Share This Page

NRA's LaPierre: Tighter gun rules off mark

| Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 8:22 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Banning some assault weapons and requiring background checks for all firearms purchases aren't a serious attempt to reduce gun violence, a top National Rifle Association official warned on Tuesday as Congress geared up for the year's first hearing on the subject.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, said the country must instead focus on boosting security at schools, enforcing existing gun laws and taking more steps to deny guns to people with mental illnesses.

“Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals. Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families,” LaPierre said in testimony he planned to deliver Wednesday at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

LaPierre's statement, released by the NRA, occurred nearly seven weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. The horrific slayings have revived the national debate over gun control, with President Obama proposing a range of restrictions last week and members of Congress introducing legislation on the subject.

LaPierre's testimony was similar in substance but somewhat milder in tone than some statements the organization has made recently.

Less than two weeks after the mass shooting, LaPierre attacked the “media machine” for blaming the gun industry for attacks like Newtown and said what was needed to prevent the next massacre were armed guards and police in every school. Earlier this month, the NRA ran a television ad calling Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for voicing doubts about having armed school guards while his own children are protected that way at their school. While Obama's children have Secret Service protection, officials at their school say its own guards don't carry guns.

“We need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future,” LaPierre said in his prepared remarks.

A ban on some semi-automatics considered to be assault weapons was tried from 1994 to 2004 and failed to reduce crime, he said. He also said background checks will never be universal because criminals won't submit to them.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.