The Rachel Maddow Show | February 04, 2013
>>> president obama today traveled to minneapolis where he met with victims of gun violence and their families and with local law enforcement. the president then gave a speech in which he explained that he has done what he can do as president about gun violence . for more to happen, he said, congress must act.
>> real and lasting change also requires congress to do its part and to do it soon. not to wait. the good news is that we're starting to see a consensus emerge about the action congress needs to take. the vast majority of americans, including a majority of gunowners, support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun. so right now democrats and republicans in the senate are working on a bill that would ban anyone from selling a gun to somebody legally prohibited from owning one. senators from both parties have also come together and proposed a bill that would crack down on people who buy guns only to turn them around and sell them to criminals. it's a bill that would keep more guns off the street and out of the hands of people with the intent of doing harm. we shouldn't stop there. we should restore the ban on military-style assault weapons and a ten-round limit for magazines. and that deserves a vote in congress , because weapons of war have no place on our streets or in our schools or threatening our law enforcement officers .
>> the president today urging people to, quote, keep the pressure on your member of congress . also saying that that specifically, the ban on military-style assault weapons and a ten-round limit for magazines, quote, deserves a vote in congress . the president is sort of continuing to work the outside game here. metaphor doesn't seem exactly right, but it's basically the idea to get reform done inside the beltway by leaving the beltway. physically leaving washington , d.c., going out into the states, keeping the country's attention on this story by virtue of the fact that you are the president and you're out in the world talking about it. and thus trying to get grassroots pressure from outside washington to be brought to bear on members of congress . that is the outside game. the president said he was going to play it on this. and he is. now, back in washington , we're beginning to see how the inside game is going to be played. "the wall street journal " reports today that democrats in the senate are working on a bill that includes most of the president's proposals, and it is aimed at hitting the senate floor for a full vote next month in march. now, i say most of the president's proposals here, because it does not necessarily mean all of them. the expanded background checks is there. the bill that would come out of committee is likely to include a ban on high capacity magazines as well. but "the wall street journal " is reporting that what will come out of committee will likely not include the ban on assault weapons . the ban on assault weapons that was introduced last month by senator dianne feinstein , and that you heard mentioned again today by the president. now, that's not necessarily a done deal. that's not necessarily final. if that bill reaches the senate , the senate floor without a ban on assault weapons included, it is possible lawmakers could then amend the bill on the senate floor to include the ban. but they also might not. sam stein at " huffington post " reported today that the assault weapons ban might be strategically sacrificed in order for the rest of the president's plan to go through. sam stein reporting that advocates for gun control are not as concerned about the assault weapons ban as they are with some other elements of the president's package. jim kessler of americans for gun safety says, quote, if you are going to die at the hands of a criminal with a gun, it's going to be a handgun. and statistically speaking, which is what he means, that might be true. but it's not handguns that people remember from a tragedy like what happened at sandy hook elementary in december. it's assault weapons that now appear so difficult in political terms to crack down on. the other need on this show we heard from connecticut's new senator chris murphy , who represented newtown when he was first elected to congress in the house. he is now a senator and represents the whole state. we called senator murphy's office tonight to get his reaction to this reporting of how gun policy reform might move through the senate . he said, quote, too many people in washington want to eulogize specific pieces of common sense gun reform before the debate has even started. how can we wait for another state to join connecticut on the tragically long list of states devastated by gun violence ? there would be more girls and boys alive in newtown today if the ban on military-style and magazines had been on the books in december. she does not yet have the votes she needs to pass it, but she is not giving. she has key supporters clueing dick durbin and chuck schumer . and remember, historically speaking , it was dianne feinstein who got the old assault weapons ban passed in 1994 , and nobody thought she could have done it then either. on the other side of congress , in the republican-controlled house, the leading voice for gun reform is of course democrat carolyn mccarthy , who lost her husband to gun violence before she entered politics. she tells us, quote, i'm looking forward to seeing what the senate majority puts together, because it's clear that the house majority will only follow from there. so congresswoman mccarthy effectively saying that gun reform starts with the democrats in the senate . that's as ambitious as any of this is ever going to get. whatever the senate democrats do on this issue will set the bar for republicans in the house to compromise away from. you're never going to get any better than what you get from senate democrats . you might get significantly worse. in other words, aim high . the story line here is far from complete, but at least the arc of how this is going to happen is starting to get clear.