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The Ed Show for Monday, December 17th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Monday show

December 17, 2012

Guests: Mark Glaze, John Nichols, Jonathan Alter, Dr. Gail Saltz

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW from New York.

The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, is galvanizing Americans. It`s
no longer acceptable to hide behind the Second Amendment.

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.


anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president calls for change in the wake of a
massacre. Tonight, how voters can make their voices louder than the gun

can destroy political careers is just not true. The NRA`s power is so
vastly overrated.

SCHULTZ: Plus, the fact about the NRA`s power, with Mayor Michael
Bloomberg`s right hand man on gun control, Mark Glaze.

Will real America come around on common sense gun laws?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want anybody to (INAUDIBLE).

SCHULTZ: John Nichols on the conservative push to keep common sense
gun laws out of the middle of the country.

Plus, Republican obstacles to reduce violence with Jonathan Alter and
Alex Wagner.

And Dr. Gail Saltz on the role mental health professionals need to
play to reduce the violence.

OBAMA: No single law. No set of laws can eliminate evil from the
world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that
can`t be an excuse for inaction.


SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for

Almost 24 hours ago, President Obama called for a change in this
country. Now, it`s up to all of us to make sure changes come to pass.

The community of Newtown, Connecticut, is still deeply mourning of the
horrifying school shooting that claimed the lives of 26 people, 20 of them

Speaking at a memorial service last night, the president struck an
almost impossible balance of heartfelt emotion and outrage. Clearly,
President Obama feels the weight of the moment. No American can relive the
horror of this.


OBAMA: We can`t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end.
And to end them, we must change.

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex and that
is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world
or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can`t
be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this.


SCHULTZ: This is a moment in history where an event alters the
direction of a country and moves lawmakers to unity.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein was the first legislator to
announce an update on an assault weapons ban which she introduced in
Congress early and she`ll introduce it early next year.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I intend to introduce a bill.
And I intend one way or another, no matter how long it takes, to get that
bill through. There`s one thing I`m sure of, that in the absence of doing
something, that is sound, that is practical, that is workable, these
incidents are not going to stop. I`ve watched them now since the Texas
bell tower in 1967.


SCHULTZ: Feinstein was author of the weapons ban which was allowed to
expire under George W. Bush.

Her new bill would ban more than 100 specific firearms. It includes
semi-automatic rifles, handguns and shotguns. It bans devices capable of
carrying more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It also exempts more than 900
specific weapons.

It`s not a ban on all guns. It`s a ban on unnecessary guns.

Today, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey also introduced a plan
to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines.

Senator Pat Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he will hold
hearings on gun safety issues early next year.

Outside of Congress, other Democratic lawmakers were urging action.
Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, where an insidious 5,000 people have been
killed by gun violence since 2001. Emanuel spoke to a graduating class of
Chicago police officers about turning on the pressure for tougher laws.


MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO, IL: It`s time that we as a city, a
state, and we as a country make sure that you get backed up. We can`t just
stand behind you and say, we support our men and women in law enforcement
community, and then not have the laws on the books that help you do your
job every day.

And it`s time, as a city, we have an assault weapon ban. And a time
we, as a state, have an assault weapon ban. It`s time we as a country have
an assault weapon ban.

And I would hope that the leadership in Congress would now have a vote
of conscience.


SCHULTZ: Members of Congress are feeling the pressure. Some pro-gun
senators understand things need to change. Senators Joe Manchin of West
Virginia, Harry Reid of Nevada and Mark Warner of Virginia have received
some stellar grades from the National Rifle Association, despite being

Today, Majority Leader Harry Reid said that we`re not doing enough to
protect our citizens. He said, "Every idea should be on the table."

Senator Warner told "The Washington Post", "There`s got to be a way to
put reasonable restrictions, particularly as we look at assault weapons as
we look at these fast clips of ammunition."

Senator Manchin is one of the NRA`s brightest stars on Capitol Hill.
The NRA endorsed him in his 2010 West Virginia Senate race. Manchin filled
a campaign ad where he filed a bullet through the copy of the cap-and-trade
bill. Now, Manchin is open to Senator Feinstein`s bill.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I`m telling you, I believe this
is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner, and I
think they will. And I think when you look at it, if Diane is saying that
basically assault weapons, I don`t know anyone in the sporting or hunting
arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don`t know anybody that needs
30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.


