NRA President David Keene Rejects Outline Of White House Gun Control Recommendations (VIDEO)
WASHINGTON -- Just two days before Vice President Joe Biden delivers a comprehensive set of recommendations on gun policy, National Rifle Association President David Keene rejected the reported outline of suggestions Sunday and dismissed any ban on assault weapons or
high-capacity magazines as a non-starter.
"We don't think any of those things work," he said in appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." "You should absolutely be able to compromise on things that accomplish the purpose. Our objection to those things is that they interfere with people's rights without doing anything to solve the problem."
Biden on Tuesday is expected to issue a series of proposals to address gun violence, in response to last month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Based on initial reports, the White House will make more comprehensive background checks a priority and continue to push for the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban.
But despite having an NRA representative present for a meeting with the vice president last week, Keene doesn't foresee his organization and the White House reaching an agreement on how to proceed.
On Sunday, he called for a greater focus on mental health and said those who are mentally ill and potentially dangerous should be placed on a list of people prohibited from purchasing firearms. He did not raise the NRA's initial suggestion to place armed guards in schools across the country, which was not only met with widespread criticism but has also proven to be ineffective in prior mass shootings.
The NRA president predicted a difficult road ahead for those pursuing a ban on assault weapons and said he believed he had enough support to prevent such legislation from passing.
"They are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through Congress," Keene said, adding that even outlawing high-capacity magazines would be difficult. "The fact is that we live in a society where first of all, we have constitutional rights, and secondly, there are millions upon millions of Americans who value the rights that they have under the Second
Amendment and who are involved in the shooting sports or use firearms for self-defense, and we think that they will be heard."
But while an assault weapons ban remains a divisive issue on Capitol Hill, several of its opponents have said they could get behind action on high-capacity magazines. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called high-capacity magazines "a whole different issue," while Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who has enjoyed a lifetime "A" rating from the NRA, said he would be "willing to listen to the possibility of the capacity of a magazine."
NRA says Congress won't ban assault weapons
NRA President David Keene says new measures on assault weapons, as well as on high-volume magazines, would be ineffective in preventing gun violence.
WASHINGTON -- The head of the National Rifle Assn. expressed confidence Sunday that the current Congress will not pass a new ban on assault weapons, a major aim of gun-control proponents in the wake of last month’s killing of 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut.
“I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get assault weapons ban through this Congress,” NRA President David Keene said on CNN’s “State Of The Union.”
Keene’s comments come two days before Vice President Joe Biden is expected to issue a series of recommendations to President Obama on reducing gun violence, and as gun stores in many areas report a dramatic spike in sales.
Biden’s focus has been on requiring universal background checks for gun sales and on limiting sales of high-capacity ammunition clips, two areas that appear to have widespread public support.
But administration officials have indicated that a ban on assault weapons could be included in an overall package of proposals. Obama has endorsed renewing such a ban, which was passed by Congress in 1994 but expired a decade later.
Congress is exhibiting new energy to restrict production and sales of certain firearms, with some pro-gun members speaking out for the first time against the spread of assault weapons.
But it’s far from clear if there’s enough support, particularly among Republicans, to approve a broad ban on such type of military-style guns.
“I think we have the possibility, but it’s going to be difficult,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on CNN. He said prospects were better for Congress to push through restrictions on high-capacity magazines and expanded background checks.
Biden met with NRA officials last week as part of his efforts to reach out to all sides on the issue, but Keene described the meeting as disingenuous, saying that the administration had already made up its mind.
Keene insisted that new measures on assault weapons, as well as on high-volume magazines, would be ineffective in preventing gun violence, arguing instead that the focus should be on mentally ill people and curbing their ability to acquire guns.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Sunday sharply disagreed with Keene’s assessment that the current Congress would not take action on assault weapons.
“No, I think he’s wrong,” Murphy said on CNN. Saying that he believed such a ban would have prevented the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Murphy said: “Newtown fundamentally changed things. The NRA doesn’t get this.”