Paul Lisnek: And joining me now by phone from Washington DC, Congressman Mike Quigley, Democrat of the fifth district. Congressman, good evening, welcome back to the show.
Rep. Mike Quigley: Great to be back.
Lisnek: So I wanted to talk to you because you issued a statement, it follows the Aurora, Colorado shootings, but here's what I found really intriguing about it. Essentially, your statement not only referred to Colorado, but your statement basically said we could be talking about any weekend in Chicago. You're right about that. What would it take to get people to reopen the topic of gun control which they seem to be so afraid to talk about?
MQ: You know, people say you shouldn't talk about it after a tragedy. My reaction is ok, we didn't talk about it after Tucson, Fort Hood, Northern Illinois, Virginia Tech or Columbine. Of course it's a horrible tragedy, but perhaps the greatest tragedy is that 700 children were hit by gun fire in 2010 in our city of Chicago. Every day in America, 34 people are killed by guns. So we should have a discussion about this, at least about the extreme examples where gun laws fail us.
Lisnek: Is part of the problem that we're in a presidential election year? It wasn't long after the shooting that the Obama Administration spokesperson basically said no, the President will not be calling for any additional measures on gun control. Well if the President's not going to do it, nobody else is going to do it.
MQ: Well there's some truth to that, but the fact of the matter is this Congress, and the Congress before it hasn't had a single hearing on the issue of handguns or gun control at all. So it doesn't help that we're in a presidential election year, but I don't know that it makes that much difference. I don't know what it takes to shock us into a realization that there are at least some extreme examples that there are very bad people with very bad weapons that we can control to a certain extent.
Lisnek: So in your press release I think you had a really good idea on how to get the discussion started. Let me point to your own words if I may. You basically said, that providing the ATF with the resources it needs to effectively combat illegal gun flow into America, isn't that the right place to start? Talk about an immigration related issue. Talk about something that gets Republicans going, and maybe by starting in that realm, you get gun control legislation on the table.
MQ: Look, we're going to try that way. But let me give you an example where perhaps it should get the Republicans interested but it doesn't. I introduced an amendment that said that if you are on the terrorist watch list, or strongly suspected of being a terrorist, you should be on the nix list which doesn't allow you to buy a gun. That measure failed on partisan lines. So again, I don't know what it's going to take, there is a second amendment right people don't worry about government coming after their guns, but the decision said this is not unlimited, not everyone can have a gun of any type anywhere they want.
Lisnek: Let me give you crystal ball time. If the President's reelected, if the Democrats get the Senate and keep the House, play that out with me. Will there be a discussion on gun control or will the NRA never let that happen because these things Democrats won't talk about?
MQ: Look, I'm optimistic, I'm a Cubs fan, I haven't seen the light there. We're going to try to push and get the extreme examples of this. The 100 round clips should not be available. AK 47s should not be readily available.
Lisnek: I agree with you, some of the assault weapons are crazy. Richard Pearson the executive director of the Rifle Association in Illinois was on last night. He said even registration was too much, 10 seconds for an answer, but he thinks it's a slippery slope.
MQ: The majority of NRA members believe that everybody who has a gun should have a background check. Their own membership is way ahead of them. The problem is, the tip of the dog's tail is wagging the body politic here with extraordinary control by the NRA.
Lisnek: Great discussion here. Congressman Mike Quigley of the 5th district, thank you, sir, for joining and calling in, good luck in Washington.
MQ: Thank you very much.