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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  December 18, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

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victims of plastic sheeting to sandy hook elementary school, we will go to another new town in another country, australia. >> shockwaves around the world as the death toll climbs. police arrested gunman. now, the questions. why did he do it? why was he allowed such a deadly weapon? what's the gunman began in 1996 port arthur massacre was from new town, australia and. within days, australia, a country of hunters, passed the strictest gun control legislation in its history. there have been no mass killings since. the academy award winning filmmaker michael moore, the director of "bowling for columbine," response to the sandy hook massacre. >> there are crazy people and
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there are shootings and killings in norway and france and germany, but there hasn't been 61 mass killings like there have been in this country to a sense columbine. >> and the nra facebook page has gone dark. we will speak with lisa graves about big guns and big money. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. residents of newtown, connecticut, have begun holding the first of many kernels for the 27 victims killed in friday's shooting rampage at sandy hook elementary school. on monday, noah pozner and jack pinto, 06 years old, were laid to rest in small caskets. more funerals are slated today including two more 6-year-old victim's, james mattioli and jessica rekos. at the white house, president obama convened a meeting with
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top officials to discuss ways to respond to the newtown massacre, including potential proposals for gun control. pressed for details, white house press secretary jay carney reduced offer any specifics on how obama plans to address the nation's gun violence. >> is a complex problem that will require a complex solution. no single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem. >> in the aftermath of the newtown massacre, a number of pro-and lawmakers are signaling a new willingness to soften opposition to restrictions on weapons. senator joe manchin of west virginia, a longtime advocate of so-called gun rights, said when it comes to gun control, "everything should be on the table." virginia senator mark warner said he would back a stricter rules, calling the massacre a game changer. senate majority leader harry reid said the massacre will
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prompt tictac meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow violence to grow." in a statement, democratic congress member of kentucky apologized for being "largely silent on the issue of gun violence," adding "i am not sorry for that as i am for what happened to the families who lost so much." at a news conference, new york mayor and gun control advocate michael bloomberg urged meaningful action from washington. >> gun violence is a national epidemic a national tragedy that demands more than words. we're the only industrialized country that has this problem. in the whole world, the only one. and that is why we need immediate national action from the president and from congress. it should be at the top of their agenda. because what happened at sandy hook elementary school was, sadly, no aberration. >> we will have more on the newtown massacre and gun control after headlines. the white house has issued a new
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offer to house republicans of the ongoing talks over avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff. on monday, the obama administration disclosed it had submitted a proposal the house speaker john boehner that would extend the bush era tax cuts for households making under $400,000 rather than the $250,000 limit that president obama has long sought. the offer also floats a lower revenue target of $1.2 trillion, down from $1.6 trillion. while obama has offered to cut some $100 billion from military spending, he's proposing to cut even more from social security by adjusting the inflation index for social secure the benefits. the white house says the social security cuts would come with safeguards to protect the most low-income recipients. the syrian military surrounded the palestinian refugee camp in damascus one day after launching airstrikes that killed at least eight people. the standoff at the refugee camp could see new fighting between syrian forces and rebels controlling the camp.
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in rain, government forces cracked down on a pro-democracy rally in the capital on monday, firing tear gas and arresting demonstrators. among those detained was the acting head of the bahrain center for human rights whose founding president is currently serving a two-year sentence. u.s.-backed rain monarchy banned all public demonstrations earlier this year. new figures show the obama administration has conducted more than 200,000 deportations of parents with children who are u.s. citizens over a period of about two years. according to federal data, nearly one-quarter of all deportations from july 1, 2010 to the end of the september for issued for parents with u.s. citizen children. colorlines reports the data appears to dash hopes that new guidelines issued for deportations last year would curb the separation of families by immigration and customs enforcement. the prosecutorial discretion
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guidelines instruct ice agents to focus on certain immigrants, including those with criminal convictions, and to consider a person's ties to the country and "whether the person has a u.s. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent" when making deportation decisions. a group of new jersey residents who say they're subjected to surprise pre-dawn, immigration rates has reached a settlement of the federal government. most of the plaintiffs were either citizens or lawful residents of the united states when they said armed immigration and customs and mores and agents into their homes without warrants nor their consent. some agents of the to the round people up from their bedrooms and issued threats and intimidation in a bid to address those living in the u.s. without documentation. one permanent resident said it agent demanded to know where the nonexistent "illegals" or hiding in your home and pointed a gun at her 9-year-old boy's chest. the plaintiffs were awarded a total of $295,000. the pattern of raids apparently
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emerged from a policy implemented in 2006 called operation return to sender. the teams of agents were ordered to increase their arrest >> -- quotas. the obama administration later remove the quotas. a tennessee county linked to the discretionary treatment of teenaged african-american suspects has signed a landmark agreement to reform its practices. the justice department says it has reached a deal with local officials to overhaul juvenile justice in shelby county. a report earlier this year found black teens were twice as likely to be detained and whites and were often sent to adult criminal court for minor offenses. juvenile suspects also attempted suicide at record rates and were detained in harsh conditions, including being tied to restraint chairs and that the law for far longer than allowed by law. shelby will be forced to carry out a series of reforms to avoid future lawsuits by federal prosecutors.
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a federal appeals court has overturned the convictions of two former new orleans police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an african-american man shortly after hurricane katrina. the first officer, david warren, was convicted of shooting 31- year-old henry glover with an assault rifle. but the fifth circuit court of appeals has voided his conviction, saying his trial should of been held separate from those of two other officers charged in the case. another officer convicted of burning glover's body after he bled to death, greg mcrae, also sought a key charge missed -- dismissed. a federal appeals court has cleared the way for a lawsuit filed by peace activists in olympia, washington over spying by u.s. military informant who infiltrated their group. declassified documents obtained by students for democratic society and port militarization resistance reveal the man everyone knew as john jacob was in fact john tower, a member of
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the force protection service at fort lewis. when "democracy now!" he wrote the story in 2009, one of the activists said towery had personally admitted to the spine. >> he admitted he did in fact spy on us, infiltrate us. he admitted he passed on information to an intelligence network, which as you mentioned earlier, was composed of dozens of law-enforcement agencies ranging from municipal to county to state to regional and several federal agencies, including immigration customs enforcement, a joint terrorism task force, fbi, homeland security, the army in fort lewis. >> the exposure of the spying led to disclosures of intelligence gathering and sharing about the activists by the air force, a federal capitol police, the coast guard, and local and state police.
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in a landmark decision, the night circuit court of appeals has ruled activists can sue military officials for violations of the first amendment and unlawful spying. in california, and iraq war veteran has filed suit against the oakland police department for injuries sustained during and occupy protest last year. scott olsen suffered a fractured skull and was placed in a medically induced coma after authorities fired non-lethal projectiles into a crowd of demonstrators. you can go to to see our interview with scott olsen. democratic senator daniel inouye of hawaii has died at the age of 88. the most senior member of the senate with 49 years in office, he was the first japanese- american to serve in either chamber of commerce. -- chamber of congress. he set in motion a process that ultimately saw the u.s. apologize and pay compensation to victims of japanese
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internment during the second world war. and those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. residents of newtown, connecticut, have begun holding the first of many funerals for the 27 victims killed in friday's shooting rampage at sandy hook elementary school. on monday, noah pozner and jack pinto -- both 6 years old -- were laid to rest in small caskets. rabbi edgar gluck recalled the words of inouye's mother during a memorial service in which his brief life was remembered. >> she spoke about him in glowing terms. the main thing she said, whenever he said "i love you, cause got his answer was "not as much as i love you." the other child buried monday, jack pinto, was a major fan of the new york giants football team. his favorite player, victor cruz, paid personal tribute are writing "r i p jack pinto" and
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"jack pinto, my hero" across his shoes during again on sunday. later in the day, democratic congressmember christopher murphy of connecticut led the house of representatives as it observed a moment of silence to mourn the shooting victims. >> as all this wonderful faces you see on tv and the newspaper like noah pozner, who was laid to rest this morning, they are a reminder that despite the terrible, awful things that happen from inside the hearts of all this is this and livable goodness. -- is this unbelievable goodness. that is all know i had, spirit. newtown can survive because they are" to thicken survive because they just look it is inspiration from these 20 little kids who are just asking this town to remember how good they were.
