NRA president says gun control efforts will crumble in Congress
January 13th, 2013
10:48 AM ET
10 years ago

NRA president says gun control efforts will crumble in Congress

(CNN) – As debate thunders through Washington over a ban on assault weapons, the president of the powerful National Rifle Association said Sunday he believes there's not enough support on Capitol Hill for such legislation to pass.

"I would say that the likelihood is they're not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," David Keene said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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However, he qualified, if the president is "willing to expend the political capital" and use "all the power of his office," then Keene doesn't want to make any predictions on what could happen in the coming months. "You don't want to bet your house on the outcome," he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

An administration official said Friday that President Barack Obama will seek the passage of an assault weapons ban as part of the renewed push for gun control laws following last month's Connecticut elementary school massacre. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has said she'll introduce a bill soon including measures similar to the ban that was in place from 1994 until 2004, when it expired.

Cautioning that "the president is going to act," Vice President Joe Biden stirred controversy last week when he warned that "executive orders, executive action, can be taken" should Congress fail to move on the issue.

Biden, while meeting with various stakeholders in the gun debate, said other proposals under consideration include a universal background check system for gun buyers and restrictions on high-capacity magazines, devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. He'll be presenting his recommendations to the president by Tuesday.

Keene said he doubts scaled-back attempts targeting only magazines will get far due to their easy access and low cost.

"Even David Gregory could find one," he added, referring to the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," a show that got into trouble for using a high-capacity magazine as a prop during a broadcast - an illegal display of the device in Washington. The incident sparked an investigation by local authorities, and while the act was found in violation of the law, a prosecutor announced Friday there would be no charges.

Since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last month, the NRA has added 100,000 new members, bringing its total membership to 4.2 million, NRA officials told CNN. Because of the increased attention on the issue, the officials think the group will soon hit 5 million.

While some speculate the gun lobby is trying to gin up the gun debate to prompt more firearm sales, Keene shot back at the idea.

"The two people who are selling so-called assault rifles are Sen. Feinstein and President Obama - not us," he said. "They're the ones that are scaring American gun owners. It isn't the NRA."

Pressed further about the NRA's ties to the manufacturing sector, Keene said the gun lobby gets "less money from the industry than we'd like to get, but we get more than we used to."

But he further contended that manufacturers are "not our constituency."

"Our constituency is twofold," he said. "It's the American people who want to own guns and use them legally, and it's the Second Amendment itself."

"I'm willing to suggest that gun owners in this country have as much influence as they always have, and perhaps more, because guns are more acceptable now than they were 10 years ago," he said.

- CNN's Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Gun rights • NRA • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. TJ

    This article should be re-titled: "The NRA is right".

    January 13, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. plain&simple

    Guns are accepted.....they just need to be well regulated!!! One thing for sure when something is not well regulated it leads to abuse and excess. Look at the banks and what that has done to our economy! Now look at gun regulations and what that is doing to our people. Mentality ill people were put out of institutions back in those Reagan years,when he was closing them. Maybe as the NRA suggests we should do more looking at this issue.....paid for with a nice ammunition tax,or gunpowder tax. Many suggestions may help,what doesn't is just saying everything is good as it is!

    January 13, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. Freedom

    Gun control will spark the next revolution.

    January 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Yes NRA bought the congress , current congress is NRA

    January 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Canuck

    How do you Americans allow a small , non-elected special interest group to push you all around like this???

    January 13, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. labman57

    The political intimidation through powers of suggestion generated by the NRA lobby in their efforts to influence members of Congress has become Pavlovian in nature.

    January 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. clarke

    that is no surprise, everything crumbles in congress.

    January 13, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Fran Albright

    Did he happen to say how much money the NRA is going to pay to the congressmen to "buy" that outcome?

    Please report on who they give money to.

    January 13, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Fran Albright

    Did he happen to say how much money the NRA is going to pour into the congressional reelection campaign funds and PACs to make sure that it happens?

    It will be interesting to know how much they spend and with who.

    January 13, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. AK_steve

    More guns don't fix our gun violence problem. Just like faster cars don't fix speeding violations.

    January 13, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Sorensen

    Mr. Keene's pseudo-professorial and arrogant appearence does not sell anybody on anything. They remain a bunch
    of irrelevant, corrupt, out-of touch and disgusting fools. And they are beginning to lose, as they well should.

    January 13, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Monali Khandagle

    Guns need to be taxed. Gun owners should pay an annual tax to their municipalities, state government to pay for the loss of life, injuries and policing needed to help with gun violence. Members of armed forces and veterans could be exempted from paying the tax. Gun owners who defend their right to own guns, need to be reminded that it is there to protect the nation. Go join the volunteer army, if you wish to own a gun. Don't be hypocrites.

    January 13, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Daniel terer/kenya/Africa

    American people 've been so free thatthey forgot that satan lives in human being. (B) that laws in soreighn state is of paramount importance.(c)that anyone under age as law prevails should notcarry dangerous weepons.

    January 13, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Monali Khandagle

    Do no take away the freedom and life of ordinary citizens in your rabid obsession with guns. We do not wish to see or hear guns in our neighborhoods, least of all our schools. Forcing teachers to learn to shoot is disgraceful and shameful.

    January 13, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. ST

    @ Fran Albright
    Money no longer buys election. It was those days when folks were still enjoying their sleep. They have now wake up. Remember, mega dollars which were pumped in 2012 election, still didn't help.

    January 13, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. anonoymous

    Since the Newtown shooting seems like everyday another student has brought a gun to school.....if these irresponsible guns cant keep their guns away from their kids then they should receive the punishment. Im tired of hearing how sorry they are and how they didnt know little Johnny was off balance. Imagine what the teacher would have said the next day if her son hadnt killed her with her own gun? Sorry nra there is no reason to own something that can shhot through a locked school.

    January 13, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. DaveF

    People with guns in their hands do Kill people. To the NRA – how about allowing M-60's, rockets, hand grenades, mortors??? I would like to have an Abrams tank. That would solve the traffic problem. All joking aside I hope you never have to look at the "riddled' bodies of the 20 childred murdered and then tell me that Automatic weapons are OK!!!!

    January 13, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. jpmichigan

    Removal of weapons of war and their ammunition , along with regulations and increase in mental health care facilities, this is what is needed. Our founding fathers would be turning in their graves knowing weapon of war are out there to killing innocent children. Self protecting and hunting of animals ,not human beings .

    January 13, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |