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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript


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There is also Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia. In the past, this
gentleman has voted to cut down the waiting period, the number of days for
gun purchases. He vetoed and voted -- or should I say he voted for broader
concealed to carry weapons laws. The NRA gave Kingston an A-rating for his
voting record today.
Today, this staunch gun rights advocate opened the door for change.
REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: We see a huge problem like this, and
it`s a problem that`s happening in other countries as well. And we look
for something that, OK, what can prevent it? And I think that`s where we
need to go with this discussion is, yes, put gun control, more gun control
on the table.
SCHULTZ: On the surface, the comments are very encouraging. But when
things get specific, we can understand why this country has so much
difficulty arriving at common sense gun safety.
KINGSTON: Connecticut has the fifth toughest gun control laws in the
country, including an assault weapon ban that bans 35 different weapons.
The weapon used was not an assault weapon, therefore it wasn`t banned.
SCHULTZ: The definition of assault weapons has been gamed by the gun
lobby in the service of the gunmakers, no doubt. If the Bushmaster rifle
with 30 rounds per clip doesn`t qualify as an assault weapon, the term
"assault weapon" in my opinion is absolutely meaningless.
I wanted to get some answers from Congressman Kingston. So I had an
opportunity to visit with him earlier today.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you on THE ED SHOW tonight. I
appreciate your time.
KINGSTON: Well, thank you, Ed. Sad times.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
We`re having quite a debate in this country about gun control,
obviously. And there`s questions of bans coming up in the Senate. Senator
Feinstein says she is going to reintroduce the assault weapons ban.
As it stands, could you go along with that?
KINGSTON: Well, I would have to see what she has in mind. And as you
know, the AR-15 that was used in this unfortunate tragedy was not
considered an assault weapon. And I don`t know if she would put that in
there. It only shoots one round at a time, which is the definition of
assault weapons.
But I think put it on the table to discuss it and thoroughly vet this.
I think it`s a good process, and I`m not afraid of it.
SCHULTZ: Well, that`s exactly where I think the country is looking
for definition right now on what exactly is an assault weapon.
SCHULTZ: And in the state of Connecticut, the definition of assault
weapon is that it`s got to have a folding or telescoping stock. It`s got
to have a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a grenade launcher, and a flash
Now, the gun that was used, the .223 Bushmaster doesn`t have any of
those things.
SCHULTZ: But many Americans would consider that to be a assault
weapon because they had 30-round clips in them. I mean, where do you draw
the line?
KINGSTON: Well, I think a lot of the things that you mention are
actually cosmetic parts of a gun. They might make it look ugly and mean.
But the real question in my mind is can you pull the trigger one time and
have multiple rounds fired? Because that`s what would make an assault
And Connecticut does have an assault weapon ban. It has 30 rifles
that are considered banned. But this one does not fall under that
So, in my opinion, rather than focus on the looks of the gun, we
should focus on the action. What does it actually do when you squeeze the
trigger? And to me, that`s where the gun is more lethal.
But, you know, Ed, I am a Second Amendment guy. But I do think having
this discussion is a very important part of the process that we must go
through as Americans.
SCHULTZ: Well, there is no question about that. And I appreciate
that. We need a discussion.
But Americans would look at what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, and
say that`s an assault weapon. I mean, there was rapid-fire that took the
lives of 28 -- 26 people -- 28 people, 20 of them children. And that is
the main focus on all of this.
SCHULTZ: So we get into the definition of what is an assault weapon.
I mean, 30 rounds in a clip in the minds of many Americans is too many to
have, whether it`s a single shot, rapid-fire, or if it`s an automatic fire.
So, how far are you willing to go? Are you really willing to go right
down to the definition of pulling the trigger as to whether it`s an assault
weapon or not, or just how much damage the weapon can do?
KINGSTON: Well, you know, they`re almost one and the same. It really
does get down to the action of the gun, the pulling of the trigger, what
happens when you pull the trigger. And it doesn`t really matter if it`s an
ugly-looking, mean military-type gun or not. It really matters what
happens when you pull the trigger.
So I think the discussion is a good one. And as you know, I`ve also
said you cannot leave out the mental health situation of this.
SCHULTZ: OK. And I agree with that. I agree. We`re going get to
the mental health part of it in just a minute.
But you`re satisfied with this gun that was used being legal, that
there should be no ban on the Bush -- the .223 Bushmaster.
KINGSTON: I think, again, it is not an assault weapon.
SCHULTZ: By definition it`s not.
KINGSTON: And as I understand it, what Senator Feinstein wants to do
is expand the definition to some 900 guns. And I was here during President
Clinton`s assault weapon ban. And I know there was a huge debate as to
what actually was one and what wasn`t one. And I think we all got to get
educated as to what is an assault weapon and what is it capable of doing.
SCHULTZ: That`s the key. What is the capability? And if you have
firearms that are capable within seconds of putting 30 rounds off, many
Americans are going to view that as an assault weapon.
And so, we get down to the definition. Not the NRA`s definition, but
the definition of what firearms can do. And so, you`re comfortable with
this firearm, the Bushmaster being legal in Connecticut. I will take your
answer on that.
Now, the other thing, mental health -- you have been against
Obamacare. Obamacare, of course, would bring 30 million more people into
coverage, which of course would cover mental health examinations. And, of
course, we could set up some kind of database that would help the sharing
of information. When you say --
KINGSTON: And you can do that -- you can do that, of course, Ed,
without Obamacare. And part of what I think we should do is more local
grants so that the police stations and the people as you know in
Connecticut, you need to register, you need to have classes for certain
handguns. You have to be under 21 years old --
KINGSTON: -- over 21 years old.
So to me, putting on the mental health where you do have some local
grants that the law enforcement and the mayors, the political people, if
you will, in a city can say, OK, where are the red flags? And what can we
do when we spot the red flags.
SCHULTZ: Well, I mean, this morning, you said on MSNBC a 1-800
number. I take issue with that. We need a lot more than that.
Now you`re saying you`re willing to put federal grant money to help
out mental health so we could have better gun control in this country?
KINGSTON: Yes. And that`s part of the National Institutes of Health.
That`s one of the things they`re talking about there is a 1-800 number out
there right now. And let me say that should not be the end-all. But I
think a piece of it where you have somebody who is acting peculiar and
doing something, and you want to find out, OK, is this, you know, we got to
be very sensitive of course to privacy issues and so forth.
But I think to get more information, just as you would do on substance
abuse and addiction, I think that`s a reasonable step.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia with me earlier today.
I certainly appreciate him taking the time to speak with us.
Congressman Kingston`s willingness to put federal money into mental
health initiatives is a very good thing. But we are at an impasse. If the
conversation of assault weapons in this country come downs to whether we`re
pulling the trigger or not 100 times.


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