At Harvard, David Keene pans ‘feel-good’ gun ban

by KEVIN ROBILLARD,  |  published on February 22, 2013

National Rifle Association President David Keene on Wednesday told an unfriendly audience at Harvard University the assault weapons ban proposed by a leading congressional gun control advocate was a “feel-good” measure that would do nothing to stop violence.

“We’re talking about banning it, really not to prevent crime, but to feel good,” Keene said, referring to the AR-15, one of the most common rifles in the United States. “The bans of this firearm, of this weapon, are bans based on cosmetics.”

Keene, speaking to an inimical but civil crowd at the university’s Institute of Politics, avoided the fiery rhetoric favored by executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.

But he gave little ground, accusing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the sponsor of an assault weapons ban in the Senate, of wanting to ban guns simply because of their appearance.

“Dianne Feinstein would ban 157 different firearms that she thinks look like military weapons, solely based on cosmetics,” he said. “They can’t ban them on function, because they function the same way as my shotgun when I go duck hunting. So what they’ve done — literally — and her staff did this, they went through and looked at pictures, and said ‘This one should be banned, that one shouldn’t.’ So the same gun, with a pistol grip, it would be illegal. Without a pistol grip, it won’t be. The question is: What does that do?”

Keene, a former Institute of Politics fellow, was interviewed by CNN’s John King for the first 30 minutes, before taking questions from students. King pressed Keene on rhetoric used by Sen. Rand Paul, who wrote a letter claiming Feinstein’s bill was “the end of the Second Amendment.”

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