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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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candidates or those running at the more local level for our reach. this party is just simply abandon those states sometimes. but the others is that if you look at the state's with latinos are growing fastest fastest, because their numbers are several small and the tendency of campaigns if i were a political consultant that five or 10% cable might hit the population and less of margin is razor-thin which means it comes very late.
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so what has to do with that and general candidates try to look at how it is cooked and slices of they can win. if you look at obama a 2008 who looked at the shape of the pike and would not give them a winning equation. >> so do save 60% use survey that you reach out for not targeted yet by the clinton campaign? nt is save those obama efforts quick. >> i am not surprised because over half of hispanics with in texas and california and they are not competitive. add other large latino populations states like new jersey or new york or illinois you'll have more
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noncompetitive places that have larger latino populations florida and nevada colorado you do see higher latino rhett -- registration because people are talking and more often the case that the parties are vying for their votes if you rent california or new york is a different game so that number is not surprising. i would actually be looking at your singles numbers in florida or colorado would be more problematic. >> >> was the obama campaign in more aggressive to reach the 2012 voters or 2008 them this year? >>:the registration side it would suggest that there was
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early. >> but there is more interest in voting with the registered voters greg. >> with your polls it shows they are more interested because of donald trump but there is less effort made to register them. >> right. >> you talk about the of millennial s will those schools impact? and then what will they do for those and internet access? >> those are great questions . most recently working with young people on college campuses across the country to organize on their campus and surroundisurroundi ng communities we have people
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in florida, kansas, texas, neva da, arizona organ - - oregon. so we have different chapters absolutely one them to organize on campus to say one to make sure in the latino community that they are organized but for others to say there is space for us we want to create that space to be involved and get more education and similarly we ask puerto rico reach efforts especially for those from smaller communities or that don't get a lot. what about those who are not online? that is a great question. first of all if you don't have a mobile program you don't have a program in
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terms of an on-line not reach. that is why it is important to build a strong taxing programs you may not be able to get all minor download the applicant you can get a text from a friend asking you to volunteer or come to raleigh or registered to vote. and you want to make sure you're still reaching traditional media television or radio we know as we scale up that is very have the digital models to allow for those deficiencies to be made more quickly. >> she called you told. >> she called the traditional media. [laughter] >> with those technology
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components the idea is even though the college rates are improving many are still not going straight to college want to make sure high-school senior level that is happening. but we invest because we don't see voter registration as something that should happen when to work with the schools every year they can register their eligible seniors before they graduate like it is a rite of passage you'll be registered when you get your cap and gown. >> univision has a strong digital component. one of my colleagues is sitting there we have a app.
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[laughter] talk a little more how tarnished the republican brand is and the prospects lasting beyond 2016, h. donald trump for hurt the republican brand it is projecting into the future but you did not go there can you elaborate i am from mcclatchy. >> part of the reason i don't want to project is because i am hopeful. fifty-one to see the republican party fight hard for the latino electorate and we have seen some of that, under bush diminish again about 45% in his second term. that battle of ideas in is important for any electorate
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but that said i think there is serious damage to be done and some of the of work that is alluded to shows whenever it is getting tarnished it is unjust with that particular candidate and that hasted to with the death of the nature of those remarks. but if it was in his previous run it was clear he was carrying some weight of the tarnishing of the republican brand. i don't think republicans have reached the point of no return but i do think their own analyst will say this is very extreme and to come
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back world take these herculean effort. >> i think this new congress will give an opportunity. >> absolutely right. at the end of the day latinos want to see progress on issues. the economy and jobs progress this is huge. what happens is shaped by the action of the parties they have an important year where republicans can show the progress can be made on these issues. >> last question. >> history shows that once that seed is planted it is very hard to bring up the ethnicity and they don't stop how can the new
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congress mitigate that quest bypassing comprehensive reform to those that are affected by the immigration system. >> that is an important first set because that is ready eyes are in sylvia mentioned the ethnic notion whether they become just like everybody else or not not, and generally speaking want to see themselves as part of the american mosaic we're not interested to be isolated and a separate but we are not immune to being targeted to be isolated and a separate. so one of the important things with this electorate
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can play a moderating role in politics based on the views of government and entrepreneurs ship and self-reliance and that is why both parties should be courting more aggressively to make sharp one more. >> nbc news we have seen about investment so wet that kind of investment with the g.o.p. in the community chiusi more registration on that end coming from those kinds of groups? and kenny be more specific about weaker investment. , a chinese don't you have for is in the community
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getting now but it was before? did evaporate to other groups have it? >> what provocative questions for the end. with the koch brothers it is a free world. they should be courting the latino community there is investment on that end and they're trying to educate the latinos about the conservative agenda. that is fine in terms of how many i don't know because i know exactly what their numbers are but we're not afraid to have the debate over ideas. that is fine and they have been to our conference a couple of years ago and
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there was the very, very lively debate from folks in the audience from the positions and the rhetoric that libra advances we're a diverse community asian hear ideas and make decisions we are not afraid of that. but on the investment side side, and the issue is in 2012 voter registration campaign was around $70 million not necessarily a commensurate with the gap we tried to close. but this year it was less than 1.5 million even though we have the capacity to do much more and the expertise and the track record. >> thanks to our guests and
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to be with us. we have lunch in the back. pci spee5
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me, donltd doesn't know anything about the casino business. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. at the national press club today, connecticut senator chris murphy talked about gun laws and the sandy hook school shooting. senator murphy led a filibuster in june to force congressional action on gun regulations. this is 50 minutes.
