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Q&A: Brady Campaign leader on the new face of gun control

Kurtis Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Being victim survivors themselves, they have the ability to ask the really tough questions. Why have you, Marco Rubio, taken money from the NRA? Why aren't you supporting these policies that we as voters want you to support? I think that has sparked a whole conversation in households all across the country. Yes, why is it this way? Let's change this and fix it.

Q: What does the NRA mean to you?

A: I see an organization that started many years ago with a noble purpose, which is to represent owners of guns and provide information about proper stewardship of guns. To provide opportunities for sharpshooting, going to ranges and things like that -- that's how the NRA started.

I now see an organization that has strayed dramatically away from actually representing the gun owners that they were formed to represent and really taking the interests of manufacturers to heart.

The best example I have of that is the latest (Quinnipiac) poll around background checks that says 97 percent -- 97 percent! -- of all Americans believe that we must strengthen and protect our background check system. The NRA has fought tooth and nail actually against every proposal that would do that, and does even now. So I think it has gone way far astray from the purpose that it was set up for.

Q: What do you say to gun control critics?

A: We have over 300 million guns in this country. It's not about whether or not we need additional laws. We actually need reasonable laws and protections in place that actually work, and then we need to able to enforce them. So it's both sides of the equation.

Q: Trump mentioned taking guns away.

A: My candid thought is that if President Obama had said something like that, he might have been subject to impeachment hearings right away. I think it's an interesting standard. We at Brady actually have been strong proponents of extreme-risk laws, and we support due process being a part of that equation. Of course, if law enforcement comes into anyone's home and believes they're truly an imminent risk to themselves or others, they can always have an expedited process in that case to remove guns.

Q: Some say urban cases get less notice.

A: I hear that and I actually agree with that. There are over 96 people a day who die from gun violence in this country. Mass shootings constitute 1 percent to 2 percent of all gun violence. We want an opportunity here to actually talk as a gun violence organization about all of the things that we think must be done to solve the problem of gun violence, and that is in every community.

For many communities, the most dangerous part of the day is not at school. That's the safest part of the day. The most dangerous part of the day is walking to and from school. So Brady has an entire campaign aimed at disrupting the supply of guns into urban communities across the U.S., and we're working with the Urban League to implement that campaign.

Q: Finish the sentence: Guns in America ...

A: ... have a very important role in American life, and it's in all Americans' interest to actually ensure that we live in a society where all of us can live our daily lives without the fear of being shot.

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