tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 19, 2013 6:00am-8:01am EDT
>> i see the challenges that the issue of gun violence presents us in this country and how hard it is to solve that issue particularly i know living in the beltway for five, six years, you do develop a beltway mentality and think it's always about fighting here, and you don't realize there are a lot of opportunities, should be a lot of opportunities to find common ground on many issues, including gun violence. so that's kind of the perspective i'm coming from too. identify talked to elected officials, gun owners, friends
and others in the state and, hopefully, have a few ideas that might be interesting here today. i just want to acknowledge real quickly my old friend martin chavez, the former mayor of albuquerque, good to see you. as well ascare line brewer caroline brewer. and we have a couple representatives from moms demand action for common sense -- i can't remember the official title, but moms demand action to end violence in this country, so thank you. actually, when i started the semester with my students, i had shannon watts, who founded the moms group, come and speak to them. not so much to push my point of view or hers, but to talk about how people can try to push for change using social media and internet connecting. i also had a young man by the name of connor goddard who had worked for me at brady who told his personal story having been
shot four times at virginia tech. and i'm glad to see dick heller here. we never dead get out for the beer i wanted to do, but hopefully we can make that up sometime soon, dick. i've been on panels and discussions with dick over the years. want to make a few points. point number one is that we still have a problem with gun violence in this country. some people argue that, they'll argue that there's less gun homicides today than there might have been in the early '90s, they might argue that violent crime has gone down. that's all true. but we still have a problem with gun violence in this country. and even if the numbers are decreasing, which i'm happy about, we still have a problem with gun violence in this country. the tragic shootings at newtown where 20 first graders were massacred was just ten months ago. the shooting at the navy yard was just a month ago.
and we haven't done anything as a country to address these issues, and these are crucial issues for us to address. even when we -- and then i hear from so many people why do you focus on mass shootings so much of the time? mass shootings are very rare, there's very few people killed in the context of mass shootings, and that's true. but oftentimes that's the only time that the media and the public and our elected officials will focus on the issues, when there's a mass shooting. so i always said it's not that i'm saying anything different than i said last week or the month before or the year before, it's just only occasionally does the media focus on the issue, and that's when we see one of the tragedies like virginia tech, like tucson, like newtown occurring. but in this country we still have 32 people murdered every day with guns. and that's something that we shouldn't tolerate in this country. in addition to those 32 people that are murdered with guns every day, we have a number of
suicides by guns and accidents with guns that brings the total of gun deaths on a tailly basis to -- daily basis to about 80 per day in this country. and the depths by guns are only the tip of the iceberg. the people that are injured with guns every day increases that number significantly. for every gun death, there's another three or four gun injuries in this country every day. a lot of times when we focus just on gun homicides, we ignore the fact that our emergency rooms and surgical care doctors have gotten a lot better at dealing with gunshot injuries. part of it's the experience from iraq and from afghanistan. but we have a lot better system in dealing with those gun injuries than we did in the '90s. and so a lot more people survive these gun injuries. but when i talk to the folks that work the emergency rooms, when i talk to the folks that are the doctors and the nurses, they oftentimes in a large city will talk about they're still seeing as much gun violence as
they saw ten years ago, as they saw twenty years ago. then i look back at indiana, in the midwest. chicago's been having a horrible year in terms of gun injuries. my home city of fort wayne, i think the number of homicides is now on one of its highs for the last 20 years or so with gangs and guns and drugs in the community. so point number one, we have a problem with gun violence in this country, and as a nation we aren't doing anything to try to solve that, to try to fix it, to try to make it better. point number two, when we have tried to fix it, we've generally run into roadblocks. we all know that congress has a tough time doing anything. if they have a tough time passing the budget or raising the debt ceiling, how can we expect them to handle something like gun control, gun violence in the country? we came, as i mentioned after virginia tech, all sides worked together basically to help get a bill that got more records into the background check system.
but since newtown we at least had a vote for the first time in the u.s. senate, but at that vote all the policy proposals from both sides, from all sides of the aisle basically were blocked. there weren't enough votes to get a universal background check bill that was a compromise bill supported by senator manchin from west virginia and senator toomey from were. that was my hope -- from west virginia. that was my hope, bringing together a conservative and a moderate democrat, joe manchin, who field been both a-rated by the nra, manchin had run for office showing him shooting and a book of health care regulations. obviously, people that have a lot of gun openers and gun enthusiasts in their states and among their constituency. so when senators toomey and manchin were able to come together, i had hoped that we could get something done. but that bill fell five or six votes short of getting the
supermajority that we now require to get anything passed in the senate. on the other side, there was a bill to push, basically, national reciprocity for conceal/carry permits. this is a bill that had come up as a stand alone bill three or four years ago proposed by senator thune, the so-called thune amendment. when that came up a few years back, it fell short of the 60 vomits also. i think it got 58 votes that time. time it actually got less, i think it got 53 votes. so both sides pushing for their ideas on what to do with gun violence were blocked in the u.s. senate from getting anything done. and, of course, even if we had passed anything in the u.s. senate from the perspective of more background checks or restrictions on semiautomatic weapons or high capacity ammunition, who knows what would have happened in the house. it was very difficult -- if it's tough to get it through the senate, it's even tougher sometimes to get it through the house. and, obviously, speaker boehner has been operating on needing a
majority of the majority in order to even bring something to the floor. those sorts of bills probably would not have made it to the floor without a lot of pressure from the public. so this is the situation we've got. and what i see is i see a lot of good grassroots action from people like moms who demand action, brailledty and other groups -- brady and other groups, and i see a lot of action on the other side, the nra, but there are others that are pushing the gun rights agenda. and again, both sides i know see that as the long-term solution, do enough grassroots organizing, you change the people that get elected. when the people change that get elected, then we're going to be able to get something done. but that takes a long time. and even if there's a backlash against the republicans for the way they handled the debt ceiling and keeping the government open, you're probably not going to get the sort of people into congress quickly that are going to change these
things. we're still going of to have enough votes on the one side to block national conceal/carry, there's still going to be enough votes on the other side to block background checks, and we're all back to square one where 32 people keep getting killed every day with guns, and we as a country do nothing about it. i was very pleased that some states took action after newtown to strengthen some of their laws. there were other states that responded the other way after newtown, to, in effect, loosen their laws or make it easier to carry or have different restrictions. we saw states like colorado where what i consider to be good laws were passed, and then there was a recall election, and two of the people that pushed that got removed from office, but the law still stands. but we have this back and forth fight. and as i look back on it, we've been having this fight since at least 1993 and 1994 after the brady background check bill and the first so-called assault weapons ban was passed.