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welcome to the national press club. my name is thomas burr, the washington correspondent for the salt lake tribune. our guest today is senator chris murphy of connecticut. i would like to welcome our public radio and c-span audiences and like to remind you that you can follow the action on twitter using the #npclive. now it's time to introduce our head table guest. stand as your name is announced, please hold your applause until i finish announcing the entire table. tammy, former press club president, john welch, will lester, an ed toitor at the associated press, mary cyprus, director of affairs, dan freidman of the hurst newspapers washington bureau, clay
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lasher-summers a fellow engagement leader for every town new hampshire, mark chef senior reporter at investment news, skipping over the speaker for just a moment, jonathan so launt, a former press club member, kate ran sick, national spokesperson more mom's demand action, jason dick, deputy editor, peter irvine, freelance journalist, and key da lucky, commander of the american legion post here at the national press club. thank you all. [ applause ] take as moment of personal privilege, i would also like to welcome in our audience, andy and barbara parker.
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they're the parents of a reporter who was shot and killed a little over a year ago during a live shot. mr. and mrs. parker are now members. would you please stand and be recognized. [ applause ] thank you for being here. a senator filibuster is usually designed to block a vote on a piece of legislation. the connecticut detective chris murphy had a different goal when he orchestrated a 15-hour filibuster in june. murphy's objection was to get senate republicans to allow votes on measures to prevent people from buyi ining guns. weapons buyser can avoid background checks. eventually the republicans agreed. while he lost the votes murphy made his point.
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in philadelphia he spoke on gun control at the democratic national con vepgs and he's promised to raise the issue again and again this fall with the white house and congress at stake. murphy has emerged a was op the most vocal supporters of gun control. he hadn't taken his senate seat when a gunman started shooting at sandy hook in 2012 killing 20 children and 6 adults. murphy served in the state legislature. when joe leiberman retired in 2012, murphy won the seat. let's welcome to the national press club, senator chris murphy. [ applause ] >> thank you, thomas. thank you, everyone. thank you very much. thank you. thank you.
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thank you. thank you, mr. president, thank you to the national press club for hosting this really wonderfwonder ful lunch here today. as i wrote in the guest book i feel like i finally made it, my first trip to the national press club. i want to join in your acknowledgment of the parkers, want to add an acknowledgment to mark barden of sandy hook, a greet friend and leader on this issue. i want to thank those that are part of this head table today, clay and kate and marry for all of the work that they have done with me and others to try to move forward this issue of gun violence. and i want to ask your forgiveness as i delve into some prepared remarks that i think are important and then really look forward to answering your questions here today. so december 14th, 2012, a day
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that everybody recognizes, it's a day for me that forced my political career, which at that point was 14 years old, to change course. that morning i was standing on a train platform in bridgeport, connecticut getting ready to take my 4-year-old and 1-year-old boys down to new york city to see the rockefeller christmas tree and i got a call that there had been a shooting at the sandy hook elementary school. then i got another call telling me that there had been kids involved. and a few hours later i was there at the fire house adjacent to the school as 20 sets of parents, including the bardens were told that their children were laying dead on the floor of their first grade classrooms. sometimes in this business you get to pick the issues that you work on. and then there are other times when the issues pick you. now before that date quite
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frankly working on this issue of gun violence just was not at the top of my political priority list. as a congressman i didn't represent any of the cities in connecticut with epidemic rates of gun violence. but it's become my singular focus now on a united states senator. in the wake of sandy hook my eyes have been opened to the catastrophe of gun violence in america. and the inability to explain our exceptionally high levels of gun homicide with any data points but our gun ownership rates and our lax gun laws. in the four years since sandy hook the carnage in our streets has not abate pd. the mass shootings from san bernardino to orlando, they've continued, gun homicides remain as regular as rain drops and they now see the assault weapon rrt than the hijacked airplane or the explosive devices, their
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primary opportunity for mass slaughter in america. stopping dangerous style military assault weapons from flooding our streets is now one of the most effective tools we have to combat terrorism. that's what drove me to make the decision to stand on the floor of the united states senate to demand change. i'm still furious that in three years since sandy hook, three years of almost daily bloods shed in our cities congress has done absolutely nothing to prevent the next massacre. think about this. as our air waves are flooded with news of horrific waste of gun violence in chicago, mass shootings, congress hasn't done a single thing. but i also understand the my furry or the furry of others over this inaction, it's not going to make progress. we need passion but we also need to understand the reasons why the two sides on this debate are
