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Public Statements

MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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We begin with Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut. Governor, thank you so much. And I was so taken with your emotional statements recently, the last 24 hours, and -- talk about it, what it means to be the governor of a state that saw the Newtown horror.

GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, listen, it changes your life. You know, I had to be there on the 14th. Actually, I had to tell a bunch of parents and adults that their loved ones were not coming back, and that`s a life-changing experience. And then to go to funeral after funeral of babies over the course of a week is also life-changing.

But having said all of that, we`ve got to do something about violence in Connecticut and in the world and in the United States. We`ve got to do something about the proliferation of these high-impact guns that really have no other real use than to kill someone. That`s what they`re designed for. They`re very good at it.

Then you add in these high-capacity magazines, a kid, a young man can walk into a school, bring a bunch of those things, set himself up to kill as many people as he possibly can, and ultimately die, as was planned.

I mean, these are circumstances and events that should alter our view in America. We should do everything we can to make ourselves safer. And this idea that we can`t do that just isn`t true. I mean, for instance, in the 1930s, because machine guns had fallen into the hands of criminals, we decided that nobody should have a machine gun.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MALLOY: Well, guess what? People don`t get killed anymore with machine guns. We decided people shouldn`t have hand grenades. We`re not talking about incidences with hand grenades.

We can make practical decisions. We can pass practical laws where most people would agree. Let`s get that done. Let`s get rid of these magazines. No one should be able to buy any guns in America without a background check. It`s pretty simple stuff. You know, we do background checks for just about everything. Why don`t we do it for every purchase of a gun.

MATTHEWS: Well, who`s coming at you? Who`s coming at you right now when you make these statements, from the other side?

MALLOY: Well, I mean, listen, my state`s pretty aggressive. But here`s a big problem for us. You know, people from Connecticut buy guns in the -- in the -- in our center cities, our inner cities, that have been transported here, having been purchased at gun shows where there`s no background check and very little record keeping, in places like Florida and Virginia.

And they work their way up 95, as they do, by the way, go right through D.C. And some of them jump off there, as well.

Let`s just close this. Let`s decide that, you know, some people should have guns and some people shouldn`t have guns. But if you`re not checking everybody who`s buying a gun and tracing that gun, then you`re not really controlling that. You`re just playing a game.

Now, in Connecticut you can`t buy a gun without a license. But in other places, you can. Let`s close the things that everybody basically agrees with. Most Americans agree that people should have a background check before they buy a gun. Most Americans agree that these high magazines -- these magazines of 30 shots don`t make any sense. No one`s using them in deer hunting, I can assure you. No one`s using them this defending their home, I can assure you.

So let`s do those things that we can have a common agreement, that make common sense, that most Americans actually agree on. Listen, the NRA is not going to agree on anything. That`s the reality.

MATTHEWS: Sounds like it today. Let`s -- governor, let me interrupt you to have -- let`s all hear from the vice president responding to the need and what he`s doing with his group. Here he is today holding hearings and meeting with sportsmen and women, gun owners and the NRA, and tonight with the entertainment industry, and this morning, he signaled he`ll have proposals by next Tuesday, it looks like.

Let`s hear what he had to say today, Joe Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s a real, very tight window to do this. I committed to him I`d have these recommendations to him by Tuesday. And that doesn`t mean it`s the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the VP also hinted at the consensus he`s found so far in previous meetings, which have included, as you mentioned, Governor, law enforcement, the medical and mental and health communities, educators, and gun safety advocates, among others.

And here`s what he`s talking about. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: There`s a surprising -- so far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks, not just close the gun show loophole, but total universal background checks, including private sales. There`s also a good deal of talk about gun safety and what responsibility goes along with gun ownership.

I`ve never quite heard as much talk about the need to do something about high-capacity magazines as I have heard spontaneously from every group that we`ve met with so far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Governor Malloy, he`s speaking your language there, it sounds like.

MALLOY: Well, he is. In fact, I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with the vice president and a few other governors yesterday. And I don`t want to go into the details of it, although some of the details that you`ve just played are what he`s talking about.

There is more agreement on this amongst Americans. When you say that you want gun control, then it gets confusing. When you say, Should we limit high-capacity rounds, the answer is yes. Should anyone be able to buy a gun without a background check? The answer is no.

People get it now. You know, we`ve had Aurora. We`ve had Newtown. We`ve had a shooting today. We`re going to have more shootings in the future. Let`s try to make our country as safe as possible.

And the other thing we have to do, quite frankly, we have to destigmatize mental illness. The reality is that most people who experience some form of mental illness recover from it. Let`s make sure that people feel free to go get the help that they need, and that the help is there when they seek it out. We can protect ourselves from treating our fellow human beings better at least on this mental health issue and destigmatize it.

MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you so much for joining us, Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut.

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