so what do we do now? we've got a problem, and we've got a political system that can't seem to move these things. what can we do? this is where i think we need, all of us need, we need to find a way to find common ground between the nra and the gun rights side and people like brady and moms demand action and mayors against illegal guns, and those who are concerned about the gun violence in this country. there should be a lot of common ground here. when i look at other issues that face us as a country, guns really is one where particularly since the heller v. d.c. case we should be able to find common ground. before the heller case there was a serious argument about what the second amendment to the constitution meant, and you can argue the history, you can argue the language, and you can argue the intelligent, and you can argue what the miller case said in 1938, you could argue a lot of these things. there were tons of briefs. but once the supreme court rules
in june of '08 that there was an individual right to have a gun for self-defense purposes at least in your home, that battle's done. in one of the points i made after that ruling, in fact, i was on a tv show, i was on chris matthews' hardball with wayne la pierre that night, and i said, con "freedom watch"lations, wayne -- congratulations, wayne, now let's figure out what we can do here. because the decision and justice scalia, you know, no screaming liberal, justice scalia made it very clear in section three of the opinion that this right, the second amendment right, like other rights is not unlimited. and he said that you could have restrictions on who gets a gun, on how the gun's sold, how the gun is stored, how the gun is caroled and even what kind -- caroled and even what kind of -- carried and even what kind of gun it is. you can argue where you can draw the line, but basically justice
scalia outlined some areas where i think we can start to have a discussion and where we need to have a discussion. and where it's crucial for the future of our country and the health of our communities to have this discussion. so i wanted to suggest a few things today where i think we can possibly find common ground. first one is still on background checks. i mean, this is the one that people should agree on. we all agree that people that we are pretty sure are going to be -- that are dangerous now and are likely to be dangerous shouldn't easily be able to get a gun. and, you know, that's sort of the starting point. someone who's been a dangerous felon, someone who's dangerously mentally ill, someone who's a clear drug abuser, a number of the other categories. folks generally agree on that. and even wayne lapierre, and i know he was on one of the national talk shows after the navy yard shooting and said that he wanted to fix the background check system. he said we've got a broken background check system.
he wants to fix that broken background check system, and no one's sitting down to talk with him. i'm saying we need to sit down with wayne lapierre and find out how we can find agreement with him to fix the broken background check system. if he's bluffing, at least let's find that out. if he's willing to work, let's get that work done. because the background check system is broken. but just because it's broken doesn't mean we walk away from it. i had one senator who wrote me and said he wasn't going to support the manchin/toomey bill because the background system was broken. my reaction was do something to fix it! the fixes can be complicated. we have to look at the definitions of who we consider a dangerous person, and maybe there can be better ways to define these people. we can look at how the records get into the system. even if you've got a great definition of dangerousness, if the states aren't getting the records into the background check system, it doesn't coanybody good. so we need to find better ways
to do that. and we need to look at how many sales are allowed without doing the background checks. right now only federally-licensed dealers are required to do background checks, that leaves a large loophole that's often exploited at gun shows, but it can be exploited through private sales, and that's something that could be fixed too. the manchin-toomey amendment proposal tried to fix that. some folks felt that went too far. let's try to figure out where folks felt they went too far. if it's because you live in a rural community and the nearest place to do a background check is far away, maybe we can draw some other procedures up that deal with that in terms of timing or in terms of how you can do the background check, but let's fix the background check system. this is one we should all agree on. and the fact that lapierre said he wants to sit down and fix the background check system is something that those in the gun control movement and the gun violence prevention movement should take up right away.
