NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre accused Sen. Dianne Feinstein Saturday of using the recent mass shootings to garner support for her gun legislation, suggesting that she waited for a tragedy like Sandy Hook to bring her new assault weapons ban forward.
“I’ve been amazed at how rapidly this debate deteriorated from what has proven to work to what has proven to be the political agenda of those bent on attacking the Second Amendment to our Constitution," LaPierre said, speaking at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo Banquet in Salt Lake City. "Dianne Feinstein herself commented that she has had her gun ban legislation in her desk for over a year—waiting for the right time to introduce it. Really? Waiting for an unspeakable act to occur so the American people could be persuaded to buy into her political agenda? It’s not about making our kids or our streets safer, it’s all about their decades-old agenda.”
Feinstein got a chance to respond to LaPierre on Andrea Mitchell Reports Monday:
"What I said is that we have been working on this for a year. It’s a rather complicated piece of legislation, because it exempts 2,200 hunting, sporting weapons by make and model, and that took some work of staff and consultation with real gun experts to be sure that we could be correct on all counts. So it wasn’t a bill just quickly slapped together. It had some thoughtful consideration."
Feinstein said she recognized that the battle for an assault weapons ban was an uphill one, but that tragedies like those at Aurora and Sandy Hook will continue to happen because "grievance killers look for these weapons."
On Wednesday the Senate will hold their first hearing on Feinstein's bill, though chances of its passage this year seem low.
"I don’t really expect to agree with much that Mr. LaPierre says," Feinstein added. "Of course, he has the right to say it, and I have the right to do this."