Martin Bashir | February 11, 2013
>>> she's still trying to recapture her powers of speech after being shot in the head. but former representative gabby giffords is quickly becoming one of the nation's strongest voices for common sense gun safety . in an interview this weekend with "the new york times," giffords made it clear her role is only going to get bigger as she and her husband mark kelly focus their efforts on defeating pro-gun candidates in next year's elections. meanwhile, the daily toll of gun violence continues to mount. just over the weekend, four people were shot on bourbon street in new orleans while celebrating the countdown to mardi gras . police in san jose , california, responded to a 911 call sunday afternoon and found the body of a man who had been fatally wounded. and then just this morning three people were killed during a shootout in the lobby of a courthouse in wilmington, delaware. let's bring in daniel hernandez , the former gabby giffords intern and author of "they call me a hero" which tells the story of how he helped save the former congresswoman's life. we're also joined by representative diana deget, democrat of colorado. gabby giffords and her husband mark kelly are starring in a new ad that's out today. take a listen to this.
>> take it from me, congress must act. let's get this done.
>> now, that's the first ad from miss giffords group and it's going to air in speaker john boehner 's district among others and in kentucky, the state of senate majority leader mitch mcconnell . if you will excuse the pun, daniel , this is a targeted campaign, isn't it?
>> it is. and i think it's so great to see the congresswoman using her own words. as we saw two weeks ago with the senate hearing, it's so difficult for her to be able to speak but her voice is a really important one. and her message to the members of congress and to the senators is we need you to be brave and courageous because americans are counting on you. now we turn on the heat with this new ad.
>> daniel , many of us felt that when the congresswoman appeared on her final day in the house, that it might provoke some kind of change, and it didn't. so why is this different?
>> you know, as a young elected official i was so distraught with what happened at newtown. i'm a school board member and having that happen to the most vulnerable people i think was the big wake-up call. it wasn't just something that could happen to a member of congress . it wasn't -- it could happen to any of us. it could happen to our children. i'm hoping along with congresswoman giffords i believe that this will hopefully be the sea change . that this moment will be our last line. because we cannot continue to do nothing because as we've seen, every time we do nothing, more americans continue to die. 34 americans die each and every single day because of gun violence . those people you mentioned are the people that are getting attention. those that are being killed because they are just standing for a bus, waiting to get on the bus, are getting killed. so we need to be really careful when we're moving forward that we're changing these common sense gun laws not to stop evil from happening but it make it harder for those who want to hurt our children and to hurt people in this society from being able to do it quickly.
>> absolutely. congresswoman, we understand that you and one of your colleagues have donated extra tickets to tomorrow's state of the union address to the mother and uncle of a.j., an 18-year-old young man who was gunned down at the shootings in aurora last summer. we've also just heard that another of your esteemed colleagues, representative steve stockman of texas, has invited none other than ted nugent to be his guest at the speech tomorrow. how do you feel about that?
>> well, each member of congress gets a ticket for their spouse or other honored guest and i can't think of anybody i would rather honor than the relatives of those who were so horribly shot down in aurora, in columbine and newtown and so on. i can't imagine what my colleague was thinking to invite somebody who is an avid nra advocate. that's not what this is about. we're talking about these people whose families have been shattered by gun violence , and i don't think it's particularly smart move frankly on the part of congressman stockman.
>> and let's not forget that ted nugent actually said that he wanted the president to suck on his gun. that's what he actually said.
>> i mean, you know, it's really -- i don't even really want to give it the benefit of a comment. it's ridiculous. instead, what i'd like to talk about was what daniel was talking about, what my friend gabby is talking about. now is the time in this country to have common sense gun safety measures, and i have been working on these issues for 20 years now, and i will agree, there was something that really changed in the hearts of america after those 20 little first graders and teachers were killed, and, you know, my daughter -- i live right outside the aurora theater. my daughter had friends who were in the next theater. so it hits all of us really close to home . and it's as daniel said, you're never going to be able to stop somebody who is deranged or mentally ill from getting a gun, but you sure can make sure that they don't have a semiautomatic weapon that has a 30 or a 100-round ammunition magazine that can kill so many people in such a short time.
>> daniel , you have heard the president lay out some of his proposals. and it seems as though over recent weeks it's really getting down to something like background checks and things like high capacity magazines, many politicians are suggesting that simply wouldn't get through the house. but from your perspective, is that where we need to go with these issues?
>> you know, we have to start somewhere, and while we might not be able to get everything that we know will help prevent people from killing innocents, we know that we need to start somewhere. so if we need to start and it's the background checks , when you look at the polling done by mayors against illegal guns , 78% of all members of the nra that were polled by frank luntz , a republican pollster, agree this is something we need to do. other polling has shown the vast majority of americans are in favor of this. while it may not be what we wanted to be done as a whole, let's start with background checks and then once we do background checks then let's come back and see what is the effect of backgrounds checks --
>> can i just say --
>> congresswoman, please.
>> can i add, daniel , i want to give you some hope. i think we can pass much more than just background checks . i think we can pass legislation banning the assault magazines. i think we can do some things with mental health . i think we can close the gun show loophole. i think that there's a lot we can do, and i think it would go a long way. efforts to target republicans in key districts like gabby and her husband mark are doing are fantastic because really the republicans need to know it's just not a democratic issue. it's for all of us to think about.
>> can i ask you, briefly, to respond to this question. what do you hope the president will say in his state of the union address tomorrow as it relates to gun safety ?
>> well, i hope the president will reiterate what he has said, which is that america has the duty to make sure that we protect our children and that we pass comprehensive gun safety legislation, and i hope he calls on congress to do that with all due speed.
>> daniel ?
>> you know, i agree with the congresswoman. she hit the nail right on the head. we need the president to just say what he's already said. when he started that task force and tasked the vice president with leading it up and with the proposals they came up, they line up with the thompson commission but let's make sure we don't let this be the end. we need to have this be the start of us applying the pressure on those members of congress and as we head into 2014 , we're going to remember every time someone votes against common sense gun safety legislation. we have new groups like americans for responsible solution that will remind the people who are the voters in that district your member has voted against the safety of your children and the people that live in this district.
>> daniel hernandez and representative diana degette , thank you so much.
>> thank you.