Hardball | February 13, 2013
>>> it has been two months since newtown u. i know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence , but this time is different.
>> welcome back to "hardball." president obama built up to a powerful moment last night as he made his case for new gun legislation invoking the memory of shooting victims included 16-year-old hadiya pendelton ki.
>> three weeks ago she was here in washington with her classmates performing for her country at my inauguration. and a week later she was shot and killed in a chicago park after school. just a mile away from my house. hadiya's parents are in this chamber tonight along with two dozen americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence . they deserve a vote. gabby giffords deserves a vote. the families of newtown deserve a vote. the families of aurora deserve a vote. the families of oak creek and tucson and blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence , they deserve a simple vote.
>> as you can see the public and the politico people are with them on this. the question is whether or not congressmen will get on board and pass meaningful gun safety reforms. congressman, i'm watching you. i am really watching you a lot lately. because you are a fascinating political figure. you represent a suburban county of philadelphia. you have been a prosecutor. you have a lot of, i could say, street cred in fighting crime and protecting police officers . where are you on gun safety ? would you support an assault weapons ban ? would you support a ban on these 30-round magazines? how far will you go in a very pro-gun state like pennsylvania?
>> well, let me start with the legislation that we're dealing with, chris. i think it is something that can make a significant difference and we're working on a bipartisan fashion to put forward legislation that will go after the straw purchasers. and that is the way we're watching guns get into the hands of criminals who are then going and acting out both in violent scenes in inner city neighborhoods and oftentimes in other kinds of cases like domestic violence . getting into the hands of people that should not have that gun. so i'm hopeful that we can make some progress on something like that. now, what it does is that's a thing that has been proven to have an impact and can make a difference. and i think that's what i'm looking for in gun legislation.
>> well, what about the other proposals i mentioned?
>> well, i think one of the other things and you're seeing from the experience again that i've had as a prosecutor, my sense is there's a growing support for at least looking at very, very seriously the gun show loophole which is another way that will create at least an ability to have an impact on, you know, this question. and that's another area where i think you're going to probably see some support.
>> should it not be able to buy a bushmaster? like in newtown , connecticut, should that kind of a person if he were to go into a store or a gun show be able to buy that kind of weapon as you see it?
>> well, the person we're worried about is getting the guns in the hands of people that shouldn't have them. criminals and people with the mental issues. i think we've got to do more work to make sure we're cutting that inappropriate sale off. that ought to be the place we really focus. i think, chris, that's another thing. what can we get done?
>> i agree. i accept that argument, but -- the question the president raised last night i think effectively in terms of rhetoric and politics was at least have a vote. do you expect the speaker will bring up a vote on assault weapons ? will he do that?
>> my sense is -- what you're watching happening right now is people are going to see how serious the president is in putting his influence into working i think first with the senate. and harry reid is really the guy who i think is on the front lines on this issue right now. what are they going to do in the senate, what's going to get out. and what will come forward. in that context, i'm hopeful because there are people on the other side of the aisle working together with the legislation that we've put here. not point for point the same, but very similar. so i'm hopeful that that's the kind of a thing we can get some action on that bill and see what else gets through the senate.
>> good luck. 50i78 with you on this. thank you very much pat mann who is a very respected prosecutor in that region before he took the congress seat. thanks for joining us, mark. i think you saw the situation there he is from an area in play now. they're going to be rough on any gun action. as you're following this, toughest issue is assault weapons . are we going to have any chance of getting a ban on them?
>> if the senate goes and house passes.
>> i don't think it's over until it's over. i think people will --
>> will harry reid bring it up for a vote?
>> i hope so.
>> what are you hearing?
>> we think that people ought to be given the opportunity to offer bills, offer amendments on the senate floor. he said it's going to be an open process.
>> so if schumer wants a bill, it'll get a vote. and you think that'll happen?
>> i think so.
>> let's talk about this trafficking bill. how much of a mark would that play? how much would that stop dangerous behavior with guns? if you were stopping people from buying guns who had a criminal intent ?
>> right now the penalty for that is something like the same as for trafficking livestock or chickens. and that's not a particularly stiff penalty and a lot of prosecutors don't want to do it. adding a penalty will make a difference. it's an important bill.
>> if the call comes from chicago, i want to get semiautomatic weapons i'm going after a bank job , they would not suffer a serious criminal threat?
>> straw purchasing for example is when somebody who is able to buy a gun because they have a clean record buys them for somebody else. passes them on. right now the way you get that person is proving they lied on their background check form. that's a weak penalty. it's hard to prove. nobody really wants to take those cases unless they involve a lot of guns and a lot of people. there ought to be a stiffer, clear statute.
>> give me a picture of a really good background check that had no exceptions. how would that work? would it keep it out of the people who are criminally insane, obviously. spousal abusers, people with regular criminal records. give me a sense of how it would work. you go to a gun store , they check you out. they don't make the sale on the location. you have to wait, right?
>> the way it would work right now if you go to a federally licensed dealer, you get a background check .
>> when do you get the gun?
>> you buy the gun right then. a background check takes two minutes. that's why the other side who says it's a big burden are not really honest if we're being honest with ourselves.
>> it's like a police officer stopping you for speeding.
>> every police stop i've had took longer than a background check .
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>>> the other big story we've been following, christopher dorner. this is "hardball," the place for politics.