Martin Bashir | January 30, 2013
>> let's get right to it. we are joined now by krystal ball cohost of "the cycle" and msnbc political analyst richard wolffe executive editor of msnbc.com. thank you for being here. i want to start with you and danielle trotter. she's invoking the constitution, the bill of rights . a feeling that is strong around the country among conservatives but not only conservatives nap these policies are going after rights that were secure bid our founders a long time ago. she invoked womens rights as sort of the ultimate underlying principle. a lot of people were moved by that. what did you make of that new chapter in this fight?
>> well, it's not surprising. it's not surprising there's an interpretation of the second amendment that they take to mean overthrowing government or standing up for tyranny or in this case -- this is part of the nra narrative since the '60s here. it's about protection against criminals. this has been the big shift in the nra , tea party , extreme conservative narrative. which is that we've gone from the hunting, the protecting the family, to this onslaught of criminals mostly coming from the cities, most coming from the riots of the '60s when the nra made a big shift. there are very old deep narratives she was plugging into about the protection of women against criminals. that's where it gets extremely emotional. and it actually isn't constitutional discussions anymore.
>> right. such an important point. because sort of the myth making here is gone from davy crockett to dirty harry . krystal , i want to have you listen to something miss trotter said which is on this point. let's take a listen.
>> as a woman i think it's very important not to place undue burdens on our second amendment right to choose to defend ourselves.
>> so krystal , as a woman --
>> right to choose --
>> undue burden . what we heard from miss trotter is really an indication of feminist principles to uphold gun rights for specifically women .
>> yeah. it's an attempt to use a liberal argument to advocate for no background checks , no assault weapons ban , the right to have an extended magazine. i also think there's an element of a caricature of a right wing republican caricature dying. the caricature has been democrats that want to take everyone's guns. they want to ban all guns. they want to make it so you cannot exercise your second amendment right at all. what you're seeing now as we're getting to the specifics of the policies, people saying background checks just makes sense. women can have guns if they want to have them, they just have to go through a background check . they should have to go through a background check . that's just common sense . does a woman really need an extended magazine to be able to defend herself properly if that's what she wants to do? and there's also an element, too, the increase -- there's massive increase risk to women who are in violent situations in their homes if there is a gun present in the home. so there's that element as well.
>> right. so there's the serious part which is what we know from the data. and there's what links back to what richard was talking about which is it's sort of nonsensical. it only works at a great distance. you say rights for women and women are the victims of many different types of crimes in this country. that is a real issue for congress to focus on. and yet the main things that were on the table in today's hearing were not about actually carrying guns.
>> right. we're not -- if the premise was we're going to take away all handguns, then her argument might have been forceful and more valid. but that's not what anyone has suggested. background checks or protecting women from violence are not effected by what she was mentioning there. so the background check piece of it, you can still protect yourself. protection of women is having a gun in a home where there is domestic violence leads to terrible outcomes for women . the real threat to women 's health in a gun situation is not from a criminal busting down the door.
>> and interestingly, miss trotter i understand is also opposed to reauthorization of the violence against women act . so on the one hand she's saying women are victims, you know, we have to be able to protect ourselves. the gun is the great equal iesser. on the other hand she says we no longer need this protection we've had since 1994 which has been successful in helping provide resources for women in violence situations. so there's quite a hypocrisy there.
>> and to go to the politics of it which is where a lot of gun battles go back to, do you think that democrats are making enough hay out of the sort of contradiction you just said?
>> well, she just testified today. we haven't seen that connection made yet. the big takeaway was not so much her but gabby giffords . her emotional testimony was so incredible, so courageous, so visceral. you know, it really hit home. she's certainly a much more compelling witness on this than either wayne lapierre or gayle trotter.
>> i want to go back to the founders and fighting tyranny in this gun debate. let's take a listen.
>> senator, i think without any doubt if you look at why our founding fathers put it there, they had lived under the tyranny of king george and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again.
>> i don't want to own a gun to attack my government. that's not what i think a legitimate purpose is.
>> first of all, a that's just --
>> lindsey graham who's running for re-election in south carolina . i mean, you know, the nra has become the home for people who want to protect themselves from some kind of fashs tyranny which they think is imminent. hearing senator graham make the obvious point that that's not what the constitution was written about.
>> this thing about lindsey graham , if you agree with him it's great the way he talks. i mean, he just basically took as you said richard, one of the founding, dramatic, you know, well-funded core arguments of the nra which he has to work with and say that's not what i'm into.
>> not so much, yeah.
>> isn't that the deal, krystal ? i mean, who is looking to handguns or even the military style assault weapons to take on the largest military in the world that has weapons and drones and tanks. what are we talking about?
>> there is a group that does feel they have their weapons to protect themselves from the government. there is a small fringe group that does think that way. but it goes more to the basis of the nra 's argument that any limit on the type of gun that you can own, how many you can own, how many you can buy at one time whether you have to have any background checks or have your name on a list if you own a weapon, that anything like that constitutes an infringement of second amendment right that is guaranteed to us. and as you know, the second amendment is not an absolute just like the right to free speech is not an absolute. there can be reasonable restrictions.
>> that would include fully automatic weapons , right? if you followed wayne lapierre 's argument, it means every house would own a machine gun .
>> krystal , last question. where do we go from here? i think one thesis you can take apart is the sudden invocation of women 's rights and i think arguably some very off-the-wall arguments suggest a nervousness in that community. what happens next?
>> it's interesting to see how the argument has shifted. it has been for a long time democrats and gun control advocates on the defensive trying to make arguments from a conservative lens. now we're seeing the reverse. we're seeing arguments through a liberal lens. i have been skeptical anything real will happen in this congress. my skepticism is lessening. i think there's a chance we could see something like universal background checks . we now have a bipartisan group in the senate that's working on background check legislation. so that's an area that i'm particularly hopeful about.
>> your skepticism is lessening. is your optimism increasing?
>> yes. in the same amounts.
>> okay. we're going to take your temperature next time.