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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


Location: Unknown


Our guests are Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat of New York, and
Cynthia Tucker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. Thank you both --
thank you both for joining us.
You have been in this fight for so long, Congresswoman McCarthy, and I got
to ask you, is there something out there in the water that`s changed, or
are we confronting the old power of the NRA?

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D), NEW YORK: Well, certainly, we are confronting
them. We`ll always be able to confront them. But this time is different,
and I think that the American people are realizing on how radical they
actually are.
You know, when you see the polls and most people in America support on what
we`re trying to do, even NRA members, so that this time is different. You
know, I think it`s a combination of the gun violence that we have seen over
the last couple years, but what happened in Connecticut, that went over the
We had a hearing yesterday afternoon, and I have to tell you, victims that
I`ve been working with for years from Virginia Tech, from Aurora -- I mean,
everybody was crying as the superintendent of schools was talking about the
children and what they can do.
So it is our job, but we can`t do it alone. And the president`s doing a
wonderful, wonderful job with his energy, and the vice president`s energy,
bringing America together for sensible reduction of gun violence. That`s
all we`re asking.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you first, before I show some of these
snapshots of some of the crazier Republicans now --


Anyway, Marco Rubio last night accused the president of not believing in
the 2nd Amendment. Here`s a guy clearly running for president. Let`s take
a look.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I actually think the president, and he just
doesn`t have the guts to admit it, is not a believer in the 2nd Amendment,
although he states that he is. And that`s what I`m saying. If these guys
don`t -- the 2nd Amendment is in the Constitution. I didn`t write the
Constitution. Neither did you, neither did he. If he doesn`t want the 2nd
Amendment to be in the Constitution or if he wants to reform the 2nd
Amendment, then have the guts to admit that!


MATTHEWS: Congresswoman McCarthy, what`s this -- where is this talk come
from, this sort of street corner lingo, guts, guys getting together, guts,
the president has the guts. A little respect might be in order here for
the president of the United States from this guy, talking about a guy not
having guts. It`s street corner talk from Rubio.
Your thoughts. And we`re talking about guns here, by the way, right?

MCCARTHY: We`re talking about guns here, yes, but we all swear to uphold
the Constitution. I believe in upholding the Constitution. The Supreme
Court already came out that a person has a right to own a gun. But you
also know that we also have the right to pass laws to protect our citizens.
So I mean, this is the fear that they keep throwing out there. And they`re
not trying to get to someone that`s a moderate. They`re going straight to
their hard-core right people. That`s why they lost the presidency. That`s
why they lost a few seats in the House.
They have to start -- excuse me -- coming together to get -- not just on
the gun issue, on an awful lot of issues. Look what happened the other day
with Sandy. It was Democrats that got that bill over the line.
But you know, it should be working together for all of the American people.
And right now, all the polls are showing the American people, including NRA
members, including gun owners, are saying we should be doing something.
One of the things that we noticed, most people, NRA members, gun owners,
didn`t know that everybody was not going through a background check. They
didn`t realize that 40 percent of gun owners are getting their guns without
going through a background check.
These are all law-abiding citizens when they go to buy their guns. Why
isn`t everybody else? That`s what we`re fighting for. And the president
is not trying to be a king, he`s trying to save lives.

MATTHEWS: Well, we`re getting a mixed message from the right, but here`s
the crazier talk. Already, there`s pushback to the potential of new
federal gun laws in the states highlighted on your screen right now. There
they are.
For example, state lawmakers in Wyoming, Texas and Tennessee proposed
outlawing any enforcement of these laws. That`s nullification, pre-Civil
War talk, that don`t exist (ph). And by the way, sheriffs in Kentucky and
Oregon have said no to enforcing them. These are people saying, I`m going
to break the law by not enforcing federal law.
In Mississippi, Governor Phil Bryant asked his statehouse speaker to pass a
law declaring unconstitutional gun laws illegal. Anyway, he also doesn`t
believe in the ban on high-capacity magazines because criminals could still
get their hands on them. He said this week, quote, "If they want a 30-
round clip, they`re going to get it in Brazil or the Soviet Union. It`s
going to go on the black market. Self-protecting citizens won`t have that
right, but criminals will."
yes, I guess it is harder to get a gun from Brazil, though, maybe, or a
little harder to get one from -- what`s this place called, Soviet Union?

TUCKER: The Soviet Union.

MATTHEWS: How about catching up or keeping up with the class here?


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this because I did -- we got to look at
this now, in all fairness. Here`s David Keene, who I`ve known for years.
He`s a hard conservative for years. Here he is on "CBS This Morning"
talking about background checks. And this is where I think a window is
opening, Congresswoman...


MATTHEWS: ... where in this area, I think people right, left and center
with any kind of rational sense know we got to do something. Don`t let
criminals, don`t let people with court-ordered sort of mental situations,
where they`ve been ordered not to do things or been under watch, to get
ahold of guns.
Let`s watch David Keene on "CBS This Morning."


DAVID KEENE, NRA PRESIDENT: We want to see the proposal, but as a general
-- as a general proposition, the NRA has been very supportive of doing
background checks on purchasers through the instant system, and secondly,
of adding the potentially violently mentally ill to the database.


MATTHEWS: Cynthia, you`re shaking your head no. You don`t believe...


MATTHEWS: This is what`s changed, Congresswoman, in my, obviously less
than you, focus on this over the years. You`ve been totally focused for a
generation, since the tragedy in your family.
This idea that we don`t have a gun to protect ourselves, we don`t have them
to go skeet shooting or shoot rabbits or deer in deer season. It`s not the
usual sort of healthy sounding, at least, reasons to have a gun. It`s now,
I need my gun to protect me against the helicopters, the federal government
or the U.N.`s coming to get me. And now you`re actually hearing that sort
of point of view loudly, this idea, I need my gun to fight my government.
Is that new?

MCCARTHY: No, it`s not new.

MATTHEWS: It used to be posse comitatus and the real whackjobs out in the
far West were into that.

MCCARTHY: Well, we have them here, too. I mean, I`ve had constituents
come up to me and say, Why are you allowing black helicopters coming over
our areas? And I say, Well, we don`t have them coming over our areas,
possibly, you know, when the president comes into town.
But I mean, this is the fear that they keep putting out there all the time.
And I think that is -- and by the way, I believe that most Americans aren`t
buying that because, again, the polls are still showing that they feel that
the NRA leadership has become too radical in their thinking.

MATTHEWS: I hope they see it that way. Well, maybe that`s the good sign.
The silver lining could be that they`re so wacky, so awful, and indecent
when they talk about the president`s kids having bodyguards and they go
that far into that ditch, maybe the American people will break 3 to 1
against them. We`ll see.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Cynthia
Tucker. It`s good to have you back.


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