Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that new proposals to ban assault weapons and increase background checks on gun buyers were not likely to solve the problem of gun violence.

LaPierre, who has served as the NRA's proud and combative face in Washington for years, was subdued -- for him -- during his appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He spoke after an emotional appearance by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was grievously wounded in a shooting two years before, and after testimony by Giffords' husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly.