tv The Week With Joshua Johnson MSNBC April 10, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
hey, there. it's good to be with you tonight. did you hear about the latest mass shooting? if your answer was, which one, then you understand exactly what's wrong. we were thinking of the one in south carolina. a former nfl player is suspected of killing five people. and then killing himself. that may not even be the latest, just another in a series of shootings across the nation. tonight, president biden took to twitter to call on congress to take action, only days after he announced executive plans of his own. >> gun violence in this country
is an epidemic and it's an international embarrassment. >> calls are growing for congress to act, but current legislation is stalled, some lawmakers seem unwilling to act at all. but maybe we don't need to wait. let's see what ideas you've come up with. current and former lawmakers will help us think through what can get done, what roadblocks remain in the way, and consider the solutions that you sent us. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, i'm joshua johnson. we are reimagining america's gun laws on this special edition of "the week." it's been nearly 27 years since the last gun law passed congress. that was in 1994, when bill clinton was president. why has it taken so long for congress to act? in the next hour, we're going to
work a panel of policy makers to draft a bill, broad strokes, not too much fine print, just to get the ideas out there. our goal is to put together a framework that could survive congress and get signed into law. we know the american people are ready to do something. but what might that something look like? first, let's lay out two assumptions for this conversation. one, we are assuming that the polls are correct and that something needs to be done legislatively to address gun violence. there are many ways to address gun deaths. we can see that. we stipulate that. but we're focused this hour on federal laws. just for this conversation. two, we're accepting the second amendment as currently interpreted. and i know that this is going to make some of y'all mad. some of you wrote that we need to amend it or repeal it. okay, maybe, but that's a very tall order and a long process. and for this hour, we're focused on what we can accomplish soon. consider how long it's been since we took action on gun violence.
action can't come soon enough. the assault weapons ban expired in 2004 when congress did not vote to reauthorize it. since then, we've suffered an array of mass shootings, virginia tech, sandy hook, parkland, and many, many, many, many others. even the pandemic could not prevent 2020 from being the deadliest year for gun violence in decades, even with the pandemic, nearly 20,000 americans were killed by firearms. fred guttenberg is the father of a student killed in the parkland shooting. yesterday, he called on senator joe manchin to meet with him and talk about solutions. >> you name a time and a place, i will fly to you. let me sit down with you, spend an hour with me, let me talk to you about my family. and other victims of gun
violence. let me tell you why this matters in person, not over zoom. not through interviews, in person. you have the opportunity to do this now. >> that opportunity may be better than it has been in years. the nra has been quieter lately than usual. it's on trial in texas, trying to declare bankruptcy and avoid an investigation in new york state. you heard me right. the nra is trying to go bankrupt. but even with that group preoccupied, we're still struggling to have a clear-eyed conversation about gun laws. it seems as hard as ever to get advocates of stricter laws and advocates for gun owners to hear each other clearly. democrats in washington remain at odds over what to do. republicans remain at odds over doing anything. it can look pretty bleak, but i don't see it that way. that's because lots of you shared ideas and raised thoughtful concerns over the last few weeks.
we've had some really intense conversations about gun violence, but they've been worth it. democracy is a creative process, almost like an art. we imagine a result and find solutions to achieve it, better if we work together. you're here because you want to be a creator, not just a critic. teddy roosevelt was right. the critics don't count. that's from that speech he gave in 1910, the one where he talks about the man in the arena. president roosevelt argued that the people who strive, who try, who get in the arena, even when they get their butts kicked, they matter. but he was not just calling for courage, he was calling out cynicism. cynics are a deadweight in any creative process. but they like to hang around wherever people are doing big things. they often have the most to say, always critical, never helpful. go back through some of my chats on twitter and facebook. i'm @nbcjoshua on both, and you'll see what i mean. the ones who got in endless arguments about guns, but never shared ideas to reduce violence.
the ones who showed up just to own the liberals or slam the conservatives, who only commented to tell people they were wrong. who dropped hot takes that had nothing to do with the posts that they were commenting on. the ones who were overflowing with reasons why it can't be done. you know, the ones who wasted our time. it's easy to get cynical, considering how paralyzed congress feels, but there is more to america than capitol hill. there's you, whoever you are, wherever you are. and you helping us imagine a better future, you give me hope. thank you for coming down from the stands and getting in the game. let's begin with someone who knows this game well. democratic senator ben cardin has represented maryland for 34 years. he previously represented its third district in the house and he voted for the 1994 law that banned assault weapons. senator cardin, good evening.
