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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript - Gun Control

Interview

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DYSON: Today marks the eighth month anniversary of the deadly
shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The mother of one
of the victims told the governor, "You`ve given us a real gift today."

But where is the gift for the family who loves loved ones in
Connecticut, in Tucson, Arizona, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, or on the streets
of Chicago, as gun violence continues to take its toll across this country,
millions of families continue to wait.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight`s question: will we see any major gun safety laws passed in
this Congress?

Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622, or go to our blog at
Ed.MSNBC.com. I`ll bring you the results later in the show.

I`m joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, Congresswoman
Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California.
Ladies, welcome to the show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good to be with you.

DYSON: Congresswoman Lee, let me start with you. How disappointed
are you that this assault weapons ban was dropped today?

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m extremely disappointed because
these weapons of war belong on the combat field, not on the streets of
America. And I`m very pleased, though, that Senator Feinstein is such a
fighter. And we`re going to continue to fight until this gets done.

People have to hold their members of Congress, both House and Senate,
accountable. And I think now`s the time, it`s a wakeup call and people
have got to push forward and come to Washington and insist that there`d be
some accountability to gun control and gun safety legislation.

DYSON: Congresswoman Schakowsky, in light of what Congresswoman Lee
has said, in terms of holding people responsible, do we hold Congress
people responsible for giving into and abdicating the fight to the NRA?
Has the NRA really won this fight?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: You know that head line that front
cover of the newspaper that said shame on us should be a rallying cry of
the American people with overwhelming majority want background checks, they
want anti-trafficking bills, and yes, they want a ban on assault weapons.

If they don`t rise up, then the NRA is going to win again.

And it`s really a choice of the American people right now, whether or
not they`re going to call their members of the Senate, the House of
Representatives, or they`re just going to let the NRA hold us all hostage
to the gun lobby.

DYSON: Sure. Congresswoman Speier, if you can`t get an assault
weapons ban now, when in the world will we be able to get one?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: We`re not going to wait for the
next massive killing in this country for us to get religion on this issue.

You know, Senator Feinstein, I was with her last night, and while she was
very disappointed in what she heard from Majority Leader Reid, she was very
clear about taking this fight to its full and complete resolution.

And I think all of us have got to say to our colleagues in Congress
that fear is not an option -- fear of not being reelected, fear of the NRA.
We are paralyzed in fear right now. And we`ve got to stop it.

DYSON: Right. Congresswoman Lee, is there anything that Congress can
pass that will curb the violence? Because a lot of people have been
pushing back saying, look, there`s nothing that could be done in
Washington, D.C. that would protect our children in the vast majority of
America. Do you agree with that?

LEE: I refuse to believe that. I believe that we can pass background
checks. I`m hoping we`ll pass some version of the repeal of the Tiahrt
Amendment, which is a rider that`s been attached to the appropriations
bills, without any debate in Congress. Congressman Moran, myself,
Congresswoman Speier and Schakowsky, all of us are trying to work to repeal
the Tiahrt Amendment, which means that it would make it easier for law
enforcement to conduct gun tracing efforts. Right now, they are prevented
in so many ways, from just basically tracing gun.

So I think there are some measures, but it`s an uphill battle. Again,
we`ve got to ask the American people to know that this is a wakeup call,
and you`ve got to rally around ensuring that your members of Congress are
accountable to what you believe will provide for a safe future for our
children.

DYSON: Congresswoman Schakowsky, when this Newtown Connecticut,
situation happened, the American people were simply horrified and felt that
this was the tipping point. This was the signal moment to the American
people that something had to be done and politicians vowed on every side to
do so.

But here we are a little while later, and it seems to be all that
momentum has been lost. How do we gin it back up and how do we galvanize
the American people to defend our children and others in this country who
are victims of gun violence?

SCHAKOWSKY: Oh, I don`t think the battle is over by any means. And I
don`t think the enthusiasm is gone. Almost every day, I`m part of a
meeting or conference call ending gun violence and passing this
legislation. And ask, does that make a difference?

There are already studies that show that states -- the 14 states that
have -- require background checks on handguns, that there`s a decrease in
gun trafficking, in a shooting of women by intimate partners, that suicides
by guns are decreased by 28 percent. So, we know that passing this
legislation actually does work. And the American people, I really don`t
think, are going to give up. I know that`s true.

DYSON: All right. Congresswoman Speier, in your district, what do
you hear from the people there? Are they -- are they simply fed up? Do
they want you to take action? Do they want the rest of the Congress to
take action? As you take a straw poll and get a sense of the heat index of
how people are responding, what do you hear?

