NRA Stresses Firearms Safety Programs

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - As tens of thousands of protestors marched on Washington Sunday demanding that Congress pass more gun-control legislation, a top National Rifle Association executive took his organization's message of responsible, legal gun ownership to the airwaves, stressing gun safety education and strict enforcement of existing gun laws.

"If you want to stop accidents among young people, education is the answer. If you want to stop gun crime on the street, prosecution and enforcement is the answer," said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre on CBS's Face The Nation.

LaPierre also appeared on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday, where he touted the NRA's Eddie Eagle gun safety program for children as "the Red Cross of firearms safety."

LaPierre's remarks were delivered as thousands of women, and more than a few men, representing two different solutions to their common goal of reducing gun violence, gathered near the US Capitol on Mother's Day.

The larger of the two groups demonstrating in Washington on Sunday was the "Million Mom March," whose call for mandatory trigger locks, three-day background checks for gun purchases at gun shows, and the banning of certain types of guns and ammunition has the backing of President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who showed up at the march in support of stricter gun laws.

Questioned about the chances of new licensing and registration gun laws passing this Congress, Hillary Rodham Clinton told "With all of the marchers here today, these are voices from across the country calling for sensible gun legislation. If we speak up loud enough, the Congress will hear."

A smaller group of firearms rights activists, the "Second Amendment Sisters - Armed Informed Mothers" held a counter-rally opposing new gun laws and echoing the NRA's position that better gun law enforcement and gun safety education, plus better parenting is the way to stem adolescent gun violence.

The "Sisters" also differ from the "Millions" in that they argue that responsible gun ownership by law-abiding citizens acts as a crime deterrent.

"We all own firearms or know someone who does," said Debra Collins, Colorado State Coordinator for SAS. "I used one to save my life from an attacker," she added. Senior Staff Writer Justin Torres contributed to this story