and that's one where the rest of us whether it's dick heller or paul helmke or martin chavez, you know, interested people who have been in politics and the gun issue for years can sit by and push them to get to the table. like any other compromise, there's a little give, there's a little take, but let's get something done that fixes this broken background check system that that makes it harder for dangerous people to get guns. that's point number one. point number two is i think we have some potential to do things on the weapons that we consider perhaps too dangerous to have easily, readily available to everybody. you know, this gets into the whole issue of a so-called assault weapon, semiautomatics, it gets into the issue of the high capacity magazines. again, we should be able to draw some lines. some people say, well, why do you want to ban a magazine clip, why do you want to hold it at ten bullets? my standard issue is 12 bullets or 15 bullets. i'm willing to get involved this
those kind of discussions, where we draw the line on 10, 12, 15 or whatever number of bullets. right now the limit is unfinty. there is no -- infinity. you see people like the aurora shooters bringing in one of these drums that has over 100 bullets. you can make a strong argument that the reason the tucson shooter was stopped was the fact that the 32-round magazine that he had emptied, and in the time he was trying to get the other magazine in, he was tackled. somebody who's good can change it real quickly, but when they're shooting people and people are screaming and dying and there's blood on the ground, that's a lot harder to do. so the size of the clip, the size of the ammunition magazine does make a difference. and newtown, one of the arguments is that 11 of the children got away when the shooter there went to change the magazine clip. so there are advantages to having a restriction on a magazine clip. what the number is is not as
crucial as the fact that we need to have some limits because right now there are no limits, and as the technology changes, we're seeing more and more guns that hold more and more bullets and cause more damage. a lot of folks say, oh, that's the stuff you're never going to get. you're never going to get another assault weapon ban. how do you define things? well, the one thing i point out to people is we've had restrictions on machine guns since 1934. we don't ban them. you know, it's not a machine gun ban, but we have heavy restrictions on machine guns and fully automatic weapons, and it's been on the books for some time. it was modified somewhat in the '80s, but these restrictions have worked for the most part. you don't see machine guns and fully automatics used in bank robberies today like we did in the '20s and '30s, you don't see them used in street crime partly because it becomes expensive and you have to do some registration and some licensing and some other things with fully automatics.
so they're available, but they're not available, readily available to most people. this, to me, is another category of where do we draw the line, you know? let's figure out how technology has changed to make guns more deadly in terms, again, the ve loss the city by which the -- velocity by which the bullets are released and figure out a way to draw the line and maybe have the alternative be some sort of heavier standard of regulation like we do with fully automatics. i'm sure a lot of folks on the other side are going to oppose that immediately, but most of them support the machine gun restrictions. not all do, but a lot of -- most people generally, including the nra, have supported the machine gun restrictions in the past. if they supported the machine gun restrictions in the past, there should be some possibility to support some restrictions going forward. the last point i wanted to make deals with who carries the guns, where they carry the guns and how we figure out who should be
allowed. and i think this the one where e might be some potential, maybe the most controversy from the gun violence prevention side. as i said, one of the big things we fought a few years back was the so-called thune amendment, that was one of the amendments that was proposed in april again. and i opposed that and others opposed it for a number of good reasons. we opposed it because some states have such low requirements for getting a conceal/carry permit that, basically, in virginia one of the people that got a shot at virginia tech, i know she was able to get a conceal/carry permit online without ever having touched a gun in her life, but she was able to do it online. some states like utah it's fair fairly easy. you fill out a form, you mail in a check, you get a license. other states have tougher requirements. so there's a whole variety. some states you have to renew the permit on a regular basis. some like indiana, once you get
it, it's a lifetime permit. you've got an obligation to tell the state of indiana if you've gotten in trouble during your lifetime, and they might take the permit away, but, you know, you've got a lifetime permit for your gun. not for your driver's license, but for your gun. so different states have different criteria. and one of the things we should look at because in order to get the nra and the gun rights groups to the table, we have to find something they've been pushing and are interested in that they haven't been able to get, and i think that deals with someover the reciprocity issues. i think one of the areas for potential, and i think it's an area that the gun violence prevention side should be willing to discuss is having some national recognition for conceal/carry if there are minimum standards met, either setting a national standard or a national minimum standard that states have to follow. i know a few years ago when i looked at it, texas actually has one of the higher levels, one of the highest levels of standards for getting a conceal/carry
permit. you know, if we could find a state where it's worked and it's worked well and where legitimate gun owners who have, who feel they need this for protection meet the criteria, let's have those sort of cry criteria and t them elsewhere. i think that's something that should be put on the table. and i think if we do that, i i think we also, perhaps, get into some of the issues with background checks with weapons. i think one of the things that's implied with a conceal/carry permit is the idea of permitting, it's the idea of the license. and it's always been interesting to me, i know one of the books i read early on on looks was david hemingway's book about private guns, public health. excellent book. and his conclusion as to what might do the best thing long range for dealing with gun violence was he proposed a system of licensing and registration. and, again, the analogy we hear all the time is you get a driver's license, you register your car. the state's involved when you sell your car in getting a new
