The Rachel Maddow Show | February 15, 2013
>>> in the race for congress, the big issue fighting gun violence . the clear choice, robin kelly , endorsed by the chicago tribune . integrity, works hard. kelly will join president obama to take on the nra for effective background checks and to ban deadly assault weapons . robin kelly for congress, a champion in the fight against gun violence . independence usa pac is response form content of this advertising.
>> that ad from michael bloomberg 's superpac we're told these days is inescapable in illinois where having earned an a rating from the nra is more of a scarlet letter than an endorsement to be proud of. the pac is running that ad against two democrats with a ratings from the nra and in support of a democrat who got an f from the nra . this illinois special election , the first congressional contest since what happened at sandy hook elementary last month happens just a week from tuesday. joining us now is chris hayes , the host of up with chris hayes , weekend mornings at eighths 8:00. great to see you as always.
>> always great to see you.
>> did you ever think you would live to see the day when an a rating from the nra would ban albatross?
>> the weird thing is i saw that day when it i was 13 years old or 14-year-old, the million mom march , the assault weapons ban , when this kind of thing was good politics for democrats and the democratic party leaned into it. and then there was this longs period of exile. there was a backlash. there was a story that was told i think implausible about how al gore lost his somalia home state of t for the assault weapons ban in 2000 . and basically, democrats completely gave up on the issue, and they allowed this mythology to take hold that the way that your median gun owner in rural oklahoma feels about guns is the way that the median voter feels about guns. and the way that voters everywhere around the country feel about guns. and what bill clinton and the democratic party discovered when the issue was working in their favor in the 1990s is there is lots of constituents in the country who don't feel that way about guns. certain things on the ground have changed. the democratic party have changed be. uin some ways, they're recovering lost knowledge from a previous generation of democrats that actually did know this back in the mid 1990s .
>> do you think they're also recognizing that it's not just the median gun owner in oklahoma, doesn't represent the country as a whole, but also the -- the statements of the national rifle association .
>> do not even represent the beliefs of the standard national rifle association member. i mean there is also --
>> this dysmorphia between who speaks on the issue and who has strong feelings about the iraq.
>> i am now forever going to conjure the image of wayne lapierre when i hear the word dysmorphia. that actually has gotten worse. one of the perverse consequences of republican conservative victory guns is that the nra increasingly has had to justify its existence. they have a very big fancy headquarters outside of washington. you see it when you drive into the city. they raise a lot of money. and there is no battles to fight. there literally have been no battles for them to fight. so they have had to pick increase leg extreme battles, stand your ground laws, telling doctors that they cannot talk to gunowners about the storage of their guns in their how many times when they have little children , which is the legislative fight they picked in florida, right? they have had to get more extreme in order to justify their existence in an era in which no one is fighting them on a national political level, and that has produced this very perverse set of values, beliefs, and stated principles that is the modern nra .
>> and that shows the distance between what their membership believes is reasonable gun law and what they have to advocate. right. but the thing -- there is two things going on here. one is that democrats are feeling their oats in terms of making this an issue and holding people accountable for having taken the other side on gun rights . but the other thing that is happening now is divestment.
>> and i have always believed that the nra functions as a heat shield for the manufacturers. the whole idea was that the gun manufacturers are like we never want to end up in congress the way the tobacco ceos did. you are going to have to be a magnet for media attention and all of the anger over this. so that everybody always wants to hear from you and they never get curious about us does divestment change all that?
>> i think it does. we saw it with calpers. we're seeing wit bill di blas owe. cerberus got very worried. it does change it. i think it changes in precisely the way you're illustrating is that it puts the emphasis and focus back on the gun manufacturers themselves. and the dirty secret of the gun market right now is there are two lines that go in opposite directions. the percentage of households that own guns is going down, and the number of guns in the country is going up. a smaller group of people are buying more and more guns, which means the manufacturers themselves have the same incentives as wayne lapierre , which is to indicator to the most extreme gun obsessive acquirers, because that is where their market, and those interest people whose views are the most outside the mainstream. and that makes them politically toxic if they step forward.
>> and that makes them not a great thing to have hanging around your neck if you are running in a general election .
>> that's exactly right. because it's increasingly kind of a hobby, hobbyist fetishistic audience. it's not your casual person who may own one shotgun. that's not where the growth in the industry is. the growth in the industry are people who own 12 guns.
>> right. and the latest stuff from the nra , the latest stuff from wayne lapierre it's not paranoid to stock guns. there is going to be hurricanes.
>> looting every in the era of climate disaster. that's my favorite. as climate disaster hits everybody is going to be marauding through the streets.
>> if you have guns, you definitely need more.
>> 20 morse.
>> chris hayes , i'm going to be talking about you behind your back a little later on in the show.
>> i hear, i hear. awesome.
>> i want to keep the suspense. thank you.
>> i can't wait. we'll be