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CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript: Navy Yard Shooting

Interview

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Washington, D.C.'s delegate to Congress, Representative in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton joins us right now. Thank you so much for being with us Representative. I'm wondering if you can tell me based on what you've seen today, how is Washington recovering?

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON D.C.: Well, for us, this is the greatest violence we've seen in our region since 9/11. And the -- the agency involved is one that is an integral part of our neighborhood. So this is not like a federal agency somewhere. It's a federal agency that you have to have in the daytime certainly you have to have a badge to get in, you have to be cleared.

But in the evenings it is a facility that the Navy allows the community to use in its banquet halls. Washington is recovering, but Washington needs a lot more answers. We perhaps feel most deeply that this man was able to get into such a secure facility with a gun. That's about the last thing you'd expect to happen, even in facility that are not secure.

BERMAN: So then what needs to happen to make sure that this doesn't occur again? He went in apparently with a valid security pass. He was given a security clearance just over the summer, despite incidents of violence, gun violence, in his past. What changes need to be made?

NORTON: Well now you're going to see oversight by Congress and you're going to see internal investigations. But this is a real issue did this man's condition, did his mental condition, deteriorate after he got his security clearance? I think the President needs to appoint a special, specialized panel that would have security and military experts. And frankly experts on these facilities and large cities, we don't want them walled off. We want them to become part of the community. But we certainly want those who work there to be secure.

So I think this needs a rather special investigation and I'm writing the -- the President today to ask him to appoint just such a specialized panel.

BERMAN: As a separate thing than gun violence, what you're saying, security at military installations throughout the country. It would be here at the Washington Navy Yard, Fort Hood would be another example where something like this happened. And that's what you're talking about, specific focus on that?

NORTON: Yes remember these -- who are these people? These were 12 federal employees and everybody in there virtually was a federal employee, not military, because increasingly the Department of Defense has been moving its own civilian employees on to such military sites. The only thing military about this was its security. And it was part of the Navy Yard which has been renovated precisely because they wanted the Navy Sea Systems Command to remain here in this region. So we need -- we need this -- we need much more information about keeping such federal employees, the same ones that are on sequester, the same ones who you read about every day who are taking cuts in their pay. who are these people, how can we make sure that they can live within our cities and still be secure?

BERMAN: One last question -- one last question, Representative. One last question -- whenever there is an event of violence involving guns and it invariably gets involved in the gun control debate here, Washington, D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, yet this incident still occurred. What can be learned from that?

NORTON: We confiscate guns, sometimes thousands of guns, every year. Every last one of those guns comes from outside of the District of Columbia, comes from the region or comes from places that have lax gun laws. That's why you see many of us in Congress fighting for national gun reform legislation. You can't do it -- you can't do it jurisdiction by jurisdiction.

BERMAN: Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, thank you so much for being with us. We're sorry for everything your city has been going through over the last 24 hours. I appreciate your time.

NORTON: Thank you.

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