registration. and, again, i'm not arguing that necessarily we go with the way we handle cars and truck driver's licenses fully -- driver's licenses fully, but the concept of licensing or permitting and registration is one we should look at. we register those machine guns. we license those conceal/carry permit holders. we do a background check before we allow people to buy. if we combine those concepts into a system that looks at the individual and then gives some sort of a license or permit, when we look at some of the weapons and look at some that need to be registered and others that don't, i think we can come up with a workable system, hopefully, that could perhaps advance the interests of folks on different sides of this issue and help us move forward. you know, i think about the dick heller v. d.c. case a lot, and the remedy in that case, the last line in justice scalia's decision was basically telling the district of district of colt they were ordered to give dick heller the license that he had applied for. you know, during the argument alan gura, the lawyer for
mr. heller, basically conceded that, you know, he thought that was the appropriate remedy. so, you know, licenses shouldn't be considered something that's unconstitutional as part of the remedy in the leading case in the field on this topic. people always say, gee, if we did that, there would be a list someplace that the federal government could use to confiscate weapons. well, the heller case, again, made it clear that the government cannot legally, constitutionally confiscate weapons. you do have an individual right to these things. so, you know, one of the arguments i made after the heller case was that, you know, the whole issue of licensing and registration really is a moot point now because the courts now said you can't have confiscation of the weapons. so it's another thing that we should look at there. and then the other thing that's kind of become more clear to me as i've been back in indiana is that the most enthusiastic gun owners that i usually deal with and the most aggressive gun owners that i usually argue with
are those that have gotten their conceal/carry permit or want to get their permit. well, duh. getting a permit. the government knows who they are. so if these are the most aggressive, most active, most articulate, most argumentative folks, there's a list there. not to mention the fact that people list and profile all sorts of other things. but i think the fact that the heller case ended up with a charge for d.c. to give the license to dick heller, i think the fact that conceal/carry permit holders know there are a list of permit holders, i think the fact that we've looked at registration for machine guns for years means there's some capability to take those concepts and combine them with some sort of national reciprocity that would take care of the argument i hear from the nra and others on the gun rights side that why should our rights be different in one state and not the other state? that's a big concession probably on the gun control side, and it's probably something i'd get arguments from with a lot of the
people i deal with. but again, we've got a problem in this country. our political system is not in a position that it's dealing with the problem. it's probably not going to be in a position to deal with that politically for some time. the only way that we're going to be able to get something through congress in the foreseeable future is if the nra and others on the gun rights side are willing to join in the conversation, sit down at the table and try to work something out. and i think, again, if we focus on the background checks and who should be prohibited, when we focus on which weapons should be treated more like machine guns and when we focus on this idea of licensing, permitting and national reciprocity, my hope is that we can find common ground. i don't want to see another tragedy, i don't want to see another mass shooting, i don't want to see my home city of fort wayne or the cities in this country continue to see the death and the blood and the mayhem they have. guns isn't the only part of the issue. we have to deal with the mental health system, the breakup of the family, the economy, but any
discussion that ignores guns is also closing its eyes. we have to deal with the issue of guns, and i hope we as a country are willing to do that. i salute president obama and vice president biden and some of the administration for dealing and talking about the issue after newtown, but we have to find a way to breakthrough the other side to let folks know there is room for common ground here and it's going to benefit the community as a whole. thank you for listening. >> thank you. [applause] now we'll entertain questions. please stand when you ask your question and identify the organization you're with. and if you're not with an organization, that's fine too. so let's begin. questions? matt? >> my name is -- [inaudible] with the mexican news agency. do you think that there is a window of opportunity from here to the end of the year after the president recommend just to the congress just to take care of --
[inaudible] >> i think now that i've reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling, i think we do have an opportunity. we're getting close to elections season, elections season goes on full time, it seems like. but really i don't think we're going to be seeing a lot of the full focus on the elections until next year. i think there's an opportunity in this fall now that we've got the qoft shutdown -- government shutdown behind us to deal with issues like gun violation, like immigration, some of the other things that have been talked about for some time. it's, again, something we need to do. so i'm hopeful. i might just mention it's, you know, and there are other parts to this issue that, you know, might have some common ground, too, that i failed to mention. one is the gun trafficking. it's, the guns going from our country to mexico is an embarrassment. and, you know, there are trafficking laws that can be written that i think all sides should be able to agree on that would make it harder to have these bulk sales that quickly go to the gappings, that go down to -- gangs, that go down to
mexico. and, you know, that's something that deals with law enforcement, but it needs to deal with the law on the books and, hopefully, that's another one of the areas where we can find some common agreement. >> [inaudible] capitol hill and the npc wire. you had mentioned statistics about the number of depth and injuries -- death and injuries. do you have any idea fall within the parameter where some consider it as an underlying source such as mental illness and drug-ridden neighborhoods, and how would you answer that question also to people who say they're going to find it anyway? >> the -- a couple points. one is the mental health issue is clearly one of the crucial ones here, and i know after newtown and after so many shootings a lot of people say it's just these mentally ill, deranged, dangerous people and sometimes the descriptions get even wilder and wilder in terms of describing the type of person. and i heard a researcher and
academic talk the other day about the issue of mental health many this, and he pelt that mental health -- he felt that mental health can be a contributing factor, but it was only 4% of gun violence that you could really attribute to someone who had mental health issues. and his conclusion was that the most dangerous combination was mental health combined with drug abuse or with alcohol abuse. and so those are things i think we can focus on and perhaps focus on better, that right now the only category of mental health that's prohibited is someone who a court has found or a court-like body has found to be a danger to themselves or others. but i think if we looked at this definition perhaps differently, if we looked at combining that with a drug abuse/alcohol abuse sorts of categories, we might be better able to come up with a predicter for who's dangerous for those reasons. obviously, a lot of gun sales ties to gangs, and a lot of that's the urban violence that