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talking past each other. and that's really what i want to spend time talking about here today. here's the essential problem. from the center to left of the political spectrum, the conversation about guns in america is largely about the mechanics of how guns are regulated, how they fall into the hands of the law abiding citizens, what the data tells us about the best rules to reduce the number of crimes that are used to prevent guns. our debate starts and ends with the concrete details of gun laws on the left. the dysfunction in our dialogue over guns largely results from this conversation being totally foreign to those that inhabit the center to right half of the political spectrum. they're having a completely different conversation that has nothing to do with gun laws and everything to do with abstract concepts. of liberty and freedom and revolution.
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and how the discussion over guns is simply a prism through which to discuss these founding principles of our nation. on the right the debate starts and ends in the abstract of these big ideas. put another way, the debate within the right is in the clouds. the debate in the left is down in the weeds. so it's no wonder the demeanors and republicans have a really hard time finding common ground. if we're starting on different planets, it's hard to find a room that we can all sit down together in. and so i break this problem when it comes to how the right thinks about the guns into two modern realities. i want to spend some time talking about both. one is the increasingly anti-government i would call it neoanarchist bent of the republican party and the second is the new economic model of the gun industry in america where a smaller number of people are buying guns but in larger
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quantities. let's take the first. since the election of america's first african-american president, barack obama, it's become increasingly hostile to government. not hostile to inefficient government or overreaching government, just government. and you can see why frankly because in an era where cable news covers politics as soap opera, there's a lot not to like about politics. bashing government is big money these days. and the republicans are ready, just picking up the dominant media nair tiff. second in an era of unprecedented economic anxiety, many americans are looking if are somebody to blame for their plate. republicans not excited to blame the private sector offer government up. this culmination of the media covering the dysfunctional story lines out of washington and the national tendency of economic
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hard times to flow towards scapegoats it pushes the right further toward hard rhetoric. as kids in school we were taught that no one hated the government, at least their government more than the founding fathers. they hated their government so much that they took up arms against it. they were willing to die for their anti-government beliefs and then after casting off their 0 pressers, they carried their anti-government believes into the drafting room of the founding document of the new nation. the story line goes they wrote a section of this document that they would assume that the oppression would return and the guarantor of people's rights to cast off that second coming was the private right of gun ownership. that's not an unfamiliar story line to a lot of americans. so if you want to prove your be that fieds, then enacting people
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to take up guns against their government is the coin of the realm. in a realm where this is the hallmark of the modern right, it shouldn't surprise anyone that increasingly republicans are absolutists in their views of the right of citizens to own guns. they want to preserve the right of revolution as a means of showing how much they truly hate the current government ad ministered by president barack obama. and of course to be honest, guns are in many ways at the core of american mythology, beginning with that story of faye tree yots running through romanticizing freedoms of the wild wild west. it does have a seductive ring to many americans who may not endorse the idea of armed insurrection against government but nonetheless find this appeal to our finding ethos compelling. and to be clear, the founders of the republic, they were
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concerned with defending against tear any and enshrining the right to bare arms. but perhaps more given its pride of place is its first amendment with its protections of free speech and freedom of the prez and freedom of assembly. but to show you how far our second amendment debate has drifted from the rest of our rights talk, there's no movement among first amendment purists insisting that laws banning child pornography or yelling fire in a crowded theater are a slippery slope to tear any. and whether it's journalists being ordered to reveal anonymous sources, our understanding of first amendment guarantees, it continues to evolve amid new technology and changing social norms. or take the fourth amendment's protection against unlawful senl and seizure and the tension between privacy and security
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that played out in the struggle between the fbi and apple. these are important questions that have tremendous reach into our lives. and the members can and often do come down on either side of this question. but that's not true of the debate over the second amendment. i did five town halls on guns in connecticut in early 2013, after sandy hook. and at each one i heard my constituents talk about gun rights as god given, parroting the recent words of a conservative writer who wrote we don't have the right to keep and bare arms because the bill of rights says so. the bill of rights says so because the right to bare arms is intrinsic to our very being. it's a right we're endowed by our creator. unquote. my point is that there is a reason for this mystical brook no treatment of the second
