Melissa Harris-Perry | February 03, 2013
>>> did everyone see the photo that the white house tweeted yesterday? this proved president obama has been skeet shooting . it's a picture of the president with a gun. it seems like the only way to get a word into the gun control debate is by being around guns. we also heard mark kelly preface his testimony saying --
>> we are a lot like many of our fellow citizens following this debate about gun violence . moderates, gabby was a republican long before she was a democrat. we are both gun owners and we take that right and the responsibilities that come with it very seriously.
>> this time around, the gun control debate hasn't faded from public view as quickly as it did after virginia tech , aurora or tucson. in part, it is because of the way the story line was crafted. an important aspect is this photo-op. you have to say i'm a gun owner or show yourself with a gun to get a chance to be part of the conversation.
>> there's a very important reason. this is not about banning guns. we have to send a message this is about gun safety and reform. this is not about breaking down their door and taking their guns. this is about taking guns from criminals and mental health patients. it's reducing the death associated with guns, changing the culture of guns, changing the culture of violence. it's not about banning guns. the reason the nra took power is they have scared gun owners into believing we want to ban all guns. they have to tell their membership they have something to gain or something to lose. they are scaring them away from necessary forms.
>> your language about nra scaring, listen to wayne lapierre this morning on fox news using some scary language to talk about guns.
>> we are all obsessed with the taliban and we ought to be. what about these gangs that are ruining neighborhoods. we need a federal task force , if it takes 500 agents, 1,000 agents, go into chicago .
>> now chicago is the taliban, right? this feels like fear.
>> it's an interesting thing. actually, i wouldn't be surprised if a lot of low income residents agreed with that. look, we want more law enforcement , we want this to be treated as a national emergency . maybe not with the same language. put 1,000 agents on the street of chicago , a lot of people might be in favor of that.
>> weren't they away from the international treaty like that. you have to realize when he's talking, this is a guy whose main directive is to make more gun sales. slate had an article 300 million guns, shotguns for sporting. there's a diminishing return of sales there. now the big market is in the sort of vicarious fake military guy. that is where the market is growing. people buying assault weapons like ar-15s to pretend they are in the military and doing fake war games . itis where the growth in the market is.
>> profit driven.
>> it's all they care about. their tactic is to distract and scare. by distracting they are saying this is a law enforcement issue. yes, they are some for sure. this is not only a law enforcement aspect. they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with gun control advocates. they understand we have to get the guns off the street. the criminal guns off the street. lapierre knows he can't take them on or the reasonableness of the laws they are proposing. treat as a law enforcement issue and watch out, they are taking away your guns. both of which are false.
>> scared of these black people .
>> i want to ask you a little bit about the fact that this time, kai, attention seems to have sustained longer than ever before. therefore, maybe there's room. we saw in the washington post this interesting graphic that looks at the amount of attention, news stories mentioning gun control . it's after the gifford's shooting, the next one up is the aurora shooting then the virginia tech . the tall one is newtown , a week before all the way to after. newtown is creating for us an ability to have a sustained conversation. is this the moment where finally the lapierre can't maintain control of it?
>> let's be clear, newtown was visually and culturally something that was just universally shocking on a scale that we hadn't seen. absolutely we see that scale of violence in urban neighbors. to see that many young people killed was shocking. and to the white house 's credit, they leapt on the moment and have kept it in the news. part of the sustainability is good political strategy. nra did a good job of looking ridiculous and keeping it in the news by calling chicago afghanistan .
>> it is afghanistan in the sense that there were more deaths by gun in chicago last year than in afghanistan last year.
>> but there were other thing that is went on in chicago that we need to talk about. yes, there are simple policy sligss around guns and we need to focus on that. background checks. you shouldn't be able to buy weapons of mass destruction . at the same time, chicago has had 20% unemployment for a minute. say the person who shot was a 16-year-old which is a likelihood. he has spent the majority of his life living in near crisis.
>> likelihood of no job.
>> we had double digit unemployment rates in black america since 2001 . the poverty hunger, all of it, historic levels. some of the violence we see is about is fraying. you can only sustain crisis for so long before you start to see fraying. in neighborhoods in new york, you are starting to see random acts of violence . they are intimate and frightening. it's aside from gun policy. also something we need to talk about while we have this sustained intention.
>> i want to give you the last word on it.
>> your earlier point is exactly right and you are exactly right. every year we lose more americans to gun violence than we have lost american soldiers in all the years of iraq and afghanistan . yes, this is about newtown , but this is also about those americans being killed every day. they cannot be unforgotten faces. that's what this debate is about. those are the people we owe a responsibilities to and those are the people we stnd up to. those deaths can be prevented. we have the obligation and we can do it.
>> thank you for being here today. the rest are back for more. up next, hillary clinton , my counter argument. [