Martin Bashir | March 01, 2013
>>> relief it is!
>>> this has not been an especially good week for the nra . 90% of voters in ohio support background checks . on wednesday it was milwaukee police chief who handed nra apologize -- apologist lindsey graham his backside.
>> 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 is democratic strategist julian epstein. julian , good afternoon. how bad of an effect on popular opinion do you think the nra and its apologists are having on this debate because the polls are not looking good for mr. wayne lapierre , are they?
>> every time he opens his mouth, the numbers get worse for him. a gix of that and the other things we've been talking about, the president's leadership on this, the fact the media is focusing on this, the fact you have people on this network like the victims in newtown, the chief attending officer who we talk about yesterday, the noms are moving quickly. you cite the quinnipiac poll in ohio which has traditionally been a very pro-gun state and you are seeing majorities supporting the assault weapons ban , a restriction on clips and unbelievable majorities of 90% plus on background checks and that's kind of the point, martin. the point is you have to remember that congress is a lagging indicator . we've spoken about jobs being a lagging indicator on the economy and on gdp. the congress is a lagging indicator of public opinion . and this goes to the central point about democrats and others who say that congress will never pass the assault weapons ban or clips. the point here is this, if the republican majority in the congress goes against what is now very clear majority public support on the assault weapons ban and on clip, then the issue isn't over. you get background checks through and you keep clips alive and you make the members opposing this pay a political price at the polls.
>> but just explain to me then, julian , the politics of what's going on in the senate because i can show you poll after poll that say voters want background checks and assault weapon bans. yet the senate has decided to delay discussion of gun violence legislation another week. why the disconnect?
>> i'm not overly troubled by the delay. i mean, i have been through this process of marking up these gun legislation many, many times when i was there. i think what leahy is trying to do is to forge as much consensus as possible. but leahy understands this and the person who understands this i think most in american politics is vice president biden. leahy understands that we're going to do this in several stages. we're going to get through what we can get right now, but this issue and this is the central point, does not go away once it passes the senate and once something passes the house. vice president biden realizes that if hillary clinton doesn't run in 2016 , i actually am a big hillary clinton supporter, i hope she does, but if she doesn't run, he is out there in front like no one else on this issue and he understands exactly where the public is and he understands that politicians are going to get political dividends if they're with the american people on this, not if they're against the american people , and so the smart politicians have figured it out. the guys who are either in the pocket -- the hip pocket of the nra there, the gop who is being run by the nra rather than being run by what are the best interests of our children. you know, we have 33 gun deaths a year -- a day, martin. that's the equivalent of a jumbo jet airliner, more than the equivalent of a jumbo jet airliner going down every week of the year. if there was a jumbo jet airliner going down every week of the year, do you think the republican party would be up saying we don't need to regulate this problem?
>> i think the answer to that question, julian , is i'm not sure given the current republican caucus .
>> well, they're losing the argument with the american people and that's the point we have to remember. they're losing it and we will eventually get these measures through.
>> julian epstein, as ever, thanks.