WASHINGTON (AP) - The country's most powerful gun rights lobbying group has reversed its decade-old stance on requiring instant background checks for people buying guns at gun shows.
"We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said in 1999 after the Columbine High School shooting in suburban Denver. "No loopholes anywhere for anyone."
But now, LaPierre says gun laws requiring background checks are ineffective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
"I do not believe the way the law is working now, unfortunately, that it does any good to extend the law to private sales between hobbyists and collectors," LaPierre told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
LaPierre said the government needs to prosecute more people who try to illegally buy guns from licensed dealers. Without better enforcement of existing laws, he said, more background checks would only be a burden on law-abiding gun buyers.
LaPierre has also suggested that an expansion of background checks would lead to a national registry of gun owners.