SPEIER: Well, in my district, they want us to get a steel backbone.
They want us to speak on behalf of the people and not the NRA. I did a gun
buyback in my district just a few weeks ago. It`s the second lowest crime
rate in the state. And we collected 685 guns, 24 assault weapons,
magazines and silencers and one street sweeper.

And if that`s the kind of guns that are in our communities, it as time
to rethink whether or no we need them in our homes. And Jan Schakowsky had
said, there`s a higher incidence of gun violence in homes when you have a
gun. You`re more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than you are
by a stranger.

And I have a number of people who said to me, I asked them why are you
coming here and why are you giving up your gun? He said, you know I`ve got
small kids. This is something that came to may from my grandfather or
uncle. I don`t need it anymore.

And I think we`re all rethinking whether or not we need guns in our
homes.

DYSON: So all three of you, distinguished ladies, let me ask you a
question: do you talk with your Republican colleagues about this issue? Do
they say they really believe they don`t think we need to do something after
the horrific tragedy in Newtown?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, let me just say that I think it`s at their peril
that they ignore this issue. Ninety-one percent of Americans say they want
universal background checks. You -- it`s pretty hard to resist that. And
I also want to say, Professor, I know there`s a gender gap that moms all
over this country who identify as Republicans or Democrats or independents
don`t want to be fearful when their children go to school or to the movies,
and are ready to rise up and demand that we do something about this.

LEE: There`s an organization called Moms Demand Action. They were up
here several weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Phenomenal women who came
together to organize after the tragedy in Newtown, and believe you me --
these were Republican, independent, and Democratic women, and they are on
the march. They are going to make sure that action is taken in the
Congress.

And they have to hold their representatives once again. We have to
hold our representatives accountable, Republicans, Democrats and
independents. And so, as we talk to Republicans, you know, they may be an
a little reticent to move forward. They don`t want to do it.

Of course, as Congresswoman Schakowsky said, the gun lobby is alive
and well, but believe you me, the power of the people and the voices of the
people I think will ultimately prevail.

SPEIER: I also think we should demand that a vote takes place on the
House floor, demand that vote takes on the Senate floor. No one should
somehow be cushioned from having to take a stand on this issue.

And the Connecticut effect, which is what the NRA talked about, we`re
going to wait until the Connecticut effect wears off. That`s what happened
in their mind. And we can`t let that happen. We can`t let the 20 little
coffins that passed through that town and the six adults who lost their
lives be lost for no reason. We must act on this issue. And we`ve got to
keep it alive.

DYSON: But here`s the real question. Tell our viewers, because I
don`t think they know. Do you in Congress who work with each other see
each other every day? Do you have suggestions with Republicans about this
issue at all? Is there -- is there a kind of daily transaction between you
all?

SPEIER: Not really.

SCHAKOWSKY: You`re hearing kind of a silence in response to that
question, because there really hasn`t -- there hasn`t been across the aisle
conversations about guns. I know that there are some Republicans that if
they had their druthers would actually vote against the NRA and would stand
up for the people in their district.

We`re hoping that they will find courage from the people who are
contacting them -- I hope they`re hearing from them every day -- if they`re
not, shame on the people in the district that want the bills passed.

DYSON: Let me ask you this -- what about in social situations? You
all must have a drink, coffee, espresso. Is there not any kind of
transaction between -- it`s amazing that we don`t have conversations
between Congress people across the aisle just as human beings. At the end
of the day, when you take off your Democrat or Republican, you`re human
beings. My God, this is a travesty here.

Do you have any kind of conversation here?

LEE: Well, this environment is not really conducive to that type of
conversation for a lot of reasons as you know. And I think the real debate
is going to begin when some of these bills begin to be debated in the
Congress.

We have a gun task force here on our side. We`re on the -- I`m on the
Appropriations Committee and we`re going to have a debate as we try to
repeal the Tiahrt Amendment. So, we`re going to see some discussion and
dialogues take place.

But I think it should be in the public view.

DYSON: Right.

LEE: I think people should hear what their representatives are saying
and what Republicans are saying.

SCHAKOWSKY: I do know, Professor, that Mike Thompson who is head of
our task force on guns, has been talking to Republicans. I just don`t know
what the report is, but he`s definitely been reaching across the aisle.

DYSON: Right, right. No, I have no doubt that you`re reaching across
the aisle. I hope something`s coming back besides a fist, maybe some
conversation, some words that can heal the nation.

SCHAKOWSKY: We hope.

DYSON: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and
Congresswoman Jackie Speier -- thank you so much for your time tonight.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen and share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow, and on Facebook. I want
to know what you think.

The president faces the media in Israel as the drum beat for war in
Syria gets louder. That`s next.

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