January 31st, 2013
06:37 PM ET
1 year 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 AC360º 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. vance meyer

    Don't change the position. Its a bad government tool that they will use against its citizens.

    January 31, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. gopfails

    >Her advocacy for gun rights began after an unsuccessful burglary attempt on her home
    After seeing what war does to men I consider strong as a rock I think I would rather have someone take all my physical stuff (especially since insured) than have to wake up every morning thinking about the person I shot who screamed in agony for minutes before he bled out (people don't always die instantly like on tv). Telling yourself its a bad guy only takes you so far. There is a reason the military has to basically brainwash people to kill. Its one of the hardest things in the world.

    January 31, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Animal

    Well yes, it only makes sense for the NRA to change position on background checks. Not to a position of doing away with them, but to improve them. The NICS system was co-founded by the NRA in 2007. The system in it's present form doesn't work. The amount and content of information differs from state to state. Having the NICS system is crucial to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerous mentally ill. It needs to be fixed.

    January 31, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. gopfails

    And yes to protect your family is one thing worthy of killing but know this if you kill someone you will think about it for the rest of your life.

    January 31, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Rozeller

    A sheriff's deputy confirmed to me last night that thousands of people have applied for licenses as gun dealers out of their homes so that they won't have to do background checks. He also said that most gun violence he sees is the result of kids getting hold of a parent's weapon. The parent has taught them how to load and shoot, so a problem comes up and they just go home and get the gun.

    January 31, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. GloSeattle

    The reason the NRA's position has changed is their funding has changed from just us to a lot of PAC's which have some questionable members. I'm a gun owner, I'm a registered gun owner, my weapons are secured, I have alarms, I've been trained in handling weapons, and I have no problem complying with the law of the country I live in. If I were that afraid of my country hurting me, I think I'd go elsewhere. These "fringe" groups that are so narrow in their views and paranoid of every shadow are ruining the lives of so many innocents but taking the elusive common sense to another planet. Let's have some common sense background checks, screen our VIOLENT mentally ill better in our system (just because they're mentally ill DOESN'T make them violent), enforce the laws we already have, and keep guns out of the hands of the crazy dooms-dayers – they're trigger happy paranoid fools and shouldn't have a weapon!

    January 31, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. jlamm

    The NRA is like the GOP, has gone way to the right in recent years. Even president Reagan fully supported
    background checks and campaigned for them. This is why some say Reagan would probably vote Democrat
    if alive today. The idea that every crazy person should be able to buy semi automatic guns like soda pop
    seems bad to me.

    January 31, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. tammy

    im against banning guns, we are going to end up in another civil war. regardless of banning, criminals will still have weapons, and the shootings will continue to happen. security needs to be placed into schools.

    January 31, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. John

    Quite an argument. Nothing works, so give up. But if people care enough, something CAN work. The NRA argument embraces the 'criminals' in that it protects a system where they work best. Anything tighter does in fact restrict them and how much depends only on how strong you make the system. So do not listen to the NRA. Do not just give up.

    January 31, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. sunder

    Answer was I don't know ... I do not think that was changing the stance.. Its basically implying I reserve my choice to say whatever I want!

    January 31, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. marty

    Thank goodness, that was a dumb stance to hold as I've seen a Barrett 50 cal for sale at a garage sale.
    No I'm not joking.

    I want the NRA to be behind Universal checks so that they can make sure they don't get turned into a TAX

    January 31, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. electric52

    I don't get LaPierre and the NRA. Essentially he's said it was a good idea for background checks in 1999 but now because the system doesn't prosecute the NRA has reversed their decision. Why doesn't he stay with the 1999 position and push for prosecuting violaters of the background check. I am SO LOST by this BS.

    January 31, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. David

    Shocking, the government that does not enforce current laws or punish law breakers wants to implement more strict laws... it's almost as if they want as many shootings as possible as close together in order to gain support for their cause... but that couldn't be, right?

    January 31, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Eric Lawson

    I live in Windsor Ontario Across From Detroit. My Son Lives in Ottawa.He Owns Guns.Our Registration Laws Are Very Taken very seriously Here In Canada. My son had To Score Over 92 Percent On Thier Tests.In Order To Own a wepon.The RCMP.Do the Background Checkes.If One suffers From any Mental Iilness.One will Not Own Or be In The Posession Of Any Kind Of Gun.respectfully yours Eric..

    January 31, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. Shardik

    Slowly they are moving toward the majority opinion.

    January 31, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. Charlton Heston

    The NRA blocks the implementation of existing gun laws after publicly taking credit for them. These people work for the gun manufactures and can't be trusted in any way. It's wonderful to see them exposed and ridiculed.

    January 31, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. GayAtheist

    We are winning against the terror group that is the NRA.

    January 31, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. Name lynn

    No one can come up with an ideal for this NRA nor this sooo call gun law, people please an if you say pray the people go off the wall when you talk about the Lord. Who can fix this so call gun law.

    January 31, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. clarity6

    The NRA does not care innocent children get killed as long as they get big $$$ for their gun manufacturers.

    January 31, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  20. Bob

    Fact: The Sandy Hook killer was thwarted initially to buy a gun because of background checks. They DO work. Police have said they have caught many suspects during gun background checks. Just because some people can get around them doesn't mean we should do away with them, rather FIX THE LOOPHOLES. Also note, the Sandy Hook killer only got his weapons because the assault weapons ban was lifted. His mother legally owned guns that she couldn't have owned until the GOP President and the GOP Congress let Clinton's Assault Weapons Ban expire. If the GOP hadn't kissed the butts of the NRA, dozens of six year-olds would still be alive. Do you really think that spoiled, emo kid was going to go to some gang member to buy a gun? The kid was disturbed but by all accounts he was a fragile coward who probably would have fainted if he had to talk to someone who wasn't from his upper-middle class whitebread world. I think the gun laws should able to stop a wimpy kid whose maximum effort in obtaining an assault rifle amounted to looking in mommy's closet.

    January 31, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. clarity6

    The only thing the NRA cares is about making more money for the gun manufacturers. The don't care about children being killed.

    January 31, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. papanez

    Is it just me or does this LaPierre dude look like a slimeball? What a loser.

    January 31, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  23. splassher6

    Hey Anderson discuss the other issues such as fail gun control in large cities with mostly Liberal populations. Dare perform journalistic duties such as calling out MSNBC for altering video of the Sandy Hook parent to make 2nd Amendment supporters look bad...

    January 31, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. Jack

    So, this is their stance – just oppose most common sense actions so that no one will talk about more difficult actions.
    Hopeless – these are the guys with blood of young, innocent kids on their hands.

    January 31, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  25. impoundguy

    I'm a multi gun owner....the more I hear about the NRA and it's stand...the more I think these guys are more about the "good ole boys club"...then making clear and rational decisions. What could possibly be wrong with back ground checks on "everyone" wanting to purchase a weapon...if it saves 1 life, it is worth it. These guys are totally over the top at this point and are losing sympathy for their cause at an alarming rate....they have lost it from me.

    January 31, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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