Wayne LaPierre Hits Back During Hearing: ‘Background Checks Will Never Be Universal Because Criminals Will Never Submit to Them’

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (Getty Images)

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Wednesday assailed universal background checks and other new proposed gun regulations, declaring that “law-abiding gun owners” won’t take the blame for “violent or deranged criminals.”

In his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee following last month’s elementary school in Newtown, Conn., LaPierre called on lawmakers to enforce “the thousands of gun laws already on the books,” rather than create new ones.

“Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works,” LaPierre said. “Proposing more gun laws while failing to enforce the ones we already have, it’s not a serious solution for reducing crime.”

LaPierre delivered his statement shortly after former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords urged her former congressional colleagues to take “bold” action to prevent more gun violence. Giffords was seriously injured when a gunman shot her in the head during a 2011 shooting spree that left six others dead in Tucson, Ariz.

President Barack Obama earlier this month signed a number of executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence, but has called on Congress to act on a new “assault weapons” ban and universal background checks for gun buyers.

“Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals, nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families,” LaPierre said Wednesday. “We need to be honest about what works and what does not work.”

He said semi-automatic weapons have been “around for 100 years,” are among the most popular for hunting and protection, and that many studies “including one from the Clinton Justice Department” have concluded that banning them has no impact on crime.

“When it comes to be background checks let’s be honest,” LaPierre said. “Background checks will never be ‘universal,’ because criminals will never submit to them.”