NRA Chief: Feds Should Enforce Existing Gun Laws; Out of 76,000 Denied Permits Only 44 Prosecuted

By Penny Starr | January 30, 2013 | 1:14pm EST

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, spoke at a Senate hearing about gun violence on Jan. 30, 2013. ( Starr)

( – At Wednesday’s Senate hearing about ending gun violence in the United States, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said the solution is for the federal government to do its job by enforcing existing laws.

“Out of more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution, and only 44 were actually prosecuted,” LaPierre said in prepared remarks, citing a 2010 report.

LaPierre was a witness at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss gun violence in the wake of the December attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., by an armed man that killed 26 people, including 20 children.

“We joined the nation in sorrow over the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut,” LaPierre said. “There is nothing more precious than our children.

“We have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and keep them safe,” LaPierre said.

The way to do that, LaPierre argued, is armed security in the nation’s schools.

“It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children,” LaPierre said. “About a third of our schools have armed security already – because it works.

“And that number is growing,” LaPierre said. “Right now, state officials, local authorities and school districts in all 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in their schools.”

Democrats on the committee, however, are proposing legislation that would ban “assault weapons,” limit capacity of ammunition magazines, and impose universal background checks.

“Americans are looking to us for solutions and for action,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the committee, said in his prepared opening remarks.

“This committee is a focal point for that process,” Leahy said. “I have introduced a measure to provide law enforcement agencies with stronger tools against illegal gun trafficking.

“Others have proposed restrictions on military style weapons and the size of ammunition clips,” Leahy said. “Others have proposed modifications to the background check systems to keep guns out of the wrong hands, while not unnecessarily burdening law-abiding citizens.”

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