NRA president: Banning assault weapons won't do much

(CBS News) The National Rifle Association was consulted by Vice President Joe Biden's panel that President Barack Obama tasked with coming up with proposals to curb gun violence. On Wednesday, the NRA described its opposition to the president's new plan as the fight of the century.

We sat down Wednesday with David Keene, the president of the NRA.

BILL PLANTE: You're against the ban on these so-called "assault weapons," because you don't believe that they're used in that many crimes?

DAVID KEENE: Well, they're not. They're not used in very many crimes. And all the statistics show that. Anybody who dies from any reason at the hands of a criminal or somebody who's insane or in an accident, for that matter, is a tragedy. Nobody's saying it isn't. But what I am saying is that banning these firearms is not going to accomplish very much.

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PLANTE: What about the ammunition magazines? The White House proposes limiting ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds.

KEENE: You know, it -- that sounds good. They did it last time they had an assault weapons ban. And, you know, it -- in fact, there have been studies of how many cartridges are used in the average violent crime, and it's about three.

PLANTE: But what the White House is suggesting is that if the high-capacity ammunition magazines had not been available, there wouldn't have been time to kill as many children in Connecticut, as many people in the theater in Colorado.

KEENE: Sure, I mean -- I mean, that -- and that sounds reasonable. I'm not saying it doesn't sound reasonable. In one case, it might be true. In other cases, it might not be. But I can tell you this: if you're familiar with -- with -- with a rifle of this kind or a rifle fed by a clip, a shooter, not -- and I'm not talking about an expert -- can change the clip like that, in less than a second.

Keene says the NRA is willing to discuss wider background checks on gun buyers, but not if those records become part of a national registry. He fears that could lead to forced gun buybacks, which he calls the equivalent of confiscation.

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent

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