>> joshua, it's good to be with you. thanks for doing this. this is extremely important. >> let's go back to when that assault weapons ban was passed. what was the political climate like then that led up to the bill's passage? is there anything we can learn from that time that might help us create the circumstances now for passing some kind of gun law? >> what's interesting is that there was strong opposition from the gun lobby against any bill that made any difference on guns. so the assault weapon ban was hotly contested. yet, we got it done. and it made a difference. it saved lives. unfortunately, it had a sunset associated with it. we could not extend it. so the american people recognize that there are things that we need to do in regards to this gun violence. and one of them is to take off the streets for public ownership military-style weapons,
high-capacity magazines. because they cause the most harm. and that's a major step forward in gun safety. so the lesson learned is that it makes a difference if we can prohibit private ownership of assault-type military weapons, we will save lives. and the american people support us on this. >> that is one of the things we're going to discuss later on in the program. i wonder what you remember from those negotiations that helped get past log jams. i'm sure there were moments writ looked like both sides would walk away and it wasn't going to happen. what does it take in that kind of a situation to keep everyone at the table and find a way to get to "yes." were there things you had to let go of in order to get the larger bill passed? how did that work? >> well, we, first of all, had to be united. we all had to be together. there were lots of issues we would like to deal with. we would like to deal with the universal background check. and that's a very important issue so that people who should not have handguns don't give
-- get handguns as easily as they can dodd. -- today. we have to deal with some of the core problem issues, such as dealing with domestic violence and dealing with mental health and dealing with drug and gun violence -- violence by gangs. these are all issues that we need to deal with. but if we can set as our priority that we want to get enacted into federal law a bill to prohibit private ownership of assault-type weapons, and i would also add, universal background checks, i think they're the two issues that we need to concentrate on. we have the american people on our side and let's make those the issues we want to get done. will we have to make some compromises? yes. the definition of what the assault weapon is, those type of issues, what do you do in transition to those who already own these weapons. what do you do with the manufacturers of these weapons? there are some things that we're going to have to have some transition to negotiate those. >> what's your sense of the political fallout from the '94
bill? a few months after it passed, democrats lost the midterms or lost control of the midterms. what link do you see there between the ban and what happened in the midterm elections, if any? >> well, i think the midterm elections were a combination of several factors, including the delay in enacting certain bills and how close we were to the elections before we completed our work. there are some things that we should not have done. we should have been -- we weren't united as much as we needed to in dealing with legislation. so it was not, i think, the assault weapons ban so much as it was the manner in which we took the issue up and when we passed it. >> the strongest critique that feels cynical, but has a little basis in reality, in terms of whether we can get anything done now is, oh, the republicans won't negotiate in bad faith. they're going to say "no" to everything, they hate the democrats, there's no way you can deal with them, there's no way the gop will negotiate in good faith. do you believe that your republican colleagues are
negotiating in bad faith when it comes to issues like gun violence or do you believe that there is good faith negotiating to be found? >> well, i hope there's good faith negotiations that can be found. let's put the bill on the floor of the senate. let's allow amendments to be offered and voted on. and let's see whether we can get a working majority to get these bills passed. i think that's what senator schumer is intended to do. and i think we will get republican support. and let's sit down and talk with them. look, i think -- i believe in the legislative process. we may have to make some compromises. but president biden is correct. we need to act. we can't just continue to say that we can't bring this up, because it's controversial. well, guess what. it's not terribly controversial with the american people. and i'll tell you what is controversial, the number of people who are dying on the streets. we really need to deal with the issue now. the earlier, the better. let's not wait until near the election itself. let's get it done early this year. >> and before i have to let you
