msnbc | January 06, 2013
>>> we're back, everyone. we got everything straightened out there. those are the president's proposals for broad gun control agenda in the wake of newtown shootings. joining me now, reverend jesse jackson , chairman of the rainbow push coalition. i'm glad we're having this conversation because i know you're behind this. what is your reaction, first of all, to the report and the proposals being considered. are you on board with all of them?
>> yes, the president should be congratulated. this is bold leadership in the right direction. remind you, he is not talking about gun control . he's talking about assault weapons control. a gun for your house, you got it. gun for hunting, you got it. these assault weapons threaten national security . they invite the view of homeland security . you can literally destroy railroads and bring down airplanes. there's no purpose for these assault weapons except to kill people and infrastructure.
>> lawmakers really blasted the purported plans today. first republican congressman richard hudson . then north dakota democratic senator heidi heidkamp. here they are.
>> i'm not a big believer that this is a one size fits all. what can you actually get passed? what can you actually get done that's going to make schools and communities safer in america? i don't think that that proposal necessarily, as you described it to me, fits the bill for me.
>> i will not support any of the measures i'm reading about. you look at places like detroit, new york city , places that have the most stringent gun control laws in the country are some of the most violent gun crime areas.
>> obviously, we played those sound bites in reverse. how much of a battle do you expect from capitol hill on this?
>> as i listen to the references they use in chicago , for example, we don't have gun sales in chicago . we don't have gun ranges here. they make the guns in the suburbs, barrington and rock island . so guns are coming in as a target market, and drugs are coming from mexico. so guns in and drugs in, and for the fact of unemployment, jobs out. in that battle zone , chicago becomes a theater for an international drug, gangs, job war. that's different than what's happening, say, in the great northwest of dakota or as the case may be. we maybe near to hear each other. no one's talking about taking away your guns for your house or for your hunting. there's no functional purpose in our society for these assault weapons . that was an ak-47 that hit the white house two years ago. none of us are safe with these weapons on the street.
>> reverend, when we talk about th this, just off the top of my mind, you have columbine, virginia tech , tucson, aurora, newtown -- after each one of these incidents, there's always been a call to get rid of assault weapons , always. is there anything that's different about newtown , the fact that 20 little first graders were mowed down and their teachers in their classrooms? is this enough, do you think, that this could change?
>> i think that newtown could be the tipping point. here were 20 babies so innocent, who never saw morning time. these babies cannot open their christmas presents on the street. they'll never see the easter bunny . there's power in the blood of the innocent. so something touched the world differently about newtown . it illuminates the darkness in other places. chicago , 146 killed, 75 under the age of 18. we've become increasingly violent and no weapons make us increasingly secure. the president proposed background checks . should that be objectionable? checks on the mentally ill . should that be objectionable? or the national database . should that be objectionable? or removing assault weapons . should that be objectionable? the president deserves credit for bold leadership on these issues.
>> you know the president is going to field a lot of opposition from the nra . how can the white house work around them?
>> well, leadership is defined by how it takes on the issues that matter. issues that take on poverty and violence and some plans for redevelopment matter. when you speak of chicago and detroit, you're talking about 50% unemployment. that matters. you speak of a drug subculture , that matters. you speak of the impact of drug cartels and gun manufacturers making money at the expense of american security. so i think the president, he puts a case to his allies and people who are victims of gunfire. his allies, the police chiefs, many nra members support the nra for gun training but not for weapons police cannot even defend themselves against. i think this move to make it less accessible to weapons and less violent, we need gun control and self-control because certainly not just gun, but assault weapons controlled and, of course, background checks , i think, is very important.
>> how about from a pr perspective? does the president need to go and sell this strategy to the american people ?
>> i think he does. you know what, it's one thing to go up to newtown where this does not happen often. there's been two killings there, a killing ten years ago, and the massacre. i wish you could come to chicago . the neighborhood where he was an organizer in is one of the areas, roseline, engel wood on the west side , lawndale and austin. these are where the most killings take place, where you have the subculture of drugs and gangs. gangs meaning uneducated, unemployed youth. his presidency and the joe biden commission could eliminate just how different, say, chicago is from rural north dakota , for example. that's why when someone says one should not fit all. i think they're right. that's why we should talk to each other, just react. you may have a different zone for hunting and for house security than have these weapons on the streets where we see they've gone from individual shots to shooting police, they shot up theaters, shot up children. if they escalate to shooting down our infrastructure, what does it matter, if you, in fact, have securities at the airport, if you're going to the airplane, and someone can shoot airplanes down? that is too great a risk at a time like this with terrorism on the loose. we really are talking about a plan.
>> i want to get your thought on what the nra had proposed, wayne lapierre , the head of the nra . he said, we should put an armed officer in every school in america. is there anything about that that works for you?
>> no, it's impractical. first of all, more guns make us less secure. if you were in the theater in the dark and someone opens up a semiautomatic weapon, you cannot get to your weapon. you get to the floor. if a principal has a gun or a security guard has a gun, what can they do to stop semiautomatic weapons as an attack? we should get rid of the power to destroy at such an amazing level. what is the function of semiautomatic weapons and dynamite except to destroy infrastructure and to destroy people? in the name of national security , homeland security has a role to play in this. with this bold leadership step, the president deserves, in my judgment, great credit.
>> reverend jesse jackson , credit to you as well, sir, for a good discussion. thank you