Debate over proposed federal gun-control legislation dominated the National Rifle Association annual convention, where the powerful lobbying group tried to generate support for a handgun bill it prefers.

As an alternative to the so-called Brady bill, which would require a seven-day waiting period before handgun purchases, the NRA is backing a bill requiring immediate criminal background checks and no waiting period."We oppose the Brady bill because we feel it violates Americans' constitutional right to purchase a firearm and have it when they may need it," association spokesman Tom Wyld said.

The bill was named for former White House press secretary James Brady, who was seriously wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. Spearheading the push for its passage is Handgun Control Inc., led by Brady's wife, Sarah Brady.