tv [untitled] December 13, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
here in america there's probably no issue that generates more controversy than guns this debate over guns in our society stems all the way back to seven hundred ninety one the bill of rights was ratified these amendments now make up the foundation of our constitutional republic perhaps the most contentious of them all is the second which reads a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed these twenty seven words have fundamentally changed the way we look at violence protection and civic responsibility and with the great power that guns wield reports like these have become all too common. a gunman opened fire inside
a movie theater in denver killing twelve people and wounding more than fifty others a massacre at a colorado movie theater and just days later a gunman opens fire at a sikh temple and wisconsin case is tragic unsuspected and. it's being called the worst mass killing at a school in american history my youngest son since sandy hook school she said mommy i can't get that body out of my head i keep seeing two ten year old children have been wounded during a shooting at a mother's day parade in new orleans gunshots rang out this morning at the u.s. navy yard in washington d.c. killing several people and injuring many others rich wealthy tell these are clearly should've seen somebody die in front of you here where you work at is more of a relationship but you talking to her you realize just how fragile life is we begin with breaking news out of los angeles international airport here they are an
employee of theirs let's killed by the gunman according to airport police here a tree down the gunman eventually shot him and took him into custody. good evening and welcome to guns in our town very special debate that will explore an issue that affects us all the role of guns in american society. i'm abby martin i'll be your moderator for tonight's debate the panel joining me now live is investigative journalist band director of new yorkers against gun violence leah gun barrett for more and are a lobbyist and president of the independent firearms association richard feldman and former presidential candidate for the green party joel stein thank you all so much for joining me tonight before i begin i want to explain what we're trying to achieve here guns are not a black and white issue and we're not trying to emulate the corporate media
coverage of the topic this is going to be a rational fact based debate an attempt to help bridge the divide between the many differing viewpoints there on guns although to start off with one minute to answer the first question followed by another minute to follow up and then i'm going to open it up to a totally free form discussion where any of you are able to jump in at any point without further ado let's take a look at some statistics from last year america's unique eighty nine guns for every one hundred people place in the u.s. at a solid number one in the world and guns per capita for perspective two country is yemen about fifty five guns per one hundred people now take a look at just the developed world specifically with regards to gun related murders the u.s. sits well above the rest with about three point three to three point six homicides by a firearm or one hundred thousand people finally according to slate dot com there have been approximately eleven thousand four hundred thirty five gun related homicides since the newtown shooting not to mention today's shooting at
a high school in centennial colorado where two students were injured the gunman is reported dead ben let's start with you what do you think the root cause of this gun . violence is. but i think that we have a very complex issue here and i appreciate the opportunity to talk about this on your show abby because as you said we need to have a rational debate about this issue in this country we don't have one we have a lot of headlines and very little detail behind it so look there are a number of things that i think you can look at in terms of violence increasing across the united states in terms of gun violence across the u.s. but statistically violent crime in the united states is actually been declining for the past fifty years and you would never know that watching most mainstream media what they would have you believe is that we're becoming more and more violent as a society and more people are dying through violent crime than ever before and that's really not true the reality is this that there are a number of reasons why i believe we are seeing some of these high profile cases
and certainly some of the mass shootings and those grab headlines but they don't necessarily have a more important distinction than the individual who shot so you know the media makes a big deal out of the school shooting on one hand though all but ignore the mass violence in a city like chicago where you have drive by gang violence a lot of the going back to the drug culture and the prohibition of drugs in this country and then there's also the issue of folks who are taking some of these these psychedelic drugs you know alex jones made a lot of. got a lot of attention when he referred to those mass murder suicide pills when he was on c.n.n. recently or about a year ago but there is some truth to what he was talking about moving on thank you ben. on to you. what i think the problem is well first of all the gun death rate in the united states has remained pretty high consistently high crime it's true it's down the problem we have is there are so many guns in this country and many guns are getting into the wrong hands are weak federal gun
laws are not doing a very good job here we don't have background checks for example on commercial sales and on the internet. sales or private sales there are background checks that firearms dealers fell's as they're called that cover is about sixty percent of all gun sales leaving forty percent basically uncovered there's a big problem with people getting guns and then traffic them trafficking them into states like new york we out of new york guns are trafficked into our state from places like virginia and georgia and florida so we need to tighten up our federal gun laws new york has very strong gun laws a handful of states do but guns don't know any boundaries they go across boundaries quite easily another problem that people haven't really mentioned is. going to come back and we were going to move on to richard now go for. you know when we look at this whole issue it's a very complicated issue has been pointed out and there are different aspects to
