Former National Rifle Association (NRA) President David Keene spoke to Jorge Ramos about the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on Tuesday.
“A tragedy is a tragedy and that’s the way it is,” Keene said. “What do you want me to do? Is it my fault? Is that what you’re trying to say? Was it the NRA’s fault? Was it honest gun owner’s faults? No, it was not.”
Keene defends the NRA’s position on Second Amendment rights, and he maintained that position speaking to Ramos.
“Why shouldn’t an American who is a law abiding American, who has every right under the Second Amendment of the Constitution to own a firearm, why should he have to put up with something as flawed as [background checks],” Keene said.
“To prevent more shootings,” Ramos pushed back.
To Keene’s credit, gun murders have fallen by half in the past 20 years. But that might have something to do with improvements in modern medicine that have helped reduce the number of gunshot deaths.
What is on the rise is the number of mass shootings. According to the Economist, the past 30 years have seen 67 mass shootings.
Mass shootings have continuously sparked a national conversation about the need for some kind of gun reform, and earlier this year, over 90 percent of Americans were in favor of background checks for firearm purchases.
However, looking back, background checks would not have stopped the massacres at Newtown, Aurora or Columbine. The Virginia Tech case is possibly the only the instance where a background check might have made a difference, where the shooter was deemed mentally ill by a judge.
Ramos told Keene, “We’ve done nothing after Newtown, absolutely nothing…and you’re asking me what would I do, I mean, of course I’d start with background checks, but just a bold idea, how about disarming civilians instead of arming civilians? I mean, that’s a bold idea.”
Keene answered, “That’s a bold idea and it’s on that I hope will never get any support in this country.”
Veronica Bautista is a segment producer for AMERICA with Jorge Ramos.