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as newtown wrestles with his grief and recovery, the thoughts and prayers from mothers matter. i want to thank everyone here for of the individual love that you have showered down upon our little town. i want to thank the connecticut delegation here with me today for all of their support. it helps, and some small way, to know the world is grieving with us. so, mr. speaker, i would ask the house now rise. >> connecticut's senate select chris murphy, a leading a moment of silence in the house of representatives. meanwhile, connecticut governor dannel malloy has called for national moment of silence this friday, one week after the sandy hook shooting. also spoke with reporters on monday and echoed a growing call for more gun control legislation at the federal level. >> these guns are not used to hunt deer.
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i am a big believer in hunting rights, a big believer in supporting the second amendment, but there is a reality that this stuff has gone too far and is too easy to own. and the whole point of your question is, connecticut has these laws for the absence of a federal framework in which we limit the explosive nature of the weapons and ammunition that is used, and no state would ever be safe based on simply its own laws. that is why the brady bill, that is why the assault weapons ban was so very important. politics played a role in allowing that to expire. politics should play a role in having it be reinstituted. >> democratic senator dianne feinstein of california has already promised to introduce a new assault weapons ban on the
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first at the new congress, challenging president obama to back the bill. obama has vowed to use the power of his office to prevent more mass shootings. the white house press secretary on monday had few details of what the solution might look like. >> the president has long supported reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. as the president has said, and i just said, this is a complex problem that requires complex and a variety of solutions. i do not have a specific policy outline for you today from the president. it is important to remember this is about our gun laws and enforcing them, but also about a broader series of issues including issues of mental health and education and the like. the president's position on assault weapons ban has not changed. he still supports its re- enactment, but you'll hear from him, i think, as he said last
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night, in the coming weeks to speak more specifically about what he thinks we can do moving forward. >> as the debate over gun control is revived in the wake of the sandy hook shootings, we turn now from newtown connecticut -- newtown, connecticut to new town, australia, where gun laws were immediately revised following the worst mass murder in the country's history. on april 28, 1996, a gunman from new town, australia opened fire on tourists in port arthur, tasmania, killing 35 people and wounding 23 more. this is not strong in television report on the incident from the day of the shooting -- this is an australian television report. >> a gunman opened fire at this afternoon. >> we have had a gunman run amok on the historic site. there are least 12 confirmed dead, if not 22. 15 for their injured.
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>> is a favorite with interstate and overseas tourists. it is understood those visitors made up the bulk of those killed or wounded locals to the site cringed in fear inside their shops and homes as the gunman opened fire. >> what do you understand he may have done? >> killed lots of people. >> any idea why? >> no idea. >> any idea who he was? >> no idea. not a local, i don't think. >> interests involved? >> yes. >> is awful. >> is very, very awful. >> the death toll eventually rose to 35 and what came to be known as the port arthur massacre. the person who carried out the mass killing was martin bryant, ironically from a place called new town. just 12 days after the grisly attack in the public outcry it launched, australia's government
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responded by announcing a bipartisan bill to enact gun- control measures including agreements the state and local governments. since the laws were passed, for more than 15 years, there's not been a mass shooting in australia. after the break, we will be joined by the woman who led the campaign to reform australia's gun laws after the port arthur massacre. we will be back with her in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> "tears in heaven" son by eric clapton, some for his own child who died at 4 years old. in the wake of the new town killings that killed 20 children on friday and six staff at the school as well as the mother of the shooter, we go to another new town, new town, australia, home of in a strutting man who killed 35 people in 1996, just 12 days after what became known as the port arthur massacre, austria's government announced a bipartisan bill to enact gun control measures. this in a country of hunters and gun lovers. it included agreements with state and local governments. since a loss for past, for more than 15 years, there's not been a mass shooting in australia.