the issue there are three important subsets within the misuse of firearms is the intentional criminal misuse of guns is the negligent misuse of guns and then there's the doraine shooter or the suicidal shooter and there are different strategies that we need to focus on to address each one and when we mix them up as we have over the past year and just talk about one from column a affecting one from column b. we end up with befooled fight that was our legislative process in washington last year and i hope we can elucidate and chad some real light on this issue over the next hour thank you joel. yeah well i appreciate what everyone has said it's a very complicated problem but that said there's a lot we can do about it and while rates of violent crime and gun
homicides have gone down over the last two decades really. there's still sky high compared to what they could be and what they should be. of about one hundred times the rate of gun homicides and violent gun crimes relative to many countries of western europe and we should not be in the business of normalizing violence and related to that i think it's clear there is a relationship between gun violence and economic violence and poverty and racial disparities and economic disparities and all that and the more we become an unjust society. the more we are at risk for continuing gun violence and potentially growing gun violence and one last point is that you know the american people have wanted to do something about this we are not ninety percent support but we might have a little i'll just say we've got
a political problem that prevents us from fixing this in the way that the american people would like ben do you have a response. well look i totally agree with what jill just said about not normalizing the violence i think that's a very important point but look when we talk about politicians i would just make this point very quickly that politicians want to jump on the issue of guns because it's a very political issue and as you pointed out in the beginning abbie it's an issue that people are very divided on so you know you get people who are passionately for it and people who are passionately against it at least you're driving passions as a politician but if politicians were sincere about a lot of this you know candidly and not to take us off topic but ten times the number of kids have been killed in pakistan somalia and yemen through drone strike they were killed at sandy hook and over the past since two thousand and seven and so when we see that happening and politicians silent on those issues but then they they rail against guns in the united states because we must protect the children to me when it comes to the political issue it rings hollow because we see so much
violence occurring around the world at the hands of government who then wants to be able to protect people at home by taking away guns i think that's why there's such a disparity there because the talk in the walk don't always meet each other. do you have a response. just to say that i think gun violence and this country is certainly not helped by money in politics i think you saw in the senate last april was because of intense lobbying by the gun lobby the corporate gun lobby not just the national rifle association but then it is an american and number of others and they frighten politicians from doing the right thing the politicians are more in the back pocket of the corporate gun lobby than in the interests of their constituents so i think money in politics is a really big problem but i think we're also looking at this issue probably through the wrong lens i think you look at it as a public health problem when you have thirty one thousand americans dying every year from guns and eighty thousand being injured that's a public health crisis so you need to apply a different approach which has been successfully done with for example automobiles and tobacco smoking you look at the product you look about how can you reduce death
and injury from the product and there are two ways you can do that you can strengthen our laws federally and state through education plus you can also make the products safer and the gun industry has resisted any attempt to make their products safer smart gun technology is out there but you're not seeing them investing in it. well you know what is missing in this is that other side of this whole issue which is that there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of times perhaps upwards of two million citizens use guns to protect themselves and prevent a tragedy from happening so it's not enough to just look at the tragedy that occurred but look at the positive side after all if guns were so useless in self-defense why don't we issue them to america's law enforcement it's because they are effective when you speak about guns not being safe while they're very safe guns do exactly what they're promised to do the issue is never the gun per se
but rather in whose hands are the guns jewelry. is not the issue. you know i think it's it's complicated and i guess i don't agree with richard that guns make us safer in the same way to ben's point that a more militarized foreign policy in iraq and afghanistan you know spending five trillion dollars over the past decade and you know countless thousands of american and hundreds of thousands of foreign lives you know that hasn't made us safer militarized foreign policy doesn't make us safer and i think that armed encampments and arming our homes and the idea that arming our schools is going to make us safer you know it's tends to be the opposite evidence would suggest and there's not a single case in the sixty two mass murders that have taken place over the last thirty years the mass shootings there's not a single claes where someone with
a gun has been able to intervene even when trained law enforcement is on the scene ice is a very dangerous sea richard wanted to respond we're going to have to take one quick break richard you guys all great points made coming up while report on newtown one year after the massacre that left twenty eight people dead and explore what's been done politically so. is that they pulled a stick around. i've got a quote for you. that's pretty tough. stay with substory. let's get this kind of like it would smear about time instead of working for the people most issues the mainstream media works for each other driver i'm stationed. on. the road but alone.
tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the massacre in newtown connecticut this event changed the conversation about guns and sparked a fierce debate about gun policy hard to correspond to lose wall went to newtown to find out how the community is coping one year after the tragedy. one year after one of the deadliest school shootings in american history newtown is
healing never could imagine it happening here this picturesque sleepy town was forever changed on december fourteenth two thousand and twelve when the accused gunman adam lanza opened fire inside sandy hook elementary school all one year later people here in newtown are struggling to cope with the tragedy that took twenty of their children and six of their educators to this day many questions remain unanswered like the question of why and why it happened here and this is typically why a sleepy town residents say that question will never be answered why take the life of a little in this a little baby george linebacker drives children to school in newtown seven of the children that died were once passengers on his bus sweet innocent one or four kids you know to go five six year olds little boys t.v.'s i had katherine in charlotte
who tried to climb under my seats alley while in the old always happy go lucky. olivia. jesse james. it's been tough. the tragedy sent shock waves to surrounding towns and across the country when i heard that these kids were first graders it hit really close to home karen elson big as a mother of two in norwalk connecticut about a half hour away from newtown she says the tragedy was a turning point we can't just sit here and not do something because it's going to happen again she is now leader of the connecticut chapter of moms demand action a grassroots group formed days after the newtown shooting we got some very very sorry legislation passed here in connecticut in the end of march. right now it's being challenged in addition to gun violence sandy hook has raised awareness about
the nation's mental health care system because of lanza's history with mental illness. so what johnny has been taken away from that salisbury training school close fairfield hills to lowe's the mental health industry is just you know they had to give people the help they need as the town struggles to move on there's few signs the shooting happened the school has been demolished the scene fenced off and guarded behind a church twenty angels and the names of the victims are actually in stone near the scene this giant teddy bear stands the ribbon it wears reads new towns angels one year later the town remembers the victims as it struggles to forget the pain and horror that came to town that fateful day in newtown connecticut liz of all our team. let's talk about the gun control laws that have been introduced since newtown we're now in a federal level but nothing has been passed spent
a background checks were defeated by a filibuster in the senate in april but on a state level there has been some action first five states have now limited access to assault weapons or high capacity magazines specifically rather new york magazines have just been restricted to thirty. in connecticut has been more than one hundred various types of assault weapons also since newtown eleven states expanded background checks for gun purchases richard i want to start with you didn't newtown change the game and you think these laws that have passed will make these communities in these states safer. well i think it was a game changer in many ways but the impact we don't want everyone says well we must do something the question is always what can we do that relevant to the problem outlawing the future sale of certain capacity magazines and thinking that what that's really going to stop this from occurring when there are several hundred million high capacity magazines in existence today we only have limited time
limited money limited resources to do anything and when we take our eye off the ball none of the proposals suggested passage in the congress or in connecticut had anything to do with adam lanza obtaining the guns that he did that day committing that tragedy when we talk about these tragedies as joe pointed out before you know when someone doesn't have a gun and stops them and it has to happen the tragedy is prevented or limited so of us we're not talking about something that didn't car happen in san antonio a few days after newtown it happened in a school in our bama ten years ago where the principal ran out there was a car grab the gun and stop a war of age from occurring so yes it happens again lee i wanted to move on to you nationwide we've seen a correlation between states with stronger gun laws and fewer gun deaths for
example massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws has only three point four gun related deaths per one hundred thousand people in new jersey four point four four point nine per one hundred thousand on the other hand louisianan and last have much looser gun laws a much higher rate eighteen in seven. point five gun deaths per one hundred thousand people is this trend due to the laws. it's to do two things is to gun laws that are strong in places like new york and connecticut and weak in places like alaska and southern states and west western states but it's also due to gun ownership rates in these states in alaska gun ownership rates about sixty percent in new york it's around eighteen percent so getting back to the point earlier that riches for making about guns protect you which is just not true having a gun in the home you're twenty two times more likely to use it on yourself or someone you know or love suicide accidental shooting domestic abuse homicide rather
than to repel an invader that's the that's the data so low gun ownership rates having fewer guns in the home and strong gun laws actually do protecting citizens of states with strong laws in new york we have the fourth lowest gun death rate in the country and this is significant because we're a state of twenty four million people and yet we get eighty million visitors every year only california gets more visitors from outside of california and new york that's from outside of new york ben so the fact that our gun death rate is so low is testament to these two factors working together better guns or like pollution that come over. there there are a couple of issues here with your reporting first of all to the point that you know lumping together violent crime statistics in terms of of someone who was involved in a mass shooting versus someone who commits suicide with a gun it's a little bit of a red herring isn't it i mean if someone commits suicide with a gun they could do the same thing by slitting the wrist they can do the same thing