SCHULTZ: OK, it`s encouraging to see so many lawmakers speaking
forcefully about the need for change. But it`s frustrating to know that we
have been down this road before. A 1989 -- 1989 -- school shooting in
Stockton, California, led to the first assault weapons ban. Five years
later, a federal ban was adopted by Congress.

But here we are. No ban is in place today. The gun industry just
couldn`t be happier or more profitable. And no ban is there.

So they can give us wonderful stuff like this. This is a drum-style
magazine from an assault rifle, just like the one the Newtown shooter used.
It can hold up to 90 bullets at a time.

Let me read you a description of this product from a gun product that
we won`t bother the name so they won`t get any extra publicity. Here`s
what they say about it. Ultrahigh capacity for increased shooting fun,
precision built, ultrahigh capacity drum style magazine allows extended
shooting strings and plenty of shooting fun with your favorite AR-15 or M-
16 rifle.

I ask you tonight, what purpose does this serve in a civilized
society? Increased shooting fun in light of what happened last Friday?

Those words should make your blood boil. The NRA has spent billions
of dollars lobbying for these weapons manufacturers. And the gun makers
convinced people to go ahead and buy them with ads like this.

Consider your man card reissued, it says. This is the same assault
rifle used in Sandy Hook Elementary School. It works.

Black Friday gun sales right after Thanksgiving this year broke
records across the country.

Keep in mind -- these weapons are being sold to a population where 40
percent of all gun buyers are not required to undergo background checks.
It`s called the gun show loop.

Well, the NRA sells people on buying these weapons and then uses fear
to convince them that their freedom is going to be taken away from them.

I want the NRA to tell the families of Newtown, Connecticut, just how
fun this Bushmaster rifle is. I want elected leaders who support loose gun
laws to explain just how much fun this past weekend has been for the entire

Some people are calling this the tipping point. I think we`re well
beyond that. The tip of the spear is you, the American people.

Lawmakers need to fear and cower in front of voters -- the same way
they do in front of the NRA.

We need real change in this country. We need to get on the phone, as
Americans, with every elected official who is opposed an assault weapons
ban and tell them you will not get my vote.

As the president said, we can no longer sit back and do nothing.


OBAMA: Are we really prepared to say that we`re powerless in the face
of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say
that such violence visited our children year after year after year is
somehow the price of our freedom?


SCHULTZ: We are the people. We are the Constitution. We can shape
this country to whatever image we want.

The change and the time is now coming close together. The time for
change is right now.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, will you support any politician who doesn`t support reasonable
gun laws?

Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. You can always go to our
blog at We`ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now is Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst and
professor at Georgetown University.

Doctor, good to have you with us.


SCHULTZ: Will we finally see changes? And because -- I`m going to be
harsh on lawmakers. Their number one concern is to get reelected --

DYSON: Right.

SCHULTZ: -- instead of doing what`s right for the people.

But is this that moment in time where they might forget reelection and
do what`s really right because is what the country wants?

DYSON: I think so, I pray so, and I hope so, Ed.

I think this is a convergence of a historically unique period in time
where finally, people who have been ardent supporters and advocates for the
Second Amendment get some common sense. That you don`t need clips, strips
and drums of the magnitude you talked about, of that high a capacity to go
out and hunt. There`s no justification on earth for us to be able to
retain this kind of assault weaponry in defense of our Second Amendment
rights and, ostensibly, for the purposes of hunting.

So with that put on the table, and even as you`ve shown, some very
Republican -- conservative Republicans and some Democrats who have been
receiving great grade from the NRA have finally come to their senses. The
NRA lobby must not be allowed to be a shadow government.

What we have essentially done is to pay deference to the NRA to be
able to gain our credentials as citizens who are card-carrying defenders of
the Constitution and the Second Amendment.

No more. The death of those children in Newtown, the death of
children in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, the death of children
across this country is enough to say to us we must end all of this madness,
come to the table and I think politicians finally get that.

SCHULTZ: Can the NRA -- can the influence of this organization, which
has intimidated lawmakers for years, thrown money at people that they don`t
want to see in the Congress because they want to protect all of this fear-
mongering that they do -- can they finally be defeated by this public
outrage? I think that`s where we are right now. It`s good thing there`s
not an election tomorrow, the NRA would be in serious trouble.

But it`s the fear-mongering that they`ve done. And can the public
finally overcome that?

