tv At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan CNN January 5, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
paul, thank you so much. that will do it for me. thank you for joining me this tuesday. i'm deborah feyerick for carol costello. "at this hour with berman and bolduan" starts right now. hello, i'm kate bolduan. >> i'm john berman. we have breaking news. a fire fight involving u.s. troops in afghanistan. we want to get straight to cnn's chief national correspondent, jim sciutto. new details. what are we learning? >> reporter: this was a joint u.s./afghan counterterror operation, took place in southern afghanistan in helmand province near the town of marjah. during that operation, one u.s. service member were killed, other casualties as well. this was a joint u.s./afghan operation, so those casualties could be a mix of u.s. and afghan. during that operation, a medevac
helicopter came to evacuate the wounded and a mortar round went off nearby that helicopter. the concern being that that mortar round damaged the helicopter, may have damaged the rotor blades so they're checking its ability to fly. u.s. military making clear that helicopter was not shot down. no one injured on board the helicopter, but prior to that there was a fire fight and one u.s. service member was killed in that fire fight. it's a reminder, john and kate, there is still a war going on in afghanistan. there are still thousands of u.s. troops there and they are still going on counterterror missions. there's been a lot of talk about how their role has changed. that they've retreated to their bases, only doing security force protection, but the fact is they're doing counterterror operations as we saw today. those operations can be dangerous and deadly. >> a very harsh reminder of that. jim sciutto, thanks very much. let's bring in cnn military analyst, general james.
thanks for joining us. this comes on the heal of just about two weeks ago, six u.s. service members were killed in a suicide bomb attack that the taliban claimed responsibility for. this joint operation we're talking about today, u.s./afghan forces in a firefight with the taliban. as jim was talking about, this helicopter possibly being hit by mortar fire. what does this tell us, what does this tell you about the state of play right now in afghanistan? >> clearly what we're seeing is several things. number one, counter terror are mission for the u.s. remaining forces that are in afghanistan. clearly, there are other coalition forces and clearly we are doing this in concert with the request of the afghan government and as we continue to train and grow the afghan military, this is all being done together. the second thing is that what this really tells you is the decreased size of the u.s. presence in afghanistan was
probably done at a timeline and a schedule that was not coordinated with the ability of the taliban and al qaeda in afghanistan. bear in mind, since 9/11, the taliban has controlled more space today in afghanistan than they did at the start of 9/11. so we have seen an increased rise in terms of taliban capabilities and a decreased presence of the united states. so this is a challenge because we don't have sufficient forces to push back on the afghan -- on the taliban in al qaeda, and as a result we don't have increase in the capabilities of the afghan security forces. that's the challenge we see right now. >> perhaps explains why the president made the decision to extend the current troop levels through the year. 10,000 u.s. troops will remain in afghanistan until end of 2016, half that past that. perhaps they'll determine any
more reductions will be dangerous. thanks, general. you saw that picture in bottom of your screen. president obama is minutes away from making a very big announcement on new executive actions he'll be taking regarding gun control. you're looking right here, live look at the white house. east room where the president will officially unveil these new measures. we'll bring this to you live as soon as it begins. >> the administration has already laid out some key parts of this plan, including expanding who would be considered a gun seller, which could increase the number of background checks, at least some. cnn's michelle kosinski is at the white house for the announcement. any new details this morning? >> reporter: yeah, we know this announcement is going to be a room packed by people affected by gun violence. in fact, the person who will introduce president obama is one of the parents from this sandy hook massacre from three years ago. back when the president tried to do executive actions, more than two dozen of them. they couldn't go very far,
obviously. back then the president said he's gone as far as he can within the law. it's up to congress to do more. well, months ago he and his team decided to scrub the law, as they put it, and find any additional leeway to make changes. we already knew going in that whatever he was going to do was going to be kind of on the margins of the margins of what the law would allow it. those limits are really evident when you look at what they want to do here. what they're trying to enact. i mean, for the background checks, it's not even really a change in the law. i mean, it will have the effect of expanding or wanting to expand how many people register and then how many buyers of guns will have to go through background checks but it's really a clarification, based on a legal designation of who is a private gun seller versus who is in the business of selling guns. enforcement is another question. i mean, they have penalties if
you don't register and if these background checks are not done, but how is the federal government going to make these people register? how are they going to know if people don't? those enforcement questions with every one of these actions that the president is announcing today. john and kate? >> is it will be interesting to see. michelle kosinski, thanks much. >> let's bring in cnn senior analyst jeff toobin. you heard michelle lay out what we know. obviously, the devil is in the details, what details the president will offer. what's clear, the limits the president has here, that he can do with these executive actions. he and his advisers adamant that he is within his presidential authority, that he is not irresponsibly bypassing congress. do you think he's on firm legal ground from what you see? >> i do think he's on firm legal ground. i also think it is not that big of deal.
