msnbc | February 05, 2013
>>> we may not be able to prevent every massacre or random shooting. no law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe, but if there's even one thing we can do, if there's just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try.
>> that was president obama yesterday, urging americans to help in the fight for tougher gun laws . and later today , four lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will unveil the first bipartisan gun control legislation in the house. their bill cracks down on gun trafficking, which is part of president obama 's proposal. and joining me now is democratic congresswoman, carolyn maloney of new york. she is one of the representatives holding today's news conference to announce that bill. congresswoman, it's great to see you. and explain to all of us first out of the gate, more about how this bill would work. and what you've been able to craft, how exactly do you feel it's going to cut down on gun violence ?
>> well, basically, thomas -- and thank you for having me on your show -- it will stop the flow of guns to criminals. for the first time, we'll have not only a bipartisan bill, but a bill that combats gun trafficking and makes it a crime. it's hard to believe, but it's not a felony now. it also increases the penalties. it is sympathetic we believe that can pass, because it will stop the flow of guns to illegal activities and criminals, but it protects the rights of law-abiding gun ownership , so it is something that law enforcement is fully behind and that they've asked for. they asked for it in a hearing last year before the government reform and oversight committee, on which i serve on violence on the border, they said, we don't even go after straw purchasers. those there people who buy guns and sell them to criminals, because the laws are so weak. all we can do is give them a slap on the wrist. we can't give them serious penalties. so they were literally begging for this tool to allow them to do a better job. and i feel strongly about it. i introduced it in the last congress. this time, we have two republicans joining us. we hope we'll get many, many more. it's common sense . it will save lives. and it is something we should work together, compromise on, and pass in this congress. it will save lives. the amount of violence is going up in our country, and i don't think anyone agrees that guns should flow to criminals or illegal activity . if we could stop that, we could save lives.
>> congressman, it's certainly an approach to put some caulk in a lot of the cracks around the laws that are already in place. but i want to show everybody, the " usa today " has a survey that shows that 119 members of congress own guns and only 10% of republicans who responded say that had don't own a gun, while 66% of democrats said they are not gun owners . from a microcosm of just your colleagues right there on the hill, is there a cultural divide ? and is that one of the bigger obstacles to meaningful gun control legislation, because of individual perspective of your colleagues alone?
>> but we need to come together and break down any divides.
>> this bill does not hinder any gun -- law-abiding gun ownership . it doesn't in any way hinder the second amendment. it only goes after illegal activity . gun trafficking, it stops the flow of guns to criminals. not to members of congress and law-abiding americans. i believe it's something that everyone on both sides of the aisle can support. and it's common sense and law enforcement is asking for it.
>> well, congresswoman, you bring up the phrase " common sense ." i think a lot of people want to know more about it, but is that clearly an effort on your part, when you hear that phrase, hear that phrase from our elected leaders, is that a way to try to get to the middle, to try to find the independents, to try to find the moderates. because common sense to some people is not common sense to somebody else.
>> well, common sense , means to me, something that benefits america and doesn't, in any way, infringe on the rights of others. that's what this bill does. so it is a way of reaching out. we hope to gain more bipartisan support and hopefully we can pass it and save lives. the incidents of gun violence is growing in our country, and if we don't act to reverse it, we are not being responsible legislators. this is a responsible bill, again, that law enforcement as asked for and that they support.
>> right now you seem to have support that is growing and continues to grow. we'll follow it for you. carolyn