DYSON: Well, I think so. But let`s not undervalue them, so to speak,
or at least let`s not underestimate them, because we know that the NRA is
laying in the cut. They know better now than to come forward because they
know that feelings are tender, that the national conscious has been seared.
They know that people are outraged and fed up with all of this madness and

So, they`re going to lay on the cut, so to speak, waiting until the
right time to reemerge, to say, look, all of us lament and mourn these
children. But let`s not go too far in the other direction. And they put
forth -- they will be putting forth arguments that, look, if those people
are better armed, if teachers are better armed, if people in the schools
are better armed, then we`ll be able to take care of our own.

We know that violence begets. And when you have the presence of guns
like that, it only leads to more death. Studies have been done. We
neglect our own academic and scholarly insight about the fact that those
who possessed guns are more likely to use them and more likely to die from

We`ve got to put that on the table and fight the NRA. But I think
we`ve galvanized enough unified voices here to say to the NRA, you will not
cower us. We will not be intimidated by you. And I think that politicians
finally have gotten that message as well.

SCHULTZ: Well, there`s a lot of components that go into this gun
violence in America. We`ll explain and explore more of them later on in
this broadcast.

But I cannot let anyone off the hook who says that they think that
guns should be in the schools.

DYSON: Right, right.

SCHULTZ: The teachers, the administrators, they`re not professional
firearm handlers. That`s not why they went to college. They didn`t -- he
didn`t go to college to do this kind of stuff. If you want to put cops in
the schools, that`s a totally different scenario. But to call on an
administrator or a teacher to be armed is absolutely outrageous.

Michael Eric Dyson, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so

DYSON: Thank you, my friend.

SCHULTZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of
the screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow and Facebook.
We want to know what you think.

Coming up, Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls the NRA`s influence vastly
overrated. I`ll talk with the director of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns,
his organization, Mark Glaze, about Bloomberg`s call to action on gun

And later, I`m getting a lot of reaction from my commentary on Friday
night about gun activists hiding behind the Second Amendment. I`ll respond
to my detractors tonight.

Stay with us. We`ll be right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, the great divide in this country on gun control
and gun laws. John Nichols on the different views in urban and rural
areas. And the role of the NRA in shaping the conversation about gun laws.

Later, Dr. Gail Saltz on the role mental health professionals can play
in reducing gun violence in this country.

And John Boehner`s latest fiscal cliff plan is not sitting too well
with the conservatives or the president of the United States for that
matter. We`ll have the details.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on SiriusXM Radio
Channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter using #EdShow.

We`re coming right back. Stay with us.



BLOOMBERG: This is an outrage. We are killing each other. And we`re
the only industrialized country in the world doing it.


SCHULTZ: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, earlier today, leading the
charge on gun control. And over the weekend, Bloomberg challenged the
notion that pushing for tougher laws is impossible, giving the influence of
the NRA.


BLOOMBERG: But, today, the NRA`s power is so vastly overrated. The
public, when you do the polls, they want to stop this carnage.


SCHULTZ: Today, the mayor echoed those sentiments, calling out
elected officials on both sides.


BLOOMBERG: This is not a partisan issue. This is just a bunch of
people who I think are cowed by the NRA. And as I said yesterday, if you
think the NRA has power, just remember, the number one priority was to
defeat Barack Obama. Last time I checked, he`s going to be inaugurated


SCHULTZ: Earlier, protesters gathered outside the offices in
Washington. The NRA, again, declined to comment. The group`s social media
interaction has come to a halt. The NRA had stopped tweeting. And it also
took down its Facebook page on Friday, just one day after it celebrated a
milestone of 1.7 million likes.

There are signs that the NRA might be losing its grip on Washington.
NRA member and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia now says he`s
rethinking his positions on gun control. But as "Slate`s" Dave Weigel
points out, the NRA hasn`t lost any kind vote on gun legislation since
1999, in the months after Columbine, when a background check bill got 50
votes in the Senate. The five Republicans who voted aye are all gone and
Al Gore`s tie breaking aye became a focus of the NRA`s campaign against

And just days before the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary, the NRA
was actively fear-mongering over gun laws. An NRA spokesman told "The
Washington Examiner" on December 5th that the organization was preparing to
battle with the president.

"We`re not optimistic. We`re planning for the worst. We`ve told
people to plan for gun bans and a Supreme Court stacked with anti-gun
judges. The president has a variety of options at his disposal, we don`t
take any of them for granted."

