It’s just hours until the President speaks at a CNN town hall on common sense gun reform– an event that the NRA refused to participate in. For good reason.
The main reason the NRA won’t participate in a public debate is the public is against them on this issue, but they also know their talking points won’t hold up under scrutiny, and they certainly have no one whose intellect and intellectual honesty can match President Obama.
This is obvious when you view this clip of executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Wayne LaPierre saying he was for universal background checks…
… way back in 1999, speaking before the House Judiciary Committee on Crime.
“Let’s talk about what’s reasonable and what’s not,” LaPierre testified. “We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale, at every gun show no loopholes anywhere for anyone.”
The YouTube clip is from CSPAN, and it’s description is, “In sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee on May 28, 1999, in the wake of the Columbine shootings, NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre speaks forcefully in favor of universal background checks.”
The date is actually May 27, just to be clear. I went to CSPAN and tracked it down to make sure it wasn’t taken out of context. It wasn’t. LaPierre was objecting to alleged excessive red tape and overreach by the federal government, not background checks.
In fact, LaPierre says, “We support the instant check, every sale, every gun show, no loopholes period.”
In other words, LaPierre knew that refusing to support background checks sounded nuts, so he hid under the canard of “red tape” and “overreach.” Seventeen years later, LaPierre is just refusing to debate publicly because he has no reasonable excuse for refusing to get on board with background checks, which his organization now histrionically and falsely equates to President Obama coming for everyone’s guns.
La Pierre’s testimony (around 3:20) is actually a great example of why the NRA won’t debate President Obama, as he flailed in answering even one question of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-TX) question. The testimony comes with the requisite Republican justification and defense of Mr. LaPierre by Rep. Bob Barr from Georgia, who called Spike Lee a “hate monger.” Republicans would rather focus on Spike Lee than on mass shootings.
Poor Mr. LaPierre appears to require white knighting by the Republican Party – he can’t explain the position of the NRA without it.
And now you know why LaPierre isn’t going to participate tonight. He can’t handle President Obama without his Republican white knighters.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.