Appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre told anchor John Dickerson that gun control proponents practice hypocrisy, especially if they are Hollywood elites or the gaming industry.
This came in reaction to questions about the Las Vegas massacre on the evening of Oct. 1. LaPierre was obviously ready for such a question.
“All the elites that have been speaking out this past week, they all want to protect themselves,” the NRA executive vice president said. “They all protect themselves with armed security. I mean, they criticize the N.R.A. You want to talk about irresponsible use of firearms?
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“The number one person teaching irresponsible use of firearms is all these elites’ employer, the Hollywood, television, gaming industry,” LaPierre continued. “We spend millions teaching responsible use of firearms. They make billions every single day, John, teaching irresponsible use of firearms. They’re so hypocritical it’s unbelievable.”
A transcript of the conversation now online shows Dickerson questioning whether elitism or concern about evil in the world is guiding the debate. LaPierre fired right back:
“Well, I do think this. I mean, if we could legislate morality, we would have done it long ago. I mean, as we talked before, Paris wouldn’t have happened. They outlaw fully automatic guns. Brussels. San Bernardino. California has every gun law under the sun. It still happens. I mean, the bad people could care. But on bump stocks let me say this.”
LaPierre reminded Dickerson that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the Obama administration approved so-called “bump stocks” that are now at the center of a verbal firestorm about gun control. He said NRA called for a review of the devices by the ATF, putting the ball squarely in the agency’s court.
LaPierre also took the opportunity to remind the audience that he has argued about gun control with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) “for years” about guns. She has repeatedly attempted to ban such firearms, without success.
Coincidentally, Feinstein had earlier appeared on the same program, expressing surprise that “bump stocks” had been literally flying off the shelves as a result of her proposal to ban them with federal legislation.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” she stated.
But this is the same buying frenzy pattern that has followed any declaration about gun control, and Feinstein should know that.
In that same interview with Dickerson, Feinstein acknowledged that there could not have been any law passed that would have stopped Paddock.
“No,” she admitted, “he passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions.”
Still, Feinstein would dearly love to ban so-called “assault weapons,” but newly-released FBI crime data for 2016 shows that rifles of any kind are still used only in a fraction of all U.S. homicides. That does not support her argument that semi-auto sporting rifles, which are the most popular rifles in the country today, need to be prohibited.
If the program demonstrated anything, it’s that the NRA has captured the high ground in this discussion. The onus is on ATF to decide whether its original determination about “bump stocks” under Obama was accurate and still stands. If so, then there will be less likelihood of a major push to ban the things, since it might take more political capital than some are willing to give up, especially if a long-awaited “discussion” about guns comes from this, in which it’s a good gamble the firearm community is going to expect something substantial in return for an accessory that very few people had even heard about nine days ago.