WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 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 Tuesday by the NRA, came 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 Barack 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. Both are among measures that Obama is seeking.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has already introduced legislation taking similar steps to Obama’s proposals, including banning assault weapons and magazines that house more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
She said Tuesday that she will hold her own hearing on gun control because she was unhappy that three of the five witnesses testifying to the Judiciary panel on Wednesday are “skewed against us.” Feinstein is a member of the committee.
Despite the momentum gun-control advocates have gained since the Newtown shootings, it will be difficult for them to prevail in Congress this year because of the popularity of guns in many states — including several represented by Democratic senators — and the formidable muscle of the NRA on Capitol Hill, lawmakers and other say. Among other obstacles, the Republican-run House has shown little immediate interest in making dramatic changes in the laws.
“It’s hard,” Feinstein said of gun legislation prospects. “I know it’s hard. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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