by overdosing on pills they can do this in themselves but if i could just come in here if i could have guns are incredibly lethal if you take poison you have a three percent chance to kill yourself if you have a gun to your head your chances are nearly one hundred percent so you know a gun is particularly. but even though i know you are about your plight it has the lowest. suicide rate. and here is go for it. and i don't disagree with that in terms of how lethal it is but the reality is you can't lump those two numbers together you can't say we have this epidemic of mass shootings going on around the country which by the way you know a number of folks like to say that it's an epidemic and then also throw in statistics that deal with suicide because suicide mass murder shootings are not the same thing but the other issue is i want to go back to. prevent but the other point that joe made about preventing them and richard talked about this a little bit there are many many cases the clackamas shooting in oregon at the mall
there where a guy with a concealed carry weapon drew his weapon and pointed it at the shooter who ultimately killed himself you have that case back in the appalachian law school back in two thousand and two where a guy two people ran in their cars and got guns and so it's also difficult to say that the reason that there's no you know evidence of guns preventing a mass shooting we just don't hear about i mean media does not talk about these things when they happen and when someone does intervene because they don't have a good point that what i'm going to jump in here really the way to believe that happen that often they don't talk about i'm going to jump in here really quickly because as it happened i won one secondly i'm going to talk i'm going to move on. we're going to move on a high capacity magazine real quick just very quickly why does it happen twice it happened in the weeks around sandy hook and no national about it clackamas they did not talk about and san antonio they didn't talk about they were with an ira we're going to we're going to talk about the right to talk about high capacity magazines
please let me talk what you're used to outlaw which are used to be outlawed and the assault weapons ban let's listen to what mark kelly the husband of cappy griffin said about them in front of congress. don't happen very very fast but first when it began he said what number thirteen went into a nine year old girl named christina taylor green when he tried to reload one thirty three round magazine with another thirty three round magazine he dropped it . and a woman named patricia mace grabbed it and it gave bystanders a time to tackle him. i contend if that same thing happened when he was trying to reload one ten round magazine with another ten round magazine meaning he did not have access to a high capacity magazine and the same thing happened christina taylor green would be alive today joe i want to move on to you a mother jones what that sixty two recent mass shootings and found that in half of them some sort of high capacity magazine was used do you agree with kelly's
assessment that banning these magazines could save lives. of course and you know we know that that's true and you know when we talk about all the confusion about what's driving this you know. what are the factors that can be controlled it's really important to recognize that the reason we don't know you know it's not just that the media is fairly useless shall we say but also the n.r.a. made it a priority about ten years ago to strip strip the funding from research on gun violence so the reason we don't know has everything to do with the n.r.a. is desire to just push ahead with their strategy which is essentially a marketing strategy it's a marketing ploy to sell a lot of guns and you know and they basically call caused a blackout on information you know that would that would guide this but one of the best. sources of information that we have is what australia did they had
a newtown of their own in newtown disaster in which even more people were killed though they weren't children but it's about thirty five people who were slaughtered by a lone gunman and within twelve days it took them twelve days to pass a comprehensive legislation to control gun violence that included high capacity guns it also included automatic and semi adam rev up and read about thirty seconds left but i want to get one quick response from richard former owner a lobbyist what do you think about her state about the n.r.a. . the n.r.a. . doesn't sell guns the n.r.a. is always defended the right of american civilians to use guns lawfully and responsibly the issue of the tiahrt amendment that's what cho was referring to is a little controversial i'm all in favor of research but i'm against using tax dollars for political research that's pretty determined and that's what was going on with the c.d.c.
prior to that legislature thank you so now it's not true at all richard we're going to take a quick out here why is richard and you know it coming up you guys will take a quick look at what it means to be responsible gun owner and examine what other factors could be breeding the epidemic of gun violence stay tuned. and. i would rather ask questions to keep building positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf and that's why you can find my show larry king now right here on our t.v. question.
i know c.n.n. m s n b c news have taken some nuts lately but the fact is i admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story just in case one of them happens to be accurate. that was funny but it's closer to the truth and might think. it's because when full attention and the mainstream media works side by side the joke is actually on you. i don't are teenagers we have a different approach. because the news of the world just is not this funny i'm not like damnit i'm not how. you guys stick to the jokes will handle the serious stuff that.
guns have deep roots in american culture and the vast majority of hunters sportsmen and gun owners use them responsibly so for a look at why americans love their guns and what they use them for we turn to our correspondent perry and maureen. about when the house what it does kathleen bought this rock island armory for self defense i like to take my own personal safety into my own hands kathleen is.