Gabrielle Giffords is a tough act to follow. But National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre tried his hardest at a Senate hearing on gun violence on Wednesday, with a little help from Republicans.
After the former Arizona representative and shooting victim delivered a powerful statement in which she urged the Judiciary panel to be "bold" and "courageous," the five witnesses took their seats. On one end: Giffords's husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. On the other end: LaPierre, the brunt of many of the Democratic panelists' criticism and the clear villain for several audience members.
"Please, Mr. LaPierre, we're not playing games here," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, scolding him for not answering a question on background checks at gun shows.
"You missed that point completely," Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, exclaimed after LaPierre explained the logic behind the Second Amendment. The audience applauded and LaPierre looked visibly upset.
Baltimore Police Chief James Johnson, one of the witnesses, reacting to LaPierre's view that some Americans need guns to protect themselves for times when the government cannot protect them, said LaPierre's viewpoints were "scary, creepy, simply just not based on logic."