry."
LaPierre said he doesn't find that convincing.
"And Obamacare wasn't a tax until they needed it to be a tax," he said. "I don't think you can trust these people."