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amendment. it fits naturally into their need to become more an more extreme in their campaign to undermine the legitimacy of the government. but the second cause for the hardening position of the right i think is the changing economic model of the gun industry. only one third of americans today is buying guns and that number is dropping every single month. that's opposed to half of americans who used to own guns 30 years ago. meaning that the gun industry is relying on a smaller group of gun owners buying large kachs. how do you do this? you convince people that there are really only a few needs to buy weapons, but one of them, in addition to being able to hunt or shoot for sport, is to
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protect yourself. you can also make guns a collectible in the dizzying array of models offered by gun makers, certainly turned gun collecting into a hobby. but something else is going on within the gun industry marketing. the other motivation that they feed for the stockpile of firearms is that same revolution nair theory that became over time so attractive to the republican party. the gun industry in cahoots with the gun lobby, the nra and the gun owners of america, they've created a fantasy construct of a world in which citizens need to arm themselves against an out of control government. instead of one gun, you need 10 or 20 or 40. so that you can arm yourself and your neighborhood when the black helicopters start landing in your back yards. and you better also stockpile a year's worth of ammunition just in case. now further, the industry figured out that in the wake of
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this increasing fear of domestic terror attack, gun ownership can be marketsed as a way of protecting average americans from the blast radius of violent extremism. nra says that every american needs a quote security plan which means owning one or perhaps many expensive firearms. and the reason that americans need a security plan is because as the gun industry tells us, no laws can keep us safe. this is another essential element of the gun industry's new positioning. the ill legitimacy of law or government as a means to protect us all from arm. the gun industry's hope is that if americans lose faith in the law's ability to protect the public safety, then the natural turn will be to a massive private firearms ownership. thus the gun lobby opposes every single law designed to keep america safe from gun violence because to acknowledge the
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efficacy of any law would be to undermine the importance of guns. now how else can you explain the transformation of the nra's positioning of background checks. in 1999 the nra was pressing for an expansion of background checks. a similar law that they fought tooth and nail to defeat. it's not coincidental that the industry which provides a sizable chunk of the gun lobby's financing change. and to perpetuate itself, it needed if are the gun lobby to help create a new motivation for large sales of gun purchases. this is the new reality in the right today. an absolutism, a complete refusal to engage in a conversation because to do so would compromise the notion at the heart of american freedom and american liberty as the unrestricted right to stockpile
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arms is used in case of emergency against a government. which is regrettable. even if you think the supreme court got it wrong in the heller decision when it held that the second amendment protects a responsible law abiding citizen's right to bare a firearm, the court confirmed that the amendment protects only a limited right. justice scalia said, quote, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on long standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms or the mentally ill or laws for bidding carrying the firearms in places on the commercial sale of arms. as clear as the law is today, the data is just as clear. and to me this is maybe the most tragic part of this story. because the right so cap occurred, so imprisoned by this conversation about god given rights that we all miss the fact that there are some pretty minor
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changes in our law supported by the vast majority of americans that would unquestionably reduce gun deaths . in connecticut we passed a strict gun licensing law in 1995 that result the -- this is a johns hopkins survey -- in a 40% reduction in our firearms related homicide rate. at the same time missouri repealed a similar law which johns hob kins showed resulted in a 25% increase in firearms homicide rates. 46% fewer women are shot to death in states with universal background checks. 48% fewer off-duty police officers are shot and killed in states with universal background checks. two out of three gun deaths, they're suicide related and states with gun purchase waiting periods have a gun suicide rate that is 51% lower than states without waiting periods. gun safety measures are
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constitution constitutional, they work and they're popular. and get they go nowhere in congress time after time because the two sides within the political system are living on different planets when it comes to this issue. so what do we do? or more accurately what do i do as someone who has committed my senate career to this issue. and i'll lay out three things and then i'll close. first i remind myself that all politics still is local. if the political force around anti-gun violence measures becomes strong enough, its will cannot be resisted. so we keep building up our grass roots organizations, pushing more voters to elevate this issue on their priority list and we work toward a day when the voters will force the right to moderate its stance on guns in order to win elections. and that political transformation right now is playing out before our eyes. anti-gun violence groups are getting stronger, numbers are growing all over the country. for 20 years, though, from 1994
