Wednesday on Capitol Hill the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing about what America "should do to end gun violence." Pro-gun and and anti-gun advocates will testify before the committee. Witnesses include National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Independent Women's Forum Senior Fellow and Attorney Gayle Trotter, Baltimore Police Chief James Johnson, the husband of Gabrielle Giffords Captain Mark Kelly and Denver University Professor David Kopel.
LaPierre released his opening statement to the committee Tuesday afternoon, calling on Congress to stop blaming gun owners for violence, will focus on promoting gun safety programs the NRA offers and will again call for armed guards in schools.
Teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works – and the NRA has a long and proud history of teaching it.
Our “Eddie Eagle” children’s safety program has taught over 25 million young children that if they see a gun, they should do four things: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” As a result of this and other private sector programs, fatal firearm accidents are at the lowest levels in more than 100 years.
The NRA has over 80,000 certified instructors who teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers and hundreds of thousands of other American men and women how to safely use firearms. We do more – and spend more – than anyone else on teaching safe and responsible gun ownership.
We joined the nation in sorrow over the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. There is nothing more precious than our children. We have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and keep them safe. That’s why we asked former Congressman and Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchison, to bring in every expert available to develop a model School Shield Program – one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible.
It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. About a third of our schools have armed security already – because it works. And that number is growing. Right now, state officials, local authorities and school districts in all 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in their schools.
In addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works.
Trotter also released a statement ahead of today's hearing.
We all want a safer society, but we differ on how to accomplish that. Some proposals, however appealing they may seem, not only will fail to make us safer but will harm women most. Guns increase women's safety because over 90% of violent crimes occur without a firearm. As a result, guns reverse the balance of power in violent confrontations where women face criminals trying to misuse their size and physical strength. We must address gun violence not with high-minded, empty gestures based on emotional appeal but, instead, with clear-headed, meaningful steps based on facts and logic. For women, the ability to use firearms for lawful self-defense – a central component of our individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment – is far more significant than for men because guns are the great equalizer in a violent confrontation. Every woman deserves a fighting chance.
Kelly is expected to berate Congress for "doing nothing" to curb gun violence since Rep. Giffords was shot by madman Jared Loughner in January 2009.
The hearing starts at 10 a.m. Townhall will have full coverage.