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I want to bring in Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. This
senator is calling for Congress to ban high capacity clips.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Good to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that assault weapons ban would pass the
Congress, given the mood of the country and in the wake of the massacre in
MENENDEZ: Well, if it can`t now, I don`t know when it ever can.
Look, you know, the Bushmaster to me is an assault weapon. If it can fire
like an assault weapon, if it can be used like an assault weapon, if it can
multiple people quickly, then it`s an assault weapon.
Ands that`s why I voted for the assault weapons ban when I was in the
House of Representatives. That`s why I support it now.
And I simply don`t know how many more lives have to be lost for us to
get to action right away.
SCHULTZ: Senator, what is your definition of an assault weapon?
MENENDEZ: Well, for me, obviously, it`s common sense. You know, if
you have a high capacity clip, 30 rounds, or even more, that`s not about
hunting. That`s about killing the maximum number of people you can at a
given clip. That`s why we call it an assault weapon, because you can use
it multiple times against an individual or a group of individuals.
So the bottom line is to me, the high capacity clip, the ability to
shoot off quickly, that number of rounds with the high capacity clip
clearly makes it in my mind an assault weapon.
SCHULTZ: Well, do you think Republicans will go along with banning
MENENDEZ: Well, I hope so. Look, no responsible hunter needs 30
clips, or even some of these clips that have up to 100 clips, like I think
the Colorado shooter had. No hunter needs 30 clips to hunt down a deer.
My God, by the time they`d be finished shooting that deer, they wouldn`t be
worthy of bringing it back to the kitchen table.
So, the reality is, is that you simply don`t -- you don`t need that.
And that`s really just about being able to shoot off as many people as you
can. That is not -- that is not about hunting. So I believe that a high
capacity clip, you know, prohibition should be one of the main things on
the table and should be able to pass.
SCHULTZ: Senator, what about -- what about access to mental health
care through more funding? I mean, will Congress agree to mental health
funding in a way Congressman Kingston described? What do you think?
MENENDEZ: Well, I think this is where a lot of my friends on the
other side of this question will try to head on the mental health funding.
And, of course, we welcome to that -- welcome them to that.
But I listened to your interview before. Unfortunately, one of the
first things that the House Republicans did in HR-1 is cut $26 million in
community health bloc grants. That`s exactly the type of work you want to
see happening in our communities. That`s why I voted for the Mental Health
Parity Act, to create mental health parity and insurance coverage with all
the other types of insurance that we have in health care.
And that`s why the Affordable Care Act expands that and makes it
responsible for in the exchange, in the health care exchange, that are
going to offer insurance to include mental health as a core element of that
coverage. That`s what we need in this country.
SCHULTZ: And, finally, Senator, the NRA -- what role do they play
when it comes time to this debate? Do you think that they can offer
something? They have never been in favor of any kind of regulations.
MENENDEZ: Well, you know, the NRA I think is out of step with their
members. You see NRA-registered members, 74 percent I think say they are
in support of criminal background checks nationally. They represent, in my
mind, the gun manufacturers.
MENENDEZ: And the gun shows, but -- and the dealers. But they don`t
really represent the average rank and file.
It seems to me, I hope they`ll join us. But it seems to me that the
teachers and, you know, school principal were willing to take on the
gunman. It seems to me the Congress of the United States should take on
these guns as well.
Senator Robert Menendez, great to have you with us. Thank you so
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