NRA's Wayne LaPierre says gun control advocates 'hate individual freedom'

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Critics of the NRA have claimed that the organization's tax exemption should be taken away, because, roughly speaking, the NRA spends less time and money providing a genuine service to the public at large than it does on political lobbying, and because the NRA's activities benefit the private gun industry.

The Feb 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school and has spurred unprecedented youth-led protests in cities across the country.

But recent mass shootings, including the 2012 mass murder of elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut, and the killing of 58 people in Las Vegas last fall, have not resulted in significant legislation. And though their battle cry of "liberty" and "freedom" through "individual personal responsibility" sounds wonderful on the surface, what are the costs of this alleged "liberty" and "freedom"?

President Trump voiced support of the NRA Thursday. At the time, both hotel chains were listed on the gun rights group's website as "friends of the NRA" and offered members discounts at hotels.

The US president has stepped up his calls for teachers to be armed, a day after he floated the proposal at a White House event to hear from survivors of the Florida school shooting.

The president was due to have a meeting on school safety with 10 state and local officials on Thursday.

"Evil walks among us and God help us if we don't harden our schools and protect our kids", said Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre. But Loesch said Wednesday night the NRA opposes the higher age limit for rifles because, "if we are asking young men and women to go and serve their country (in the military) they should be able to also have a firearm". "We give them a little bit of a bonus".

The White House said Trump does not want to ban sales of an entire class of firearms despite mounting pressure to put assault weapons such as the one used in the Florida shooting out of civilian reach.

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"The NRA will back it and so will Congress", Trump contended as he called for raising the legal age of purchase for "all" guns from 18 to 21.

"I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health".

"A gun-free zone to a killer, or somebody that wants to be a killer, that's like going in for the ice cream", Trump said.

The Omaha bank was the first company to respond to the boycott. The channel is a forum for pro-gun conservatives like Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association.

Media captionWhat's Donald Trump said about guns and gun control?

"The shameful politicization of tragedy, it's a classic strategy right out of the playbook of a poisonous movement", he told an annual conservative conference, hitting out in turn at supposed "socialists" on the political left, and at the "so-called national news media".

"It's really only been in the last few decades that the NRA became this kind of force", said Schickler.

The NRA has a vast political war chest and a president who views it as a loyal ally. The NRA's work is just beginning.