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Joining us tonight for the interview is Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York. She is author of a new a new assault weapons ban fix. Congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us.
REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D-NY): Thank you for having me. It"s a pleasure.
MADDOW: Did I explain that correctly? The main principle of your legislation would be to have the extended magazine ban that we used to have, to regain that, is that right?
MCCARTHY: Absolutely. We have found that large capacity clips - since the ban expired, there are more of them out there and much easier to get.
Unfortunately, what happened in Arizona - this is a bill, by the way, that I"ve been reintroducing every year since the assault weapons ban, because I know something like this was going to happen again.
MADDOW: The original law that expired said that you could not sell new extended clips. But as far as I understood it, you could trade or sell old ones. Your bill now would not allow you to you trade or sell old ones either. Is that right?
MCCARTHY: No, you can"t transfer them. If you own them, it"s yours.
MADDOW: You can keep it?
MCCARTHY: But you cannot trade or sell them, mainly because they would go into a gun show. And that"s where they would all be traded and then they basically go on to the black market. They would go to gangs. They would go, to be very honest with you, the drug cartels from Mexico.
MADDOW: In terms of the political realities of this bill, the prospect of it passing, is that specific aspect of it, is that part of the grounds on which it is objected to by the gun rights lobby?
MCCARTHY: Oh, no. They have don"t like the whole bill.
MCCARTHY: There"s nothing in the bill that they like. You know, if there was something in there that we could work with, I"d probably work with them.
I did that with the NICS background check after Virginia Tech, because I have always believed if I can compromise and get something that will still save lives, then it"s worth that little bit of compromise to get it through. But with that being said, they won"t compromise on anything this time.
MADDOW: What"s your plan to build support for the bill?
MCCARTHY: I go member to member. I talk to everybody. I plan on talking to the president. I plan on reaching out to everyone I can. I also talk to Speaker Boehner, sit down with him and talk to him why this is good for the whole country.
This will save lives. You know, my background"s a nurse. I spent all my life trying to save lives, and that"s what I"m doing in Congress. That"s what I"ve been doing for the last 16 years.
MADDOW: This, of course, is something that has touched you personally in terms of your family history, a violent death in your family caused by gun violence.
Is that something that allows you to talk to people about this who wouldn"t otherwise talk to you about it, at least because of their respect for you, because of your experience and what you went through?
MCCARTHY: No. Everybody, certainly, in Congress knows my story. They know I came to Congress to reduce gun violence in this country, and they respect me for that. They might not agree with me, but they do respect me for that.
They know I"m not just being a politician trying to get something through. This is personal to me. Large capacity clips were used on the Long Island Railroad, killed six people, wounded 20.
And then, of course, from there, we"ve seen, unfortunately, more shootings like that, as you"ve shown on the TV. But this is personal because I happen to believe that lives could have been saved on the Long Island Railroad.
Colin Ferguson had four clips with 15 bullets each. Most of those bullets reached somebody. If he only had 10 bullets and one in the chamber, lives on the other end of the train would have been saved, same as, unfortunately, for Gabby.
Probably, this law would not have helped her, but it would have certainly saved lives and injuries down as he went forward.
MADDOW: One of the things that - we"ve been looking intensely as a staff, researching what"s been possible in the past around gun control.
I am frustrated by the common wisdom that nothing is possible on gun control, because I"ve seen that laws have been passed, whether it"s in immediate aftermath of a tragedy or a long time down the road, like the Brady Bill was, for people working for a long time to get it.
There has been change on this issue in the past and I don"t believe that it"s impossible to get it now. But when Republicans in the past have supported commonsense - what I would consider to be commonsense gun control measures, things like the assault weapons ban.
People like George W. Bush were in support of that. His father, George H.W. Bush, were in support of that. Do any of those Republicans who have had mainstream past consensus positions on commonsense gun control, have any emerged to persuade other Republicans on the issue?
MCCARTHY: Not that I know of at this particular point. But you know what? You have to understand the legislative process. This is the beginning.
MCCARTHY: Introducing the bill, then I work the bill. And we have to work to get it through a committee. We have to work to get it on to the floor. It"s not something that is easy on any bill, any bill. But to be very honest with you, the consensus seems to be growing.
People are coming up to me and are saying, "I"m a gun owner. I"m a sportsman. I like to do target-shooting." You"re right on this though. I"m willing to make that sacrifice. So I think the consensus is growing.
People have to understand that this is something that"s added to a gun.
I"m not taking your gun away.
And I think they"re starting to see that now, mainly because so many shows like yours and others are actually talking about what the bill actually does. So their understanding on the opposite side, where the NRA is basically saying, "She"s taking our gun away again." And I"m not doing that.
MADDOW: The more you understand about the facts of this, the more you realize what a narrowly-targeted provision is that you"re suggesting here. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, sponsor of what I think of as the gun fix, something that would reinstate the extended clip ban that expired only in 2004, thank you for joining us tonight. I know this has been an exhausting week for you. Thank you.
MCCARTHY: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
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