Mitchell Reports | December 13, 2012
>>> in oregon today officials say that jacob tyler roberts , the 22-year-old gunman who killed two people and seriously wounded a 15-year-old girl before taking his own life in an oregon mall on tuesday knew none of his victims. police say that roberts acted alone, using a semi- automatic rifle that he had stolen the day before. the day before the shooting rampage at that crowded mall. roberts had no significant criminal record . authorities said other than a few speeding tickets.
>>> that tragedy in oregon is only the latest in a series of mass shugts, and people ask could tighter gun laws have prevented the attack? some people are looking to reform on-line gun sales after an investigation found that 62% of on-line sellers agreed to sell guns to buyers who could not pass a background check . a share of on-line gun sales is largely unknown because under current law many on-line gun sales leave no record to trace. joining us is dan gross and john loy director of the brady center 's legal action project . welcome, both. i'm so glad you could come here to talk about this. dan gross, this goes all the way back with me. i covered the reagan years, known jim and sarah brady , so there's an issue here, and we're not talking about second amendment rights, but we're talking about reasonable background checks . what is the state of play right now?
>> the state of play , you know, we're incredibly optimistic, because very clearly after you see the mass tragedies happen, this is a conversation that the american public wants to have. the american public knows that as a nation we are better than this. not only are we better than a nation with mass shootings and movie theaters and schools and places of worship , but we're also better that than a nation that loses 32 people to gun murders every day, and the reality is there are things, as you have pointed out, that we all agree on that have nothing to do with the second amendment that can prevent these tragedies from happening. a big one of those things is doing something about the 40% of all gun sales in this country that aren't subject to background checks , and a big part of that is the gun sales that happen over the internet, and that's -- so that's -- that seems to be a place where we can come together as a country. you know, if you believe in your second amendment rights, as a law-abiding citizen, preventing a convicted felon or convicted domestic abuser or terrorist from buying a gun at a gun show or over the internet, it has nothing to do with the receipts of the law-abiding citizen who might want to hunt or collect guns or might want to even protect their home. it just has to do with keeping guns out of dangerous hands and making this the safer nation we all want and deserve.
>> now, john, if you are to believe the initial reporting out of oregon , though, this shooter, who then killed himself , had no legal background that might have prevented him from getting a gun legally because he only had some speeding tickets. he could have passed a back ground check.
>> if you look at the big picture , the 100,000 americans who are shot every year, one of the big problems is, as dan said, 40% of gun sales take place without a background check . the internet can exploit that gaping hole in our laws and make it easier for dangerous people to get guns.
>> one of the things that we do focus on is these semiautomatics and the ammo because with those clips, you know, you can just cause so much more damage. aurora, colorado, was certainly an example of that.
>> it's clearly part of the conversation that the american public wants to have. with every one of these tragedies, you see that course growing and you hear the conversations about what we can do to take these assault weapons that are made for no other purpose thaen killing people off the streets, and that needs to be a conversation that then -- that needs to be a conversation we have. it's also very important as we talk about these mass tragedies that we don't just look at these in the context of, you know, what could have prevented that one tragedy? you know, like we said, there are 32 murders that happen every day in our country, and what can we do so maybe this guy would have slipped through a back ground check, but, you know, there are 40% of all gun sales that aren't subject to background checks , and every day there are conflicted felons, domestic abusers, dangerously, mentally ill who don't get any background check at all.
>> it's important to look at these problems comprehensive in terms of what we can do to save lives, because that's a value we all share.
>> the assault weapons ban has expired. there's no action. this president has said sympathetic things, but not been -- the on-line sales are really hard legally to get out because on-line traffic, as all sorts of different laws.
>> well, there are things we can do. the first thing we can do is require background checks for all gun sales, and that would --
>> even on-line. sxl even on-line. that is a major thing, but as you say, politicians have been slow on this issue, but the american people are head of the politicians, and they think this is -- the american people realize that we are better than this. we're better than the america that we have right now, and the people are going to lead the leaders in this case.
>> one of those social issues that's been so difficult to resolve. thank you very much.
>> thank you.