we're seeing. whenever someone says, though, that they're going to get the guns anyway, you know, i keep thinking do they have gun manufacturing plants, you know, in south chicago or in the bad part of, you know, in the poor part of fort wayne? i don't think so. you might be able to grow marijuana in your home and you might be able to do some other things with methamphetamines, you know, on your property, but not many people produce guns. the guns come from someplace. this is the one thing where it starts out as a legal product, and it quickly moves into illegal use, and we need to figure out how it gets there. and one of the ways it gets there quickly are from folks who can buy a lot of guns in bulk without a background check. and the classic example i give is the fellow who went to a gun show in dayton, ohio, and bought 81 of the same make and model of a semiautomatic pistol. is anyone surprised that someone who buys 81 of the same make and model of a semiautomatic what he
does with it? it's not more his collection, not for hunting, he's going to sell it out of the trunk of his car all through the midwest and northeast, which is what he did, and a police officer and some other people ended up getting killed from this. so the way you deal with that is to require the background check when he sells it -- i mean, when he buys it, require the background check when he sells it, look at a trafficking statute that looks at bulk purchases like that to make it harder for him to do that sort of thing. and, you know, some people also say with law that the bad guys are going to get it in anyway. what is the function of a law? one of the functions of a law is to prevent something bad from happening. and so when our current background check system stopped over two million illegal purchases from buying guns, that's good. a lot of people say, well, how come they haven't all been prosecuted and there's a low number of prosecutions, and that's an issue that needs to be dealt with, but at least they
were stopped from getting the gun in the first place. but it also means once they have committed a crime, it gives the police officer another thing to charge them with. and giving them another thing to charge them with, a violation of the gun laws means they can have a stricter punishment. sometimes having a law is meant to prevent, sometimes it makes it easier to find a penalty for it. the other thing with the law is it helps set what we consider to be societal norms, and i think the societal norms should be, you know, while you have a right as defined in the heller case and mcdonald case, you also have a responsibility, the rights are not unlimited, and you immediate to point out to people that you, you know, we want a society where you don't make it easy for dangerous people to easily get dangerous weapons. >> sir? >> would you -- >> your name? >> roger dahl, carmel, california. >> stand up. >> i can do that. would you like to comment on the
attempt by -- [inaudible] to proclaim the one-year anniversary of the shooting of 26 people as a gun saves lives day? >> i think it's disgusting. that's -- i don't want to say much else. i've debated alan gottlieb a number of times, and, you know, he comes from his own perspective and pushes his own issues. i think one of the things he likes to get is publicity for the points of view that he likes to argue, and i think he's looking for publicity. i think tying it to the anniversary of that tragedy is, you know, it's not -- it does disgust me. that's not the approach we should be taking on these issues. there are other ways to get those issues out there. and, again, i'd be willing to sit down with alan at the table and negotiate on these things. i don't consider the people on the other side, you know, evil, but i think that sort of a strategy, you know, is not appropriate. >> okay. you -- you and then you.
and then -- all of you will get to ask questions. you can get one too. [laughter] >> hi. i'm christina willkie with the huffington post. the nra has shown it's more than willing, i think especially in recent years, to raise alarm and to raise money over hypothetical threats that aren't real, and i point to the u.n. treaty, an idea that the u.n. is going to come and confiscate your weapons. and so what -- i mean, the nra has its own interests, and its members want to hear perhaps a certain thing, and it needs to keep raising money. how do we get a conversation with a group like the nra back to reality, and how do we meet them at the table if their table's constantly shifting? >> yeah. it's not going to be easy, i admit it. and, you know, there are large organizations, they like to raise money. large organizations of any sort need to raise money to keep going, and they raise money based on fear. they raise money based on fear
that, you know, you're going to get somebody to break into your home in the middle of the night and do all sorts of things, so you need your gun. they raise money on fear that if obama's reelected, he's going to come and take your gun away with. they raise money based on, you know, if you make this one change in the current law, it's a slippery slope that will lead to everything being taken away. i think folks need to wake up and realize, you know, playing on fear is not reality. and that's where i want to talk wayne lapierre at his word when he says he wants to talk about fixing the background check system and then call him on that. again, if he won't do that, he won't do it. but, you know, i think there's the possibility because, you know, he also needs to deal with the real world and realizes that if he says one thing and isn't willing to at least sit down and talk about it, he's gone back on it. i know after the, after the tucson shootings when the justice department started a review of gun laws, the nra's reaction was why should we meet
with somebody like attorney general holder who wants to take our guns away? but after the newtown shootings when the president called for it, at least they went to those meetings. and i think if there's continuing pressure, and the pressure needs to come from their members, and it needs to come from the electeds that have supported them. and when they start hearing from their members and electeds, look, background checks is something that's getting 85-95% support, try to fine a way to work it out. sit down there and work it out. that's where the pressure's going to have to come from. the, i haven't followed all the details as closely as i should, but it's my understanding when illinois made some of their changes this last year, the nra did sit down at the table and tried to work things out on figuring out how they redid some of the things with their firearm owners' identification card and adopting conceal/carry in the state. so i think there have been times when they've been willing to sit down.
