National Rifle Association President David Keene reiterated on Wednesday that the best way to fight gun crime in the United States is to improve the national background-checks system and prosecute gun criminals.
“Private sales at gun shows are not the source of guns for criminals,” Keene told Anderson Cooper on CNN. “The current system doesn’t work very well, and we believe it needs to be fixed.”
Keene was responding to a CNN report showing an undercover network producer buying firearms at a gun show. He was not asked to present identification — and the producer did not undergo a background check.
“Is there empirical evidence that a lot of criminals get firearms at gun shows? The answer to that question is there is not,” Keene said. “It is not a source of many firearms used in crimes.”
When Cooper noted that the CNN producer could have walked out of the gun show with an arsenal of weapons, Keene responded, “He could have walked out on the streets of Washington, D.C., and bought a gun.
“Illegal guns are available, and there are people who will sell them to him,” he added. “You know that, and I know that — and every criminal knows that.”
Law-enforcement officials must prosecute more gun criminals, he added.
“The government has the laws. It has the people. It’s identified the criminals. It could prosecute them,” Keene said. “Instead of doing that, they say, ‘let’s have another law.’
“If you’re going to deal with gun crime, you deal with gun criminals — and if you’re not dealing with them now, what makes you think that, if we pass another law that will have a tremendous effect on innocent people, we’re going to prosecute more criminals?”
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