After National Rifle Association exectuive vice president Wayne LaPierre insisted during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence Wednesday that universal background checks on firearms purchases would be ineffective in stopping criminals, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) sharply admonished the pro-gun lobby chief.
"My problem with background checks is you are never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. And all the law-abiding people, you'll create an enormous federal bureaucracy, unfunded, hitting all the little people in the country, will have to go through it, pay the fees, pay the taxes," LaPierre said. "We don't even prosecute anybody right now that goes through the system we have. So, we're going to make all those law-abiding people go through the system and then we aren't going to prosecute any of the bad guys if they do catch one. None of it makes any sense in the real world. We have 80,000 police families in the NRA. We care about safety. We support what works."
After a brief interlude by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the committee chairman, Durbin went after LaPierre.
"Mr. LaPierre, that's the point," Durbin fired back. "The criminals won't go to purchase the guns because there'll be a background check. We'll stop them from original purchase. You missed that point completely. It's basic."
Durbin's remarks drew applause from some in the audience, prompting Leahy to call for order.