Clinton, NRA Spar over Gun Control

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - With 10 months left in his term and with many of his gun control proposals stalled in Congress, President Clinton Sunday spiked the rhetoric against the National Rifle Association.

Appearing on the ABC-TV program "This Week," Clinton accused the NRA of "basically winning through intimidation." "People are scared of them," he said.

Clinton stressed he is not "anti-gun," nor "anti-sportsman," adding, "I'm not against the legitimate use of guns."

The president characterized the NRA as "domino-theory people. If you do one little thing that...requires any effort on the part of gun owners, they think it's the end of the world."

Stressing his belief that all gun sellers at gun shows should conduct criminal background checks on buyers, Clinton also called for a 72 hour waiting period on gun show purchases. The NRA says 72 hours is too long, but says it would support legislation mandating instant background checks.

"Closing the gun show loophole is really important, because now a lot of people, who know they'll be checked in gun stores, can go to the urban flea markets," Clinton said.

But NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre saw the issue very differently, insisting the Clinton administration has done too little to enforce existing gun laws, especially in areas he called "pockets of poverty."

"The violence in this country is an issue of pockets of poverty, and the people who are committing this violence are drug dealers with guns, gangs with guns and violent felons with guns. The only way you are going to get rid of that problem is by prosecuting," LaPierre added,

At one point, LaPierre accused Clinton of using the gun issue for domestic political gain. "He needs a certain level of violence in this country. He's willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda."