Martin Bashir | March 14, 2013
>>> the senate judiciary committee approved legislation today that would restore the assault weapons ban passed under former president clinton then allowed to expire under former president george w. bush . it was a strict party line vote. ten democrats in favor. eight republicans opposed. and there was no shortage of fireworks. take a listen.
>> would senator yield for a question?
>> let me just make a couple of points in response. one, i'm not a sixth grader. senator, i've been on this committee for 20 years. i was a mayor for nine years. i walked in. i saw people shot. and so i -- you know, it's fine you want to lecture me on the constitution. i appreciate it. just know i've been here for a long time. i've passed on a number of bills. i've studied the constitution, myself. i am reasonably well educated. and i thank you for the lecture.
>> joining us now is msnbc contributor goldie taylor who's also managing editor of the " goldie taylor project." goldie , we want to mention in a moment that vote. but the president called on lawmakers to give this bill a vote before the full senate. the exchange we just saw between senator ted cruz of texas and senator dianne feinstein of california, who's the sponsor, of course, of the assault weapons ban . that's not the kind of thing we see from senators every day, is it?
>> no, it really isn't what we see from them every day, but i have to say senator feinstein was a bit more gracious than maybe i would have been. it reminded me of the old lloyd benson moment where he said, senator, you are no jack kennedy . dianne feinstein is the last person who needs to be lectured about the rigors of the constitution and what limits may or may not be about the second amendment.
>> if there's anyone who knows a lit bit about the horrors of gun violence , goldie , as you say, it's dianne feinstein . she became mayor of san francisco in '78 because a gunman assassinated the sitting mayor and murdered gay rights pioneer harvey milk . we saw senator feinstein sticking up for herself. take a listen to her back on that day when she confronted gun violence firsthand.
>> both mayor musconi and supervisor harvey milk have been shot and killed.
>> goldie , i would only point out that the day those assassinations happened, november 28th , 1978 , ted cruz was just 7 years old. so how come he's now lecturing senator feinstein about firearms?
>> you know, to say that there are no limits on the second amendment is like saying there's no limit on the right of free speech . of course there's a limit on free speech . there's libel, slander. of course, there are limtss on the second amendment as well. you don't have the right to own a bazooka. you don't have the right to own a military-style weapon if the government decides to curtail some of that. so i -- i think that ted cruz is on a bit of slippery ground here to use his own words. at the end of the day , this bill, however, has not a chance in the world of passing the senate, yet alone this republican-controlled house. i think that's where we really are on this issue. the important thing is this is going to come together with another piece of legislation about universal background checks . harry reid is going to have to cobble together something. something meaningful that he can pass and move on to this house so we can get some bills signed. i really doubt the bill in its pure form as dianne feinstein has proposed it will see the light of day.
>> right. all the so-called wise men and women of washington say senator feinstein 's bill, as you say, has no chance of passing the full senate, but every day you and i see the incredible toll that this is taking. just this week, we saw the death of a 6-year-old little -- 6-month-old little baby girl called jonalah watkins of chicago. she was shot five times while her father was changing her diaper in the front seat of the minivan. the father was also shot. incredible, the mother had been shot, herself, once, while she was pregnant. what are we supposed to do about this? are we supposed to just walk away from some kind of meaningful legislation, when babies as young as 6 months old are murdered while their diapers are being changed?
>> you know, martin, this is probably the most unspeakable tragedy we can think of, you know, when newtown hit and 20 schoolchildren were murdered in their classrooms, and then you see a 6-month-old child who certainly had done nothing to anyone but grace this world with her wonderful presence shot five times? that's the kind of remarkable tragedy, in the face of that, we can't seem to get meaningful gun legislation passed through the senate or the house. at the end of the day we ought to be closing the loophole to allow them to do their business and -- i'm going to bat you a dime to a doughnut that the gun that killed jonahlah watkins was an illegal cheap handgun. if it were -- that's the same kind of handgun that killed my father. the same kind of handgun that killed my brother. the same kind of handgun that shot my cousin in the back and left him paralyzed when he was 13 years old. when will this stop? it won't stop until we stand up and make it stop. and that means meaningful gun reform legislation that allows the people who are law-abiding, who are righteous about this thing, who are responsible, to own the handguns they need for self-protection but to put in some deep regulation so that the people who don't need to have handguns, those people who are mentally ill , those people who have criminal backgrounds, those people who have criminal intent , that they should not be able to own weapons.
>> goldie taylor , as ever, thank you so much for joining us.