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to 2012 the gun movement was dormant in this country. it's had a very short period of time to catch up. but let's look at two competitive senate race to tell the story of how things have changed so quickly. in pennsylvania incumbent senator path too my is running n his support. when he originally ran in 2010, there was no mention of his position on guns. six years later, it is a central part of his campaign. in new hampshire with oun f the nation's highest rates of gun ownership, kelly ayotte's first ad of the campaign was in defense of our position on guns. of all of the issues she could have led with on the air, she chose guns because she knows what an important issue it's going to be to swing the voters
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in new hampshire. and also one of the grass roots organizations that i was talking about is strong enough that they raised the money to run two ads criticizing her position on guns early in the campaign. in ayotte's first race when the exact opposite dynamic was in effect. her democratic opponent that year was bending over backwards trying to get to ayotte's right on guns, trumting his a rating from the nra. not this year. not a single democrat this year is running for the senate trying to cozy to the done lobby. times and voters have both changed. second we have to take on the gun lobby head on and unmask it for what it has become. a spokesman for the gun maker, not for gun owners. 80% of gun owners support universal background checks. a higher percentage of gun owners than nongun owners some
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polls show support closing the loophole. more need to call out the gun lobby's double game and make their endorsement a little less meaningful. at the top of the ticket hillary clinton is doing just that. don't under estimate a major party presidential candidate calling out the reforms. some of her biggest lines is when she pledges to take on the gun lobby. and she's not afraid to talk about this. and further we're getting unlikely allies during the republican party. during the debate that followed the filibuster, jeff flake and lindsey graham were very critical of those that argued for the status quo. quote, every right has boundaries on it, unquote. that's what lindsey graham said earlier this year about the second amendment. i'm sure he would not have conceded that point two or four
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or six years ago. and lastly, this is the hardest part, we need to resist trying to remake the modern right. if they're moving toward a place with everything that the government touches is sullied ground, then we cannot alone stop this marge. the solution lies on the democrats moving away from our own safe space and recognizing that the right slide away from defending the legitimacy of government isn't going to magically abate, especially if a democrat continues to occupy the white house. have to be ready to meet the republicans in their space in the sense that we should be thinking of another outlet other than tau drawing a line in the sand on gun laws. many republicans that i talked to want to be more reasonable on the issue of guns but they're stuck on a party in which their position on guns is a litmus
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test for how much you hate government. there have got to be other proxies to demonstrate etiological purity in this respect. and we should be working hard with the sympathetic republicans to find another path forward, not simply yelling at them for refusing to work with us. following sandy hook, former supreme court justice john paul stephens said the law should encourage intelligence discussion for possible recommeremedies of what every american can reck nigh as an ongoing tragedy. that is not happening now. rather than simply continuing to occupy our separate planets, time is now for those of us leading the charge to take on gun violence. to try to force us to stop talking past each other and to fix the bugs in the system that create that reality. i'm mad that even in the wake of orlando, the deadliest mass
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shooting in the nation's history, coming on the back of san bernardino and rosenberg that we couldn't get a background checks bill passed or even a bill stopping those on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. but the filibuster and the sit-in that followed it changed things. it helped grow this political movement. it did cause republicans and democrats to talk past each other a little more. in the senate is compromise was reached that if you're too dangerous to fly you shouldn't be able to own a gun. and maybe the democrats are beginning to poke their heads up above the weeds of policy and republicans are willing to ascend from the cloud. the political anti-structure of the gun violence movement and the two sides of congress finding new ways to work together, then maybe it's just a matter of time before the laws of this country finally catch up to the will of 90% of americans. thank you very much for having me today. [ applause ]
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>> thank you, senator. just a reminder to those watching on c-span or listening in, the public is invited the our luncheons here at the national press club. the applause you hear is not necessarily from the journalists covering the event. let me ask you first off are you planning any dramatic strategy to put the gun issue on the front this fall. for example are you going to try to top your record? >> yeah. i'm very pleased that in the wake of the filibuster and the sit-in the momentum has seemed to have shifted. and i use pennsylvania and new hampshire as examples. but i think we have to be in the business over the next two months of the basic blocking and tackling of winning elections. there are some key elections out there that pundits and political