go, senator. if it came down to changing some of the senate rules, a lot of talk -- there's been a lot of talk about the future of the filibuster. if it came down to fighting for changing the filibuster, so that items like this can get done, what's your sense of that? is that something you would support? >> well, i definitely think the present working of the senate needs to be changed. i had conversations just this weekend with republican members of the united states senate to look at a process that we can bring bills to the floor without having to worry about a filibuster and get votes on bills and have amendments offered by both democrats and republicans and voted on. i hope that we can get that type of process implemented in the united states senate, but we cannot allow the current gridlock to continue in the senate. >> should that include changes to the filibuster? at the very least, a filibuster on your feet, where you have to actually stand there and do it jimmy stewart style in order for the filibuster to continue? >> to me, the number one
priority is for the senate to be able to take up issues and vote on amendments and have amendments offered by both democrats and republicans. to me, that's the way the senate operated when i first got to the senate. that's what we have to return to. and i hope that we can do this on a bipartisan basis. if we can't, then we have to look at other ways, because we've got to get our work done. >> democratic senator ben cardin of maryland. senator, i appreciate you making time. thanks very much. >> thank you. coming up, believe it or not, there are actually a few gun safety measures that people seem to agree on. so why aren't lawmakers taking action? our bipartisan panel of experts joins us next. and we asked for your ideas to stop gun violence. you sent us some really intriguing responses. really quite impressive. we'll share some of them just ahead. but first, the ever-impressive richard lui is here with the headlines. hey, richard. >> a very good evening to you, joshua. here's some stories for you that we're watching this hour. severe storms continue to impact several southern states. on or around 6 million people
affected tonight. rain, damaging winds, and possible tornados are expected from new orleans to florida. widespread power outages are also reported. tonight, the caribbean island of st. vincent braces for a more powerful blast from a volcano that erupted friday. local authorities raised the alert level thursday after noticing tremors and steam from the volcano. it was dormant for decades. close to 20,000 people have been evacuated. and archaeologists discovered an egyptian city dating back more than 3,000 years. it was buried under sound near the modern-day city of luxor. one of egypt's top archaeologist says it's one of the most important discoveries since the discovery of the tomb of king tut. when it was unearthed in 1922. more right after the break. and let the grill monitor your food. it also turns into an air fryer. bring outdoor grilling flavors indoors
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new polling from politico shows the gun debate may not be as contentious as it seems. majorities of democrats, republicans, and independents all seem to agree on a few policies, like requiring background checks for all gun purchases and preventing gun sales to people deemed dangerous by police or mentally ill individuals. back in march, the house passed bills to expand background checks for gun sales, but republican senator pat toomey of pennsylvania called them non-starters for his gop colleagues. his solution, find compromise on background checks for commercial sales. >> my focus has always been, make it more difficult for
people that we all agree shouldn't have firearms, make it more difficult for them to get firearms. that is violent criminals, the dangerously mentally ill. >> let's try to bridge the gap between what's popular with the people and what can actually get done in washington. joining us for the rest of the hour, former democratic representative donna edwards of maryland and former republican rep carlos curbelo of florida, they are both msnbc political analysts. and also with us is nbc political reporter, sahil kapur to help us call balls and strikes. i am so glad that the three of you are here. i've got my little score sheet. they're letting me drive the kornacki tonight, i'll try not to drive it into a wall. the first thing i want to talk about, the things on our score sheets came from you, those of you who have sent in your ideas, we have trialed to compile some consensus ideas from what polling shows and also what you've talked to us about. one of the things that came up is closing this charleston loophole.