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in a moment we'll be joined by the one who led the campaign to reform australia's gun laws after the massacre. first, to play a clip from 1996 of a man who survived the port arthur massacre and described what he saw. this is peter crosswell speaking from his hospital bed shortly after the attack. >> i walked toward the front door of the restaurant. this guy walked in with long blond hair and a shot dead a guy sitting at the nearest table. it then proceeded to shoot everybody at the table. at that time, i jumped on top of the two women and landed on the floor and told them to lay dead still. i concede guy who walked in -- i could see the guy who walked in with a gun. he proceeded to shoot everyone in the room.
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he walked through the room past us into the souvenir area. i heard more gunshots. then he came back and shot myself in the two ladies, and thankfully missed. he must have seen someone still alive and walked toward that person. he yells out, "no, no" and then shot him read another person who was nearby was screaming and he walked up and shot her. he walked past us and i thought he was going to kill us, but instead, he walked to the door, hesitated for about 15 minutes, i'm sorry 15 seconds, reloaded his gun and went outside.
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>> a victim of the port arthur massacre. the shooter, martin bryant from new town, australia. his gun was a cold ar-15 rifle, automatic, the weapon used by the shooter in newtown, connecticut, by adam lanza, was also an ar-15. joining us now is rebecca peters. she later became director of the international action or on small arms. he was a senior fellow the open society in new yorkers to produce a landmark report, "gun control in the united states: a survey of state firearm laws." she is joining us today from san francisco. rebecca, welcome to "democracy now!" from newtown to new town,
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where the similarity. gun lovers in the united states, hunters and gun lovers in austria, at this moment shattered all of that in australia. explain what happened afterwards. >> in australia at the time, it was a country -- and still is a country where hunting is an important activity. australia went olympic medals in shooting. australia is a high premium placed on rustic masculinity. it has some similarities with the u.s.. another similarity is we had had in the previous couple of decades occasionally mass shootings, about once a year we had a mass shooting. on each occasion, there's a lot of talk about the gun laws, and
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politicians similar to hear, avoiding the issue saying, "well, we need to look at family values and mental health" and everything else, basically, been too frightened to do anything about the gun laws. the gun lobby always the -- to hurtothreatens politically. the anchor in the public was so high by then that really, that was the tipping point for australia. as you said, the prime minister exercised leadership and call all the states together and said, we're going to fix this. the laws were state laws, so we had a patchwork of different laws. some states had stronger laws, but the weaker ones undermine those with stronger ones. what we got was a scheme of nationally uniform laws, which set a much higher standard in included bans on assault weapons
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and other measures, which basically meant that the -- you can still own guns in australia, but the system is much more under control. as a result, 15 years later, we've not had a mass shooting since that time. and gun deaths in general are about 50% lower than what they were. the valuation of loss show it is saving hundreds of lives each year and also about $500 million a year in economic violence that has been avoided. overall, our gun laws are a resounding success. >> i want to play a clip of dianne feinstein, the california senator the represents the state be happen to be in right now. she was the author of the 1994 assault weapons ban and she announced she is going to introduce a bill to reform gun
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ownership standards in the next congress, on the first day. >> i'm going to introduce in the senate and the same bill will be introduced in the house from a bill to ban assault weapons. it will ban the sale, transfer, the importation and possession -- not retroactively, but prospectively. it will ban the same for big clips, drums, or strips of more than 10 bullets. so there will be a bill -- we have been working on it now for a year. we tried to take my bill from 1994 to 2004 and perfect it. we believe we have. we exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not be or will not fall under the bill. >> there is senator dianne feinstein. there is a moment in this country right now, i mean, that we have never seen anything like it. you have the nra website, the
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facebook page has gone dark. senator after senator, and in senator mansion of west virginia, one of his tv ads was holding a weapon, saying they're considering everything now. you have a talk show hosts like joe scarborough on msnbc saying at a number one top rating of the nra and he said our politicians cannot protect the status quo anymore but must protect our children. it is an astounding moment right now. you had dianne feinstein saying there will be 900 exceptions. what do you think -- since you've looked at our laws in the u.s. as well, what do think new thinking could bring? and the fact the politicians and the nra have gone silent, at least publicly, are people thinking in a new way? are they going to move forward or simply get what they think
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they can conceivably get perhaps the day before sandy hook? >> it does seem to be different. something seems to have changed -- i hope something has changed in the u.s. i suppose what people all over the world are asking, if the u.s. cannot do something about guns now when a tragedy like this has occurred, it is difficult to imagine in what circumstances it could. the ban on assault weapons is one of the most important changes that is needed in the u.s.. i have not seen the list of guns that are exempted, so i don't know how that will be defined. 900 does sound like a lot of weapons to exempt, so i hope that it will be genuine assault weapons ban. but the other thing that -- the other fundamental problem in the
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u.s. gun laws, one, the laws are different in different states. it is possible for the week states to undermine the strong ones. but also, perhaps a lot of americans are not aware that there is not a background check conducted not everyone who buys a gun. if you buy a new gun in the u.s. in a gun shop, you have to undergo a criminal background check. but if you buy a second-hand gun at a gun show or from a crackegrunge sell or individualu do not have to undergo a background check in most states. it is estimated about 40% of gun sales are in secondhand sales. that is an open invitation for criminals to buy guns without a background check. that is also an important step forward, would be to say, every gun purchased has to be subject to a background check.
