Martin Bashir | February 25, 2013
>>> this could be the week for new gun legislation in congress with a bipartisan group of senators closing in on a bill to expand background checks for about 40% of gun sales that don't currently require them. not surprisingly, that doesn't fly in wayne lapierre 's world where all access high-capacity magazines are the great equalizer. as he told the western hunting and conservative expo on saturday.
>> the powerful elites, they aren't talking about limiting their capacity for protection. they have all the security they want. our only means of security is the second amendment when the glass breaks in the middle of the night and we have the right to defend ourselves.
>> joining us now from washington is democratic strategist and former council for the house judiciary committee julian epstein. julian , i'm confused. wayne lapierre says the second amendment is the only protection when the glass breaks in the night, and yet he opposes efforts to prevent criminals getting guns through expanded background checks . can you explain that to me?
>> which is especially strange because in 2007 they issued press releases talking about the need to improve the criminal background check system. so he's got a very confused position. the important point is this, martin. it's important to see the signal and not the noise. wayne lapierre is the noise right now people are increasingly tining out. the reality is the republican leadership is privately conceding they cannot stop background check legs lace. they don't want to publicly concede that because they wouldn't to use it as a chit to stop assault weapons and clips from being passed. what people have to keep in mind, democratic pundits and others that are for these gun measures that come on television and say we can't get assault weapons and we can't get clips passed, they have to realize when they say that, they're unwittingly playing into the nra's strategy here because the numbers on these proposals are changing and they're changing rapidly and eventually the dam will break. the reason why the numbers are changing on this is because the president continues to focus on this in his public remarks. when the president focuses on this in his public remarks,ed media then covers it. we had shootings in allentown, pennsylvania, and louisiana, in texas, and the public is quickly changing. the public wants action not just on background checks but assault weapons and clips because we've discussed background checks wouldn't stop many of the tragedies we've covered on this show.
>> senator patrick leahy wants to begin the process of writing new gun laws this coming thursday. he wants the committee to consider an assault weapons ban , universal background checks , as well as school safety and gun trafficking legislation. now, julian , you have worked on passing these laws previously. what do you think the prospects of passing them now are? let's set aside the rhetoric. let's deal with the real politic. can these things pass?
>> i think they can. i think it is -- you have to think of this in two stages. you have to think about getting what we can get in the near term right now and i think we can get -- i think there is a shot at assault weapons in the senate. the point is -- so i think you certainly get background checks on i think you get background checks plus. the point here is you keep the pressure on the republicans on this because in republican districts you have numbers that show a majority of people that want far more than background checks . so you're seeing massive change in public opinion . you're seeing change in how the media is covering this. you're seeing a clarification in the courts. a couple days ago, the tenth circuit in colorado said that the second amendment does not protect concealed carry laws or conceal carry rights rather, and again what the court in that case, the federal circuit court said, was that the only -- the second amendment according to the supreme court is a very, very limited right that only protects in a very limited sense your -- an individual's right of self-defense with a handgun inside the home and nothing more than that, and the court pointed out to the supreme court in 2008 said many of these lock standing restrictions like concealed weapons , some of the laws that the president and lleahy are proposing are long standing traditions. most importantly within public opinion which is why we should stop saying that there's no chance of assault weapons and clips getting through. they will. maybe not immediately, but if we keep the pressure on, they will get through.
>> julian epstein, as ever, thank you, julian .