>> because he can't do much. >> the law, which was passed by congress, says you have to register as a firearms dealer and perform background checks if you are engaged in the business of selling firearms. the question is, what do the words engaged in the business. what the white house is doing today and the bureau of tobacco and firearms is saying, is we understand the definition to include people who may not previously have been thought to be firearms dealers. if you sell firearms for profit, if you sell firearms in their original packaging, these are indications that are you a firearms dealer, even if you sell small numbers of firearms. you're going to have to perform background checks. that's the gist -- >> as you pointed out, the pageantry in the white house in the lead up to, it the pageantry doesn't match up to it. >> it doesn't.
the politics are a little peculiar because republicans are saying he's exceeding his authority. >> some are. if you read more deeply, a lot of conservative writers are saying, what the president's done here is, perhaps, helpful to, you know, gun advocates because he's created outrage or -- among gun owners who want to keep the laws from changing, at the same time getting nothing in return for it. he's not making any significant changes. >> is that may be. go ahead, kate. >> to jeffrey's point, there are at the very same time, folks who already saying, they're going to challenge this. there are going to be legal challenges to this, which makes me think, what will this look like? >> this is a criminal statute and it's a law that there have been prosecutions of individuals for failing to register as firearms dealers. so, what -- how this would play out is if one of these people newly covered under the law was charged by federal authorities
with failing to register or selling guns in violation of federal law, they could go to court and say, judge, throw this case out because the federal government is misinterpreting the law. all of that would take at least a year to go forward. >> correct me if i'm wrong, i don't think the administration has covered how many more people would be covered under this clarification of the law. >> not only that, but i don't know they're going to enumerated specifically on paper exactly how they're expanding this. isn't it possible they keep it deliberately vague? >> not really. just today the baft put out a pamphlet, am i a firearms dealer. it's a detailed -- >> like you said in the original packaging. >> right, all those qualities. as with anything legal, there are going to be questions that are not easy to answer.
i think it is true that batf is putting out guidance about how to tell who's who. >> one of the things that is challenging and confusing about gun laws is you have federal gun laws and then state by state gun laws. what does this mean for the state by state gun laws that vary widely? >> nothing. the federal government cannot tell states what to do. one of the things we've learned in the course of lots of research of gun laws is that there are states like new york and massachusetts where it's very hard to buy a gun. so, much of the crime that takes place in the northeast where gun laws tend to be striblgter come from guns that were purchased in georgia and north carolina, places where it's virginia, much easier to buy a gun. guns, of course, handguns, are very portable. >> another place where gun laws are stricter, both places where we've seen mass shootings. >> as is often pointed out by gun rights advocates. >> this is more of a political question than it is a legal
question. the question then is why do this? is the answer because the president in the last year of his term wants to be seen as doing something, anything? >> absolutely. eat probably say that himself. i think he is -- he has said, look, i recognize that the best thing i could do is get new laws passed about gun. after sandy hook he tried very hard and he couldn't even get it through democratic senate. >> you made the point -- >> democratic senate he couldn't get it through. so, i think your point is accurate, but i also don't think it's any real secret. i think the president is saying, look, i'm going to push my authority as far as it will go, but, you know, we have a system where congress makes the law. >> the ironic effect of that, and kate was just showing me an article, every time the president has tried to crack down on guns, any time the rhetoric has been heated up, gun purchases -- >> more people buy guns. >> that's right. the term you often hear from gun buyers is, i'm worried about
confiscation. the federal government is going to come confiscate my guns. >> and top republicans don't help that rhetoric. donald trump just saying yesterday, this is one step closer to taking away guns. >> this is so far from confiscation. this is trying only to make it somewhat more difficult to buy a gun in the first place, but taking guns away, it has absolutely nothing to do with that. >> a lot more to discuss. thanks, jeffrey. important programming note for you. moments from now, president obama will be addressing the nation, announcing his actions on gun control. we'll bring that to you live. we'll have full coverage of that. we'll see what more detail comes out from president obama in just a few minutes. and another important programming note. this thursday president obama joins cnn's anderson cooper for a live town hall on gun violence in america. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. we do have other news for you today. word this morning that the republican establishment is plotting a trump takedown.