Let`s turn tonight to Mark Glaze. He`s director of Mayors Against
Illegal Guns.

Mark, good to have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: Is this a history-making moment with firearms in this

GLAZE: It absolutely is. To me, it feels a little bit like, for
those of us who are alive at the Oklahoma City bombing, when things have
gotten so bad and you had this explosively terrible moment that people just
reevaluated and thought about life and their country in a different way.
Today, we`ve had, you know, celebrities, tech leaders, thousands of new
supporters come across. That doesn`t happen every day and it doesn`t
happen at every mass shooting. There`s something different about this.

SCHULTZ: So, it sounds like there`s a coalition coming together --
elected officials with the mayor`s organization. Tech leaders that you`re
talking about. Ground swell support from people across America who are
afraid and have just had enough.

But the NRA, Mayor Bloomberg says that their influence is vastly
overrated. There are people who disagree with that. What do you think?

GLAZE: You know, if you actually sit down and do an analysis, which
believe it or not nobody had done until relatively recently, what they do
is overwhelmingly endorse incumbents who are going to win anyway. They
spread a lot of money very thin across a lot of people.

And people on our side of this for common sense gun regulations don`t
really get involved in politics. And as a result, they`re the only game in

But just look at this last election -- the NRA only put more than a
hundred thousand dollars in the seven Senate races, six of those candidates
lost. The Sunlight Foundation ranked them to be dead last out of political
organizations in terms of the effectiveness of their dollars in this
election, 0.183 percent, which are non-investment, dead last. They`re not
they`re crack up to be, and we`ve known that for a while.

SCHULTZ: But in rural America, for instance, in the Wisconsin recall,
they depicted the opponent of Scott Walker as the guy who was going to grab
all guns that. It actually has an effect. It has an effect on rural
Americans, don`t you think?

GLAZE: You know, I think gun issues is one of many things that people
on the side of the political divide use to paint Democrats in particular as
being too liberal. But it`s just one of a lot of things.

Tom Barrett, a good man, who ran in that race, who happens to be a
member of our coalition, was not talking about guns in that race. That`s
not the reason he lost. There are other reasons he lost, we regret.

But, you know, we have 750 mayors in this coalition who understand if
you do the right thing, the politics will take care of themselves. They
run and they win.

SCHULTZ: What do they hope to achieve? And what kind of gun
legislation do the mayors want?

GLAZE: So, there are three big fixes that you can make, all of which
I think are on the table now, that would take a big chunk out of the
problem in different ways. First thing is, few people know this, but only
60 percent, of gun sales in this country and maybe even closer to 50
percent even get a background check for the --

SCHULTZ: Well, that`s because of the gun show loophole. Anybody can
go right into a gun show and 40 percent of the sales are at gun shows.

GLAZE: Now it`s even broader. It used to be the gun show loophole,
but that was really before the Internet. Now, a huge and growing share of
the private sales that take place in this country with no background check
are online, where there`s no background check, no record of the
transaction, and no questions asked. So you should require a background
check for all gun sales.

Second thing you should do is take a very serious look at whether we
can craft an assault weapons ban and a limit on high-capacity magazines
that cause enormous amounts of mayhem amongst school children in moments
because nobody has to reload. You should find a way to do that seriously,
in a way that gets them off the streets. And I think we can do it.

Third thing is, believe it or not, there is no federal statute that
makes gun trafficking a crime. And if I go in straw buy a gun as a person
who can legally buy, sell it to a Mexican drug cartel, the penalties for
that are the same as trafficking chickens.

SCHULTZ: So all of the mayors are on board with these three things?

GLAZE: We had a conference call with our mayors tonight which we
don`t do every week because they`re busy people. We`ve had hundreds of
mayors from across the country join us, on the same week that this

We`ve had the mayors of Tucson, of Muncie, Indiana, mayors in North
Carolina, mayors in Ohio, call to join us because they hear about what
we`re doing. They`ve had enough. Whether they`re Republican or Democrat,
they understand that the politics of this are right. The NRA isn`t all
it`s cracked up to be. And people have just reached a point where it`s
beyond time to act.

SCHULTZ: All right, Mark Blaze, good to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.

The divide between urban and rural America is never greater than on
guns. John Nichols joins me next.

In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, Republicans are hitting
the same old NRA talking points. They`re talking about guns in schools.

MSNBC`s Alex Wagner and Jonathan Alter are here with reaction.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.

