REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: A pleasure to be with you this
HARRIS-PERRY: So, clearly, Chicago has been receiving national
attention due to the high rate of gun violence. And there is a way in
which that`s a good story, because for a long time it was happening with no
light shining on it.
HARRIS-PERRY: But the other thing, it`s led us to recognize the city
actually has very tough gun laws.
HARRIS-PERRY: What needs to be done if you`ve already got the gun
laws in place and you still have this sort of murder rate?
GUTIERREZ: Well, the guns -- it`s so porous, right? The guns just
filter through to the city of Chicago. And, you know, the first thing I
supported back in 1993, 20 years ago when I first arrived in congress with
such fervor was the assault weapons ban. I remember when we extended it.
And that was good.
But, you know, Melissa, on Monday, I worked all day today thinking
than same question. So we`re going to have some faith-based leaders come
and meet with me on Monday. And we`re going get some victims, survivors of
gun violence. We`re going to meet with them, talk to them. And we`re
going to start also begin to focus on, as you said, handguns.
I went, and I was astonished there were 351 people murdered with guns
in 2011 in Chicago. Three hundred sixty-one of them -- I mean, 351, 361,
351 were handgun, 90 percent.
GUTIERREZ: It`s clear we need to look at handguns also. And I hope -
- for too long, I think you`ve heard many of us, Melissa, as we go into
national campaigns and we don`t want to be put in a corner as being against
the Second Amendment and against the rightful right to bear arms. And it
seems as though we articulate much too passionately and clearly and
eloquently how we`re going to defend people`s right to have guns during
campaigns, instead of talking about how we`re going to save children on our
HARRIS-PERRY: So --
GUTIERREZ: And lastly, if I could just, 10 of the kids, I read the
papers, 10 of those murdered were teenagers, 10. In the month of January.
HARRIS-PERRY: So let me ask you a little bit about this. I think
this is tough, right? And it`s tougher than just the laws.
Because the last time that a Democratic president, in this case it was
President Clinton, introduced powerful new federal laws, we ended up
incarcerating black kids, kids from the west and south side of Chicago,
kids from towns like New Orleans. There is just a little part of me that
keeps being concerned that on the one hand, yes, we must push for tougher
regulations. But how do we keep those regulations from falling on the
backs of the very kids we`re trying to protect?
GUTIERREZ: You know, here is the point. We need a holistic approach
to this. We can`t just look -- it`s true. I wouldn`t want to get on an
airport where four out of 10 people didn`t get checked, right?
GUTIERREZ: So four out of 10 people don`t get checked for handguns in
America. So that`s not the kind of way we should conduct ourselves.
Conversely, let`s face it. We have a responsibility to have economic
engines out there because -- I mean, the demand for drugs is so huge and
continues to spiral out of control in this country.
Let`s face it. There is a direct correlation that the largest --
GUTIERREZ: -- the propensity for drugs comes from the selling of
drugs and the protecting of those drug turfs, of which we are all involved
both in the city and outside of the city, right? The suburbanites come
into the city to buy drugs, and we consume drugs in the inner city. So the
scourge of drugs continues to have a huge impact on our community, killing
populations because of the use of drug and killing our population, our
I mean, just think of the contradiction of that young girl dying,
right? Honor student, wants to be a doctor. Just finished her final
examines. Doesn`t use drugs and killed.
GUTIERREZ: Probably because somebody was using and consuming drugs,
and somebody wanted to save the turf and protect the turf they were selling
HARRIS-PERRY: Congressman, I so appreciate you bringing us to that
point, because it does feel to me like this is exactly why it gets tough to
have this conversation, because it is holistic.
On the one hand we have the piece tough on guns, but the other piece
is addressing the drug war and what it has done in our communities. I so
appreciate you joining me tonight, Congressman Gutierrez.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: And also, the work is going to continue. And those of
us who love Chicago and who know the scourge that this is in these
communities, thank you for the work that you`re trying to do there.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you for your time.