and a new question, wwmrd, what would mitt romney do? >> that doesn't roll off the tongue well. >> it sort of does. reports he's talking behind the scenes. the ones who labor for what they love. ♪ because at banquet we believe that every dollar should work as hard as the family that earned it. that's why we're making our meals better. like using 100% natural chicken breast in our chicken strips and adding real cream to our mashed potatoes. so now, there's more to love with banquet. now serving... a better banquet.
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ask your doctor if farxiga is right for you and visit farxiga.com to learn how you can get it for free. full speed ahead on the campaign trail today. actually, more than full speed as candidates speed through new hampshire and iowa. new attacks amongst the establishment rivals. shows they're going for blood here. today marco rubio's super pac released two new ads in new hampshire, slamming chris christie's records, his scandals, some might say, but most of all, his relationship with president obama. >>
chris christie could well be
president obama's favorite republican governor. why? christie's record. he instituted an internet sales tax, supported common core and liberal energy policies. incredibly, christie even backed obamacare's medicaid expansion. chris christie, one high-tax, common core, liberal energy-loving obamacare, medicaid expanding president is enough. conservative solutions pac is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> could not humanly be more touching in
that commercial. cnn's manu raju is in cedar rapids, iowa, where he just finished up three town halls. what do you see? >> reporter: when he speaks to voters, he does not go after his rivals by name. he talks in more hopeful optistic tone and talks in doom and gloom tones, and talks about what the president is doing and social conservative issues, like abortion, things that resonate with iowa voters. gut he does make implicit
attacks about ted cruz when he talks to voters about the way he sought to overhaul the nation's intelligence service. afterwards we talked to him and asked him specifically about what he thought of ted cruz's position on immigration and also national security as well as those attack ads on chris christie and he did not hold back. here's what he had to say. >> have i a very different view on national security than ted cruz. he has voted for and supported a containment budget. i think we need to -- this country cannot afford a president that's not going to reverse the direction barack obama has taken our country. we can't have another president that supports common core or gun control or expanding obamacare. these are serious policy disputes. there's nothing in those ads that's inaccurate. it's the truth. >> so that last part, of course, is referring to chris christie
and those super pac ads. i had also asked him, what about this effort by ted cruz to take a more hawkish line on immigration? he said, look, ted cruz supported massively expanding h1bv. he says during that 2013 immigration debate, obviously rubio sees cruz as a rival in iowa. he doesn't need cruz to be doing as well as he is in the polls and he needs to cut into chris christie who is surging in new hampshire. those are the two front wars he's fighting right now. it's really interesting seeing how this plays out, guys. >> it is really interesting right now. manu raju in cedar rapids, thanks. the key primary state of new hampshire, republican candidates are gathering there to speak at a forum. the topic, though, goes far beyond politics today, taking on the epidemic that has exploded in that state. it's become such a problem that many voters believe it is now more important than jobs or the
economy in terms of taking on. cnn's phil mattingly is there for us. so, phil, they're talking about drug addiction today. why has that become such a crucial campaign issue? >> reporter: well, 400, that's the amount of deaths estimated in the state of new hampshire related to heroin or painkiller overdoses. you mentioned the interest in the state on this issue. more than 25% of likely new hampshire voters list this as the top issue they're concerned about, above terrorism, above the economy. obviously, when something like that occurs, politicians are going to start paying attention. at this forum alone today, you'll have jeb bush, you'll have chris christie, you'll have carly fiorina. what's been most interesting about this issue, kate, is it's gone just beyond politics and maybe a couple proposals to try and address it. it's had poignant personal stories from the candidates themselves. you had carly fiorina talk about her daughter. you had ted cruz talk about his half-sister and her addiction. jeb bush and his daughter's addiction. most notably, a video from chris
