LaPierre flip-flops to defend lack of background checks at trade shows where 40% of gun sales occur...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2013, 12:57pm PT  

During testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1999, after the mass shooting at Columbine, the National Rifle Association's CEO Wayne LaPierre stated plainly:

LAPIERRE: We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone.

The NRA even went as far as to take out an ad [PDF] that included LaPierre's full testimony from his U.S. House Judiciary Committee appearance that day.

But that was then.

Today, testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of the mass shooting at Newtown, LaPierre has completely reversed his position on background checks, as highlighted during this exchange with the Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)...

In short, despite tens of thousands of criminals prevented from buying guns at licensed dealers and pawn shops, thanks to instant background checks --- LaPierre pegged the number at 76,000 people who "have been denied under the present law" --- the NRA mouthpiece is now against closing the loophole that allows unlimited gun sales at trade shows with no background checks whatsoever, even though 40% of weapons in the country are purchased at such shows.

Once again, the con-man who heads up the NRA is completely out of touch with the vast majority of his own constituency as well as the vast majority of the nation as a whole...

As we noted just days after the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT, according to a July 2012 poll taken by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, "74 percent of NRA members and 87 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun."

Additionally, a national survey by Johns Hopkins published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that " 89 percent of all respondents, and 75 percent of those identified as NRA members, support universal background checks for gun sales."

A Gallup survey taken this month finds 91% of Americans favor universal background checks, while a Pew poll this month pegs the number of Americans who support them at 85%.

All of those polls also find huge majorities, even among NRA members, in favor of many other common-sense gun safety regulations, such as bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, yet it seems the U.S. Congress may be cowed into focusing only on background checks.

In any case, as LaPierre's shameful testimony revealed again today, he is a relic, a con-man, and little more than a representative of the U.S. arms industry. While he claims to head up the NRA, clearly he is completely out of touch with both the country and his own membership who should be calling for his immediate resignation, or they should be resigning themselves from what has become a national joke of an organization.

* * *

And then, after LaPierre spoke, Captain Mark Kelly, who was there to testify with her wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) who was shot in the head and almost killed in Tuscon in 2011, broke the news to the committee that another mass shooting had just occurred in Phoenix, even as the hearing was taking place...


As NBC News reports, "three victims are in critical condition and another three have minor injuries after a workplace shooting. Phoenix Police Sargent Tommy Thompson said that the shooting does not appear to be random."

The suspect --- "described as a white male in his 60s," according to Fox, so probably not all that influenced by rap music or video games --- is reportedly still at large.