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NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

DAVID GREGORY:
Congressman, look. I mean the question is whether the speaker's going to face a real revolt by conservatives like yourself if he puts down a bill that requires Democrats to get it passed. Is he?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
Well, my frustration is not with John Boehner. I think he did the right thing. I was actually supportive of this Plan B. My frustration is with the Democrats. Because the House Republicans, our conscience is clear. In August, we passed the bill to extend all of the tax rates. We did deal with the fiscal cliff issues. We have passed that.
It's Harry Reed and the president that have yet to come up with something. And if it was so easy, if they thought they had a solution to it, why didn't, on Friday, didn't they come to the table and actually pass something? The pressure's on them, what can they pass in the Senate?

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DAVID GREGORY:
Here's the broader question, and it includes the gun debate, okay? What are the President's priorities going to be after the first of year? Congressman, you heard Wayne LaPierre. Does he reflect your views about how to approach any kind of remedy after a massacre like Newtown, which is we should talk about everything but guns?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
Well, like my-- my wife and I, we have-- we have three kids. And I-- if there's something that we can do that will make sure that this never, ever, ever happens again, of course I'll support it. But I don't--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:
I mean, come on, that's not a serious-- I mean there's no standard like that. I mean we the have a foolproof-- that's why you try things. But--

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
You try lots, that's what public policy is about. You know, but I am a concealed carry permit holder. I have a Glock 23. I have a shotgun. There are millions of people just like me. We're not the problem. I do think there is common ground that we should be attacking, first and foremost, is that mental health issue. Because there are maybe not the laws that we need. Maybe there's not the reporting that we need. To say that that's already been tackled I think would be--

(OVERTALK)

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DAVID GREGORY:
The point is, his point is why not try? But the point is, then, why not try reducing the availability of high capacity magazines? I mean isn't it possible that that could reduce the crimes?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
Well, we tried it for ten years and it didn't work. There are millions of magazines--

FMR. REP. HAROLD FORD JR.:
We didn't try magazine limits.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
We-- we-- yes, we did.

(OVERTALK)

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
It was limited to ten.

(OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:
But how do you know it didn't work, Congressman?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
Because the crime rate continued--

ANDREA MITCHELL:
How do you know what--

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
--to go down.

ANDREA MITCHELL:
But how do you know what would have happened--

(OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:
You can't prove a negative.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:
Listen, I will have an open mind. But the reality is there are millions of them out there. This is a second amendment right. I don't think it would necessarily solve the overall problem. I think the mental health is true. But and as far as arming everybody in schools, and teachers, look, I had, you know, high school science teachers who can't negotiate a Bunsen burner, for goodness sake. (LAUGHTER) I wouldn't suggest that we necessarily give everybody a gun. It's not for everything. But how we deal with it in Sarah (?), Utah is going to be way different than how we deal with it in Secaucus.

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