NewsNation | January 08, 2013
>>> hi, everyone. i'm tamron hall . "the news nation" following but developments in the heated debate of gun control legislation. within the last hour, nra confirmed it will attend the meeting at the white house with vice president biden set for tomorrow. and also today, exactly two years after she was critically wounded in a mass shooting, former congresswoman give fords is launching a new campaign for countering the gun lobby 's power and money. she and her husband mark kelly write in a " usa today " op-ed, quote, americans for responsible solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide. legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby .
>>> and the group mayors against illegal guns headed by new york city 's mayor michael bloomberg is also out with a new ad featuring the mother of christina taylor green. she is the youngest victim killed in the tucson shooting.
>> my 9-year-old daughter was murdered in the tucson shooting. i have one question for our political leaders . when will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby ? whose child has to die next? to every mother, we cannot wait.
>> and the other side ramping up. we have learned that gun rights activists and other conservative groups have planned a gun appreciation day just two days before the nation launches president obama 's formal inauguration. joining me now, former pennsylvania governor ed rendell , john rosenthal , chairman of stop handgun violence and msnbc contributor michael smer csmerkonish. is this how we see the conversation move forward, with groups backed by every day citizens on either side i guess putting if you will their stake in the ground and not letting us forget newtown and the promises made by the administration to put some kind of legislation forward?
>> right. the great thing about gabby giffords group is to keep the pressure on. what happens in the horrible mass murders is we all get upset, riled up, wonderful memorial ceremonies and then the pressure eases off as time elapses. well, the gifford group will contribute to a lot of other groups and make sure that that doesn't happen this time. this time, we are all very, very serious about this. and it has to get done and there are common sense things which the american people overwhelmingly support. for instance, making background check mandatory. no more gun show exemptions, no more internet exemptions and supported by 74% of nra members so it's time to get the courage, all of our representatives in washington, to get the courage to do something.
>> absolutely. and john, let me bring you in because your organization is one of those, you use the voice of the people to get your thoughts out. you're a gun owner and in favor of gun control legislation. let me read something from "the new york times." writing about the nra , congress and money. there are more than 200 me believes of congress who regularly get a perfect score from the nra . it is going to take money to change that because money is what congress responds to and you saw in that op-ed from the former congresswoman giffords her organization plans to fight with money and power to push ahead in the legislation they'd like to see. how intrigued, though, are you that the nra is sending a representative to the meeting tomorrow with vice president joe biden ?
>> i guess the nra is being an idea blocker and stand in the way of progress. i mean, this is really -- it's a moral issue. over the last 30 years, an average of 30,000 americans have died from firearms. it's basically a 9/11 attack every month. 3,000 americans die. 87 a day. and congress has not only done nothing to prevent it, they've actually enacted regulations to make it easier for the mentally ill , criminals, even international terrorists to buy guns undetected at gun shows, from private gun sales and to tie law enforcement 's hands so this is a moral issue. and congress virtually is immoral. it's an immoral institution coming to this. now, unless the public jams the phones at the congress ,
202-224-2131, calls the members of congress , demands action, nothing significant is going to change because the republican party is owned by the nra and even the democrats, you know, a majority of democrats have been intimidated in to submission. this is about the public getting involved, taking over their democracy again. gabby giffords and mark kelly have it exactly right. there are roughly 70 million gun owners , 3 million members of the nra . majority support reasonable restrictions like a background check and ban on assault weapons . now the public has to be involved.
>> let's get you in on this. at least some of the legislation to see support if possible bipartisan support, we don't know if it's possible, the magazines, the high capacity magazines and assault weapons and bring it up in particular in addition to the background checks needed, maybe a federal bank of information, but general stanley mcchrystal was on " morning joe " this morning promoting the new book about the war in afghanistan and he was asked about gun control legislation. let me play his reaction.
>> when it hits a human body , the effects are devastating. it's designed to do that. and that's what our soldiers ought to carry. i personally don't think there's any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets, particularly in -- around the schools in america.
>> he was referring to those military-style weapons there, michael .
>> he also made a point, tamron , that i thought was significant when i watched it about how our police, i'll paraphrase and say, sometimes outgunned by that sort of fire power and i've always thought that was an unexploited argument, unexploited meaning it could be used to greater advantage of people to put a limitation on those sort of magazines. i go back to something that governor rendell said at the outset which is that the timing is important because despite the horrific magnitude of what happened in newtown , memories do fade and i think that the more time that elapses off the clock before there's a vote on something, the more it is to the advantage of the 2nd amendment purists.
>> let's play what the president, to remind people to your point, michael , december 16th . when he referred to the fact that it can't be done just by the administration, that it takes people from all walks of life. let me play the president from december 16th .
>> this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together. with the help of friends and neighbors. the help of a community. and the help of a nation.