the congressman was on with ali velshi and said he was optimistic. here's part of what he said. >> why is it so important to get a gun in three days? what's wrong with ten days? we'll wait 30 days to get something in the mail when we order it online. there's nothing about having a gun within ten days that's so important. so i think that given the processed time to work is a good thing to do. and i believe that there are more and more people come to that conclusion. and i think that we can get a bipartisan bill done. >> sahil, what's our best read on whether a bipartisan bill can survive? >> joshua, with regard to the universal background checks proposal, if anything is going to get through the senate, it's going to be something around that. now, as pat toomey has said, and other republicans have said, the
house-passed version does not have the votes to get through the senate, but something along the lines of what pat toomey wrote with joe manchin can get through the senate in theory. it has about more than 50 votes right now. there are at least two republicans onboard, including pat toomey. it needs to be negotiated to get those extra eight republicans. universal checks that include private sales and person-to-person transfers between family members and things that can be construed to not be commercial sales are going to have a very hard time getting through the senate. but commercial sales on the internet and at gun shows by non-licensed dealers who are allowed to sell their firearms without a background check in certain states, that has a chance to get through the senate. and with regard to the charleston loophole, that's a tricky one, because there are a number of senators who believe that it's been functionally closed in recent years by improvements to the nic system, the background check system that conducts those background checks in a short period of time. >> carlos, i'm going to ask you to put on your thinking cap as
representatives of your party, in terms of what democrats in congress would expect from negotiations or republicans in congress would expect from negotiations, presuming they were willing to negotiate in good faith. carlos, only two republicans voted to support jim clyburn's bill in the house. what is your sense of whether there's support for this either on capitol hill or beyond washington, among republicans in the country? >> joshua, i agree with sahil that we can get closer to universal background checks. it doesn't mean that we're going to have every single transaction run through a background check. i personally think that that's a good idea and most americans agree. but i do think that we can pass incremental policies to help us get to that point. the bill the house passed under democratic control, nine republicans, including three florida republicans, did vote for that bill. so that indicates to you that they're probably at least double that number, maybe triple that
would vote for a bill that pat toomey would negotiate, for example. so i do think that even if we cannot get truly universal background checks in place, we can get closer and closer to universal background checks this time. >> dontha, before you chime in, i should note, a lot of people commented about this. one viewer asked -- one viewer tweeted, ask about continued battleground checks. the person approved for his or her gun today may have experienced severe loss, grief, trauma over the years. approval today should not mean lifetime approval, just like driver's licenses, gun licenses must expire and renew. donna, what is your sense of how background checks might work once they get to capitol hill? either closing the so-called charleston loophole and extending the waiting period for gun sales from three days to ten, or requiring that just about all gun purchases must have a background check. how do those look to you, donna? >> well, let's take the charleston loophole first,
because i think it's really important for people to understand that the vast majority of background checks actually are going to be completed within that three-day period. what the charleston loophole legislation does is make sure that for that small percentage, 3% or 4%, where there's a difference in a zip code or in a street address, that the fbi has an additional seven days on top of the current three days, so a total of ten, to be able to complete that background check. in that context, i think it seems very reasonable. and so this may be a heavier lift on the part of the senate, but it's out of the house and two republicans supported it. on the universal background checks, i think it was -- it's really important to note that that was a bipartisan bill. those eight or nine republicans
who voted for it i think are an indication of the kind of support for universal background check legislation in the senate. but none of this is going to be easy. >> so let's mark this up before we have to move on to the next card. carlos and donna, what about requiring background checks on nearly all gun purchases. carlos, does this look like for republicans, a yes, no, or maybe? >> again, joshua, i think we can get closer to that goal, that aspirational goal of having truly universal background checks. i'm not saying we can get 100% of the way there. sahil said, i think there will still be some exceptions, but at least for those that are selling at gun shows, who are selling on the internet, i definitely think that we can get to the point where all of those transactions will have to be run through the nic system and that would certainly be an improvement. >> i'll mark this as a maybe. and it looks like the issue is the "all" part, that there may
be some gun sales that perhaps would or would not fall under a legal change. donna, briefly, what about this first one? how likely -- i presume these are both yeses for the democratic caucus? >> well, good presumption. >> that's easy. that's a yes and that's a yes. and carlos, this charleston loophole, what's your sense of that for the republican delegation, briefly? >> i agree with sayhill. a lot of republicans will tell you that is no longer necessary. with the improvements and enhancements made to the nic system, that's taken care of. i don't see any significant republican support for that kind of legislation. >> so that might be a no. carlos, what -- it sounds like -- i know we've got to break in just a second. it sounds like just dealing with these and i'll let the control room take a screen shot of this. i need to take a screen shot. there we go.
