Melissa Harris-Perry | February 24, 2013
>>> guns are the only recuring themes in all the shootings of masses of people and individual that is captivated the country in the last year. the notion our laws are too loose with the conditions under which those guns are obtained and used tighten those restrictions. not all those proposals answer more gun deaths with more gun regulations. though, there are some of those who opt to respond to more gun deaths with more guns. lawmakers in arizona, california, oklahoma, south dakota and tennessee are considering legislation that puts guns in hands of teachers and other school employees. 200 teachers in utah took advantage of allowing guns in schools and signed themselves up for training. a bill that eliminates the requirement to carry a gun. montana is considering allowing students to carry firearms on campuses. lawmakers advanced a bill that would eliminate all penalties for carrying concealed weapons in bars and restaurant that is serve alcohol. sorry, i shouldn't laugh. the philosophy of maximum guns is best summed up by the rifle association's leader, wayne lapierre when he said this.
>> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
>> all right. back with me is civil rights attorney, maya whiley, new york university professor, nick and former staffer for new york mayor mike bloomberg now against gun violence , dena, is that correct? got it. i am bad at people's names. i want to start with you. i spent some time last night and this morning reading this text reducing gun violence in america and mayor bloomberg wrote the forward to the text making the claim it is all gun violence . suicide rates here in new york . not only do we keep people from being killed in homicides with guns, we have lower gun suicide rates. once you don't have a gun you can't shoot anybody. it feels like a basic argument.
>> it's absolutely true. the statistics bear that out. states that have universal background checks or stronger background check laws have half the suicides than states that don't have those laws in place. almost 40% of women -- 40% fewer women are shot and killed by intimate partners in states with better background check laws. states with better background check laws are less frequently used in crimes. there's definitely a huge body of evidence to support that notion.
>> on the one hand, there's a huge body of evidence. on the other hand, there's a simple reality, if i open up my constitution, there's a second amendment. that amendment largely has been understood through our supreme court to say you have an individual right to own a gun.
>> absolutely. look, that doesn't mean there can't be some reasonable regulation anymore than there can be some reasonable regulation of speech in the first amendment. this is a constitutional right. the supreme court is looking to the original meaning and scope to determine where it applies and we can't go willy nilly with banning guns. a background check could pass muster.
>> what do you think? is the second amendment actually a hindrance to making reasonable gun policy in this country?
>> i think it is. i'm basically with nick on this one. after 2008 and 2010 when the supreme court handed down a pair of rulings saying there was an individual right to bear arms against the federal government , the 2010 ruling applied the right against the states. justice scalia is really clear as a matter of constitutional law saying that this isn't meant to prohibit reasonable regulation. all that said, there is a floor that the right protects. sometimes i think that floor is unreasonable. this is now my view on why it was wrongly decided. the idea there is that, you know, the second amendment says that right to bear arms is connected to the maintenance of a regulated militia. the question is whether or not the law regulated militia is restricted or descriptive. i lost that one. the 2008 claw says it's descriptive, not meant to be a precondition.
>> so, on the one hand there's a question of what we have a right to do. on the other hand, a question of what is prudent to do. we hear wayne lapierre saying you have to arm the good guys, right? one of the good guys was supposed to arm our teachers. i have to say, as a college professor , if my students could carry guns, we would no longer have debate over inflation. everyone would have as. beyond that, students and teachers should be carrying guns. i immediately was thinking of alabama. she came in and shot all her colleagues after not receiving tenure. we can't assume certain positions necessarily mean that you are the good guy, right? in any given context, the teacher might be the bad guy .
>> i'm going to start in in conversation as a mother. i am not sending my child to a school where people who have their jobs not subject to any psychological evaluation, by the way, nor carrying a gun with any particular training are going to be in a classroom with my child. i'm not doing it.
>> we don't even let teachers paddle students anymore.
>> the idea that our kids are going to be safer because there are a bunch of guns inside the school is just insane. if you actually look at the research, what it shows from home invasions is that, you know, the more you introduce a gun into the scenario, the more likely the guns are going to be used. unless we want video games becoming what is happening inside the schools, people getting in gun battles, i don't think it's a solution. i think the solution is to figure out how to keep guns out of schools, not let more guns into schools. there is a shootout and the good guy might be able to win. i should not have laughed when i said south carolina is allowing people to carry them in bars. it seems like a bad idea. the issue of at home, part of what we are hindered by, right, is a lack of research. we don't know how good the brainy laws have been or how bad the problem is. we are in a circumstance where only $100,000 out of a $6 billion research budget from the federal budget goes to understanding firearms.
>> you can look at john. it shows there's a correlation between less gun control and less crime. in fact, i think that is a reason not to say we shouldn't have guns in every place in every school, have states experiment with the policies within the scope of the protections of the second amendment. it may be in new york having guns in schools is not wise. but, in arizona, we have constitutional carry. you don't need a permit to carry or conceal a weapon. you can walk around anywhere with it. we don't have anywhere near the crime rate of new york .
>> but you do have -- like so i hear you. then gabby giffords is standing there saying we must do something.
>> there's been an effort to limit federal research on this issue. yes, we are hand strong with data being able to support some of these things. the evidence is clear. columbine, there was an armed guard at columbine high school .
>> it didn't make a difference. we are going to take a quick break. i wonder if there's an 18th amendment issue going on here. that's