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NBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript - Gun Safety

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

ATTHEWS: So we`re down now -- we`re going to have Carolyn Maloney join
us, who`s had threats, death threats against her. I want to get her
(INAUDIBLE) for that witness.

But this idea of no vote, how does that stand? They`re not going to bring
it up because there`s a bunch of filibusters out there saying, We don`t
want to have to have a vote.

MILBANK: Well, look, I mean, a lot of it is also on the Democratic side.
Harry Reid said he doesn`t even want to bring up assault guns because he
knows he doesn`t have the votes here.

MATTHEWS: Forty votes or less.

MILBANK: Sure. It looks like it's going to be defeated one way or the
other. So in a sense, it doesn't matter if Ted Cruz and others are
blocking it from coming to a vote. They can kill it in the House. They
can kill it in any number of ways. The point is, the NRA, the gun lobby --

MATTHEWS: OK, why don't they want a vote?

MILBANK: (INAUDIBLE) hold all the cards (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Why don't they want a vote?

MILBANK: Well, because 90 percent of the country, by numerous polls, is
supporting the idea of near universal background checks. It doesn't make a
whole lot of sense to oppose it. The NRA used to support it and --

MATTHEWS: Yes, but they think they -- you say they could win. If they
could win, why don't they want to have the vote? Then they can -- then
they can screw the other guys and women who vote against.

Let's go to Carolyn Maloney of New York, a much respected congresswoman
from New York City. Thank you for joining us, Congresswoman.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK CITY: Well, thank you for having me.

MATTHEWS: You know, I don't like to talk about this, but you've been
threatened.

MALONEY: That's true. That shows you how deep and intense this gun safety
debate is in the country.

MATTHEWS: Well, what's going on? What's happened to you in your office?
What has been the threat, the nature of the threat? Because we've got
public officials down in the Southwest, two prosecutors killed, another one
pulling out of a case against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas for security
reasons. We've got a prison official (INAUDIBLE) gunned down in Colorado.
This 2nd Amendment remedy is no longer the crazy talk of a -- of
(INAUDIBLE) odd duck Senate candidate out in Nevada. 2nd Amendment
remedies are what you do when you don't like public officials, you shoot
them. And that's what's going on now!

MALONEY: And you have the remedy that law enforcement has been calling
for, to pass sensible gun safety legislation that would have reasonable
penalties for straw purchasers and make trafficking in guns, illegal guns,
a felony. They`re begging for this law.

MATTHEWS: Well, why would anybody --

MALONEY: We should pass it and give them the tools to do their job.
MATTHEWS: -- oppose that one? Why would anybody oppose that? We`ve
already said we`re not going to do assault weapons. We`re not going to do
magazines. We`re not going to do background checks. Why would anybody
oppose this secondhand buying, when you buy a gun for a crook totally
dishonestly and illegally, and that should be illegal in itself -- why
would anybody oppose the enforcement of, basically, that kind of a law.
MALONEY: People are astounded when they hear that. They think it should
be illegal already. But we need to pass this bill. And of course, the
good old NRA and others are trying to stop it. Law enforcement -- we have
over 20 different law enforcement agencies that have endorsed my bill, that
are calling for its passage. And at the very least, we should pass that.
But I can tell you, Chris, as long as Americans are dying, I`m going to
keep on trying to pass these bills.

MATTHEWS: Right. Good for you.

MALONEY: I think just put them out on the floor and have a vote. The
American people, as Dana said, support a vote. They want a vote. They
want gun safety. The president is in Colorado trying to build support. We
should give him at least a vote on these measures in the House of
Representatives and in the Senate.

MATTHEWS: I'm with you. Let's take a look at the other point of view on
this, the hard-right point of view. And it`s voiced very well, I think, by
Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, where she talked about
the right of people -- not just the right, but they ought to use it, the
right, which she called "2nd Amendment remedies," meaning use firepower
against public officials you don't like.

Let`s listen to how she put it. Make your own judgment.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, our founding
fathers, they put that 2nd Amendment in there for a good reason. And that
was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government.
In fact, you know, Thomas Jefferson said it`s good for a country to have a
revolution every 20 years.

I hope that's not where we're going. But you know, if this Congress keeps
going the way it is, people are really looking toward those 2nd Amendment
remedies. They're saying, My goodness, what can we do to turn this country
around? I'll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid
out.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: If this Congress keeps going in that direction, people are
looking toward their 2nd Amendment remedies. Well, that`s what you`re
being threatened with. They don`t like the way you`re going, so they`re
threatening you with that 2nd Amendment remedy, which is gunplay.

MALONEY: Well --

MATTHEWS: This is verbatim here! This isn`t arguable. This is the way
these right-wingers talk now, and I think other people are beginning to act
that way. We haven`t had these cases closed out West.

