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NBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript - Gun Safety

Interview

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MADDOW: Joining us now is Senator Richard Blumenthal, senior senator
from the state of Connecticut.
Senator Blumenthal, thank you very much for being here tonight. I
really appreciate your time, sir.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you. Great to be
with you again.

MADDOW: President Obama said today if we are serious we will get
something done on gun safety. You and I have talked a hot about whether or
not that`s going to happen. Hundred days in, at over 100 days in now,
what`s your assessment of the trajectory that we`re on?

BLUMENTHAL: We are going to have votes. The president called for
votes for the sake of the victims and their families for all Americans and
those votes will be in April. We have a critical task during these next
few weeks which the president described very, very eloquently and
powerfully, which is to mobilize that majority of Americans, the 90
percent, and 80 percent, that are for common sense and sensible measures on
gun violence and make sure that their voices are heard.

The president said very movingly, nothing is more powerful than
millions of voices calling for change. But those voices are a silent
majority that needs to be vocal and need to be galvanized and organized.
So, I think the votes can be there for a ban on illegal trafficking. The
instance you described earlier involving Evan Ebel who killed Tom Clement,
the correction officer in Colorado, and killed another person on his way to
shooting the police officer who tried to apprehend him.

Classic straw purchase and should be banned, would be banned under the
Senate bill. Background checks to prevent him from having weapons,
deranged people like Adam Lanza from having access.

You know, the sheer volume of bullets and ammunition and rounds in
that war arsenal is absolutely stunning. And we need to make sure that we
keep those ammunition and firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.
And, finally, school safety and mental health issues, those core provisions
I think have a lot of support. We need Americans to remind my colleagues
in the Senate their voices have to be heard.

MADDOW: It struck me today that we`ve been chronicling on this show
the relentless political activism on this issue, that the Beltway common
wisdom implies that people are going to forget about it because people are
just going to stop talking about it. And people haven`t stop talking about
it, in part because there has been so much organized political pressure.

At a grassroots level, people are not letting this go. But it struck
me today in following these new revelations, both from the Newtown shooting
but also from Colorado corrections police shooting, part of the reason the
pressure doesn`t feel like it`s letting up is because everyday, there`s a
new revelation about a new horrific national implications piece of gun
violence. And it seems like the mere prevalence of the amount of gun
violence in the country is enough to keep this in the headlines provided
that we see those as having political consequences.

I wonder if you see it that way.

BLUMENTHAL: I think that these kinds of rampant violent acts. And,
remember, it`s 2,500 more people have been killed since Newtown alone.
Thirty thousand, I think, a year are killed as a result of gun violence.
This problem afflicts our neighborhoods and streets throughout the country
in urban environments and suburban. All across the country, everybody has
a stake in it.

And the repeated acts, I think, do have a political impact. But the
revelation`s also about the Newtown search warrants drive home the fact
that the size of the magazines makes a real difference. As you put it very
well, Adam Lanza left at home the small capacity magazine because he knew
the more bullets he could fire more rapidly more lethally, the more
destructive he could be.

And the same is true of the AR-15. So, that`s why I am going to be
helping to lead a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines that
will be offered as amendment. It may not be part of the core bill that
goes to the floor of the Senate, but it will offered and I`m hopeful there
will be votes on it.

MADDOW: Senator Richard Blumenthal, senior senator from Connecticut,
member of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- thank you for being here
tonight, sir. I really appreciate your willingness to coming back. Thank
you.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

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