christie's campaign symptom stop that ended up on "the huffington post," viewed more than 8 million times talking about a personal story of a friend of his from law school that dealt with addiction. christie who has made this a serious issue as he's risen in the polls, talking last night in i town hall, this is more than just enforcement, more than just tough love, this has become a very personal issue. take a listen. >> this is not about morality. i don't want my kids to use drugs and neither do you. i don't want my friends to use drugs and neither do you. most of us would say to them, don't do it. or have said that to them but some are going to do it, so we need to make sure they understand, when that happens, when they fail the prevention part of the piece, that we need to let them feel like it's okay to ask for help. >> reporter: guys, a very
serious issue in the state, getting serious attention and proposals from the candidates today and throughout this primary process. >> and so sad how many personal connections many of these candidates have. >> that's life. it's wonderful in a certain way to see all these candidates taking it head-on right now because it's important to the voters there. it's important to people in this country. >> epidemic in new hampshire. phil, thanks much. the plot to take down report. reports the gop insiders are whispering behind the scenes. we're going to speak to an official who says trump could flat out ruin the party for generations. >> ouch. moments from now, president obama will be revealing his controversial executive actions on guns in america. you're going to hear who will be standing with him during his big announcement. we'll be right back.
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brand-new details surfacing this morning on a plot to take down donald trump. politico reports alex castellanos says been meeting with top gop donors to gauge interest in launching an anti-trump vehicle that would pummel the manhattan businessman on the television air waves. here to discuss is cnn political s.e.cupp and republican strategist and former chief of staff to senator mitch mcconnell, josh holmes. great to see you guys. there's a lot to get to, especially this, josh. your words in this article. you do not mince words. you say the party needs to deal with the fact that trump and cruz could, in your words,
utterly destroy the republican bench for a generation if they become the nominee. why? >> well, kate, if you look at the health and success of any national political party, it resides in its ability to appeal to voters that are far beyond its typical base. we're looking at the center left, center right of the electorate and whether or not people can understand your point of view from a certain candidate's point of view. what you see out of cruz and trump significantly is they're going the opposite way. they're trying to exclude people from adding to that political base. to be honest, the republican party has done a great job over the last six years of actually broadening that base significantly, controlling 68 of 98 state legislatures, 32 govern norships, the majority in the house and the senate. the bench is doing well right now, partly because they have dynamic voices in pennsylvania, delaware, colorado, florida and others that can appeal to a purpose elector rat. right now, you're seeing the two
front-runners for the gop nomination doing anything put. >> well, s.e., let me put this to you because last night at the trump rally in lowell, massachusetts, not far from where you grew up, not exactly a red state, you saw lines of people waiting to get in to see donald trump. >> in the cold. >> in the cold. then there's ted cruz who basically says, look, have i the secret sauce to winning a general election which is to actually appeal to the conservative base. they will show up if i'm the nominee, unlike mitt romney or john mccain who they didn't feel to be sufficiently conservative. so could they somehow succeed in a general election? >> well, i want to be careful not to lump them too closely together. ted cruz and donald trump are two very different candidates. ted cruz walks around with a copy of the constitution in his back pocket and donald trump has shown very little concern for the constitution in things he's proposed. they're two very different candidates. the group donald trump is peeling to, let's be very clear, has always existed. he didn't invent them.