Whether we want to believe it or not, there is a divide between urban
and rural in this country on a number of issues -- taxes, women`s health
care, gays and guns. But gun control is still the biggest sticking point,
I think. And if you think about it, it`s possible for a Democrat to be
elected in the United States Senate in a swing state. Even if he or she
supports some tax increases, is pro-choice, and is for marriage equality.

But it`s a different story on guns. Democrats are far more vulnerable
on this issue, and the NRA knows it. In the Wisconsin recall election,
here`s what the NRA did to Mayor Tom Barrett.


AD NARRATOR: This is your freedom. This is your freedom if Tom
Barrett gets the chance to recall your gun rights.


SCHULTZ: Freedom is the buzz word, no question about it. NRA
spending in 2012 was more than $17 million on federal elections alone.
According to our next guest, John Nichols, about $6 million percent was
spent in support of Americans, more than $11 million was spent against

I`m joined tonight by John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
Nation" magazine.

John, I don`t want to overstate this. Do you think that there is a
divide in this country between urban and rural when it comes to the gun

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": There`s a divide in how it`s talk about.
And there`s a divide in how it`s thought about it. It`s not one that can`t
be leapt, but it`s one that President Obama and supporters of gun control
have to understand.

And they have to take lessons from some of the political figures who
have figured out how to leap over it. It`s not that hard. What you do
have to understand is that people in rural America often grew up around
guns. I did. I come from a very small town.

My grandfather was a gun collector. He and I made shells in the
basement. We went skeet shooting together. So the bottom line is I grew
up in a culture where I saw guns respected, enjoyed, treated well. And I
think the key thing is that a lot of the political players who favor gun
control sometimes act as if rural folks aren`t rational about this, don`t
really understand where they`re at.

That`s not the way to come at it. The way to come at it is the way
that Bernie Sanders and some others have.

SCHULTZ: Well, the technology and the manufacturing and what these
guns can do now in society is far different from 20 years ago. We`re
living in almost a different set of rules. Yet there`s that Second
Amendment sitting right there that they cling onto and they won`t move,
which makes it politically dangerous to come up with any kind of gun
legislation. Where is this all going?

NICHOLS: Well, the thing is that there has to be a message to rural
folks and to gun owners across the country; look, we understand that you
may be a hunter. You may be a gun collector. You may have just grown up
in a family where guns are always a part of your life. You can continue to
do that. The Second Amendment will protect you on that.

But you need to separate yourself from these maniacs who are running
around with automatic weapons and walking into theaters and into schools.
You need to have a certain self respect and say, look, my gun rights, my
gun engagement, if you will, is completely different from these maniacs.
And as a result, we need to say to these folks, you can be on the side of
sensible gun control and still not only protect your guns but also protect
the culture that you regard highly.

It`s doable. Bernie Sanders has done it. Russ Feingold did it over
the years. You can be a progressive and speak to these communities, but
you have to speak to them with respect.

SCHULTZ: What does it say when a senator like Joe Manchin of West
Virginia comes out and takes a stand for an assault weapons ban, is the
state that traditionally is very protective of fire arms?

NICHOLS: It`s monumental, Ed. West Virginia is the state which
really was the symbol of Al Gore`s troubles in 2000 on the gun rights
issues. And remember that Joe Manchin, when he was running for this U.S.
Senate seat, cut an ad in which he was shooting at a target. And so the
bottom line is that him taking this stand is good evidence of just how much
this issue has begun to shift, and the potential that President Obama has
to talk about it to rural Americans.

SCHULTZ: All right, John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
Nation," great to have you with us tonight, John. There`s a lot more
coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.


REP. LOUISE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: The principal lunging, trying to
protect. Chris, I wish to God she would have had an M-4 in her office
locked up, so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out.


SCHULTZ: In the wake of Sandy Hook, the righties double down on gun
lobby talking points. Alex Wagner and Jonathan Alder on the Republican
opposition to common sense gun laws.

What role does this country`s mental health need to play to curb the
violence? Dr. Gale Saltz is here with answers.

And if the Club for Growth is mad at John Boehner, you know it`s good
news for Democrats. The latest on fiscal cliff negotiations is ahead.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Republican response to the
tragic Newtown school shooting is sad and disturbing, to say the least.
Every time an horrific event takes place in this country, Republicans turn
to the same old NRA talking points. Their main argument is arm more
civilians. That will stop mass shootings.