i get the sense that the issue is the kind of categorical nature of this, carlos. that we're talking about closing the loophole completely. requiring something for all gun sales. is that it? is this about leaving some openness, so people don't viscerally feel like their second amendment rights are being clamped down on by the "all" statements in these bills? >> well, joshua, there are a number of political issues with all of this, but we'll stick to the policy. what republicans will tell you about is that if you want to sell a gun to your cousin or to a friend of yours that you as an individual shouldn't be forced to have to go through this background check system. of course, that's different than people who are just buying guns online from strangers. and they will say that it's a slippery slope and that eventually this will be too much of an infringement. those are the policy arguments that republicans and outsider groups like the national rifle
association and others will make to block any kind of legislation that moves in that direction. >> okay. so from where we stand, it looks like the bipartisan background checks idea might have a little bit more -- a little bit more stability in congress. this one feels a little more contentious. we are making progress. this is very helpful. donna, carlos, sahil, stick around. there's much more to come in a minute. coming up, we'll talk about the assault weapons ban. not the one from 1994. the possibility of a new one. that's high on the list of possibilities for democrats. and polls show that most americans support some form of it. but what would that ban look like and how would it survive a filibuster? we'll get into that when we come back. your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. thank you! hey, hey, no, no limu, no limu! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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favor banning these weapons, as do six in ten independents. democrats also support banning high-capacity magazines by similar margins as do independents, but their popularity is more narrow overall. are these measures political non-starters, particularly since the filibuster still exists? is there any form of legislation involving guns like the ar-15 that ten senate republicans could get behind? the panel is back with us and sahil kapur, let me start with you and a viewer comment regarding assault weapons that really gets at the heart of one of the huge issues with doing anything about this. ken from grand junction, colorado, writes, banning quote/unquote assault rifles is pointless. how do you define assault rifle? ar-15 and ak-47? by caliber? by potential magazine capacity? how? there will be weapons that will not be covered? how many assault rifles are already at large, so to speak. sahil, this is one of the foundational issues with any kind of law. and indeed, it was one of the
things that gun manufacturers found a loophole in with the '94 law. >> that's right, joshua. and this is one that i would put in the political non-starter category. and it's really not just because of the filibuster. there would be a big, big struggle in the senate to get to even 50 votes, let alone 60 on the idea of banning assault weapons. most notably, a popular name in the senate these days, a swing vote, joe manchin of west virginia, as opposed to an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity ammunition. and that alone makes it pretty much impossible to get to 50, because none of the republicans are onboard. with regard to how you define it, that's a very challenging question. and one of the criticisms of the assault weapons ban that democrats have introduced, that many more guns are excluded, in other words, many more guns are banned in this current version than there were in 1994. the argument that democrats make is that there are many new types of guns that were introduced in the last couple of days, and
thus the ban needs to cover more of them. but the reality is, even if you narrow that, it's a very, very tricky slope to get to 50 votes in the senate. >> donna, carlos, let's deal with some of the possibilities here with regard to an assault weapons ban. one would involve criminalizing basically all commerce involving a semi-automatic assault weapon. that's the s.a.w. abbreviation you see. possibly some exemptions for law enforcement officers or people who take a test to prove that they should be allowed to have one. some permits that might continue, allow for continued possession sale or transfer of guns that are grandfathered in. another option, another possible bill would allow for state and local governments to use grant funds to basically have buybacks. to compensate people who surrender semi-automatic weapons or large capacity ammunition feeding devices. that's the lcafd. so we've got buybacks and bans. carlos, let me start with you. is there anything among these
that you think could be made workable for republicans in congress right now? particularly as it relates to possible bans or limits? >> joshua, the only issue where i have run into republicans and republicans who i served with, who would, you know, consider is limiting magazine capacity. i think right now, the limit is 30. some republicans have talked about reducing that to 15, 10 rounds. so that's -- that's the only space in this discussion where i think there could be some bipartisan progress. as sahil said, this is incredibly convoluted, it's controversial. gun manufacturers make minor changes to their products in order to get around the law. and a lot of groups or some groups that do research and studies in this space also don't
think that it would be that effective in actually limiting gun violence. >> so magazines. that's one area where we might have some leeway. please don't pay too much attention to my handwriting. it looks like a hostage note. donna, what about you? in terms of places where democrats might be able to be flexible with republican lawmakers in terms of what these bans might look like. >> well, i think as you can see from the polling, democratic voters as well as their legislators with a couple of exceptions are strongly supportive of an assault weapons ban, reinstating an enhanced assault weapons ban from the one that expired. i think it does become difficult sort of describing these weapons. i mean, assault-style weapons can, you know, be across the spectrum. i think that carlos is right. i think there can be -- a lot of democratic support, frankly, for
reducing the magazine capacity. and so maybe that's the -- you know, the middle ground here. but among democrats, you would see strong support for limiting magazines and for a fullout ban on assault weapons. >> okay. so let me just sum up. so we're talking about assault weapons ban. democrats, that would be a "yes." magazines, if we include that, that could also be a "yes." donna, what about exemptions for law enforcement officers or for grandfathering in some semiautomatic weapons? maybe allowing a few of them to remain and not forcing everyone to surrender them? >> well, i think that the surrender question would be really difficult. and frankly, i don't know of even democrats who are proposing those as a core part of the legislation. even though there might be support for it. because it's a -- just a heavier lift. and there are tens of millions of these weapons already out there.