MALONEY: Well --

MATTHEWS: But you've got a prosecutor who's pulling herself out of a case
against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, and you can bet none of those
characters ever voted for Obama. You've got people on the hard right out
there.

So what are we doing now? How far do we have to go with this before you
people in the Congress say to the people like Boehner, You guys cannot hold
office if you don`t let people vote?

MALONEY: We will be saying that. But fortunately, we have a revolution
every two years. We can shoot at the ballot box and elect people that are
going to support gun safety and reasonable gun safety measures.

I support the 2nd Amendment. None of the bills before Congress in any way
hinder the 2nd Amendment or the right of law-abiding people to own guns.
It's going after criminals. It's going after traffickers. It's going
after those who want to purchase assault weapons that aren't used to kill
animals, they're just used to mow down people.

But her language is not helpful. It`s extreme. And fortunately, she
wasn`t elected.

MATTHEWS: Let's look at the polls now because it is a democracy. It`s not
perfect. But let me show you some of the poll numbers from "MORNING JOE,"
just did a poll with the Marist group today. Sixty percent of all
registered voters believe laws covering firearm sales should be stricter,
whereas 50-50 of the gun owners want the laws kept as they are. But that`s
not so bad, 50-50 on the gun owners.

On the issue of background checks for private and gun shows, 87 percent, 9
out of 10, registered voters support those background checks. Even 83
percent of gun owners agree on those background checks.
So let me ask you, Dana. You cover this. I don`t know many bills to get 4
out of 5.

MILBANK: No.

MATTHEWS: I don't know many that get 9 out of 10. We're talking big-time
support. We're talking apple pie here. And yet we can't even get a vote
in the United States Senate. And therefore, we probably won`t get one in
the House.

MILBANK: Well, of course. One follows the other. Let`s be fair about
this. What Sharron Angle said about 2nd Amendment remedies is -- is
something that comes from the very extreme of our culture. She lost that
race.

MATTHEWS: Pretty close.

MILBANK: She lost the race in part because of that. Well, she said many
other crazy things, too.

MATTHEWS: Because we raised hell about it!

MILBANK: Right. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: People said, Wait a minute. What are you actually saying here?

MILBANK: Exactly. And I think we can say there are very few if, any
people, in the Congress right now who would dare say something about using
their --

MATTHEWS: Using a gun against somebody you don't like.

MILBANK: But what they're not doing is going out and standing up against
this. And they're enabling that sort of thing, the threats being made
against the congresswoman.

Now, in terms of the polls, if they were voting the polls, of course we
would have reasonable gun control in this country. The problem is, based
on the gerrymandering in the House and in the way the Senate is structured,
they`re not responsive to public opinion. They`re responsive to
disproportionate slices within their own districts and these rural

(INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Carolyn Maloney. Congresswoman, I`ve
respected you for a long time. And I just think you have to think -- it`s
not just the schools, these horrendous, horrible situations like we had up
in Newtown, Connecticut. They come just often enough to remind us that
they can happen. But there`s gun deaths on the street. There are people
committing suicide because they happen to have a gun around. There`s
husbands and wives shooting at each other when they get upset about
something because they happen to have a gun around.
Too many guns! People do things with guns they wouldn`t do without the
gun. This is the -- we are a violent society maybe already, but certainly,
the presence of so many -- so much firepower --

MALONEY: I agree, Chris --

MATTHEWS: Is it ever going to stop? Are we just going to keep arming
ourselves?

MALONEY: If guns made us safer, we`d be the safest country on earth.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MALONEY: We are the most heavily armed country on earth. And one bill
that I introduced would require liability when you purchase a gun. So
often, the -- the onus or the responsibility is put on the victim and on
society at large to cover the gun violence --

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MALONEY: -- and the terrible pain and suffering. If someone buys a gun,
they are responsible for that gun. They are responsible for gun safety.
That would help. We require that when you purchase a car that you have
liability insurance. Let`s do the same with guns. That`s another step in
the right direction.

But what gets me is these drive-by killings of young people, particularly
in New York and LA, innocently sitting in their cars, and they are shot and
killed. In Brewster, New York, just 10 days after Sandy Hook, our fire
officers and firefighters and police officers were mowed down by a deranged
--

MATTHEWS: It`s good you remind us of that.

MALONEY: -- gun trafficker. So it`s happening all over the place.

MATTHEWS: I know. It`s not the exotic --

MALONEY: -- and if don`t take steps --

MATTHEWS: -- horror.

MALONEY: -- to stop it, it`s going to keep on happening. And that`s why
we need to pass --

MATTHEWS: Carolyn --

MALONEY: -- these sensible gun safety laws.

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, take care of yourself. It`s great to have you on
the show.

MALONEY: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I`m terrorized myself --

MALONEY: Thank you.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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