NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre went before 400 members of NWTF at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center Thursday afternoon. The gathering was part of the 37th Annual Convention and Sport Show for the NWTF.
In his official response to the President's State of the Union address, LaPierre questioned the president's motives for tighter gun control.
"President Obama had nothing to say about school security [in his address], and nothing he proposed had anything to do with protecting one child in any school in this country," he said.
Reducing gun violence has been a top priority for the White House administration since the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
In Tuesday's address to the nation, the president spoke of gun control as "common sense reform."
He proposed making legislation that would include mandatory background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and a limit on ammunition magazines, among other changes.
"If you want to vote no, that's your choice," Mr. Obama told lawmakers, "but these proposals deserve a vote because in the two months since Newtown, more than 1,000 birthdays, graduations and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun."
"A year ago, I began to warn American gun owners all over this country that if re-elected, President Obama would set about dismantling the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution of the United States," LaPierre said.
LaPierre went on to criticize the idea of gun bans, universal background checks and a federal gun registry. He argued that the president and other lawmakers are using the Sandy Hook tragedy as means to promote an anti-gun agenda.
"None of it, from universal checks to universal gun bans, none of it does anything to keep our children safer in their schools," he said.
One of LaPierre's final statements brought a roar of applause from NWTF members.
"For our second amendment freedom, Mr. President, we will stand and fight throughout this country as Americans, for our freedoms. We promise you that," he said.
"A great many people weigh in on the subjects of 2nd Amendment rights and hunting and weapons and they have limited knowledge of what's really going on," NWTF CEO George Thornton said following LaPierre's speech.
Thornton said LaPierre was among friends at the NWTF convention because he knows what the group stands for.
Thornton made special note of the misinformation regarding gun control, specifically assault weapons.
"Assault weapons are misnomer," he said. "You're really talking about automatic weapons, which no one can own. We can't own machine guns. We can't own military grade weapons."
Thornton told reporters he supports current gun laws. He would like to see those laws better enforced, as well as a more informed debate on any new gun regulation.
Locally, anti-gun groups applauded the president's proposals.
"We are grateful that in his State of the Union address, President Obama called again for Congress to pass a comprehensive gun violence prevention package to help protect American families," the statement read. "There is much work we need to do as a country, but nothing is more important than the safety of our children and families."
The group also vowed to stand and fight, stating, "There is a new groundswell of citizens who are organizing to effectively pressure Congress into passing sensible gun laws now to protect our families. The momentum is with us, and we are in this for the long haul at both the federal and state levels."
The NRA, with four million members, partners with groups like the NWTF for support.
The NWTF is a nationwide conservation and hunting heritage group with more than 250,000 members nationwide. The expo portion of the annual Convention and Sports Show is expected to draw 45,000 people this weekend.