>> and that was the president december 16th but it was this sunday, governor rendell , mitch mcconnell said that -- listen, the major issues are fiscal issues and that the gun control legislation or talk of it is a back burner, if you will. something to see three months down the line. when you have such differing viewpoints of the immediacy of addressing this and not waiting for another loss of life, how do you get something done? is it, again, just about the people?
>> well, yeah. the people out there as was said here, the people have to let their congressmen know that the time is now. we're sick and tired of waiting, sick and tired of you being cowardly about this. time to stand up for ordinary folks, for us and the memory of those children. i mean, good lord. that ad you played, that 9-year-old girl, you know what her sin was that day, tamron ? she wanted to go see the person she looked up to most in her life. her woman congresswoman. she went to exercise the right as an american citizen and gunned down in cold blood . got to stop and we've got to make sure it stops. we need presidential leadership. there's no question. the vice president's a good guy to move this because he was for -- he wrote the original crime bill with the assault weapons ban and we the people have got to be heard. mayors against legal guns. all of us got to be heard.
>> and josh, let's bring you back in because we're talking about the ad with christina and as governor rendell pointed out, she wanted to see her hero and her mother is brave to be part of the tv campaign. here's what mayor michael bloomberg had to say on " morning joe " this morning.
>> nobody's trying to take away our gun or right to go hunting or target shooting or protection in your home. simply, they're trying to have some reasonable things so people aren't killed.
>> so you've said that, as well. michael bloomberg and others reiterate to those as gun right activists. no one want it is take your gun and looking at reasonable legislation. here just a few days before the inauguration, this gun rights group and conservatives have launched a gun appreciation day. what he is your reaction of that being a counter offensive by all accounts say a legitimate conversation to be had with the number of deaths we have seen? john?
>> oh, i'm so sorry. okay. as i mentioned, you know, congress is controlled by the nra . the nra is all about selling guns. federal gun policy is about unrestricted access to guns. tie law enforcement 's hands. have more mass shootings, more high profile mass shootings. more fear. more gun sales. more profits.
>> but specifically, this gun appreciation day that will take place two days before the inauguration.
>> it's all about selling more guns. and intimidating members of congress and the president to not do anything. mitch mcconnell laid it out nice and clearly. the fact that 3,000 americans die every day, 3,000 every month and 600 since newtown , and he's saying that's not an emergency? 87 dead americans every day and the fiscal cliff or debt ceiling is more important than 87 families burying their children and family members every day? that is immoral. and the nra is immoral. and let's face it. the gun industry controls congress and until the people take back their congress , it's going to be more massacres, more gun sales, more money back to the nra supporters in congress .
>> let's get in you on this, michael . there are conservative groups backing this gun appreciation day.
>> but for those who think it's just republicans or conservatives who are so-called gun rights advocates that's not the case. i want to play freshman senator highcamp. she was on abc's "this week," their sunday morning program.
>> i think you need to put everything on the table but what i hear from "the washington post " and white house , that's way in extreme of what i think is necessary or even should be talked about. and it's not going to pass.
>> certain things are not going to pass and the things she was referring to listed as possible proposals from the president, assault weapons , magazine bans, background check on all guns and anti-gun trafficking statute to possible see. are those things extreme, mirk michael ?
>> i don't think it's extreme. i think it's risky for a gun appreciation day because you can imagine what the evening news will look like that night and the film footage of the folks as part of that group. i don't mean the typical suburb suburbanint we the gun in the bedroom and bring out the fringe to cause middle america to say, holy smokes , we have a problem here.
>> and governor rendell , you know, to michael 's point, remember during the primary in 2008 , we had people showing up at different rallies with their guns at their side. remember, chris matthews , you know, famous reaction to the man that decided to show up with his gun. not to protect anyone but to prove that it was his right to be armed in that particular location. michael makes a great point. what's the imagery? here we are having the gun conversation and people that have a right to assemble are there to appreciate the gun. and when you look at the statistics, we have enough guns in the country for each and every one of us to have a few. there's not a shortage of the appreciation of the weapon.
>> no. it's incumbent upon the gun owners and the nra members who are rational. it's important to take center stage and say, yeah, i'm nra member, a gun owner. i don't think anybody needs a magazine with more than ten clips in it. i don't think anybody needs an assault weapon . i want background checks for anybody and nobody with mental health problems getting guns. incumbent upon them to stand up and people who do enjoy and, look, there are legitimate as the mayor said, legitimate uses for guns. hunting in my state in pennsylvania, it's a huge hunter state. it's the second highest state in terms of nra membership. but you know, for all these weak-kneed politicians, i was opposed by the nra . each time i ran for statewide office. three times, tamron . i got elected in the second largest nra membership state by 10%, 12% and 21% of the vote.
>> that was my margin.
>> governor rendell , well -- you man up. man up.
>> you speak the facts. the title of the recent book, may require a different thing for people to do. i won't say the title of the book. i'll let you if you so choose. we have become a nation of what?
>> there you go. thank you very much, and john anne michael . great pleasure volcano you