Mitchell Reports | February 06, 2013
>>> gun control advocates had a lot of star power today on capitol hill . celebrities like tony bennett , chris rock and amanda pete all speaking up against the mars against illegal gun campaign.
>> my sister practiced stern al medicine at an innercity hospital in north philadelphia . they see about 500 gunshot wound victims per year. that's one trauma center just in the neighborhood of north philly. and that doesn't take into account mortalities. despite these numbers, some people believe my sister should be prohibited from asking her patients about guns in their homes. some states have already implemented these restrictions. doctors can ask if hair patients practice unsafe sex or use illegal drugs or have suicidal ideations or feel threatened in the home, but items illegal for them to discuss guns.
>> joining me now is congressman cummings. you saw him right behind amanda peet there. you co-sponsored the bill on illegal trafficking. what are you trying to accomplish especially from the perspective of someone who represents urban communities?
>> well, it's very important with regard to urban communities because what we're finding is that folks are finding you'll get a criminal who then goes to a person who has no record and gets that person to purchase guns and then they will send those guns to urban areas . and so you may have a situation like we recently had in georgia where guns were being sent that a state where revehicles are not as strong, they then send them to be sold or distributed by gang members to urban areas about so that trying to get to the straw purchaser which this bill goes to is very important. so basically what we're doing is increasing the penalties for those people who do the straw purchasing and number two, we're finally having and producing a drug trafficking bill which says basically that if you are purchasing guns to then be distributed to people who should not have them like felons, then you're going to be possibly subject to a 20 year sentence. and so again this is a bill, andrea, that everybody should like except straw purchasers. and those who want to get around the laws that the congress has already created.
>> there's a lot of talk about the assault weapon ban. as you know, the president still says he's pushing for this despite opposition even we hear negative things coming out of harry reid . what about the assault weapon ban and the likelihood of that or is your focus more on handgun control and the gun trafficking bill?
>> our focus here is the gun trafficking bill. and let me tell you why. i'm a strong supporter of the other provisions that you just talked about. machine guns and assault weapons and clips, high capacity clips. but this is something that we've gotten republicans to agree with us on. in other words, this is the first time in a long time in the house where we've got co-sponsorship with republicans. and we had two yesterday and now we've added another three. and we expect that before it's all over, we'll have quite a few folks on both sides of the aisle and we'll have a bipartisan bill. another thing that's significant about this. you spent a lot of time looking at " fast and furious ." during the " fast and furious " hearings, the atf officers who came to testify before us basically begged us to create a drug trafficking law. because basically what they were saying is that it was almost impossible for them to get convictions of these cartel leaders and people who are were actually buying 60, 70 guns a day and then distributing them all across the country to criminals. so this is an effort to get at that. those other provisions are things that, you know, maybe we don't agree on with maybe the republicans don't agree with us on, but you never know. i think we're now opening the door finally to working together like the american people want us to. and perhaps we can have some other provisions later. but right now, we have to concentrate on this. and i think we'll get it through.
>> you've got law enforce. behind you. ray kelly , the new york city police chief, was on john due stewart last night. this is what he had to say about weighing the ban and the assault.
>> it is a conceivable handgun that's killing people. i think assault weapons should be eliminated, but they're responsible for less than 2% of the shootings in this city.
>> and he was making the point that governor cuomo's law in new york state is the toughest in the nation arguably. but the guns are still pouring in and they're coming up from the south, coming up that i-95 cory tore and a lot are stopping off in baltimore and your part of the world.
>> that's right. and andrea, this law, the one that we are pushing -- creating a trafficking law, clearly would have a tremendous impact. you have to understand, these guns are more than likely many of them being purchased by folks who are standing in for criminals. the criminal knows he can not get a gun. so, therefore, we have one case where a lady bought her boyfriend who was a criminal 64 guns, she bought them in georgia and they ended up in oakland and the police found them in crime scenes. so i think that people wonder how can we then reduce those guns going into urban areas . i think this is an excellent way to do it and that's why this is a no-brainer or should be for republicans and democrats.
>> congressman elijah cummings , ye of great hope. thanks very much.
>> thank you.
>>> and coming up, what cuts