it's a different question, though, on a transfer. if that weapon shows up at a gun show or in a sale, then i think that there would be support for making sure that that transfer could not happen. >> so let me mark this up so we can move on to the other set. so i think we can call this measure a "no," at least for now. carlos, a quick yes or no. i presume that exemptions and some grandfatherings in, republicans in congress would consider both, i presume? >> well, this legislation was going to move, certainly, republicans would want those exemptions, yes. >> so we'll leave those as yeses for now. i'm -- i hear you, donna. i'm going to -- donna, did you want to jump in? >> i think it's -- well, i think the exemptions, yes, but the permit's a question mark. >> so we'll question mark perms. so that's great. that means we've got one, at least, where we've got potential bipartisan support, if you two can go make this one happen. so that's good. but carlos, i do take donna's
point, though. she is right. the polling data says the american people are kind of on the democratic party's side with this one. can you explain why anybody needs an assault weapon? i'm not saying people shouldn't be allowed to buy them or that people who buy assault weapons are terrible people. set all of that aside. why shouldn't the united states ban these weapons? you don't actually need these weapons? why should we keep them? >> well, joshua, a lot of people would just simply answer that the second amendment gives them the right to have these kinds of weapons, and you talked about the polling, let's get into the politics for a second. for democrats, restricting guns politically is an easy issue, because the democratic party and its voters, especially its primary voters, are very supportive. in republican primaries, gun restrictions and gun control in most districts is not popular. and republican primary voters by
and large are supportive of expanded gun rights and obviously, you have interest groups like the national rifle association and others that are very influential in republican primaries. so these are important policy questions, but we can't forget that politics plays a big role in all of this. >> i get all of that. my question is, why do we need them? i understand that people like to have them and i could understand it if it was, you know -- if we were all, you know, in a different kind of governmental climate, where the prospect of a tyrannical government was more real to more of us who do not hang out in the dark corners of the web. but i do feel like there is a potential ground swell where the american people could say, you know what, i know you like these guns, but kids are getting killed. they had an insurrection at the capitol on january 6th, they stormed the michigan state capitol in lansing carrying weapons like this. we're done. we're tired of being scared. i'm sorry you don't like them anymore. we'll have a buyback, but we're done. we're done negotiating over
this. and i don't know what the counterargument is. i don't know what logical pushback is to americans who are like, screw it, we're scared, we're done. >> the first thing i'll tell you, joshua, is that that's a compelling argument you make to most americans. i can tell you that i certainly don't see any need for me to have any of those kinds of weapons. but there are people out there who are very passionate about this issue and they view any infringement, any restriction as the beginning of a slippery slope that will eventually end up in the government taking all of their weapons. now, of course, that's very unlikely. and a lot of people have been manipulated by groups and organizations and politicians to believe that that is actually possible. but those are the arguments that you will tend to hear from republicans. >> donna, carlos, sahil, stick around. there's much more to come when we come back. some of you have said that a gun should be at least as difficult
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we're still working our way through some popular and controversial approaches to reducing gun violence, but what about some ideas that lawmakers may not have proposed? donna edwards, carlos curbelo, and sahil kapur is still with us. i want to get to a viewer comment from lauren that came up more than a few times in some of the ideas that you shared. lauren wrote, require all gun owners and users to carry liability insurance similar to that required for automobile ownership or operation. insurance would be provided by private companies setting risk-based rates using data about the weapon, its planned use, and the individual. the insurance could be required at the federal, state, or local level. sahil, let me start with you on this. this is an interesting idea, particularly because president biden has said, if i could do one thing on guns, that he would
allow people to sue gun manufacturers. sahil, is that aspirational or is that actual political energy behind doing that. >> there certainly is political energy behind doing that, joshua. you'll recall, hillary clinton campaigned on that in 2016. joe biden campaigned on that in 2020. and i think he would find a lot of democratic support in the house and senate for stripping away those liability protections for guns, in terms of getting republican support. look, i'll point to something that carlos said a few moments ago, which is extremely important in terms of the dynamic around this. anytime you start going down this road and propose measures like this, it's going to be portrayed as a first step to repealing the second amendment and taking away people's guns and it's going to be described as a nefarious effort, so the key to doing anything around guns, whether it's liability protections or it's background checks, is to find a way around that mentality and to convince people, this is not the first step to taking away their second amendment rights. that is the way to win
