National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre defiantly accused President Barack Obama of wanting to put private gun sales "under the thumb of the federal government" and to create a list of gun owners for two reasons -- "to tax them or take them."
LaPierre spoke to a hunting awards dinner in Nevada on Tuesday, one day after Obama, in his second inaugural address, said that the nation "cannot mistake absolutism for principle."
LaPierre told the dinner that anybody who questions the administration's principles is labeled by the White House as an absolutist, which LaPierre called "Obama code for extremist."
"Barack Obama is saying that the only principled way to make children safe is to make lawful citizens less safe and violent criminals more safe," LaPierre said, according to a transcript provided by the NRA.
Obama last week unveiled a sweeping proposal aimed at limiting gun violence. The proposal would require criminal background checks for gun sales, including private ones. It would also ban "military-style" assault weapons, limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds and toughen penalties for gun trafficking.
The president assigned Vice President Joe Biden to come up with gun-control proposals after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.
A week after the slaughter, LaPierre blamed violent video games and movies and the media for gun violence. He proposed putting a police officer in every school in the United States, saying that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
His speech Tuesday night came hours after a shooting at a Houston-area community college left three people wounded.
LaPierre said that the administration proposals would force law-abiding gun owners to stand in line and fill out paperwork, "just so a grandfather can give a grandson a Christmas gift."
Speaking of the president, LaPierre went on: "He doesn't understand you. He doesn't agree with the freedoms you cherish. If the only way he can force you to give 'em up is through scorn and ridicule, he's more than willing to do it -- even as he claims the moral high ground."