NRA President David Keene on Sunday compared assault weapons like the one used in the tragic elementary school shooting in Connecticut to recreational items like baseball bats.
"The fact that something is misused, whether it is a baseball bat or the mass killing at a Chinese school with an axe and a knife, doesn't mean that you ban baseball bats, axes, and knives or even guns," he said on CBS' Face the Nation. "What it means is that you protect the innocent, on the one hand, and you try to keep weapons out of the hands of those who are likely to commit such crimes."
A report by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which was published in October, found that current gun laws did a poor job of keeping guns away from those who are likely to use them to commit crimes. In particular, the report noted that many states allow those who have committed violent misdemeanor crimes to legally own firearms.
"One of the problems, and this is reflected in public attitudes, is what is wrong with our mental health system?" Keene continued. "Because a lot of these people are not even seen as having problems -- nobody does anything about it. In Connecticut, it is very difficult to have outpatient treatment because of ACLU lawsuits. Now I'm not saying that every mental patient is a potential killer... but neither is everybody who owns a gun."