they don't belong to runs. there's always been a group of people in this country for centuries that have been afraid and angry and think that other people are the reason. so, therefore, we must keep them out. the know-noing in the 1850s tried to do this. they are anti-immigrant, anti-catholic. they ran on a third-party ticket and all they did was get a democrat elected to the white house. i think you'll see a very similar thing. this is a group of people that's been found democrats appealing at one time, republicans appealing at one time. the only difference is that finally, and i don't mean that in a good sense, but for the first time donald trump is actually speaking directly to them. this would have been ruinous in years past and that's why politicians don't directly speak to this very small group of angry, scared voters in the way that donald trump is. and for probably many reasons he's being successful as harnessing that very small
group's excitement. but whether he can turn that into a white house bid is, i think, a completely different story. there just aren't enough of them to turn that into a general election strategy. >> on one side, let's say, of the gop spectrum, you have donald trump and ted cruz. on the other side you have this battle for the gop establishment. rubio, christie, jeb bush. we were just talking about the ads these super pacs are putting out that are supporting these candidates. rubio attacking chris christie, a super pac for him. ted cruz's super pac attacking rubio from the democratic side. what do you think of it? >> first of all, i want to disagree with s.e. cupp on one thing. this is not a small group of people anymore. if you add up donald trump, carly fiorina, ted cruz, the anti-establishment group of candidates running right now, they're over 60%. 60% of the republican party wants them, right?
so i would argue this is no longer a small portion. and the rest of the field, the establishment field is really fighting for second or third place. and it doesn't bode well for them at all. so i don't know, s.e., i hate to argue with you, but i think given the poll numbers -- >> let me just answer that. the thing -- the thing we don't talk about enough is the thing people are talking about is registered republican voters who answer phone calls from pollsters on land lines. it's a very self-selecting group of people that we have decided are determining the front-runners of these elections. and i just don't think it's an accurate representation. and i think that will play out. we don't have to guess at this. we'll find out in the primary months coming up. >> 27 days. >> i don't think it's as accurate as we are -- >> i've got -- i've got to pull the plug right here on land
line, cell phones and otherwise. people get to show up to vote in 27 days in iowa. we'll know then. >> thanks, guys. any moment now the president will officially reveal his controversial plan to take on guns in america. new gun control executive actions under way. >> how much of an impact will this action really have? that's ahead. what's that, broheim? i switched to geico and got more. more savings on car insurance? yeah bro-fessor, and more. like renters insurance. more ways to save. nice, bro-tato chip. that's not all, bro-tein shake. geico has motorcycle and rv insurance, too. oh, that's a lot more. oh yeah, i'm all about more, teddy brosevelt. geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more.
this is cnn breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we begin with breaking news out of the white house. we're only moments away from a stark demonstration of the power and the limits of the presidency of the united states. long frustrated by the refusal of congress to tighten u.s. gun laws in a meaningful way, president obama is about to announce a series of what are
called executive actions aimed at making current laws more effective. something only the president can do, but it doesn't necessarily make new law. and the next president could undo it just as quickly. it centers on the criminal and mental health background checks that federally licensed gun sellers are required to perform on buyers. the obama plan would clarify that you don't need an actual gun store to be considered a dealer. and if you're a dealer, you have to have a license and do background checks. it would beef up the database to which gun buyers are checked. it proposes $500 million to increase access to mental health care and orders the defense, justice and homeland departments to research and develop new gun-safety technology. each year, more than 30,000 american lives are cut short by
guns. two-thirds coming from suicides. too many americans have lost loved ones. he goes on, and i'm quoting again, the gun lobby may be holding congress hostage but they can't hold america hostage. we can't accept this carnage in our communities. while we await the president, i want to bring in or senior white house correspondent, jim acosta, chief white house correspondent jake tapper, gloria borger and john king. jake, this is an important moment for the president. it's his final year in office. he's trying to do now what he has so far failed to do over the first seven years. >> that's right. now, three years ago, after the sandy hook shootings, he also did -- took some executive actions. 23, in fact. but they were minor. there is a lot of build-up about what he is doing this week. when you look at the actual proposals, at least so far as we understand them, they are relatively minor despite the fact that gun control advocates