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progress nost caters are going to look at when they decide whether or not guns were on the ballot in 2016 and which side won. so i'm going to be spending much of my time between now and the election traveling to states in which we have a clear difference between candidates for the senate and the house on is the issue of guns. i'll be spending time in the states that have referendums, i point to nevada and maine, two important states, swing states on this issue. we have referendums on the ballot. i don't think we're going to need to do anything extraordinary or noteworthy from a public relations standpoint right now. we just have to go out and win some elections. >> let's talk about pennsylvania for a second. because we have a question here about the pointing out that gabby bigiffords and mike bloomberg are supporting pat toomy. his race is very important. will you campaign for his opponent? >> so if you are working on the issue of protecting americans
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from gun violence, you have a lot of reason to think pat toomy. pat toomy, you know, did something that was exceptional in reaching out and working with democrats on this issue. i don't just work on this issue. i work on lots of other issues as well. i'm supporting katie ma againty and i'll be supporting here from now until election day because though i appreciate what pat toomy did on the u issue of background checks there are a lot of issues which i deeply disagree with pat toomy. and so long as republicans are in charge of the united states senate, good luck getting these votes on the floor of the senate in the absence of extraordinary measures like the filibuster. that being said, i don't think we are going to make progress on this issue if all we do is try to elect democrats. i do think that we have to be
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honest about republicans who have stuck their neck out. and some of my friends get upset when i acknowledge that pat toomy did something that was mildly heroic when he worked with democrats on background checks. but that's the truth. he did. and we should congratulate and applaud republicans when they do work with us. i think we would be fools to ignore the fact that ultimately we will get a quicker root to success by finding republicans who are willing to work with us. >> you're pretty good at this filibuster stuff so i'm going to start asking rapid fire. which do you think is more effect fif, that all gun violence prevention organizations have their own area to work or should we all work together for one objective at the same time? >> so a lot has been made of the fact that we have a bunch of anti-gun violence groups today that are all very strong. i think that's a great thing. i think it's great to have a
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number of gun anti-violence groups that sometimes have different priorities or different areas of focus. i think that brings more, not less people into our ranks because they don't have to fit themselves into one policy agenda that they can take a look at the brady campaign, at america's responsible solutions, moms demand action, every town, sandy hook promise and decide which one fits their model or advocacy the best. i don't think this is anything that hurts us. i think it makes us stronger. >> you alluded to this during your speech but do you think there should be an i don't have lap between the gun violence prevention movement and the black lives matter movement where they can work together since gun violence does affect people in communities of color? >> i struggle with what happened earlier this year that provided this psychological tipping point for the country. why are you seeing in polls today that the disapproval
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rating of the nra in swing districts is twice what it was a year ago? why are senate republican candidates all of the sudden running to talk about how strong they are on background checks? i think that the combination in a short period of time of orlando, dallas, and the high profile shooting of black men in a few american cities became a tipping point. people just were consumed with this ongoing coverage of tragedy. and there was one thing that all of it had in common. guns. and so the idea that there should be no change in america's gun laws, when all of the bad news that you saw on tv had one thing in common, firearms, became unacceptable to people. and so yes, i think you've got to marry the black lives matter movement into the anti-gun violence movement because
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ultimately this isn't just about plifs shooting unarmed black men. this is also about this country making a decision to allow for the flow of illegal weapons into the cities which result in the assassination and slaughter of young black men by others in the cities, not just by law enforcement. >> question from the audience on that point. doesn't the breakdown in law and order in some of the towns and cities, ferguson, baltimore, contribute to the promotion of gun sales? >> there's no doubt that every time there's a mass shooting there's a spike in gun sales. again as i laid out, the nra as effectively proffered the argument that the only way to protect yourself is to buy more weapons which is why it's incumbent upon us in the wake of the mass shootings when people are thinking about going out and buying a weapon for protection to remind americans that there's one cold hard true statistic.
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if you have a weapon in your house it is much more likely to be used to kill you than it is to kill someone trying to do harm to you. and people just don't believe that. they either don't know it or they don't believe it. so there's no doubt that the nra capitalizes and the gun agency capitalizes on these tragedies to sell more weapons. but every time you buy a weapon statistically it's making you less safe not more safe. that's something that the americans don't know. >> can you respond to the quote up quote consequences to house democrats for their sit-in on gun violence protection -- prevention. >>? >> in terms of breaking the rules. >> they were threatened with consequences for breaking the rules, some kind of sanctions or something? >> they did break the rules. i don't know the details of house protocols and house rules and sanctions, but they did break the rules. and i assume that there's some sanction that comes with that.
