Alex Witt   |  May 04, 2013

Repercussions of Israel launching airstrikes in Syria

Mara Schiavocampo asks Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, about the international and domestic repercussions of Israel launching airstrikes in Syria. Rep. Burgess addresses his opposition to universal background checks for gun buyers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> welcome back to "weekends with alex witt " i'm mara schiavocampo. after a week-long recess congress resumes monday and one of the issues they'll likely be discussing is israel 's airstrike on targets in syria and the potential impact on washington. joining me now for more on this from dallas, texas, republican congressman michael burgess . congressman, thanks so much for being here this morning.

>> good morning. happy to be with you. good morning to you.

>> so let's start with the news that israel has launched airstrikes in syria . what are you hearing about this, including what a possible target might be?

>> well, you know, i'm hearing what you're hearing, and that the target most likely is the air defenses that the syrians have built up, promise the missile capability they have built up. not the chemical weapons themselves. because obviously that would be counterproductive to actually disperse those materials with a bombing activity. but there has been some concern that even the ability of the -- if the united states did want to enforce a no-fly zone, which i don't think is a good idea, but if they did, the syrian air defenses are -- have become much more robust since 2007 when israel did strike that nuclear facility.

>> when you say that you don't think issuing a no-fly zone is a good idea, what do you think are the best options here for the white house if they choose to get committed in syria ?

>> there are no good options. i do know, you know, from personal experience, my son was in the air force when the no-fly zone was enforced over iraq. i mean, it is -- people look at that and say, well it's not really like we're going to war. but, in fact, it is. i mean it's -- it's certainly seen as a bellicose statement by one nation to another, if you are, in fact, taking control of the air space and their skies. and we saw in libya, in the early days of that no-fly zone, a jet went down and we were fortunate to get the pilot back. but, just because you don't have boots on the ground you can end up with boots on the ground , whether you intended to or not.

>> now, switching topics, the nra 's annual convention is going on right now in your home state. a recent survey out of rice university found that 90% of people polled in texas support universal background checks for gun buyers it shows and nationwide as many as 90% of americans and 74% of nra members support background checks . so why are you opposed to this, if it seems that the public tide is in favor of it?

>> well, you know, you just look at the data that's available. this is not me, this was published in "the new york times" several weeks ago, people that actually lie affirmatively lie on their background check , the actual prosecutions of those, when department of justice knows about that, the number of prosecutions is down to like a fraction of one percent. so look, before we make it more difficult for every law-abiding citizen in this country to exercise their constitutional rights , maybe we ought to enforce the laws that are already there. and you know, you look at some of the most recent notorious tragedies that have occurred in this country, and i find it hard to believe that putting additional restrictions on law-abiding citizens would have prevented any of that.

>> you know one thing that everybody can agree on is that commonsense measures need to be taken. you hear that from the nra all the time. but if background checks , simply confirming that people are who they say they are is not a commonsense measure, then what is?

>> well, look, again it's the issue of you have these measures in place, but when you do find that people are not being truthful, they're not prosecuted. so, why in the world do you create more laws that you're not going to enforce? who does that -- who does that affect? certainly not the criminal. but it does, it does put a bigger burden on the law-abiding citizen. and let's face the facts, 99.999% of gun owners in miss country are responsible, good citizens. why in the world are we making them the targets of our -- of our legislative activities?

>> all right, congressman michael burgess , thanks so much for being here this morning.

>> thank you.