US & World

NRA's LaPierre, Giffords and husband to lay out different views on gun control laws

A bucket of shotguns taken during an LAPD gun buyback program in south Los Angeles.
A bucket of shotguns taken during an LAPD gun buyback program in south Los Angeles.
Erika Aguilar

The national debate over gun laws that has taken on added urgency since last year's mass shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut and a movie theater in Colorado takes center stage on Capitol Hill today.

Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will talk with the Senate Judiciary Committee about the January 2011 shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and another 13, including the congresswoman, severely injured.

In an email to supporters of the political action committee that he and Giffords have established, ABC News reports that Kelly says "overwhelmingly, you told us that universal background checks and limiting access to high capacity magazines were top priorities — and I'll make sure to address each of those ideas in my opening remarks."

(Update at 8:05 a.m. ET: The Washington Post now reports that Giffords herself is expected to "testify alone at a witness table and take no questions from senators" before her husband comes to the microphone.)

On the other side of the debate, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre plans to tell the lawmakers why the NRA opposes a ban on assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazine clips and other proposed changes in gun laws. "We need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future," he says in prepared remarks sent to news organizations.

LaPierre will also say that the government should not "dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families," NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET. The committee plans to webcast it here. C-SPAN will stream its coverage. We'll watch for news and update with highlights later.

Among the committee's members is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has prepared legislation that would reinstate the ban on assault-style weapons that expired in 2004.

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