National Rifle Association president David Keene said he is more concerned with the gun-control legislation being advanced by state legislatures than he is with the measures being considered by Congress. Keene indicated, however, that he remains optimistic about the political combat that lies ahead. “Fortunately,” he said, “our enemy doesn’t have any guns and they don’t know how to use them.”
In remarks to the Monday Meeting, a conservative gathering in New York City, Keene argued that neither a ban on semi-automatic weapons nor a bill requiring universal background checks is likely to become law. He cited an internal Justice Department memo obtained by the NRA indicating that the effectiveness of background checks is contingent on the implementation of compulsory gun registration.
That’s a measure many in Congress have rejected out of hand; Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn for example, said over the weekend that it would “kill” the background-check bill currently under consideration by Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee this week is set to consider the ban on semi-automatic weapons and could decide whether to advance the proposal to the full Senate for a vote as early as Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
Far more threatening, said Keene, were the laws under consideration by a number of states in the wake of December’s massacre in Newtown, Conn. Legislators in California have proposed dozens of measures that, if implemented, would constitute the nation’s most restrictive gun-control laws while dozens of others are considering strengthening or expanding legislation currently on the books.
Though Keene described the showdown unfolding on the national political stage — and the Obama administration’s efforts to curtail the rights of gun owners — as a “very rough and very ugly battle,” he said he is optimistic that the NRA will succeed in its efforts to scuttle legislation it considers damaging.