NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre Still Thinks Guns Aren't the Problem

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre made his first public comments since his Friday press conference that wasn't well received. Despite David Gregory's best efforts, he didn't back down from a single point. 

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National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre went on NBC's Meet the Press to further the argument he made on Friday that was poorly received by much of the media. "If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," LaPierre told David Gregory when he was shown the recent New York Post cover. "I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe." LaPierre honestly thinks he is the voice of the American people. "I said what I honestly thought and ... what hundreds of millions of people all over this country will believe will actually make a difference," he said. "The NRA, we have 11,000 police training instructors, 80,000 police families, we're 4 million members and we set down and we said what can we do will actually make a difference today to make these kids safe." LaPierre also seems confident Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban won't pass. He dismissed it as a "a phony piece of legislation," that won't pass because it's "all built on lies that have been found out." LaPierre also dismissed any indication that he might participate in the White House panel on guns. "If it's gun safety, I think the best person to represent the NRA is Congressman Asa Hutchinson on that," LaPierre said. (We'll hear more about Hutchinson in a minute.) "If it's a panel that's just going to be made up of a bunch of people that for the last 20 years have been trying to destroy the Second Amendment, I'm not interested in sitting on that panel," LaPierre said. "The American people support the freedoms, NRA is not going to let people lose the Second Amendment in this country."

Watch the whole interview here. David Gregory deserves some sort of medal.

Former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who is an "independent consultant" for the NRA, said the debate shouldn't focus on guns during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union. "I want to look for solutions for safety in schools and that's not the solution. That's the wrong debate to have if you want to talk about protecting our children," Hutchinson told Candy Crowley. Hutchinson estimated the cost of putting armed guards in schools at around $2 billion, and said the NRA could offer free voluntary training to anyone who might want to help out.

The NRA were out in full force on Sunday. NRA President David Keene appeared on CBS' Face the Nation to say he doesn't support an assault weapons ban. "We've had what Sen. Feinstein is suggesting. It was allowed to expire," Keene told Bob Schieffer. "The FBI, the Justice Department and others who studied it said it made no difference. So if we're looking at things that are effective, let's talk about it, but first let's talk about protecting our kids." Earlier in the interview he tried to explain the difference between what Adam Lanza used and what the military regularly uses. "These aren't military weapons," he said. "Military weapons are fully automatic weapons and that's illegal. You don't get those. That's not what we're talking about. The impression often is Bob that that is what we're talking about but it isn't. We're talking about sporting arms," he said later.

Sen. Chuck Schumer thinks the NRA might be shooting itself in the foot with their position in the gun control debate. Schumer appeared on Meet the Press right after LaPierre did. "I think he's so extreme and so tone deaf that he actually helps the cause of us passing sensible gun legislation in the Congress," Schumer said. "I just think he's turning people off, that's not where America's at, and he's actually helping us," he said later. Schumer mocked LaPierre's effort to blame everything possible besides guns for the Newtown shootings. "Now, trying to prevent shootings in schools without talking about guns is like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes. He is so doctrinaire and so adamant that I believe gun owners turn against him as well."

Sen. Lindsey Graham also appeared on Meet the Press with Schumer and he doesn't really think Congress or the government can do much of anything to stop mass murders, and so he won't be supporting any sort of gun control legislation. "I don't know if there's anything Lindsey Graham can do in the Senate to stop mass murder from somebody that's hell bent on doing crazy things," Graham said. "We can talk all day long, we had an armed guard in Columbine, we had an assault ban, neither one of them worked," he said. "We're talking about preventing mass murder by nontraditional criminals, people who are not traditionally criminals, who are not wired right for some reason," he said. Graham said he would support more security in schools, but legislation is off the table. His constituents told him so. "People where I live - I've been Christmas shopping all weekend - have come up to me, 'please don't let the government take my guns away," he said. "And i'm going to stand against another assault ban because it didn't work before and it won't work in the future."

Rep. Tim Scott, the guy replacing the retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, took the diplomatic route when asking on CBS's Face the Nation what he thinks of the NRA's proposal to put more guns in schools. He said he wants to wait and see what the panel led by Joe Biden comes up with. "I think the President has just established a committee to take a serious, holistic look at what we need to do as a nation to make sure that our kids are safe," Scott told host Bob Schieffer.  "To rush to judgment, I think is a bit premature, on what we should do. I think after we have the committee's report we should take a very serious look at whatever it takes to keep our kids safe at school. We don't know what that is yet and we're just finishing the week of so many funerals - we should continue to pray for the family members." Basically, Scott wants us to wait and see and not just have a knee jerk reaction to this. "Understanding what happened and why -- after we have those answers we'll be in a much better position to decide the path forward," he said.

Moving on to the fiscal cliff, Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson will support tax increases for the middle class if he absolutely has to, he said on ABC's This Week. "If we get down to the end of this year and the only choice we have is to save taxes going up on the middle class, then I would support that, but I wish we would have a comprehensive bill that dealt with spending, dealt with entitlements and dealt with taxes altogether" Isakson said. "That's really what we ought to do." Isakson wished Plan B could have gathered enough support to pass in the House, but he's also aware of his position in the Senate. And the reality that it probably would have died there. "And the president's statement is right, no one wants taxes to go up on the middle class," Isakson said. "I don't want them to go up on anybody, but I'm not in the majority in the United States Senate and he's the president of the United States."

Sen. John Barrasso said he thinks the President wants to go over the fiscal cliff on Fox News Sunday. Why? Because it would help him with policy, apparently. "When I listen to the president, I think the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes," Barrasso said. "I think he sees a political victory at the bottom of the cliff," he said. "He gets all this additional tax revenue for new programs; he gets to cut the military, which Democrats have been calling for for years; and he gets to blame Republicans for it."

Sen. Joe Lieberman said Chuck Hagel might have a tough time facing the Senate if he is appointed Secretary of Defense by President Obama during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union. "I served with Chuck Hagel, I worked with him on some things. I like him, and I respect him. I wouldn't say his votes disqualify him but if I were in the Senate and on the Armed Service Committee and he was nominated, I would have some really serious questions to ask him," Lieberman said. Lieberman is retiring on Monday, so his opinion doesn't matter much, but he thinks some in the Senate might put up a fight if Hagel is nominated. "President Obama obviously has earned the right to nominate whoever he wants but I think this'll be a very tough confirmation process," Lieberman said. "I don't know how it would end, but there are reasonable questions to ask and that Chuck Hagel will have to answer."

Also, Grover Norquist said some stuff on ABC's This Week.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.