BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Stop Handgun Violence, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of gun violence, today released on-the-record quotes from a National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson confirming that the NRA does not support uniform background checks for all gun purchases or the use of the government’s anti-terror watch list in precluding gun sales.
The statements were made by NRA spokesperson Ashley Varner during a debate with Stop Handgun Violence Chairman, John Rosenthal, on WBZ-AM Radio’s “Paul Sullivan Show.”
Varner took the stance that the NRA is protecting “law-abiding citizens” in saying that they should not be burdened by background checks when purchasing guns privately including from people on the street or at thousands of gun shows annually. Currently 32 of the 50 states in the U.S. require no identification or background check when purchasing guns privately. Only licensed dealers are required to perform background checks and they only sell approximately 50% of guns each year in the U.S.
“It’s outrageous that convicted felons and suspected terrorists can still easily buy guns in 32 states without even an ID or simple background check,” said Rosenthal, whose organization last week unveiled the nation’s largest billboard on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The billboard supports the organization’s call for uniform background checks for all gun purchases by depicting that the President and Congress are being held hostage by the NRA. “Instead of supporting law enforcement and helping prevent gun access by criminals, Ms. Varner and the NRA prefer to continue to assure unrestricted gun access by criminals and suspected terrorists without detection.”
The following are excerpts from Varner’s comments made on the “Paul Sullivan Show”:
When asked if there should be background checks required for all gun purchases:
“The problem with having background checks for every single gun purchase is that not every person is in the business of selling firearms. So if I were to inherit a firearm from a family member who passed away, I should not have to go through the ATF procedure to get a license and then to conduct background checks simply because I don’t need his rifle and I want to go to a gun show simply because I want to sell it to someone at the gun show person-to-person.
“When you go through background checks and have ATF licenses there are a lot of rules and regulations, as there should be, for people who are in the business of buying and selling firearms. But for individual persons who want to go to gun shows and perhaps sell a firearm that they don’t need anymore that they don’t want that they’ve inherited from someone, they should not have to become a federally licensed dealer to do so. That puts undo burdens on a law-abiding citizen who does not want the firearm but doesn’t want to throw it away.”
When asked further to address specifically those purchasing guns privately:
“They want to shut down gun shows by requiring background checks that require 72 hours notice. They want background checks at every single purchase which means they want to shut gun shows out of business.”
When asked by the host: “Is that the position of the NRA, that people on an anti-terrorist watchlist should not be barred from purchasing guns?”
“We do not believe that they should be barred. We do not know how people are put on the list. Many times people are victims of mistaken identity.”
When questioned further by the host: “If Osama bin Laden wanted to buy a gun here in America… and his name was on a terror list, a watch list, there should be no prohibition from that person from buying a gun, per the NRA.”
“Let’s go back to the fact there are many people are put on this list who do not need to be on the list, who are mistakenly put on this list and they don’t know how to get off. So their second amendment rights should not be taken away from them without due process simply because they are on a watch list.”
When asked if the NRA has a blacklist of organizations that support gun legislation:
“We have lists of people or organizations who have anti-gun policies or propositions.”
Said Rosenthal: “Eighty percent of gun owners surveyed said they support background checks for all gun sales, yet the NRA continues to use the rights of law-abiding citizens as an excuse. These same law-abiding citizens give up constitutional rights to privacy under the Patriot Act to create a safer homeland, all while the NRA supports allowing suspected terrorists and convicted criminals the freedom to purchase guns without identification. The people have spoken and overwhelmingly support uniform background checks for all gun sales. The President and Congress should stop letting the extreme NRA dictate national gun policy and enact a universal background check immediately.”
To view a full version of the transcript of this debate, please visit www.stophandgunviolence.org.
About Stop Handgun Violence
Stop Handgun Violence is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1995 by a group of successful businesspeople including several gun owners moved by the increasing number of gun deaths and injuries in America. SHV works to prevent firearm violence through public awareness and sensible legislation - without banning guns. Since 1995, Stop Handgun Violence has dramatically increased public awareness about the epidemic of gun violence and helped enact the first in the nation consumer protection regulations for firearms and the most comprehensive gun laws in the U.S. By developing several effective media and public education campaigns, including America’s largest billboard (252’ x 20’) located on the Massachusetts Turnpike adjacent to Fenway Park in Boston, Stop Handgun Violence has helped change the national gun debate and save countless lives. We have proven that gun laws and proactive law enforcement work. Massachusetts has become the national model for gun violence prevention. For more information: www.stophandgunviolence.org.