Martin Bashir | January 25, 2013
>> let's get right to it. we're joined by toure , my colleague and the co-host of "the cycle" and by democratic strategist julian epstein. julian , the vice president was in richmond, virginia, today. virginia tech , of course, was the scene of that horrific massacre in 2007 when 32 people were killed. but it's also the backyard of house majority leader eric cantor . is this the administration taking its campaign for gun safety to those places which have been most severely impacted by gun violence ?
>> well, that's right, and i think that this is part of what obama hinted at during the inaugural address when he basically said he was going to get down to business and he was going to take the case to the people and use pressure from the outside to break the obstructionism from the inside. i think this is the first sign that the administration means business on that. i also think it's very, very important that we not start out at sea with a big fish and come back to shore with a skeleton and that the pressure has got to be kept on with respect to assault weapons and large-scale magazines. the public supports, as you know, background checks on a scale of 90% but when it comes to large magazines or clip it's about 70% and 60% when it comes to assault weapons . i think at the end of the day it will be the big test of the new obama paradigm, which is to go outside the beltway, build pressure out the beltway, and make the republican obstructionists pay a severe political price for obstructing what is a strong american voter public sentiment in favor of doing these common sense gun rules.
>> toure , to julian 's point, dianne feinstein introduced her bill, which is an assault weapons ban bill. as we saw in the latest polls, there's broad support, 58% for this. support among gun owning households is 45%. let's hear jay carney on the bill itself. take a listen to jay.
>> the president supports renewal of the assault weapons ban . he supports addressing or limiting the magazine capacity of ammunition -- the capacity of ammunition clips. the fact that they're hard, some harder than others, doesn't mean we shouldn't move forward on them.
>> is that the acknowledgment of what julian was just saying, that in a sense they're going for everything, but if they've got to get it through the house, they're more likely to get some kind of rul on high capacity magazines than they are on assault weapons .
>> the house does seem to be a potential problem, not just from the right but also from some on the left who are in rural areas. as julian was saying, there is tremendous support for the individual policies of the president, even "the washington post " polled republicans before the president announced these are going to be my policies, and they're showing overwhelming support for the things the president would say. 89% in favor of backgrounds, 61% in favor of a federal database.
>> these are republicans ?
>> republicans . 59% in favor of a ban on high capacity magazines. even 45% in favor of a ban on assault weapons . now, of course, when the president comes out and says this is what i want to do, they say, no, no, no, your package is horrible, you're taking away by gurns. it matters whose mouth it comes out of. i would urge the president to stay strong on all these proposals partly because public support is behind him, partly because the pro-gun right is gone for democrats and we have nothing to show for that. if you're going to be the gun control party, get something out of that, but also why do you go to d.c.? to do what's easy or to do things that might make a difference in americans lives?
>> can i pick up on that for a second?
>> in 1999 after columbine, i was intimately involved in this when we were trying to get gun legislation through the house. president clinton was a strong supporter of this. he was the leader. we had a real opportunity to get something passed, and the reason why we couldn't get a bill out of conference was at the end of the day we had some weak-kneed democrats who were very silently trying to undermine it, but we had a strategy where we were identifying 30 or 40 republicans where we could build a lot of pressure to support what president clinton wanted to do in 1991 with respect to closing a lot of loopholes in the gun laws . the problem again was that we had weak-kneed democrats who undermined it. if democrats stay strong on this and if they target the right republican districts, you can basically break through the log jam, the bureaucratic log jam, that republicans will use by way of process in the house, and there are many ways to do it but it requires democrats say unified and secondly, that they identify vulnerable republicans and there are plenty of vulnerable republicans because some of these numbers that toure is citing applies to republicans and --
>> in those --
>> and the public opinion in their dirths.
>> the other thing that the gun control left is going to need is money, and finally we have the beginnings of an unequal bank account that the nra has always outspend the gun control . now we have michael bloomberg involved and now we have steve jobs ' widow happening out with gabby giffords pac. finally the gun control side has money.
>> the risk of congressional inaction -- just one moment --
>> every day people see us on this show, martin, and they say how wonderful it is that the martin bashir show is focusing on this issue. toure 's point is exactly right. if you care about this issue, tell us you care about it by writing a check to one of the great organizations, the mayors group, there's about half a dozen groups that are doing important work. i intend to write a check for them and everybody watching who is interested and concerned about protecting our children and protecting your families and protecting your communities, you have to support these organizations that are doing important work.
>> and your original point is absolutely right. the martin bashir point is wonderful.
>> thank you.
>> but the risk of congressional action has prompted some mayors to start taking action. michael nutter of philadelphia, rahm emanuel of chicago. starting a devestment drive against gun makers. can i ask you, do you think that will have much of an impact?
>> i don't know how much of an impact that's going to have because we give so much money to the nra and to the gun lobby and to the bullet and gun manufacturers. they make so much money. and all these pushes that we're doing right now only helps them to drive up sales, a tremendous amount. the nra profits exactly from that because in a lot of places every gun you buy, $1 goes to the nra . so they are --
>> take i take a view on that.
>> julian , don't you think actually this is an example of individual mayors doing what they can in the way that you were just promoting individual citizens should do what we can.
>> exactly. and just a slightly different perspective. if you consider what happened with south africa apartheid, much of the leadership came from state and local levels when we began to have pressure to divest from organizations involved with south africa . same with tobacco. state attorneys general started suing the tobacco industry . when you think about the parallels between guns and tobacco, the idea we have 30,000 gun related homicides every year as compared to only, as toure has cited before, 200 justifiable homicides, self-defense homicides with gun every year according to the justice department , 200 instances in which guns are used in justifiable homicides as compared to 30,000 gun related deaths each year. the same series tobacco. people begin to realize guns are doing more harm than good. you see a sea change at the state and local level and the state and local level can have enormous changes.