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Wayne LaPierre courtesy

Congress loves holding hearings about things. Whatever the hot button issue of the day may be, they wrangle some of the “important people” into a room and yammer at them for a while. Topics range from such issues of national import as doping in professional sports to finding out who is a communist, and today’s hearing du jure is entitled “WHAT SHOULD AMERICA DO ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE?” The more intelligent among you might notice that the question pre-supposes that guns are the problem and answering the question accepts the premise, but even so the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre was asked to attend and offered the following testimony . . .

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

It’s an honor to be here today on behalf of more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters, in every state across our nation, who make up the National Rifle Association of America. Those 4.5 million active members are joined by tens of millions of NRA supporters.

And it’s on behalf of those millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding citizens … to give voice to their concerns … that I’m here today.

The title of today’s hearing is “What should America do about gun violence?”

We believe the answer to that question is to be honest about what works – and what doesn’t work.

Teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works – and the NRA has a long and proud history of teaching it.

Our “Eddie Eagle” children’s safety program has taught over 25 million young children that if they see a gun, they should do four things: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” As a result of this and other private sector programs, fatal firearm accidents are at the lowest levels in more than 100 years.

The NRA has over 80,000 certified instructors who teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers and hundreds of thousands of other American men and women how to safely use firearms. We do more – and spend more – than anyone else on teaching safe and responsible gun ownership.

We joined the nation in sorrow over the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. There is nothing more precious than our children. We have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and keep them safe. That’s why we asked former Congressman and Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchison, to bring in every expert available to develop a model School Shield Program – one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible.

It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. About a third of our schools have armed security already – because it works. And that number is growing. Right now, state officials, local authorities and school districts in all 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in their schools.

In addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. Overall in 2011, federal weapons prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration. That means violent felons, gang members and the mentally ill who possess firearms are not being prosecuted. And that’s unacceptable.

And out of more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution and only 44 were actually prosecuted. Proposing more gun control laws – while failing to enforce the thousands we already have – is not a serious solution to reducing crime.

I think we can also agree that our mental health system is broken. We need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection and treatment, to civil commitment laws, to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

While we’re ready to participate in a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectfully – but honestly and firmly – disagree with some members of this committee, many in the media, and all of the gun control groups on what will keep our kids and our streets safe.

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.

As I said earlier, 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.

Semi-automatic firearms have been around for over 100 years. They are among the most popular guns made for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Despite this fact, Congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms and magazines from 1994 to 2004. Independent studies, including a study from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that ban had no impact on lowering crime.

And when it comes to the issue of background checks, let’s be honest – background checks will never be “universal” – because criminals will never submit to them.

But there are things that can be done and we ask you to join with us. The NRA is made up of millions of Americans who support what works … the immediate protection for all – not just some – of our school children; swift, certain prosecution of criminals with guns; and fixing our broken mental health system.

We love our families and our country. We believe in our freedom. We’re the millions of Americans from all walks of life who take responsibility for our own safety and protection as a God-given, fundamental right.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I thank you for your time and consideration.

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  1. Not bad. I am disappointed that he did not specifically mention the failed concept of the “Gun Free Zone” where active shooters have committed many of their atrocities. The worst tactical situation that I am aware of is when the bad guy(s) has a gun and law abiding citizens who could otherwise carry are legally prohibited from doing so. In point of fact, the strictest gun control we have is the “Gun Free School Zone,” and they have clearly become a target of choice. In a GFZ, an active shooter does encounter armed resistance until police arrive. This concept clearly does not work, and Sandy Hook is a prime example if that fact. How many lives could have been saved if a teacher either shot or confronted Lanza with a legally – carried handgun?

    • In a way he did,

      “It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. About a third of our schools have armed security already – because it works. And that number is growing.”

      I believe it was best he didn’t bring up the GFZ thingy. That would only be a detraction.

    • Yep, just heard on NPR this morning (of all sources) about how Brendan McKown drew down on and was critically injured durring the 2006 Tacoma Mall Shooting. His action likely turned the dynamic shooting rampage into a static hostage situation where no one died. NPR even played a clip of Brendan saying despite the resulting paralysis, in hindsight he would still have carried and confronted the criminal.

  2. Well said.

    As a resident of the People’s Republic of “New” New York ( New slogan – I heart NY. The Constitution, not so much) I am looking forward to seeing The NY Daily News twisting his words into making him sound like a lunatic.
    Just when I think someone on our side says something intelligent and incontravertable the NYDN comes along and proves me wrong.

    • I call them the NY Chapter of The Peoples Union of Selfish Socialist Incompetent and Entitled Society. Each State has a chapter but some go above and beyond to limit rights they don’t agree with.

      All and all it was a good speech. One line summed it very nicely.
      “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.”


  3. Amazingly free of “get off my lawn” and “damn kids and their videogames” blame-shifting. Well done.

    Also, I’m trying a new pseudonym as 100% of my comments under my old one are getting spam filtered.

      • Been a member since 2006, life member now. The only problem is as a foreign national you don’t get a vote at the annual meetings, which does perplex some of the folks campaigning to get on the board of directors. I often wonder if the board should recognise it’s foreign members. The fundamental right to self defence doesn’t stop at the US border.

    • Pretty sure you can, I don’t even think there’s a question for citizenship on the application, I think it just asks “country”.

  4. I was happy with this one. Kept it on point, and fairly short, which is good since the people he was talking to in that room are either the choir or nonbelievers.

  5. I would have liked for him to have mentioned that the ‘so called’ assault rifles are the ones most effective and needed to enforce the 2nd amendment, which is (mainly) a check on potential future state tyranny. The semiauto/magazine interface is the main instrument of any potential asymetrical/guerilla warfare.
    Funny how nobody really mentions this. Sports, hunting, and self defense are good reasons to have a gun, but have nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment.

  6. “The more intelligent among you might notice that the question pre-supposes that guns are the problem and answering the question accepts the premise”

    That’s total nonsense and by preceding the wrong idea with “the more intelligent among you,” I’m sure you fooled everybody who already agrees with you.


    That doesn’t pre-suppose anything that I can see.


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