again, after the virginia tech shooting we were able to work indirectly with them through their elected -- i mean, through the senators that supported their positions to get this instant check system amendments act passed. so i think there is some potential to work with them. it's not going to come just from somebody like me calling for it or suggesting it, it's going to come from, again, their members and others pushing them to it. but again, we've got those other issues in the government off the table. let's deal with this gun issue. it still is a problem, and it's not going to work unless we get the nra to do it. and if they see something like national reciprocity, i think that might be enough of a carrot to bring them to the table. >> okay, sir, you were next. who else has questions here? who else? [inaudible] >> [inaudible] i recall a statistic indicating
that between 2005 and 2010 some million of guns were stolen in home break-ins and issues like that, and so i'm wondering how would, how -- do you see the country addressing that particular, i guess you might say loophole in welcomed -- background checks? >> that's a serious issue too. i mean, when folks are interviewed in prison and you never know how much you can believe from what they're saying and where they got the gun, but again, stolen guns is an area where sometimes people do get their gun. i point out all the time when i talk to friends of mine that are gun owners, i say, you know, i'm not anti-gun, i've got no problem with you becoming a gun owner as long as you recognize not only the rights, but the responsibilities and the risks that go with owning a gun. and, you know, some of the risks are that it is going -- you know, there are different studies that have shown different percentages of how often that gun is likely to be used against you or a family
member, some of the studies say up to 21 times more against you than an intruder, and the risk that it's going to be used against you. part of it is somebody gets trunk, somebody gets angry, somebody shoots the brother-in-law when they think it's an intruder, all those sorts of things. but the ore part of -- the other part of the risk is it's going to get stole p. make shoe sure you know where for, and it's secured from the kids, the neighbors and it's secured, if possible, from the burglar. the things that burglars generally look for based on police officers i've talked to, they look for jewelry, small electronics and guns, you know? those are the three most popular things generally went people -- when people break into a house. if you're of the standard where i've got it in my bed stand, that's probably where the burglar's going to look for it. not the smartest places to keep the gun or at least to keep them open when you're not there.
>> okay. sir? >> fred -- [inaudible] private citizen. i just want to know how much can we learn from other countries and the way that they've handled these situations, specifically countries like canada or australia with respect to things like their laws, their ownership, the number of deaths and injuries from guns? >> well, we haven't learned, i don't think, anything from other countries yet. it's -- i mean, we are unique in the level of gun violence in this country, and i'm not up on the latest statistics necessarily, but it's something like you could take the next 20 largest industrial used countries in the world, and our rate of gun violence is 25 times larger than them combined. it's just amazing. other countries have taken steps. the argument i hear is the other countries don't have the second amendment. but again, our second amendment pursuant to the heller and mcdonald decisions does allow some regulation on guns. and even with that sort of an opening from scalia and alito, we haven't been willing to do any regulation yet. but oh countries have figured
out ways to do it. sometimes it's been, basically, buying back weapons that they consider too dangerous to be in civilian hands, sometimes it's just having restrictions on those weapons, sometimes it's encouraging a lot of gun ownership like in switzerland, but having tight regulations that are tied, in effect, to switzerland's militia, even regulating the number of bullets somebody has. again, i'm not saying any of those are the solution for this country. it's a bigger country, there are a lot more guns already out there, a history that's different than some, but i do think we can learn from other countries. there are ways you can protect yourself, there are ways that we can live with guns without making it as dangerous as we make it for ourselves. >> woman in the back there and then dick and then whoever else. >> caroline brewer, longtime gun violence and prevention supporter. i want the ask paul about some of the myths that are circulating among the public and among officials in washington that keep us from being able to make progress on gun violence prevention.
i talked before that i think there are myths that keep some of our elected officials from doing things. one the myth that i usually here from republicans that says we can't do anything about gun violence, we can't even argue about background checks or restrictions because of the second amendment. and, you know, what i need to do is point out to them have you read the heller case? have you read section three of the heller case? you know, when it says these rights, like other rights, are not unlimited, and these list of presumptively legal restrictions are not, this is a list that's not exhaustive. i say, you know, again, you can go too far, but there are things you can to. so even this last april when the senate debated this again, half the time when the republicans were speaking they were saying second amendment, second amendment, second amendment when the proposal they were talking about really didn't infringe on the second amendment, at least as defined by justice scalia and the majority of the supreme court. so i think that's one of the
myths, the second amendment does allow things. you know, first amendment sounds pretty absolute too, but then courts say you can't libel somebody, you can't slander somebody, you can't have pornography in public places. there are restrictions on first amendment law, there are restrictions on the other amendments, there are restrictions that are constitutional with regard to the second amendment too. it's not absolute, and that's what the court said. the other myth that i usually deal with is the one that the democrats usually say which is that, you know, gun control so politically radioactive, we don't want to talk about it. and i think that was one of the reasons, perhaps, the president and the vice president didn't talk about the issue much til after their election even though, you know, it was after newtown too. i keep arguing if they had done something after tucson, it might have laid the groundwork to do something after newtown, because it takes a while to build up public support for issues. but where'd this argument come
from that this was politically radioactive? a lot of dems will say gingrich and republican congress in 1994, that was because of gun control. and then, of course, when we argue health care, they say they came in all the other issues that came up in '94. i was a republican in indiana, three seats flipped from d to r, none of them because of gun control. it might have been the issue in one race here or there, but very few races. then i hear, well, gore lost in 2000 because of gun control. and i point out that during that campaign, actually, george w. bush was more support supportivn control than gore was. he supported the assault weapon ban, supported trigger locks and, you know, it's part of what that tells me is the political calculation that he made and karl rove made were that these were things that were popular and particularly popular with
