Hardball | January 07, 2013
>>> as a country we have been through this too many times, whether it's an elementary school in newtown or a shopping mall in oregon or a temple in wisconsin or a movie theater in aurora or a street corner in chicago. these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics.
>> welcome back to "hardball." it's been 24 days now since the horrific shooting in newtown , connecticut, and this weekend we got the first bit of information on the size and scope of recommendations vice president biden 's gun control task force may make. "the washington post " reported that they include universal background checks for gun buyers. a national database to track gun sales. strengthening mental health checks on gun buyers and stiffer penalties for carrying guns in school zones or giving them to minors. this is in stark contrast to the nra 's proposed solution, arming the good guys as they put it. here is the nra 's wayne lapierre a week after the newtown massacre. let's listen to him.
>> the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.
>> joining me is rebecca peters , the former director of the international action network on small arms . she's seen evidence worldwide that arming the good guys doesn't keep people safe. and joy reid, of course, is managing editor of the grio and an msnbc contributor. thank you for ladies for joining us tonight. i want rebecca to start because this is your expertise. what do we know works, and if you look at the biden stuff that's leaked out from the biden task force about a database, about background checks , i'm grabbed by the australian -- where you're from originally -- the australian method of basically a long background -- who needs a gun real fast. let people find out who you are, check out your mental record, your police record , everything, find out about you before they decide to let you buy that gun. that looks like something that might pass muster in this country. but your thoughts. what do you think would work? what do you think would pass?
>> well, in terms of what would work, i'm very encouraged by this suggestion that the task force is considering a package of reforms rather than just one thing or another because what we see in countries where -- and, in fact, in states in the u.s. where gun violence has been significantly reduced is in response to comprehensive reforms. so in australia , in my country, as you mentioned, we have a gun licensing system that involves a 28-day waiting period , and in that time there's exhaustive checks done not only of your, you know, formal criminal record , not only whether you've been convicted of violent crimes because the fact is most people -- most people who commit homicide, for example, they don't have a prior conviction for violent crime like that. usually that's the first time they commit a really serious violent crime , and by the time that happens, it's too late. so what we're doing in australia is comprehensive checks, also safe storage requirements, also controls on ammunition, controls on -- and taking into account all the circumstances of the case. recognizing that a gun is a lethal product, made for killing, and bringing it into your house and into your community is a very serious decision, and, you know, that kind of an approach has allowed australia to reduce by about 50% our rates of gun violence and yet we still have sport shooting , we still have hunting, people are still able to have guns in australia . it's just that it's within the bounds of what's reasonable in a democracy.
>> you know, i love australian movies and i think you have a lot of our cowboy character. joy, your thoughts about our cultural realities in this country, not just cultural but constitutional. we've got a second amendment. i don't know what other country has anything like the second amendment but we darn well have it. how do we live with it and live through it?
>> and we also have this novel interpretation since the '70s and' 80s that it's about an individual right american a militia. if you look at the package of reforms being offered by the obama administration, they are looking at the commerce around guns, things the government can go ahead and regulate. in some cases that the obama administration could just do because it's regulating the dealers. it's regulating the sellers, and that's one thing that i think is doable even if congress were to resist. and what i mean --
>> kill these gun shows? i would love to see that.
>> i don't know if you can do much about that but you can force them to abide by the background checks that a licensed dealer has to abide by. even at a gun show you have to be licensed. since the government is giving you that license and you do not have a constitutional right to a license to deal guns, the government can regulate it there. and i think your other guest is exactly right. you have got to look at things like if you buy five or more guns at a time or in a week, why can't you get the same scrutiny or at least have that reported the same way it would happen if you tried to deposit $10,000 in your bank account and you would have a red flag with your bank? there are things the government can do to regulate the commerce side which i think are common sense.
>> this weekend the republicans and democrats reacted to plant. first newly elected ted cruz of texas followed by newly elected democratic senator and nra member heidi hide camp of north dakota .
>> every parent was horrified at what happened there, to see 20 children, six adults senselessly murdered. it takes your breath away. but within minutes we saw politicians run out and try to exploit this tragedy, try to push their political agenda of gun control .
>> you need to put everything on the table, but what i hear from the administration and if "the washington post " is to be believed, that's way an extreme of what i think is necessary or even should be talked about. and it's not going to pass.
>> rebecca , see the problem in this country. you know it. there you have ted cruz , a well-educated right winger like pat robertson . it's like they flush out their high educations when they get out of school for political purposes. talking about this being a political -- it's not anybody's political agenda . the only person who what want to have gun control is somebody who is scared of what the gun has been doing. it's nothing but trouble to be for gun control . you don't get any votes for that, but there you have a guy talking out of his whatever about how somehow it's a political agenda . what do we do in a country that karnt talk gun control without being accused of advantageous personal politics.
>> it's interesting because, you know, nobody stands to make money either from prevention. i guess in these sort of moments you think who stands to benefit from policies that are going to promote more sales of guns? who stands to benefit from policies of prevention? it's the general public . nobody makes money out of people being -- not being hurt or killed, and i guess if you think about the motivation, it isn't political. it's about prevention and recognizing that there isn't -- you know, in the real world there are things that can be done. it's well-established now in the public health community. we know that violence can be prevented and that it can be approached in a rational way just like so many other problems. i mean, it's amazing that in the u.s. this method -- this agent of injury that kills over 30,000 people a year has not been able to be approached a rational way because of the politicking which is really from the other side. but i think the point about universal background checks , that is, i think, the single most important measure that will make a difference.
>> i agree. thank you so much. i have to go to joy for the last word. excuse me. joy, how much time do we have before this issue gets dull again because we haven't had a recent horror?
>> how much time do we have to get something done here?
>> i'm always skeptical of waiting because i feel like it goes out of the news cycle but look, i know we have one party that's averse to the idea of facts and data but the data shows the more guns there are in a region or country, the more gun deaths there are. that's the south is a clear outlier versus the rest of the country. that's why the u.s. is a clear outlier. the data is clear on this and rebecca made the most important point. the only people who stand to gain by not doing gun control are people who sell guns and who represents them? the nra . the nra is trying to find ways to market and sell more guns because that's the product their clients sell.
>> thank you, rebecca peterson, thank you joy reid. up next, republicans are threatening to shut down the government again if they don't get their way in the upcoming debt ceiling fight. did he forget who won the election? this is "hardball," the place for politics.