So, now, after the Sandy Hook shooting, Republicans are calling for
guns, guns in schools. Look no further than your Sunday talk shows.


BILL BENNETT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I`m not so sure -- and I`m sure
I`ll get mail from this. I`m not so sure I wouldn`t want one person in a
school armed, ready for this kind of thing. The principal lunged at this
guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. It has to be someone
who`s trained. It has to be someone who`s responsible. But, my God, if
you can prevent this kind of thing, I think we ought to do it.


SCHULTZ: Texas Congressman Louise Gohmert took it a step further.
The Tea Party favorite said that the principal of the school should have
had an M-4 assault rifle.


GOHMERT: And hearing the heroic stories of the principal lunging,
trying to protect -- Chris, I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office
locked up, so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out, and she didn`t have
to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him out,
takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.


SCHULTZ: Just what teachers are trained to do, don`t you think?
Gohmert is known for his absurd statements. But this one is shameless.
The fact is, armed civilians do not stop mass shootings from happening.
"Mother Jones" analyzed 62 mass shootings over the past 30 years. They
didn`t find a single incident where the killing was stopped by a civilian
using a gun.

Every time a mass shooting happens, Republicans hide behind the Second
Amendment to stop gun control. And the American people, I think, are sick
of it.

Let`s turn tonight to Alex Wagner, host of "NOW" with Alex Wagner here
on MSNBC, and Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and columnist for
"Bloomberg View."

Alex, every time something happens with firearms in this country, we
hear the same old tired talking points coming out from conservatives, from
the right supplied, by the NRA. Is this time different?

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: I do think this time is different. And I
think you see a little bit more movement on the right, or at least an
acknowledgment that this is a line in the sand. I think the arming of the
teachers theory or proposal is a new level of ridiculousness.

Can you imagine after the terrorist who had the explosives in his
shoes, if we had said, well, every airline passenger should have explosive
shoes, so that we can combat it like that. It`s a ludicrous, ludicrous
proposition. It`s totally untenable.

I was speaking with John Larson, who, of course, is a congressman from
Connecticut, and he said if that`s what Louis Gohmert thinks flies in
Texas, that is absolutely not a prescription for the nation. And I think
that there is some acknowledgement on the right that there needs to be

But at the end of the day, there`s so much resistance. There is so
much entrenched resistance to the notion of reasonable laws around guns and
gun possession that you`re seeing an initial grasping of straws, which is
to say anything but laws that are going to make it less easy for people to
get weapons.

SCHULTZ: Jonathan, has the facts that children were involved in this
disarmed those advocates who were out to make sure they protect guns at all

JONATHAN ALTER, "BLOOMBERG VIEW": Not necessarily. These folks are
shameless. You know, Louis Gohmert and some of the others were saying
after the Aurora, Colorado shooting that if the people in that theater had
been armed, maybe the mass murderer wouldn`t have been able to kill those
folks, including the couple of children in that theater.

Imagine if you would had people firing wildly in a dark theater.
There would have been more people who would have died in Aurora. It`s just
a preposterous idea.

I don`t think that they can be ultimately reasoned with. They can
only be beaten at the polls in 2014, after a movement is built, Ed, a
national movement. I think it`s important for progressives and pro-gun
reform people to be smart about this. And so as a first step, I would
suggest retiring gun control, quote unquote. as am expression. It`s too
threatening to people who are gun owners.

SCHULTZ: Doesn`t fit the mean.

ALTER: -- guns owners, and replacing it with every reference -- and
for all of us to train ourselves to say over and over again, in a
disciplined way, we are talking about, quote, common sense gun safety.
Common sense gun safety. Who can be against that?

If we start to redefine the terms and build a movement, that will
include a lot of local organizing by the same people who reelected Barack
Obama, then this can start to make progress in a legislative way. But it`s
a longtime process.

SCHULTZ: Some over the conservative side have played the religious
card. Here`s Mike Huckabee blaming the shooting on a lack of God in
schools. Let`s take a look at this clip.


MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We asked why there`s violence in
schools, but we`ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we
be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because
we`ve made it a place where we don`t want to talk about eternity, life,
what responsibility means, accountability.

That we`re not just going to have to be accountable to the police if
they catch us, but one day we stand before a holy God and judgment.


SCHULTZ: Alex, your response to that?

