January 31st, 2013
06:37 PM ET
8 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.

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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. tony

    Good guy with gun is called upon to defend neighbors/home/children against bad guy with gun. Bad guy shoots first. End of good guy. If good guy shoos first, then he is the bad guy instead. The NRA position fo guns as a defense is about as likely as all soldiers with guns coming home safe after a war.

    But it goes down well with those people who really, really, want big guns that really, really, they can never use.

    January 31, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. DB


    Why are we even offering them a seat at the table?

    January 31, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. Kara

    Is that not like saying, " since brakes don't work perfectly 100% of the time, then we should stop putting them on cars"?

    January 31, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. Daedalus

    They changed their position because a vast majority of their members don't agree with a greedy leadership, and there are other alternatives to the NRA in the wings.

    January 31, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. Lee Garland Veasey, Jr.

    It's been said a million times, but let me add my voice: The problem is with criminals rather than with the weapons they use. I'm 81, but I still find it difficult to decide whether liberals are crooked or just plain stupid.

    January 31, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  6. cg

    They're paid gun lobbyists. The have an inhehrent conflict of interest and their views should not be considered at all.

    January 31, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Eric

    I'm 100% for guns and gun rights, and a member of the NRA (just signed up in fact). However, I don't see why we can't just have background checks for everyone. I don't see the problem and not sure why the NRA has a problem with this one. I agree it doesn't help keep guns out of criminal hands at ALL. But then so what, give them a bone. It doesn't prevent anyone from getting a gun who wants one, so be let. NRA, please change your position on this one and let's require background checks even at gun shows. Certainly we can figure something out, like say a computer system that let's you do an instant lookup for dealers?

    January 31, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  8. Drew

    It doesnt work because it stops gun sales.

    January 31, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  9. Jason B

    The NRA's solution to gun problems is to just give everyone more guns. If background checks and such aren't working, it's likely due to their intense lobbying against anything reasonable.

    January 31, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  10. Po Boy

    The NRA is not the problem It's the NRA leadership!

    January 31, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. PeeBee

    Hmmm! A car driver can loose his license and cannot drive for specific traffic rule violation BUT to own and operate a gun you do not need to be abided by certain rules (not mentally ill, no criminal background, ...). I guess, that's belong to basic philosophy of double standard.

    January 31, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. mckoder

    NRA's position against background checks on grounds that "criminals will never submit to them" makes no sense. If they don't submit to them they can't buy a gun. Since when do we have to get criminals' consent before enacting new laws?

    January 31, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  13. Liber8me

    "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."

    Well, isn't that the point? A criminal wouldn't submit to a background check and therefore wouldn't be able to legally buy a gun at a gun show, private sale, or dealer. Wayne LaPierre seems to be grasping at straws in a vain attempt to defend a position that most people in this country disagree with.

    January 31, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Leopold Stotch

    Too many people get hit in the head by golf balls every year. I don't play golf but we should probably screw up their sport and ban hard golf balls. Rubber golf balls should be all that the golfers need.

    January 31, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. stuj

    I am confused. NRA opposes background checks because they are not implemented strong enough. Is this akin to opposing speed limits because people get away with driving above the speed limit? How can we discuss issues with people of this mind set? The NRA, like almost all lobby groups, have been bought and paid for by an industry. I fear our country is doomed without serious reforms; campaign, term limits and rules addressing political figures retiring to work for special interest groups. Integrity is dead in America.

    January 31, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    All weapons need to be trackable. Every sale needs to be noted. Any weapon that is either lost or stolen needs to be immediately reported without exception. If that can't be done, then the person shouldn't be owning a weapon.

    January 31, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. Salvatore

    The NRA has been taken over by the loony right

    January 31, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  18. Han

    The ATF is not prosecuting because your funded politicians made laws that made it harder to!

    1) ATF has had only 2500 agents since decades ago. The number has not increased because NRA-funded politicians don't give any funding to ATF.

    2) NRA-funded Congress made it illegal for ATF to create a federal gun registry.

    3) NRA-funded Congress made it illegal for ATF to ban gun sales to drunk or drug-influenced individuals. You heard it right. The ATF can only advise sellers not to sell to people under influence and cannot stop the sale by law.

    4) NRA-funded Congress made it illegal for ATF to inspect gun sellers more than once per year. Furthermore, because of funding shortage, in reality a gun seller is only inspected EVERY 17 YEARS on average.

    5) ATF hasn't had a full-time director for 6 years. NRA-funded Congress has shut down every nomination in the past 6 years.

    6) The current acting director commutes from Minnesota where he has a full-time job as a lawyer.

    NRA, if you want ATF to enforce the existing laws, REVERSE ALL OF THE CHANGES YOU'VE MADE TO MAKE IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.

    January 31, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. Reasonably

    So let's give up and let convicted felons buy guns or anyone for that matter?

    Bankrupt thinking. Well regulated militia means regulated – which can include background checks, registration, etc.

    January 31, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. Locker

    Same old trick. For the people who don't get what I mean let me clarify...

    The purpose of background checks is to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. If we caught someone and they didn't get a gun... it worked. Prosecution of this or that is completely irrelevant.

    January 31, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. Richard

    What's the big deal. Get a back ground check and move on.

    January 31, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. e

    no comment because his makes good sense

    January 31, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  23. Brian

    Perhaps the NRA is setting up a very far reaching position for pro gun rights, just as Feinstein has set up for a far reaching position for gun control. Because in order to compromise, you have to have a position to move from and towards. Also, the NRA is not for "universal background checks" in my mind, because the only way to make a universal background check work, and to enforce it's implementation, is to have a registry setup to track sales and transfers. And no way is registration going to work, nor would the average gun owner or the NRA even consider it. Registration leads to confiscation. So, a question I pose to folks is this: How can we have a universal background check that does not use gun registration to enforce it's implementation?

    January 31, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  24. jon

    Also the bill by Senator Feinstein wants to end private sales. Good ole America, where you can't sell a firearm to a longtime friend or pass a family heirloom on to your child. The land of the free where there are hundreds of videos of protesters being beaten simply for holding a sign and not wishing to move from their spot.

    January 31, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
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