NRA's LaPierre On Navy Yard Shooting: 'There Weren't Enough Good Guys With Guns'
NBCNEWS.COM - National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre argued on NBC's Meet
the Press that "there weren't enough good guys with guns" to confront
the shooter responsible for last week's Washington Navy Yard rampage and
he insisted that "when the good guys with guns got there, it stopped."
his first television interview since the mass shooting last Monday in
which gunman Aaron Alexis killed 12 people, LaPierre, the executive vice
president of the NRA, described the Navy Yard as a military facility
that was "largely left unprotected."
LaPierre said more personnel
who work at military facilities, including retired military personnel,
should be armed so they are able to stop attacks such as the one at the
Navy Yard."We need to look at letting the men and women that know firearms and
are trained in them, do what they do best, which is protect and
survive," he said.
LaPierre also vehemently criticized the flaws
in the nation's treatment of the mentally ill, especially of those
mentally ill people who try to buy guns. "They need to be committed is
what they need to be, and if they're committed, they're not at the Navy
Yard," he said.
"I've been into this whole (background) check
business for 20-some years; I've said the system is broken for 20 years
and nobody listens," he said. "It's broken in terms of our military
bases…. On the gun check, the NRA supported the gun check because we
thought the mental records would be in the (national instant check)
system, we thought criminals would be in the system. And we thought they
would be prosecuted."
He said that the records of those
adjudicated to be dangerous are not entered into the national instant
check system for gun buyers. "So the Aurora shooter in Colorado gets
checked and is cleared, the Tucson shooter gets checked and gets
cleared, Aaron Alexis go through the federal and state check and gets
cleared," LaPierre said because the nation's mental health system
doesn't detect a dangerous person such as Alexis.
on Meet the Press mirrored his appearance on the program following the
killings of 26 children and adults by Adam Lanza at a school in Newtown,
Conn. last December, when LaPierre said, "If it's crazy to call for
putting police in and securing our schools to protect our children, then
call me crazy."
On Saturday night in a speech to the
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's awards dinner, President Barack
Obama urged gun control proponents to redouble their efforts.
referred to the unsuccessful struggle of gun control advocates last
April to persuade the Senate to pass broader background checks on gun
buyers and new restrictions on sales of certain types of weapons.
fought a good fight earlier this year, but we came up short and that
means we've got to get back up and go back at it because as long as
there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous
people to get their hands on a gun, then we've got to work as hard as
possible for the sake of our children," Obama said.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D- Nevada, said last week "we don't have the
votes" to pass expanded background check legislation.
policy debate after the Newtown shootings focused on proposals such as
requiring background checks for private firearms transfers at gun shows
and reinstating a ban on certain types of semiautomatic weapons, the
focus after the Alexis shootings has primarily been on the procedures
the Defense Department uses to do background checks on contractors such
as Alexis with access to military bases and facilities.
Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week that "something broke down" in the
vetting procedures that allowed Alexis to enter the Navy Yard and kill
12 people, before being killed by police.
Hagel ordered Deputy
Secretary Ashton Carter to lead an internal inquiry of the department's
procedures for granting security clearances.
Hagel also will
create an independent panel to assess security clearance procedures and
security at Defense Department facilities.
"Where there are gaps,
we will close them.
Where there are inadequacies, we will address them.
And where there are failures, we will correct them," Hagel told
reporters last week.
The vetting process has been under scrutiny
since the November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in which Army
psychiatrist Nidal Hasan killed 13 people.
said last week that Alexis had passed the required state and local
background checks before buying the shotgun he used to begin his killing
spree. He also used a handgun he took from a guard after killing him.
Alexis's erratic behavior had been noticed by several people but apparently he hadn't been treated for mental illness.
his appearance on Meet the Press last December LaPierre warned that,
"We have a mental health system in this country that has completely and
totally collapsed. We have no national database of these lunatics."
he said many states don't put their records of those adjudicated to be
mentally ill into the national instant check system that is designed to
screen out criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns.
April the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Joe Manchin, D- W.V. and
Sen. Pat Toomey, R- Pa., which would have required background checks for
some intrastate firearms transfers between persons who aren't licensed
The Manchin-Toomey measure fell six votes short of the 60
votes it needed.
An alternate measure offered by Sen. Charles
Grassley, R- Iowa, fell eight votes short.
Grassley's measure would have
sought to improve background checks and would have enacted a uniform
legal definition to prevent those adjudicated mentally incompetent by a
court or committed to a psychiatric hospital from buying a gun.
Wednesday, December 4 2013 10:20 AM EST2013-12-04 15:20:11 GMT
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