WAGNER: I would really like to see someone employ Judeo-Christian
values in service of making the world safer, as opposed to pillorying
people who are not of the same cloth. And I think this goes to -- you
talked about this earlier in the show, Ed -- the notion of a cultural
difference. And guns represent not just guns, but a whole way of life, I
think, for a certain part of the country.

And to some degree, the fear is understandable. I think there`s a
sense that it`s slipping away from them. But to not actually examine the
real problem, it`s not just about mental health. It`s not just about
values. It`s not just about video games. It`s about the weapons. And to
sort of -- to excise that from the conversation is not only irresponsible,
but it`s not a way of -- there`s no way for the nation to heal unless you
really look at this holistically.

ALTER: Before the healing, Ed, I mean, we just have to call out Mike
Huckabee on this. This is really shameful. He`s saying that those
children wouldn`t have died if somehow the gunman -- if there had been
prayer in the schools, and that the gunman had gone to a school with
prayer? Is that what he`s saying?

SCHULTZ: Basically, that`s exactly what he`s saying. He`s saying
that we have taken God out of the schools and it has affected society so
much that now we have got people who go around and shoot up schools.

ALTER: So how does he explain people going around and shooting up
churches, which has happened a number of times? They haven`t thrown prayer
out of the churches, last time I checked.

SCHULTZ: The point being here that they will expand the boundaries of
conversation to fit themselves.

ALTER: Well, but at a certain point, you know, not everybody can be
taken seriously as -- you know, there are gun advocates who deserve to be
heard in this debate. But if somebody says something as obscene as that,
they shouldn`t be taken seriously anymore in the public square.

SCHULTZ: I`m just surprised that John McCain and Lindsey Graham and
some other conservatives can be so outraged by the loss of life, which is
terrible, about some ambassadors that we had working over in Benghazi, and,
yet, they`re very, very quiet on this.

WAGNER: Ed, keep in mind that John McCain was the person that
nominated Sarah Palin to be the vice president. And she was the one that
coined the phrase, "don`t retreat, reload."

SCHULTZ: That pretty much says it all. Alex Wagner, Jonathan Alter,
great to have you with us tonight. Thank you.

Breaking news in the fiscal cliff negotiations. President Obama has
made a counter offer to Speaker John Boehner. Details next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: And of course, we love hearing from our viewers on our
Twitter and Facebook page. All weekend long, people have been responding
to my call for Americans to stop hiding behind the Second Amendment.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Joy
Kennel suggests that "maybe I could get a new government job taking away
all guns."

But that`s not what I`m saying. I would just think that the Founding
Fathers could have foreseen automatic weapons coming down the pike. I
doubt it. I don`t think they were thinking about that when they wrote the
Second Amendment. People change. Times change. This is time for change
and nobody`s going to be grabbing your gun. But we might want to make sure
that you`re not mentally ill before you get it.

RaptorsRule knows what I mean. "The Second Amendment allowed muskets,
not semiautomatic assault rifles, nor pistols with large clips. Updates
this antiquated amendment ASAP."

Here here on that one.

And Shannon Chavez Tweets,"why can all of our Constitutional rights be
subjected to limits except for the ones conferred by the Second Amendment?"

We like that one, too.

Keep your thoughts coming on our Facebook and Twitter page using the
hash tag #EdShow.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will you support any politician who
doesn`t support reasonable gun laws? Eight percent of you said yes; 92
percent of you said no.

Still to come, how can we take guns out of the hands of the mentally
ill in this country? Psychiatrist Gail Saltz on how mental health
professionals can help curb gun violence. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: And we are back. President Obama has made a counter offer
to House Speaker John Boehner to the fiscal negotiations, according to
"Reuters." President Obama has now proposed 400,000 as the new dividing
line on taxes, meaning tax rates would return to Clinton-era rates for
those making more than 400,000 dollars a year.

The president began his dividing line, as you know, at 250,000
dollars. Speaker Boehner had proposed one million dollars a year as the
dividing line. The president asked for a total of 1.2 trillion dollars in
new tax revenue in his counter offer, in exchange for 1.2 trillion dollars
in spending cuts.

According to "Reuters," the president is willing to change the way the
cost of living adjustments are made to Social Security and other programs.
Bernie Sanders isn`t going to like that and neither are liberal Democrats.

The president wants the debt limit extended for two years with
periodic votes through a process proposed by Senator Mitch McConnell.
Speaker Boehner met with the president at the White House again this
morning and had previously offered a one-year extension to the debt limit
in return for one trillion dollars in budget cuts. The offer was
reportedly rejected by the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today the Senate will likely
come back into session the day after Christmas to deal with the fiscal
cliff negotiations.

