US lobby issues point-blank ‘no’ on gun control
Washington – The most powerful gun lobby in the US has stood firm against any additional restraints on firearms and ammunition sales – despite a national outcry in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), said yesterday that planned legislation to outlaw military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was “phony” and would not work.
He repeated the NRA’s call to place an armed guard in every school and argued that prosecuting criminals and fixing the mental health system, rather than gun control, were the solutions to the US’ mass shooting epidemic.
On December 14, a disturbed local man, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother in their Newtown, Connecticut, home before embarking on a horrific shooting spree at a local elementary school.
He blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot dead 20 six- and seven-year old children and six adults with a military-style assault rifle before taking his own life with a handgun as police closed in.
The bloodshed, the latest in a string of mass shootings in the US, has reopened a national debate on the country’s gun laws, which are far more lax than in most other developed nations.
US President Barack Obama said he would support a new bill to ban assault rifles and put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of a panel looking at a wide range of other measures, from school security to mental health.
Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has pledged to table a bill on January 3 that would ban at least 100 military-style semi-automatic assault weapons, and would curb the transfer, importation and the possession of such arms.
“I think that is a phony piece of legislation, and I do not believe it will pass for this reason,” LaPierre told NBC’s
Meet the Press. “It is all built on lies that have been found out.”
The NRA points to the fact that the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, when 12 kids and a teacher were gunned down by two senior students, occurred despite similar legislation being in force at the time.