are saying this is a big, historic moment and that gun rights activists are saying this is a horrible thing that's going to lead to the confiscation of guns. these are relatively minor steps, as far as we've been told so far. it gets a conversation going about an issue the president has felt very frustrated about dealing with congress. he wasn't able when there was a democratically controlled senate, he wasn't able to get some bigger measures in terms of closing the so-called gun show loophole accomplished. >> jim acosta, you're there over at the white house. set the scene for us. tell us what we can expect to see and hear from the president. >> reporter: wolf, first of all, just to set you up the theatrics here of this announcement, the press -- much of the press is not going to be in the east room when the president makes this announcement. several minutes from now. they cleared many of us out so they can have people from the
gun control community, family members of victims of mass shootings across the country and as jake said, this stops short of the president declaring there universal background checks across the country. it boils down to this, wolf, this is atf guidance to gun sellers across the country. do i need a license to buy and sell firearms? that's what they're going to sell gun sellers across the country. you need a license to sell firearms and need to conduct background checks. >> i want to go to the white house right now. the president is being introduced by someone who has a very, very painful history as far as gun violence is concerned. i want to listen in. >> in the three years since those 26 precious lives were lost at that school, far too many more lives have been lost. to gun tragedies in this country. far too many people right now who are hearing these words are
grieving the loss of a loved one to gun violence. as a nation we have to do better. we are better. we're better than this. in april of 2013, i had the honor of introducing president obama in the rose garden. and, unfortunately, that was to announce that a bill that had been proposed to close the loophole in the federal background check system for firearm sales had been blocked. by members of congress -- some members of congress. president obama delivered an address that day that was palpably charged with genuine passion and commitment. the president made a promise not to give up. i remember standing there with my family and vice president biden, listening to our
president speak, and our feelings of despair were replaced with feelings of hope. and i remember thinking, who's going to help him with this? that's a tall order. since then i've come to know and respect and learn from many amazing individuals and organizations who are doing good, smart work in this space. many of you are right here, right now. many in the gun violence coalition have had numerous meetings with vice president biden and president obama and top advisers to address this issue. but we can't do it alone. and the president can't do it alone. the thing is, every gun-related death is preventable. and we need your help. we need everybody engaged in this.
president obama made a promise as an elected official and a promise as a father that he would do everything in his power to protect our nation's children, to make our communities safer and curb the loss of life to gun violence in america. so today we celebrate another example of how president obama and vice president biden continue to keep that promise. it is with such great honor i introduce to you the president of the united states, barack obama, and vice president joe biden. [ applause ]
i still remember the first time we met, the time we spent together, and the conversation we had about daniel. and that changed me that day. and my hope earnestly has been that it would change the country. five years ago this week, a sitting member of congress and 18 others were shot at at a supermarket in tucson, arizona. it wasn't the first time i had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last. ft. hood, binghamton, aurora, oak creek, newtown, the navy yard, santa barbara, charleston,
san bernardino. too many. thanks to a great medical team and the love of her husband, mark, my dear friend and colleague, gabby giffords survived. she's here with us today with her wonderful mom. [ applause ] thanks to a great medical team, her wonderful husband, mark, who by the way, the last time i met with mark -- this is just a small aside. you may know mark's twin brother
is in outer space. he came to the office and i said, how often are you talking to him? he says, well, i usually talk to him every day, but the call was coming in right before the meeting, so i think i may have not answered his call. which made me feel kind of bad. that's a long distance call. so, i told him if his brother scott is calling today, that he should take it. turn the ringer on. i was there with gabby when she was still in the hospital. and we didn't think necessarily at that point that she was going to survive. and that visit right before
memori memorial, about an hour later, gabby first opened her eyes. i remember talking to mom about that. but i know the pain that she and her family have endured these past five years. and the rehabilitation and the work and the effort to recover from shattering injuries. and then i think of all the americans who aren't as fortunate. every single year more than 30,000 americans have their lives cut short by guns.
30,000. suicides, domestic violence, gang shootouts, accidents. hundreds of thousands of americans have lost brothers and sisters. or buried their own children. many have had to learn to live with a disability. or learned to live without the love of their life. a number of those people are here today. they can tell you some stories. in this room right here, there are a lot of stories. there's a lot of heart ache. there's a lot of resilience. there's a lot of strength. but there's also a lot of pain. and this is just a small sampling.
the united states of america is not the only country on earth with violent or dangerous people. we are not inherently more prone to violence. but we are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. it doesn't happen in other advanced countries. it's not even close. and as i've said before, somehow we become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.
and instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of the most polarized partisan debates. # despite the fact that there is a general consensus in america about what needs to be done. that is part of the reason why on thursday, i am going to be holding a town hall meeting in virginia on gun violence, because my goal here is to bring good people on both sides of the issue together for an open discussion. i'm not on the ballot again. i'm not looking to score some points. i think that we can disagree without impugning other people's motives oabout being d disagreeable, and we don't have to be talking past one another, but we do have to feel a sense of ur jgency about it.
in dr. king's words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now, because people are dying. and the constant excuses for inaction no longer do. no longer suffice. that is why we are here today. not to debate the last mass shooting, but to do something to prevent the next one. [ applause ] to prove that that the vast majority of americans, even if our voices are not the loudest or the most extreme care enough
about a little boy like daniel to come together and take common sense steps to save lives and protect more of our children. now, i want to be absolutely clear at the start. i have said it over and over again. this also becomes routine. are there is a ritual about this whole thing that i have to do. i believe in the second amendment. it is there written on the paper. it guarantees a right to bear arms. no matter how many times people try to twist my words around, i taught constitutional law, and i know a little bit about this. i get it.
but i also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the second amendment. i mean, think about it. we all believe in the first amendment, the guarantee of free speech, but we accept that you can't yell "fire!" in a theater. we understand that there are some constraints on the freedom in order to protect innocent people. we cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through the metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane. it is not because people like doing that. but we understand that that's part of the price of living in a civilized society. and what is often ignored in
this debate is that a majority of the gun owners actually agree. a majority of the to gun owners agree that we can respect the second amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on massive scale. today, background checks are required at gun stores. if a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapons safely and responsibly. this is not seen as an infringement on the second amendment. contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this has not been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. contrary to claims of some presidential candidates
apparently before this meeting -- [ laughter ] -- this not a plot to take away everybody's guns. you pass a background check, you purchase a firearm. the problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. a violent felon can buy the same weapon over the internet with no background check, no questions asked. a recent study said that 1 in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website hat a criminal record. 1 of 30. this is individuals convicted of serious crimes, aggravated assault, domestic violence, and robbery. people with a lengthy criminal history looking to buy firears s
over the internet. this is just one incident, one website. and so now we have a different set of rules for the people who buys their gun to the right way and subjects themselves to the background check. that doesn't make sense. everybody should have to abide by the same rules. most americans and gun agree. that is what we tried to change three years ago after 26 americans, including 20 children, were murdered at sandy hook elementary. two united states senators, joe manchin, a democrat from west virginia and pat toomey a a republican from pennsylvania, both gun owner, and both strong defenders of the second amendment rights, and both a a-grades from the nra, and that is a hard to get.
worked together in good faith consulting with folks like our vice president who has been a champion on this for a long time to write a common sense compromise bill that would have required virtually everyone who wanted to buy a gun got a background check. 90% of american people supported it, and 90% of the democrats voted for that idea, but it failed, because 90% of the republicans in the senate voted against that idea. how did this become such a partisan issue? republican president george w. bush once said i believe at background checks at gun shows and everywhere to make sure that the guns don't get into the hands of people that shouldn't have them. senator john mccain e introduced a bipartisan effort to close the
gun show loophole, because terrorists are exploiting this obvious loophole in the gun safety laws. even the nra used to support expanded background checks. and by the way, most of its members still do. most republican voters still do. how did we get here? how did we get to the place where people think that requiring a comprehensive background check means taking away people's guns? each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre. or the one before that. or the one before that, and so why bother trying.
i reject that thinking. [ applause ] we know we can't stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world, but maybe we could try to stop one act of evil. one act of violence. some of you may are recall at the same time that sandy hook happen e happened a disturbed person in china took a knife and tried to kill with a knife a bunch of children in china. but most of them survived, because he didn't have ak a cess to a powerful weapon.
we maybe can't save everybody, but we could save some. just as we don't prevent all traffic accidents, but we take steps to rye to reduce traffic accidents. as ronald reagan once said, if mandatory background checks could save more lives, then it is well worth making it the law of the land. the bill before congress three years ago met that test. unfortunately too many senators failed theirs. [ applause ] in fact, we know that background checks make a difference. after connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and safety course, gun deaths