On another sad note tonight, the Senate has lost one of its members
today. Hawaii Senator Dan Inouye, a war hero and the longest-serving
member of the Senate, he passed away today. The 88 year old Democrat had
represented his state as a congressman or senator since Hawaii joined the
union in 1959.

President Obama said in a statement tonight -- he said, "tonight, our
country has lost a true American hero. According to the senator`s staff,
his last word was "Aloha."

Coming up, in the aftermath of yet another tragedy, the mental health
community needs to assess if it`s doing everything it can to stop gun
violence. Or are they being asked to engage? Psychiatrist Gail Saltz
joins me for the discussion next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. As the president has talked
about, there are a lot of facets that go into gun violence in this country.
The mental health community is going to have to play a major role if we`re
going to make changes and see violence go down in this country. Diagnosing
people and making sure that they don`t have access to firearms is a big

Let`s bring in Dr. Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of
psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Saltz, thanks for
being here tonight.


SCHULTZ: This is something that the mental health community is going
to need resources to do. If we`re going to lean on the mental health
community to be a part of gun control and gun violence in this country,
take us down that road. What has to happen?

SALTZ: Well, really, I think the issue here is that some people, who
will commit terribly violent crimes, do suffer from mental illness. But
they`re not necessarily entering the system. So there`s one out of 17
people in this country who has a serious mental illness. Less than a third
of them come in for treatment.

So that`s a lot of people who ostensibly aren`t allowed to purchase
guns. But because they`ve never entered the system, there`s no record of
them. And therefore, they can. And that could be a risk.

SCHULTZ: So in the mental health community, is this something that
could be achieved, I mean to have a database? I mean, if a doctor sees a
child and sees the child is being abused, he`s got to report it.

SALTZ: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: In this situation, what about that parent?

SALTZ: Well, let me first say that many people who commit these
crimes are not necessarily mentally ill. So will it solve the problem
overall if we just ran around, you know, bringing everybody into the system
and diagnosing them? No.

However, would it cut down, potentially, on these violent crimes? I
think it might. And moreover, maybe even more importantly, a lot of people
who really need treatment would get treatment. So there`s no downside to
the need to bring the mental health care in this country up from being at
the bottom of the barrel, where it is.

SCHULTZ: But, in the most recent shootings that we`ve seen,
obviously, the perpetrators have had issues. Had they had been in the
mental health system, this could have been prevented.

SALTZ: Maybe. We don`t know. Because the reality is that people who
seem to be at risk for violent crimes have certain features: paranoia,
depression, impulsivity, a history of breaking the law or violence or of
aggression, and substance abuse. We don`t know if any of these things were
involved at all.

So sometimes we won`t be able to get everyone. Sometimes it`s
possible this person would have done this anyway, which leads us back to
gun control. So this person might have done this anyway. In other words,
mental health might not have been able to prevent it.

However, had he been in the system, it`s possible that the
professional treating him would have heard something and said to the
mother, you know what, he`s really ill. You shouldn`t have guns around
your son. That is very possible.

SCHULTZ: Somebody goes in and wants to buy a firearm, you know, there
could be a law that they have to get mentally checked out.

SALTZ: You know, I can see that people would be disturbed by such an
idea. And I can see that it would be very difficult to pull off. What I
think is probably more practical, if you will, is if people understood the
signs and symptoms of mental illness, basically any emotional state --

SCHULTZ: And report on them.

SALTZ: And brought them in to get treatment, to enter the system.
Those that would be dangerous would be dealt with appropriately. Those who
maybe don`t appear dangerous, but shouldn`t have a firearm would be told
so. And their families would be told so. Because, of course, in this
case, he didn`t buy the guns. His mother did.

SCHULTZ: And -- but you also run into the issue of seeing a doctor,
having it covered, insurance issues. It`s one domino after another.

SALTZ: Ed, this is the big problem. This is the big problem. Mental
health care in 2012, between the stigma and shame that still exists,
between the lack of priority, not only for crisis management of mental
health issues, but the idea of prevention is almost nonexistent.

So with this combination, people are simply not getting the care that
they need.

SCHULTZ: Dr. Gail Saltz, thank you for coming in tonight. Appreciate
your time. Thank you.

And that is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW"
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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