independents, moderates and female voters particularly and with the suburban voter and that was part of his compassionate conservative approach. maybe he didn't do much about it when he was elected, but when he was campaigning, he realized that was crucial. and with the al gore election you can argue any number of things were the reason that al gore lost. i just had a friend of mine who used to be mayor of knoxville, tennessee, and he was -- i was talking to -- [inaudible] maybe during the presentation he was saying if al gore had made only one visit to tennessee during the campaign, he might have carried his home state. tennessee didn't vote against him because of gun control, they voted against him because he basically was treating them like he didn't know them anymore. he needed to get back and visit. so politically, you've got those things. so then i look what's happened lately, and when i follow closely the races in '06, '8, and even '10 and '12, i don't know of races where somebody running on a pro-gun control
platform lost because of that issue. they might have lost because of other issues, but i don't recall of any that lost because of that issue. there were a lot that actually talked about the issue that won. and i think it was the one cycle where it was a big issue in boxer's, senator boxer's re-election campaign in california. she won again. it was an issue in governor quinn's campaign in illinois, and he won. and it was an issue in gary connolly's congressional race just outside of d.c. here in virginia, and he won. so, you know, here's a senate race, a governor's race and a congressional race on west coast, east coast and midwest where the person who was in a tight race won advocating gun control type things. so, again, i think it points out -- and the bottom one, to me, is if gun control was so controversial starting after the brady bill and the assault weapon ban, how did bill clinton get reelected so easily in 96? he's the one that put jim and
sarah brady on platform. when i see polls that 95% of the american people support an expanded background check system including 85% of gun openers and 75% of nra members, i think we have an opportunity to get in this done. some people say gun control doesn't work, and my response is how do we know, we haven't tried it? because really in this country all we've really got are this background check system that a does need a lot of fixing;
>> i'll make my questions brief, and we can discuss them at a later date, maybe in indiana somewhere. the one thing that really struck me was that the number of firearms owners that we have in this country, there are about 40 a day in every state of citizens that believe that they save their own life because they have a firearm. that comes to, basically, 40 times 50 is about 2,000 a day people believe they save their lives as compared to 32 people -- 32 homicides.
so it's really, i think, more of a human nature issue than a gun issue, and i have a couple of more points of many. but the one thing that's important to me is that when anyone has their home invaded, who is the first responder there? it's not the police. it's the homeowner. it's the citizen who's just had their door or their window kicked in. and if police can have body armor and everything up to but not including machine guns, we as citizens as the first responder, that's what we should be having. we should have what we give our second responders. and number three, in australia once again it goes back to human nature to address your point. what i did is i looked at aic, australian institute of criminology -- i'll bet you've been there -- and what they found after their gun
confiscation or turn-in or voluntary turn-in, whatever they called it, what surprised me was that the homicide level only went down 10%. in other words, ten years later the homicide level was 90% of what it was when everyone that wanted to was armed. but wait a minute, there's no guns. what is wrong with this picture? and that's what i think happens when you have a total gun ban or confiscation or whatever you want to call it. and then the shocking point is i kept looking at the charts. i found out the 10% homicide that went down from guns then went back up, additional homicides with knives and brutal weapons. and it was a real wake-up call for me. and last point i thought you were kind of unfair to utah. full disclez your, i'm a utah conceal/carry holder, and they require eight hours of safety training and the normal
background check. so you sort of glossed over that, sir. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> just a couple responses. on numbers in terms of protective uses versus homicides, one of the things i learned as mayor is any sort of crime statistic or crime-related statistic is tough to keep just because people don't report rapes or people overestimate things, thefts go unreported, i mean, just the reporting criteria. so the one statistic that is generally the most solid and the most comparable jurisdiction to jurisdiction are homicides just because everything else is a little fuzzier. it's a lot easier to track the dead body than it is somebody who didn't report getting shot or raped or a burglary. so you can do different statistics. people sometimes believe a gun protects them when it was the noise in the become yard -- backyard, it was the animal rustling. i'm not saying that was every case, and there are good defensive uses of guns.
again, i'm not anti-gun, and the supreme court in your case did indicate that the homeowner does have that right. but again, my point is the homeowner needs to realize the risks ask responsibilities that go with that, and too many don't do that. in terms of the guns today use, you know, most police, you know, they're generally coming in with a semiautomatic pistol thaw got, they're not usually coming in the with a s.w.a.t. team. most burglars actually don't want to do a home invasion with somebody there. the main thing they're looking for is an easy in and out. but, again, you've got to, you know, the court made it clear that an individual homeowner does have a right, and that's the law of the land. that's not being questioned. i think when we look at other countries, people are always going to be violet. people will always do bad things, people will kill each other. we have made it easier and easier year after year to do that, and even guns today are different than guns that were even around 20, 30 years ago. you talk to the police officers
and what they're seeing, you know, the saturday night specials that my father saw when he was prosecuting attorney in the '60s were cheap throwaway guns that could kill, but they often times didn't even work. what you see now with the higher velocities and larger bullet size and the number of rounds they can hold is significantly different, and we need to look is that something really we want for the civilian public to defend yourself in your home. basically, you know, you don't need that sort of weapon. you might feel that you need a weapon, but you can do that with the gun that you're not allowed to have in d.c., with the shotgun that mr. mcdonald had before the case as well as the pistol he's added since that case, you know? i still think we can find be common ground on strengthening these issues, on making it harder for dangerous people to get the dangerous weapons and getting some common sense. we haven't done anything different, though, since basically the early '90s on this to try to help. >> ma'am? >> yeah. my name is carol dahl, i don't
think i need to stand up. my husband and i are survivors of an in-person home invasion, and we are vehement gun control advocates. it wouldn't have helped us in that situation. but my question is, how do we as individual citizens get the nra and the gun lobby to sit down with you and the brady commission to talk about the issue of background checks? what can we coto promote that? >> i think the crucial thing is to keep the issue on the front pages as much as we can, you know? talk out about it in your communities, get your friends to talk about it. if you tell your story about the home invasion, if you've got friends that are gun owners, you know, talk to them about it. again, it's, again, a lot of the issues that we argue about in this country really, you know, people do go to the extremes for a lot of reasons, a lot of times it's hard to find middle ground.
