Predictably, one of the biggest points of contention in Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence was whether to implement universal background checks. The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre opposes them because, as he put it, “background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them.” But Democrats argued that that is exactly the point: Mandating background checks will dissuade criminals from going to buy guns in the first place.
“My problem with background checks is you are never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. And all the law-abiding people, you’ll create an enormous federal bureaucracy, unfunded, hitting all the little people in the country, will have to go through it, pay the fees, pay the taxes,” LaPierre said. “We don’t even prosecute anybody right now that goes through the system we have.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., fired back (to some applause from the room): “Mr. LaPierre, that’s the point. The criminals won’t go to purchase the guns because there’ll be a background check. We’ll stop them from the original purchase. You missed that point completely. And I think it’s basic.”