Meet the Press   |  March 24, 2013

Panel examines gun lobby’s resistance

A Meet the Press roundtable discusses the proposed gun control reform laws and the NRA’s stance on universal background checks.

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

>> spine on the gun issue, e.j. dionne . this is coming to a head. reaction to -- well, you heard from mayor bloomberg and from wayne lapierre who sounded this morning like there's a little bit of wiggle room on background checks , perhaps not what bloomberg and others like, but there might be a background check stel.

>> i always thought it was easy to criticize the extreme end of the gun law before extremism. i didn't think i would for inconnisten si. these guns laws infringe on the first amendment but we are not enforcing gun laws , laws to restrict violence strongly enough. i think that's very peculiar. i think the momentum is still with the advocates of saner gun laws . i think that the assault weapons ban is still hard to pass, which i think is very unfortunate but it's nonetheless true. there is strong support for background checks and the issue there, i don't think -- we're going to get a bill on universal background checks . the real issue, will it be compromised so much that too much will be given away be a i think there's a good chance of getting off banning the big magazines and if you have that plus a law against gun trafficking, this would be a very significant victory for people who have been trying to get saner gun laws for a very long time.

>> let me untangle the lapierre contradiction. i think he's right on one of the issues. over the last 20 years gun laws have become looser. over the last 20 years gun violence has dropped by 50%. tens of thousands of people are alive today because of better policing. better policing, incarceration, some of the other things have huge effects on public safety . the gun laws historically, the brady bill very small effects. i support them. i think they would be moderately positive. the background checks would be moderately positive. there is no historical record these rules will have a huge effect on public safety . there is a historical record the stuff lapierre is talking about is the one area i agree with him on, the policing, that has an effect. why are we talking about these background checks and the magazines and the assault weapons bans which may have a small effect but the stuff that has a big effect? lapierre to his credit is talking about that stuff.

>> meaning what? in terms of policing or school safety?

>> no, not putting guns in schools. what's led to a huge drop is because policing has changed. parole policies has changed. incarceration has changed.

>> how ironic that the very same people pushing against gun laws and reasonable background checks are also the same people who have insisted on billions of dollars of cuts in government spending on the very same safety workers and police and firemen and the like who have an impact on society. i don't think they can have it both ways. this is going to come down to, you know, probably the six democratic senators who are up for re-election in 2014 . and i think what we're going to see is what mayor bloomberg said which is that background checks and the points that e.j. made are going to seem very reasonable and modest. you know, one of the things about the focus on the assault weapons ban in my view, you're reaching for the stars . if you reach for the stars of the assault weapons ban , you might just get the moon in the background check .

>> a quick response.

>> our organization doesn't work on this issue so i'm speaking only for myself. i think the devil will be in the details. look, this bill already exempts family transfers. so newtown doesn't even get prevented by this. the mother could go out and buy an assault weapon ban -- an assault weapon , because harry reid has already said that is not going to pass in the senate, and she can give it to her son. that's what happened in newtown. it happens under --

>> stronger gun network.

>> the background check current ars