WASHINGTON (UPI) — Speaking a day ahead of a planned Senate vote on gun control, National Rife Association CEO Wayne LaPierre said the government is using the issue to distract attention away from its failures on terrorism.
LaPierre’s comments and the Senate vote come a week after 49 people were killed in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. The Senate will vote on Monday on four gun measures attached to a Department of Justice spending bill.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proposed an amendment that would allow Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department to deny a gun sale to anyone if the agency has a “reasonable belief” the buyer will likely engage in terrorism. Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy’s measure would expand the background check database and require all people who want to buy guns to undergo a background check — closing the “gun show loophole.”
LaPierre said the response by President Barack Obama and the gun control movement to the Orlando massacre was a distraction attempting to divert the conversation away from terrorism and onto guns.
“What happened this past week is the president, the whole gun ban movement said look over here, divert your attention, take your eyes off the problem,” LaPierre said Sunday during an appearance on on CBS’ Face the Nation. “They don’t want to face the embarrassment of their failure in this terrorist area, and they want to cover their butts and not talk about it.”
The last Senate vote on gun legislation was in December following the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting in which 14 people were killed. Prior to that, gun legislation was introduced after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, where 20 children and six school staff members were killed in New Jersey. No gun measures survived the Senate vote in those two prior attempts.
“We need to look at all our vulnerabilities and we need to harden, because they’re coming and they’re going to try to kill us and we need to be prepared,” LaPierre added. “And this president, by diverting the attention to the gun control movement, that’s not going to solve the problem.”
Republicans are also introducing gun measures. Texas Sen. John Cornyn introduced legislation that would require law enforcement to be alerted whenever someone who has been investigated over terrorism in the past five years attempts to buy a weapon from a licensed dealer. Lynch could block the sale for up to three days while a court reviews the sale of the weapon. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s measure would give people suspected of serious mental illness the ability to challenge that determination, making it more difficult for mentally ill people to be instituted in background check databases.
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