NRA head to gun control advocates: 'Let them be damned'

NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre on Friday told gun control advocates to "be damned" and ridiculed Vice President Biden for urging people to use shotguns as protection. 

"No matter what the elitists who scorn you say, let them be damned," LaPierre told a cheering crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

"Fill your heart with pride. Clear your eyes with conviction. This is your time to stand and fight."

LaPierre's defiance comes as Congress weighs several bills aimed at reducing gun violence, including expanded background checks, an assault weapons ban and a crackdown on gun trafficking. 

The NRA head seemed to relish in the criticism his opposition to new gun control measures has drawn from media critics — celebrating them with a video compiling those criticisms before his speech.

LaPierre said the push for universal background checks to buy guns was a "placebo" and its true aim was "universal registration for lawful American gun owners."

"Criminals won't participate," he said. "There are only two reasons for the federal government to create a federal registry of gun owners: To tax them or to take them."

The NRA president was scornful of Biden — who led President Obama's gun violence task force — for suggesting that if "you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door." Biden's point was that shotguns are a better deterrent to criminals than assault weapons. 

"You keep your advice. We'll keep our guns," LaPierre said.