WASHINGTON -- Wayne LaPierre continued Sunday to oppose background checks for all gun purchases despite polls showing most NRA members don't share his position.
The National Rifle Association's executive vice president said on "Fox News Sunday" that background checks for all gun purchases would lead to a national registry of gun owners. Critics say such a registry could lead to taxes on guns or to confiscation.
Mark Kelly, a gun owner and husband of Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who survived a 2011 shooting, asked LaPierre to listen to his members. He said the current system had prevented 1.7 million gun purchases since 1999. However, those potential buyers had other options because many gun sales don't require a background check.
"Members of the NRA tend to be very reasonable on this issue," said Kelly, who also appeared on the Fox show.
LaPierre said that checks for all gun purchases would be a bureaucratic nightmare. "It's going to affect only the law-abiding people," he said. "Criminals could care less."
LaPierre was pressed about his contention that gun checks would lead to a national registry, when no one from the Obama administration is calling for that. "And Obamacare wasn't a tax until they needed it to be a tax," LaPierre said.
A key player in the coming gun debate in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said on ABC's "This Week" that he's willing to take a look at legislation that would ban certain semiautomatic weapons, but he also noted that he voted against a ban on such weapons in 1994 because it "didn't make sense."
He was more definitive on the issue of background checks, saying "everyone acknowledges we should do something with background checks."