January 31st, 2013
06:37 PM ET
5 years ago

NRA position on background checks has changed, board member affirms

Washington (CNN) - A past president and current board member of the National Rifle Association affirmed Thursday that the organization has changed its position on background checks for gun sales in recent years.

Sandy Froman said Thursday in a town hall on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that the organization has changed its position since the organization's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, testified before the House Judiciary Committee in 1999.

Can there be a solution to America's gun problems? Anderson Cooper looks at both sides of the debate in "Guns Under Fire: an AC360ยบ Town Hall Special" Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

CNN's Anderson Cooper quoted LaPierre's 1999 testimony to Froman: "we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show, no loopholes for anyone."

"The answer, Anderson, is yes," she responded. "The NRA has changed its position and the reason it's changed its position is because the system doesn't work."

Those differences have come to light in the recent gun debate.

In his testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, LaPierre said: "And when it comes to background checks, let's be honest. Background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them."

The 1999 hearings, he said, were to discuss "who would be a dealer and who would be required to have a license. If you did it for livelihood and profit, yes. If you were a hobbyist, then no."

LaPierre was pressed on his current view by committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who chastised the witness, saying, "if you could, just answer my question."

Leahy then asked LaPierre directly, "Now you do not support background checks for all buyers of firearms?"

"I think the National Instant Check System, the way it's working now, is a failure because this administration is not prosecuting the people that they catch," he responded. "Twenty three states are not even putting the mental records of those adjudicated mentally incompetent into the system."

Froman is a trustee and director of the NRA, and served as president from 2005 through 2007. She has also held a variety of other positions with the organization. Her advocacy for gun rights began after an unsuccessful burglary attempt on her home, according to her bio.

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Filed under: NRA • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Facts don't Lie

    " The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" Ok so how are we supposed to know who the bad guys are if background checks are not allowed?? Come on NRA be honest with the American public..the reason you are now against background checks is becasue it could effect gun sales and that is all you really care about. You really don't care that as of right now a person on the terrorist watch list, a person with a criminal record or record of domestic violence can legally purchase a firearm. Well you know I bet that there are some blind people in our country that would like to be able to drive too but we don't let them because............

    January 31, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. marty

    The NRA changed it's position because, "the system doesn't work". Which system?? Is it that the NRA was once a reputable organization interested in gun safety and education until that good ole persuader, money, changed the system into a sales and marketing estabiishment with profits taking center stage?

    January 31, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. Rick

    Sellouts. False opposition. Watch them cave even more as time goes by.

    January 31, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. tom brown

    Isn't it a bit worn out the NRA jingle "don't outlaw guns because only outlaws will have guns" argument?
    Why outlaw murder? Only murderers will murder!

    January 31, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. No one

    Political opinions: to the highest bidder.
    Right and wrong? We'll just change the definition.

    January 31, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. snowdogg

    Wayne LaPierre is out of touch with mainstream America... compromise is a GOOD thing.

    January 31, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Hugh Mann

    uh huh,,LaPierre's opinion is evolving.....he'll get back to you on this

    January 31, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. GIUK

    Just more doublespeak from the NRA; they are both for, and against background checks. Why bother printing their rubbish?

    January 31, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. 111Dave111

    Wayne LaPierre's 1999 testimony: "we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show, no loopholes for anyone."

    Today: "The NRA has changed its position and the reason it's changed its position is because the system doesn't work."

    Yet the NRA never has pushed for enforcement. Far from it. The have worked to belittle and defang the ATF.

    January 31, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Gary Mason

    The Federal Government should be in the business of protecting the American way, not getting in Americas way. If properly funded, enforced and implemented, the Bush era background check laws should be enough to protect us against the threats we face from mentally ill people or people with a poor handle on reality. I don't care for much of the Bush Era in terms of laws and political decisions, but in response to the Virginia tech shooting, he got this right. We should remember that the economy tanked, and Obama took office and someone probably forgot that safety should have still been a priority.

    January 31, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |

    Nice try CNN. You will never get our guns.
    Even your puppet dem lawmakers are doubting themselves. what a bunch of puds

    January 31, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. sjn

    As we all know there is more gun violence because there are more people just like soap sales are up because more people are alive and they need soap- not to say soap kills but all deaths and accidents and murders will go up but what is there ratio- and if America wants to help/ stop automating everything over pricing everthing to cover every country that wants our money and Amercians who want us to pay there whole way when they can work or work pt- then frustration will go down as will murders- because people will be happier and more capable instead of mad - so simple-

    January 31, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. cls

    OK and what is the name of the organization that works tirelessly to see that the federal government is unable to run the checks? I think it starts with an "N" ...

    January 31, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. PaulCat

    The American people are just plan "stupid".

    All you need is just one hand gun for your home and one hunting gun.

    Some people just like to put their name and face in the news.

    January 31, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. theapatriot

    Allowing more in-depth backgrounds will not reduce crime – It will prove that background checks don't stop the human behavior of assault; the NRA will be right and the democrats wrong. Let's change the way it happened. If Lanza had walked into that classroom with a gallon of gas and torched all of the kids, would liberals be out to label gas cans as assault weapons? No, liberals would understand that assault is a behavior and more oppressive laws won't help.

    January 31, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....I dont see why they are asking for their opinion!

    Wayne Lapierre is a terrorist and should be treated as such!!!!..............He doesn't speak for the majority of the American people....just the gun lobbyist criminals and the gun manufacturers, while lining up his deep pocket with blood money from the victims of gun violence!!!

    I AM AN AMERICAN....and that my people, is my first amendment right: FREE SPEECH!!!

    January 31, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. CBP

    Of course they changed their position. The will continue to be against any changes unless the other side appears to be winning. Then the NRA might agree to some of the provisions or they will launch an attack telling us that only guns kill people and that law-abiding citizens will not want or need to go through background checks, etc.

    Until the NRA decides to answer questions in a mature and reasonable manner we should not allow them to speaks during any hearings, How many times do we need to hear about these massacres and killings before we do something to keep American safe? Enough is enough!

    January 31, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. Pablo

    The NRA will support selling guns to Islamic terrorist if gun manufacturers can increase profits.

    January 31, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Lesmunk

    So, in a nut shell, their policy is "if it is broke, don't fix it?"

    January 31, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. Jesse

    Sales to strangers must be NCIC, but sales to family say passing down a gun through generations is ok. Also loaning your big game rifle to your buddy bob because he won the moose lottery that year. He only has a .270 for the deer he gets year after year but say for that moose he needs your 30.06. If bob kills someone with your rifle your liable too. Just takes greed out of the equation and makes people more aware of their actions.

    More importantly crime and mental health stats need to be mandated in NCIC. NCIac is a great tool if properly set up.

    January 31, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  21. carlos

    Like the crooks who buy and sell stolen guns are gonna do backround checks...

    January 31, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. Michael

    Wow.. so they're actually in favor of regressing. SMH. The NRA is a bunch of heartless, moneygrubbing clowns!

    January 31, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. Depotman

    I want CRIMINAL control !

    January 31, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. avdin

    No wonder it doesnt work! no one is reporting it. This is how the mentally ill and criminals continue to be able to purchase fire arms. force the states to submit the records and prosecute those who illegally possess fire arms and maybe we will make some progress.

    January 31, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. DemFromSC

    So, according to NRA "logic" (a contradiction in terms, I recognize), if a background check system doesn't work perfectly, we shouldn't do anything. How many more dead citizens are we willing to tolerate before we make it more difficult for people to get guns? We can't wait for a perfect answer, especially since there probably isn't one. We need to attack the problem of gun violence from as many angles as possible, and as quickly as possible.

    January 31, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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