Meet the Press | September 22, 2013
>>> those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, then we have to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children. we have to be the ones to do more work to make it harder.
>> we are back. that was the president last night at a dinner here in washington for the congressional black caucus . joining me now, the executive vice president of the national rifle association , wayne lapierre . mr. lapierre , welcome back to "meet the press."
>> thank you, david .
>> is this the new normal? a commissioner described it that way. the president talked about almost a routine the country goes through after these horrific acts. is that what we're forced to live with at this point?
>> let's talk about this week. david , this is a tragedy that should not have happened, a memorial service that should not be taking place and victims that should not be victims. in a post-9/11 world, a naval base within miles from congress, the white house , seven miles from here, largely left unprotected, a terrorist target, a high valued terrorist target completely unprotected. that can't stand. nra is calling today for layers of security around our military bases . and the other thing we need to take a look at is all these brave men and women that are trained in firearms that signed up to serve in the military, they're largely disarmed on our military bases . we need to look at letting the men and women that know firearms and are trained in them do what they do best, which is protect and survive.
>> this is similar. after newtown, you were out spoken and saying that more security was the answer. this is what you said after that massacre.
>> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
>> this was the navy yard . there were armed guards there, mr. lapierre . does that not undermine your argument?
>> no. the whole country, david , knows the problem is there wasn't enough good guys with guns. when the good guys with guns got there, it stopped. what really happened here? the mental health situation in the country is in complete breakdown.
>> i want to get to that, but let's focus on the security aspect. can it be the sliding scale where you do have armed guards there but now there's not enough armed guards, and when it comes to schools, if only we had an armed guard and we had teachers who had weapons, then we could stop it? where does it stop?
>> how could anybody look at what happened this week and say there was enough security there? there was one guy, a private security firm, god bless him, he ran toward the fire. there were six others there that were guarding the gates. the capitol hill swat team was told to stand down. where is the outrage about that? the radios didn't work. we need to turn seven minutes response, we need to turn 30 minutes before they bring down the shooter into 7 seconds and 30 seconds. that's when we need to be doing and that's what i'm talking about with armed response. there is not a homeowner in northern virginia that if somebody is breaking in their door would be satisfied with 30 minutes .
>> you just heard the president basically saying we have to keep the fight up for gun restrictions. is the gun control debate over?
>> david , you know, all the outrage this week the first two days of the media and the politicians trying to stir this toward firearms, the outrage ought to be placed on an unprotected naval base , on a criminal justice system in chicago that doesn't even enforce the federal gun laws when we could dramatically cut violence on a mental health system that is completely broken, on a check system that is a complete joke in terms of stopping the bad guys and a criminal justice system in this country, just this past week, because of budget collapse, they're releasing 23,000 people back to the streets in los angeles , a lot of them violent and a lot of them sex offenders . that's where the outrage of the american public is.
>> can i ask you about mental health ? because it seems so very difficult, and it's someone who represents a group keenly interested in protecting core rights. there are also the rights of individuals when it comes to involuntarily committing them to a mental institution because of mental illness . look at the timeline for the shooter here, aaron alexis, where he's just under the radar. in may of 2004 , he's arrested for shooting tires out in seattle. september 2010 , he's arrested after he fired a bullet through his ceiling in ft. worth, then police were called because he was hearing voices at work. they call his mother at work but they don't actually call the navy. should someone who shows mental illness like that be able to purchase a gun?
>> they should be committed, and if they should be committed, they shouldn't be at the naval yard. i've been in the system for 20 years. i said the system has been broken for 20 years and nobody listens. the nra supported the gun check because we thought the mental records would be in the support, we thought criminals would be in the system and we thought people would be prosecuted. we're in a situation now where the criminal records aren't in the system. the medical records , even those adjudicated dangerous are not in the system and nobody is prosecuted.
>> i take your point --
>> but here's what happens. so the aurora shooter in colorado gets checked and is cleared. the tucson shooter is checked and gets cleared. aaron alexis goes to the federal and state check and gets cleared because the mental health system makes this person completely unrecognizable.
>> but i'm asking what the nra would support. like in florida, for instance, if you were voluntarily -- voluntarily -- committed to a mental health institution that you would support barring gun purchases. do i have that right?
>> i think if they adjudicate you like virginia has done now, where if you're involuntarily committed or if the mental health people say kwur dangeroyou're dangerous, you need to be in the system.
>> could there be a lower threshold you could support where there is some mental illness that says, let's do whatever we can to stop the carnage and limit sales?
>> i'll tell you what's going to happen. we're going to have the discussion today. it's on other channels. when the cameras go off, nobody is going to do anything. if we leave these homicidal maniacs on the street, they don't obey the law, they could care less about it, they're going to kill. the only way you can stop them is they send up the red flags . it's like a plane going down the beach with a sign behind it saying, i'm dangerous, and we leave them on the street.
>> i want to show you a piece of tape in just a second. let me set it up here. we asked people on facebook, what would you like to ask wayne lapierre . there are so many people who oppose you and the nra because they say, look, a vast majority of americans support gun legislation, people in colorado support additional restrictions. here was a victim at virginia tech who was on with my colleague andrea mitchell this weekend and he asked this question. i'm going to give you an opportunity to respond.
>> i would ask wayne, look, let's talk about what it means to be a responsible gun owner? doour do you think as a responsible human being , if you sell a gun to someone you don't know, you should require a background check before they can own it?
>> a hunter to a hunter in another state, a farmer to a farmer. no, i don't believe you ought to be under the thumb of the federal government . but that's what's wrong with this town, david . here we have a military base completely unprotected, we have a mental system completely broken down. they're trafficking 13-year-old girls down the street. there's all kinds of drugs, all kinds of guns and the priority of this town is, hey, do you think a hunter that sells a gun to a hunter in kansas ought to have to be under the thumb of the federal government ? no, i tell you what the nra is for. in kacarcerating violent criminals, get them off the street. get mentally ill people in treatment. if there is a gun on the street that shouldn't have it, get them prosecuted. let's get our fiscal life in order so we can put guns back on the street.
>> thank you for being here, mr. lapierre .
>> thank you, david .
>>> coming up, we're going to get a response from a woman who knows the pain of this firsthand. her daughter was killed in the aurora shooting last year.
>>> chuck todd , our political director with his first read sunday. a look at the week in politics tha when i