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but you know everyone that's engaged in civil disobedience since the founding of the nation knows that there are often consequences that come with it. so i don't -- i'm not one that's going to make a stink if there's some sanction against house democrats for sitting in. you know, sanctions and consequences are in the best traditions of civil disobedience. >> this is the most important question i can ask you and the base question i think of all of our conversation. what would it take to get gun control passed in congress if sandy hook wasn't enough, in orlando wasn't enough? what is the impetus do you think that will take congress to actually act on this? >> this is the question that gets asked most often and there's a famous tweet that got retweeted a million times, says something like, you know, america decided that the current rates of gun violence are acceptable the day that we did nothing in the wake of sandy hook. don't buy that for a couple of reasons. one, i think in the wake of
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sandy hook, this country was not ready to have a thoughtful debate on policy change. why? because that tragedy was so psychologically disruptive to this country that all of our energy in the wake of sandy hook was spent just trying to reconcile how you square sandy hook with a just world in which at our essence we are still good. and i think it took a long time for americans to figure out how to emotionally and psychologically reconcile sandy hook with their lives. i understand why it has take an few years for americans to become ready to plug into this conversation. i also know that it has taken a long time to get the political movement right size so we can change elections. we can actually change policy debates. the gun lobby had 20 years of run from 1994 to 2012. we've had three years to build this movement. so yo buy the idea that sandy
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hook should have just automatically flipped the political paradigm on guns. i think for a lot of issues connected to psychology and a lot of reasons connected to pure la gis ticks of organizations, it's understandable that it's taken us three years and it might take us a few more years to get this done. but the momentum in heading in one direction and one direction only. that's what you pay attention to. >> let me follow on that. you said a couple more years. in some ways this is almost generational. isn't it going to take longer than two to three years to get something passed and for attitudes to change in. >> i don't think so. if you take a look at the number of republicans that voted for the background checks bill versus the number who were willing to break with the nra on the background checks bill in 2013, about double that number were willing to break with the nra to support the compromise on closing the terror gap. again, you're seeing a sea
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change in some of these elections. i mentioned the flip on gun politics that's happening in a state like new hampshire. i think this is not moving fast enough for many of us. but it's moving fast enough that we're not talking about a generational change. we're talking about a change that is going to take months or years, not decades. >> we have this in some degree with michael bloomberg involved, but do you foresee any super pac level funders willing to fund gun control as an issue, sort of like tom stier did with the environmental movement? >> i think that bloomberg and every town have made a commitment on this issue. and i think bloomberg will continue to spend a lot of money here. i don't know of any other individual funders who are willing to spend that kind of money. but as i mentioned, americans for responsible solutions have made major ad buys in states already. i'm not sure that we can rely on
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that strategy. i think we're better off building our numbers across the country rather than trying to go out and find one or two more white knights athat are going t spend millions of dollars. >> why don't democrats just focus on banning military style weapons and the sale of ammunition for such weapons, none of which the questioner says are needed for hunting? >> i think there's a long laundry list of policies that need to change. right? we went backwards for nearly two decades. so i would add to that list the liability of gun industry enjoy other industry. i would add to that list the prohibition on research and development into the causes of gun violence that are currently in effect. i mean, we have a long list of policy changes that we need to make in order to make this country safer. so i hate it when people say well, why aren't you focusing on
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banning assault weapons? well, of course i am. but you've got to sort of pick the battles that you can win first and order them in a way that is logically sequenced. i think our best chance right now is to get bills passed that increase the number of background checks in this country and a bill passed that stop people on terrorist watch list from getting guns. i'm not going to stop talking about the need to ban assault-style weapons. in sandy hook, you don't need to tell us what it would have meant if those weapons weren't legal and on the streets. it's just that we've got to put some priority on the things we fight for. >> do you think the gop will be more willing to accept gun control or gun control at all if donald trump loses badly against hillary clinton this november? >> yes in this respect. hillary clinton is running proudly on the issue of changing our nation's gun laws.
