Obama: It's a 'conspiracy' that I want to take away guns

President Obama accused critics of his gun-control agenda of furthering a “conspiracy” that he wants to confiscate Americans’ firearms.

Mark Kelly, a well-known ally of the president on gun policy and the wife of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), noted during a CNN town hall on guns that many gun-rights activists believe expanded background checks could eventually lead to a gun registry and confiscation.

The president took umbrage at the idea, responding that there is “this notion of a conspiracy out there” that “gets wrapped up in concerns about the federal government."

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CNN's Anderson Cooper challenged Obama, asking, “Is it fair to call it a conspiracy? A lot of people really believe this deeply, that they just don't trust you.”

"I'm sorry, Cooper,” Obama shot back. “Yes, it is fair to call it a conspiracy. What are you saying? Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can impose marshal law isn't a conspiracy?"

“Yes, that is a conspiracy. I would hope that you would agree with that,” he continued. “Is that controversial except on some websites around the country?"

The president said that even if he wanted to take away Americans' guns, it would be an impossible endeavor.  

"I mean, I'm only going to be here for another year. I don't know when, when would I have started on this enterprise, right?" he said. 

Obama’s comments are sure to raise the ire of Republicans and gun-rights advocates, who say the president is trying to delegitimize honest criticism of his gun policies. 

Even while bashing his opponents, Obama tried to relate to lawful gun-owners, citing his time as a senator from Illinois, where hunting is popular in the southern part of the state.

"A lot of folks own guns. And so this is not, like, alien territory to me. I've got a lot of friends, like Mark, who are hunters," he said of Kelly. "I just came back from Alaska where I ate a moose that had just been shot, and it was pretty good."

He said "it is a false notion" that he does not believe in the Second Amendment.

Earlier in the broadcast, Obama lashed out at the National Rifle Association (NRA) for skipping the event. 

“There’s a reason why the NRA’s not here. They’re just down the street,” Obama said. “And since this is the main reason they exist, you’d think they be prepared to have a debate with the president."