Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Michael Bonfigli | The Christian Science Monitor National Rifle Association President David Keene told reporters Thursday that there is no need for universal background checks for gun purchase.
NRA president: Universal background checks are ‘burdensome’

First Published Jan 31 2013 03:17 pm • Last Updated Feb 21 2013 09:32 pm

Washington • The head of the National Rifle Association agrees that more work should be done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill but that a national tragedy isn’t the reason to ram through more firearm restrictions.

NRA President David Keene told reporters Thursday that there are ways to help prevent mass shootings, but that limiting the rights of law-abiding Americans isn’t the answer.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Keene, speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, said he backs the call to action by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011 and still struggles to speak.

"She said something needs to be done and I think we all agree with that," Keene said. "It’s not that there’s a great number of these things that happened but if there are measures that can be taken to deal with the sort of mass shootings that happened at Newtown, on the one hand, and gun crime on the other, then those steps ought to be taken."

Keene and the NRA have made the rounds with the news media and with Congress to defend gun rights in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting where 20 children and six educators were killed.

On Thursday, Keene said his 4.5-million-member group would fight against universal background checks — calling them a hindrance to those who want to follow the law — but would advocate for fixing that system and to improve the process to keep mentally ill people from obtaining guns.

It’s the same argument the NRA has made before, and Keene noted that he doesn’t see much change in the debate.

"I think that our opponents hope this time is different, in the sense that they hope they can use emotion to achieve an anti-firearms agenda that they haven’t been able to achieve in the past," Keene said. "But I’ve always operated, not just in my current incarnation but in previous incarnations, on the assumption that people are smarter than politicians, and that common sense ultimately prevails."

Keene did note that it may be "relatively easy" to add background checks at gun shows, but it would be "excessively burdensome" to make all private sales go through the screening.

"I do think you get to a point where you’re getting nothing as a result of it and while it sounds good, it doesn’t work," Keene said.


story continues below
story continues below

However, during a Senate hearing this week, Baltimore County, Md., Police Chief James Johnson testified that the lack of background checks in private sales is a "major problem."

He cited statistics showing that in one year, 6.6 million gun transactions occurred without such a check, a move, he said, that was akin to allowing 40 percent of airplane passengers to skip security checkpoints.

"Background checks work," Johnson said, adding that they stopped nearly 2 million prohibited purchases between 1994 and 2009. "We already have a national background check system in place. Therefore, extending a background check to all firearms purchases can easily be implemented, and it should be without delay."

tburr@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.