Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said that the NRA continues to be "stridently opposed" to any new restrictions because their primary focus is to sell more weapons.
"The NRA primarily wants to sell guns. They represent gun manufacturers...so they like this conflict, they want to create the fear that the government is actually going to come after guns, because that helps sell more guns," he said on Jansing & Co. Wednesday.
NRA officials oppose a proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, insisting they do no work. And NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, in prepared remarks, said, "Independent studies, including a study from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that ban had no impact on lowering crime." Gun advocates have also long pointed to the slippery slope argument.
Yarmuth counters, "If there really were any validity to the slippery slope argument, we would have already confiscated every gun because we've been working on this for many years. The Brady bill would have been a first step. That's a silly argument, people like Mitch McConnell are stoking it. In my state, he put out an email from his campaign that was titled: We're coming to get your guns. That's how brazen some of them are."
But, it was surprising that LaPierre came out staunchly against universal background checks at Wednesday's hearing.
"And when it comes to the issue of background checks, let's be honest--background checks will never be "universal"--because criminals will never submit to them," LaPierre said, according to prepared remarks.
Yarmuth says background checks are something a large majority of people support, including 75% in his home state of Kentucky and it's likely to pass in Congress. A CBS News/New York Times poll showed 92% of Americans supported background checks.
"Even the staunchest gun supporters are looking for something they can support," Yarmuth said. But, he cautions the key to passing legislation is keeping public pressure on lawmakers.
"One thing we've seen flipped in this current environment is the passion for some action is higher than the passion to oppose gun measures, that's a first."