Martin Bashir | December 20, 2012
>> panel now, all three of whom are msnbc contributor. goldie taylor, joy reid, and karen finney, former communications director for the dnc. three people more brilliantly equipped to have this discussion. karen it hasn't been a week since the cass mer in newtown and the funerals go on and on. mike huckabee says it's a lack of prayer in schools. at least one writer blames it on the fact there were no men in the school, even though two men were tyme present. and newt gingrich , rick perry , and others say it's because teachers themselves need guns. essentially it's everything apart from guns.
>> that's right. that's exactly right, martin. let me just start with, i was always taught in sunday school god is everywhere. i don't think prayer or not prayer should have anything to do with it. if we accept the premise that the nra likes to say that guns don't kill people, people kill people. okay but people kill people with guns. there are certain things we know about human behavior and certain things that we know when studies have shown, for example, mother jones had a great piece earlier this week that showed that in these mass shooting rampages, if there was somebody who was armed, they were more likely to either be shot or killed themselves. so more people with more guns is the clearly not the answer. better understanding the human behaviors when you combine those behaviors like domestic violence , like children who we know are very curious with the presence of a gun, we know that the likelihood of someone getting shot or killed goes up dramatically.
>> no doubt. joy, let me read what best selling author joel c. rosenberg wrote on his blog about who is to blame. the further we turn away from god in our nation, the further we drive him out of our society and our schools, the worse things are getting. he then goes on to blame jon stewart , host of "the daily show " for a sketch he did mocking the war on christmas. is it possible to take any of these people seriously?
>> actually no. the thing is i think you're seeing among republicans is a party that is trying to test whether or not it is safe to bite the hand that feeds them. and the nra has such a tight grip on conservatives, on republicans, that they feel the need to cast about and find someone else to blame other than guns. but at the end of the day , this is an industry that is being represented by the national rifle association , not the members. and when it comes to the issue of god, i'm not sure how having prayer in school would have changed what happened in this case. this was a mother who home schooled her child, something conservatives say is a good idea. right? we don't know what the religious affiliation is of miss lanza or of her son but we don't have any evidence that a lack of christianity led to what happened. we understand that there were psychiatric issues and we understand that had this young man not had access to nearly half a dozen deadly weapons , he couldn't have done what he did.
>> that's absolutely the case. goldie , violent video games and violence in the movies has also been blamed, as you know, for this horrific shooting, but the same video games , the same movies are played throughout the world, and yet it's only in this country that we see so many mass murders . isn't it time we focused on the obvious things staring us all in the face, and that is not a video game , not a movie, but easy access to lethal, lethal weapons ?
>> you know, i have said once and i will say again that, you know, the second amendment does guarantee the right to bear arms for personal reasons, but there's a lot of space, as the president said, between the second amendment and no rules at all. and one of the rules we've got to have is a ban on assault rifles . we have to have a ban on magazines with excessive ammunition. i said yesterday if you need more than six shots, when you certainly need firing lessons. but to blame other things like god, for instance, then how does pastor huckabee explain the 16th baptist church where it was bombed and four little girls were killed. i know in my thee ol that the devil is just as likely to walk into a schoolhouse as he is to walk into a church in the midst of prayer. i think these kinds of things that are absolutely ridiculous, there are things that are meant to distract us from the real issues. i don't know that the nra has the kind of grip, the physical grip, that it believes it has. it does, however, have a psychological grip, and i think it's time we broke it.
>> right. karen , the president was incredulous at wednesday's press conference when it was suggested the political will to act on gun control will fade in a brief amount of time. take a listen.
>> i would hope that our memories aren't so short that of what we saw in newtown isn't lingering with us, that we don't remain passionate about it only a month later?
>> isn't it incredible that he was having to say that in less than a week after a horrific shooting?
>> yeah. it is, but let's think about the reality of this town. here we are awaiting, you know, the fiscal cliff, and we all know if anything is going to happen, it's going to come right down to the wire because things don't happen in this town, this is the new habit, i guess, until we are in a crisis mode, and so i think the question -- the president is exactly right. there's no reason that a month from now there shouldn't be the same level of passion and engagement from all parts of our community on this issue, but, again, you know, martin, as you heard me say many times before, that's incumbent on all of us to make sure that we keep the pressure on because what we do know, the nra is going to have their little press conference on friday where, of course, they will come up with some new theory about why it has nothing to do with guns. they're at the same time knocking on doors quietly reminding people that the checks have been written. we need to remember we have to keep putting the pressure on because the nra will quietly exert their pressure as well.
>> joy, vice president joe biden spoke today for the first time, and as you know, he's heading this task force . but what in practical terms do you think can he conceive with that task force that will lead to a reduction in these kinds of horrendous mass shootings?
>> well, you know, i think that one of the things that the task force can do is look at some of the existing legislation that's preventing us from making change. for one thing perhaps repealing the law that prevents gun makers from facing any liability the way cigarettemakers do. they are exempted from such liability. there are other ideas that have been put on the table like forcing manufacturers to add trigger locks, forcing them to add mechanisms that would allow a stolen gun not to be able to be fired. there are a few practical things that can be done. but what i hope the task force does is keep talking about this issue because as sad as it is, to your last question, the risk is over the course of a month that a task force is meeting, the jake tappers of the world move on to the next story and we're not talking about and looking at those little coffins anymore and after a month this issue does fade. so i think the president took a risk by not getting this done in the lame duck, not doing it right now when the politicians are the most vulnerable to public pressure . but having taken that risk, i hope his task force won't be behind closed doors . it should be very public. it has to keep this top of mind.
>> amen to all of that. joy reid, goldie taylor, and karen finney, thank you so