republican support, in particular, and it's especially tricky in the senate, because rural states that have disproportionately high share of gun rights supporters and passion for gun rights are overrepresented in the senate and that's how you get to 60 votes. >> i want to remind folks who are watching, we stipulated that the second amendment who exists. some of you where it should be amended or repealed. i hear you, but for the purposes of this conversation, we're leaving the second amendment as it is and working within it as a legal framework. donna, let me start with you in terms of liability. the way that we have phrased it is the inverse of liability, in terms of protecting gun manufacturers from liability and prohibiting civil liability suits from being brought in state or federal court. what's your sense of whether democrats would be flexible on this at all in terms of whether there's any room to indemnify manufacturers for what people do with guns. >> i actually think that there
is actually widespread support among democrats, among lawmakers for removing those liability protections. and it's not that gun manufacturers are removed from any liability, but they do still have ones that allow -- that don't allow consumers and victims to sue them. and i think joe biden was expressing something that was aspirational, but also something that has support among democratic lawmakers. >> carlos, what do you think? >> joshua, i think this would be a heavy lift. i think famously, bernie sanders in the past has even voted to maintain liability protections for gun manufacturers. so i think it would take a long time to socialize this issue. you could certainly make some conservative arguments for it, because you would be exposing the gun industry to market forces and people would have to buy insurance. that's a good way to assess
risk through markets, but we're far away from anything like this. >> it feels almost like the way that we deal with cigarette manufacturers and kind of saying, well, you know, if you get lung cancer from smoking cigarettes, do you sue rj reynolds? at the end of the day, though, we did sue the tobacco companies and use the way that they marketed cigarettes, which kill people who don't smoke as the grounds for a master settlement agreement that brought in hundreds of millions of dollars. maybe that, carlos, is part of the issue. it's not just the product used but the climate around that product, the culture around that. maybe that's the way to talk about it, with those concerned about the second amendment. >> that would be a better angle, i think. that would be something that at least republicans could begin to listen to.
i certainly think that would be a better approach. >> donna, i have to ask the three of you to do one thing as we wrap up the segment. don't hold my handwriting against me. i know it looks like i'm writing a hostage note. that's why i had them put this out in pretty letters. please don't hold that against me. but i'm grateful you made time to break down the ideas with us tonight. thank you very, very much. we began with a lofty goal to reduce gun violence in america. we'll sum up what you have given and us what our negotiators came up with before we go. whatever you have at home, knorr sides can turn nutritious veggies into mouthwatering meals. ♪ veggies taste amazing with knorr. losing a tooth didn't stop you but your partial can act like a bacteria magnet, veggies taste amazing putting natural teeth at risk. new polident propartial helps purify your partial
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the debate over the second amendment is not over. the supreme court is considering hearing a case on whether the second amendment lets you carry firearms outside your home. new york state's nra affiliate is suing the restrictions on carrying handguns in public. but what is the path forward from there? we explored big ideas, and let's recap what we came up with starting with background checks
maybe on gun purchases. it's the all part that seems to be the issue in terms of closing the charleston loophole and extending it from three days to ten days. that one might be a nonstarter. and a potential assault weapons ban. but magazines might be the issue where democrats and republicans can find common ground. if nothing coming out of tonight but magazines, i count it as a huge win. and finally, liability protections for gun manufacturers, that one seems like an issue that would fall very hard on party lines. we'll post your gun violence plan on twitter tonight and the panel's reaction. email us or tweet us@the week@msnbc. thanks for making time for us tonight. see you after the mehdi hassan show. i'm joshua johnson. good night. #1 for psoriasis symptom relief* and #1 for eczema symptom relief*
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i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> my question is why? i didn't need who. my only question was why. >> they were beautiful people. in miami's sizzling south beach. singles who became lovers. >> you may kiss the bride. >> and then newlyweds. >> congratulations. >> they were still on their honeymoon, only married four days, when this young bride was murdered. >> i get a phone call, screaming, crying. >> no murder weapon, no