Gun trade group chief: Focus should be on limiting access to firearms

(CBS News) NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Steve Sanetti is the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the premier trade association for gun makers, which promotes gun safety and gun sports. The manufacturers are opposed to limits on high-capacity magazines. The NSSF is headquartered in Newtown, just a few miles from Sandy Hook and the home of the gunman, Adam Lanza.

STEVE SANETTI: All this chatter, all the fog that's come up around the whole firearms issue -- understandably because of all the emotion -- tends to cloud the facts. ... Had the mother in this case properly secured her firearms away from her son, who she knew had been an at-risk individual, this tragedy would not have occurred. Of course we feel terrible. Our hearts are broken by this. But we have to think before we act, particularly in a field where constitutional rights could be impacted.

MICHELLE MILLER: There seems to be some consensus that magazines more than 10 rounds per clip just should not be in the market place.

SANETTI: I would ask, why did you pick 10?

MILLER: I didn't pick 10, that's the number legislation.

SANETTI: And I would ask them why did they pick 10. It's an arbitrary number.

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MILLER: What limit would you be comfortable with?

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SANETTI: It's not my position to say what I would be comfortable with. The shooters of America made that decision. In the last 10 years, they have bought millions and millions of firearms that use larger magazines. The crime rate has been going down. So it's not as though these people are irresponsible gun owners. They want to own these firearms, they use these magazines.

MILLER: So what is the fix?

SANETTI: We think the best thing to do is look at access to firearms -- any firearms -- because the same firearms in the hands of a law-abiding sportsman is a horror show in the hands of a violent criminal who shouldn't have them and is not legally entitled to possess them. So we feel that access to firearms is what should be focused on, not the hardware itself.

Sanetti says the issue goes beyond hardware to enforcement. He goes a step further than the National Rifle Association, calling for background checks that include mental health and domestic violence records.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.