abortion's an issue. it's tough to argue on that. guns are here. there is a constitutional right to have a gun in the home for self-defense. there are a lot of things we can do on the middle ground here. but it's only going to happen if people keep talking about it, get their elected officials to think about i. the challenge has been most of our supporters were in the area that is the congress people and the senators are on that side too. it's getting back to the iowans and the midwestern states and the southern states and the mountain states where people haven't looked at it that way. and i think now's the time since we've had the heller case and the mcdonald case, since we've seen congress get blocked this april that we can get some progress on this type of an issue. >> other questions? >> when i was -- [inaudible] >> your name? >> my name is ann bader, and i'm a mom and a grandma. and when i was in college, the issue that i really worked very hard on was to get the 18-year-olds the right to vote.
>> uh-huh. >> request okay. part of it was educating the public, and we did a lot of that, and we got public opinion to be behind us, and it got passed, okay? what i've seen in the united states right now is we didn't want a sequester. we want a budget. this fiasco of the last few weeks is abominable, okay? we had a vote several months ago on putting minimal things about gun control in. and it got voted against it. we had congressmen that had 85% of their district that were for this. and you sound like you're hopeful that we can do something about this? [laughter] i mean, i just don't see that this can happen. how do we do this? how can you be hopeful? >> okay. you discouraged me, i quit. [laughter] i guess it's part of, you know, you've got to have hope, you've got to keep trying. it's things take time, and, you
know, i've been discouraged -- i mean, when i heard the news about newtown, i was just so depressed partly because with it shouldn't have happened. and, you know, again, you can't stop all evil. maybe something bad still would have happened, but it shouldn't have had to be this bad of a situation. and it's just you've got to keep pushing. i believe that the right does triumph, that people do come to their senses, that you can make a difference, and if i didn't believe that, i'm not sure i could get up in the morning and keep doing things. you've got to -- i'm teaching freshmen, you know? i'm hopeful just seeing younger people and, you know, we had a speaker, we had a fellow here in d.c. who's been in public office, and he was meeting with some of them and, basically, said, you know, this government shutdown and everything, you're probably so discouraged, you know, do any of you even consider going into politics? and a lot of them said, yes, they want to go into politics, yes, they want to go into goth, yes, they want to get involved in their communities because
we've screwed it up so much, they want to get in there and fix it. [laughter] and i really think that is the attitude young people have today. so even if we can't make the difference in our generation or with the folks we've elected, at least let's hope that the younger folks coming up are going to push those things. i think demographics, actually, is one of the issues that the gun rights side might be facing which is i know when i was growing up, i never went hunting with my dad, but a lot of my friends did. there was a lot more area to hunt. now there's suburbs and subdivisions and malls there, you're seeing less and less of that happening. i think you're seeing so many other things that interest young people today, hunting and gun ownership isn't part of it. and, you know, so i think there's less of sort of automatic constituency for the nra than they used to have, and that might help give some political balance here too. just one last point. i meant to say this on another point, i read something recently how someone was upset that congress had encouraged some
regulation about cars having a rearview camera so you could see, you know, when you're backing up you don't run over somebody, and there had been something like 230 deaths last year from rearview back-ups and they were so upset that a camera rule hadn't been adopted because there were 230 deaths. you know, that only takes us, you know, a week, basically, in this country to have 230 gun homicides. you know? we need to start talking about and figuring out how we solve it. and, again, if 230's enough to worry about it on cameras, rearview in cars, it's enough to worry about this. one other point and i just remember -- [laughter] i ran into some of my elected officials from indiana last month, and our two u.s. senators from indiana, actually. and i complimented the one for voting for the background check amendment, and i criticized the other one when i saw him for voting against the background
check amendment particularly since he'd supported the brady bill and some of those efforts in the early '90s. and the comment from both of them was, well, the one who had voted supporting the welcomed check, he -- and i told him, i sent him a note thanking him, he said it must have been one out of the hundred or one out of a hundred or a thousand because he got so many more criticizing him. and so the similar comment from the other senator. and the point is for folks who want to have change, you know, the elected officials are the people who make the change. they need to hear from us. they need to hear from us with thanks and with criticisms. i think sometimes we forget to thank the ones that support us, and we don't need to give up on the ones that have voted the wrong way. we need to let them know that too. i'm hopeful, i think this can make common sense. i'm always willing to talk to people like dick heller, meet with people like wayne lapierre, and i think if we get folks together doing that, we can make a difference. as a mayor, you work with
everybody, you learn to work with everybody to try to make things work in your community, that's what i want to see. so -- >> thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] >> every weekend since 1998 c-span2's booktv has shown over 40,000 hours of programming with top nonfiction authors including dee dee meyers. ..