Martin Bashir | March 18, 2013
>>> as much attention is focused on the nra 's opposition to gun law reforms in this country wayne lapier rrrers and fellow lobbyists are pushing for more guns globally. a united nations treaty that aims to reduce international arms trafficking . the treaty would require countries to determine whether weapons they sell would be used to commit serious human rights violations , terrorism, or transnational organized crime . and those kinds of limits would be bad for business, of course. joining us now for more on this, from washington, former house judiciary counsel, democratic strategist, julian epstein, and msnbc political analyst , jonathan alter , a columnist for "bloomberg view." julian , with thousands of lives at stake all around the world, 150 countries are coming together to try and prevent arms trafficking , but they won't succeed if the nra has anything to say about it, i guess. is that right?
>> thousands of lives is an understatement, martin.
>> forgive any.
>> according to international human rights organizations, about 2,000 civilians a day are killed by war criminals . that is the equivalent in just two days of more lives lost than in the world trade center . and as you point out, over 150 companies are pushing for this ban on the transfer to war criminals of light and heavy armaments. you know, the republican party who you have heard say many times that the u.s. should be playing a leadership role, particularly when it comes to human rights issues and right to life issues, all of that stuff suddenly is out the window. why? because the nra is representing the interests of gun manufacturers who have about a third of the $70 billion market. you know, during fast and furious , we heard the nra saying that the whole scandal was about, or the alleged scandal was about the doj allowing guns to get into the hands of the most evil people in the world. this just shows the nra is not a coherent organization with any coherent policy views. it is a direct mail internet scam operation looking to bilk the obama haters of their hard-earned cash.
>> okay. john, i want to play something that nra president david keen said at cpac this weekend. take a listen to this, john.
>> for many of us, the republican party is the vehicle that we've chosen to accomplish to accomplish our political and policy goals.
>> he says the gop is the selected vehicle for achieving the nra agenda. that makes the nra sound rather like a parasite on the host body of the republican party , doesn't it.
>> it certainly has been in recent years. it used to be there were an awful lot of democrats who also had 100% nra ratings. that's no longer so much the case. look, as julian said, the world right now is bedeviled by what are called failed states . these are states where the government doesn't have enough authority to maintain security and protect people's lives. and what happens in these fails states is that you get war lords a and other groups that kill an awful lot of innocent people through this $100 billion a year weapons business, international arms trades. so the world is trying to get together to do something about it. what's standing in its way? a relatively small, grossly overpublicized group, the national rifle association . apparently there are only about 1 million of their 4 million members who even believe any of this sufficient. so that's a tiny number. that's a million compared to, say, 16 million members of president obama 's organization. a million, that's way, way less than 1% of the american population. why should they have a stranglehold over issues of war and peace in the world? it is time to confront them and defeat them and remove them from their dominance in our politics.
>> i think all of us would say hear, hear to that. julian , to an issue much closer to home, "the new york times" today reports on the nra 's efforts to fight legislation that would mandate the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations. i guess their answer is a good woman with a gun despite all the research that counters their argument, is that right?
>> right. all of the research shows the that in domestic partner disputes, if the partner generally more often than not, the male partner, has access to a gun, the likelihood of the female partner being killed by that gun is, you know, somewhere between 10 and 20 times -- i think the actual figure is 12 times greater. the data on this important. "the new york times" is important today because it accounts chilling stories. the thing that ties these two stories together, martin, this really shop-warn argument by the nra about the second amendment. we need to dispose of that once and for all. the supreme court in the heller case said the second amendment does not apply to the kinds of things that are being considered in this international treaty case. dangerous weapons, what they call dangerous and unusual weapons like short-barreled shotguns, automatic weapons . and it does not apply to people that would use them for illegal purposes like the kind of cases we're talking about in domestic abuse . and it is an argument that if anybody just takes the time, if you don't believe me, just go read the heller case in 2008 . it's very, very simple. the court says the second amendment applies to an exceedingly narrow number of cases. handguns inside the home.
>> julian epstein, jonathan alt alter. i'm afraid we've run out of time. thank you, both.