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and there were a lot of skeptics who said that she was only talk about guns as a means of differentiating herself from bernie sanders, that this was just an issue she was using to get through the primary. well, that has not proved to be the case. she has continued to make this a part of every speech she gives, including one at the democratic national convention. she is the first candidate in modern times running very publicly on a promise to make changing gun laws a priority as president. so there is no question that people will have to take a signal from her election. i think what is more important is that in legislative races, there are a few signals sent that there are consequences for being on the other side of 90% of your constituents. so i'll frankly be looking more closely to the new hampshire senate race than i am to the presidential race when i'm deciding whether my colleagues on the republican side have gotten the message that they
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can't oppose changes in our gun laws without some political consequence. >> so i hear you're an expert in this filibuster stuff. but if democrats take over the senate, with the party would you be willing to modify the filibuster rules to ease the passage of gun laws? >> absolutely. absolutely. i have no plans nor do i want to ever do that again. so if the laws made it harder for me -- if the laws made it harder for me to flirt withstanding on my feet for 15 hours, i would gladly accept that fate. no, i am separate and aside from my decision to mount a filibuster, a supporter of changing the rules of the senate. we have a rule now that says you have to effectively get 60 senators in order to pass any bill. i think our founding fathers are turning over in their grave seeing how difficult we have made it to pass a piece of legislation on top of a system that they intentionally built as
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being very difficult to pass a piece of legislation. they debated this issue of super ma jorts. and in the constitution they specifically told us when it would be necessary. constitutional amendment, treaty ratification. so it stands to reason that they thought about whether or not you should have super majority for ordinary pieces of legislation, and instead built a bicameral legislative system with a strong presidential veto as a means of making change hard instead of imposing super majority. and listen, i, even as a member of the minority, have fought for the end of the filibuster. so i'm not going to be hypocritical about this and only advocate for it when i'm in the majority. >> still a few minutes left. let me switch to another subject before i ask the final question. the 15th anniversary of september 11th was upon us which has had to direct impact on a lot of connecticut families who lost loved ones who commuted to
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the world trade center. where were you at the time? and what lessons have we learned since 9/11? >> i was in a high school in southern connecticut when i was a state representative when i saw the initial coverage on a tv screen in the library there, and then went home to watch the rest of it. i was a state legislator at the time. we've learned a lot. one of the things we've learned is that good laws protect us from attack. what we learned in september 11th was that our airports were vulnerable, and that terrorists had figured that out. and so they were able to penetrate our relatively lack security at our airports at the time with box cutters and do great harm to americans. so what did we do? we hardened our defenses. we banned certain things from being brought on airplanes. we constructed tsa. and though they have attempted since then to penetrate our
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airlines, to attack americans, they have not been successful. and so why aren't we learning the same thing now when al qaeda operatives are stating clearly that lone wolf attackers should go to gun shows and take advantage of loose american gun laws in order to buy assault weapons to shoot civilians. that's what recruiters are saying. i can show you the video of one of the most prominent al qaeda recruiters, saying here is what you do. you go to a gun show. you buy one of these weapons, and you start shooting. why aren't we doing the same thing today that we did after september 11th? today terrorists are using assault weapons. they're not making improvised explosive devices. they're not trying to board airplanes. and yet we refuse to change our laws. so i think we learned in the wake of september 11th that good policy is good protection.
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and we unfortunately are not using that when it comes to this new tactic of terrorist groups to take advantage of our gun laws. >> thank you, senator. before i asked the final question, a quick reminder. the national press club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. and we fight for a free press worldwide. for more information about the club, please visit our website at press.org. i would also like to remind you about upcoming programs. on september five 15 ash carter will speak here at the press club. on september 3rd, tom vilsack will speak. a reminder to our audience, please remain seated until the senator has departed. he needs to make that vote and we don't want to make him late. i also would like to present our guest with the national press club mug. >> oh, thank you very much. thank you. that's very nice. [ applause ] if you come back and do our
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spelling bee, i'll give you another mug. last question, we typically do our last question is something a little more fun. so the movie "a haunting in connecticut" was apparently based on a house you once lived in. >> wow. >> do you believe in ghosts? and eerie things might have happened while you lived in the house? >> that is good research. so i moved into my first rental house when i was 22 years old with two friends from high school. and the second day we had a plummer to come do work, and he walked very tentatively up the stairs. and when he entered, we asked him what was wrong. and he told us that we were living in the haunted out of southington. i won't tell you the full story because you can find it online. but it was an old funeral home. and the story was that the ghosts of the deceased had come back to haunt the house. but as we watched the old videos of, you know, every crew from
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"entertainment tonight" to "inside edition" who came to do a story on our house, we found it was only the first floor that was haunted, not the second floor. so i never experienced anything -- anything out of the ordinary in that house. but it was a wonderful welcome to southington, connecticut. and it's been a great story to tell ever since. interestingly, some of the other houses in the neighborhood when we moved in we thought it was odd were painted purple and pink. and apparently some people in the neighborhood took it very seriously. and went to these gaethe hunters to get advice. and they were told that ghosts don't like certain colors. and that's why some of the louis painted strange colors. but that is deep, deep in my biography. so congratulations for finding that out. >> thank you, senator. thank you to the staff at the national press club and the national press club journalism institute, and we are adjourned.
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