Peter Riley, the former president of the National Rifle Association, has said President Donald Trump will use the NRA to promote “bigotry and intolerance”.
Mr Riley, who resigned from the NRA after the Las Vegas massacre, said the US president will “take advantage” of the group’s influence in the US, and use the National Shooting Sports Foundation to advance gun control measures.
The NRA has been an influential voice in the past few years, having pushed for a national concealed carry law and for expanded background checks.
The organization’s leadership has been vocal in support of gun control legislation and its support for an assault weapons ban.
In recent years, Mr Riley said the NRA has become “the single largest lobbying organisation in the country”.
Mr Trump has not directly commented on Mr Riley’s comments, but on Thursday he tweeted: “The NRA, like every other lobby, will continue to be the single largest in the United States.”
It is not about winning votes, it is about making a difference.
“The NRA and other powerful lobbies like it will never go away, and they will be the primary drivers of gun legislation for years to come.”
Mr Riley said he did not know whether Mr Trump would take action on gun control.
“He is not going to change his mind on gun safety,” Mr Riley told CNN.
“I think that the NRA is going to continue to influence him and the other leaders in the administration, to make sure that people who are opposed to gun safety don’t win votes.”
Mr Trump had been expected to sign a package of gun-control measures during his first week in office.
“We have a lot of things that we want to accomplish in the first few days, so I will take advantage of the opportunity we have,” Mr Trump told reporters in Florida on Thursday.
“This is a time of great opportunity.
We’re going to be moving forward with a lot.”‘
He will do it on his own’Mr Riley told MSNBC on Thursday that he was not aware of any plans by the president to make the NRA a lobbying force, and that he would be happy to work with the NRA in the future.
“They will do things on their own,” he said.
“And he will do them on his alone.”