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it just makes no sense of all the say there's no difference between a lethal power of a secondhand or new gun. and the other thing is, the quality of background checks, the records that are available, the systems for checking the very poor and the patchwork across the country so there needs to be a heist -- are very poor and a patchwork across the country, so there needs to be a higher standard. ideally, there be other measures, too. but the most fundamental measures that should be taken are a ban on assault weapons and a higher standard and uniform standard of background checks on all gun sales. >> i was just talking to congressman mccarthy from long island who lost her own husband in the long island rail road massacre, and her son was severely wounded in that shooting. she was saying the terrorist watch list, politicians, pro-and
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senators and congress members and the nra have prevented even legislation that would allow the kind of background check that would check against a terrorist watch list. interestingly, this morning, a private equity firm has put u.s. firearms maker freedom group up for sale following friday's killing. freedom group includes bushmaster, maker the rifle used in the shooting at the school in newtown. i want to turn to paul barrett, who we had on yesterday's, author of "bloch: the rise of america's gun." i asked about senator feinstein's announcement that she will reintroduce the ban on assault weapons on the first of the senate. >> i will read the legislation very closely when it is out. i have to say i'm skeptical. the 1994 so-called assault weapons ban was one of the most porous, ineffective pieces of legislation that i personally
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have the opportunity to study. it was shot through with loopholes. it had no applicability to weapons that were made and sold on the day before enactment. and the fact it was coming for a period of years gave gun manufacturers an opportunity to run their factories overtime and to build up huge stockpiles of the weapons. so we will see. but if congress is not proposing to ban weapons that are already out there, then that leaves millions and millions of weapons already out there. >> that was paul barrett, author of "glock: the rise of america's gun." rebecca peters, if you could compare to the legislation that was passed in australia after the massacre, and also talked about the buyback aspect of that
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legislation. >> in australia, the new law banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, assault weapons, and we did ban that only new sales -- we banned importation sales and ownership. currently owned weapons were prohibited. the government bought those guns back at a rate of about the retail price plus about 10%. in addition, you could not get them repaired, you could not sell them. i mean, it was a very comprehensive ban. the buyback ended up buying back and destroying more than about 650,000 of these weapons, which is the largest buyback and destruction program for guns anywhere in the world still now. it is bigger than post conflict of violence, for example, an
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african countries. it is interesting, the gun owners -- many gun owners were not happy to have to hand in their guns, but they were happy to be paid for them. if they qualified to own guns under the legislation -- it raised the standard of how you qualified for a license -- they could buy another gun that was not an assault weapon. of course we did constant polling and surveys. what it showed was that gun owners recognized -- most people who own these guns were not criminals. they bought them because there were available and were promoted and marketed by the gun industry. but they recognized these guns were not suitable for civilian ownership in a country not at war, that they are not sporting weapons. there is an organization in
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australia called the professional shooters association, which is like the original crocodile dundee, more macho than macho guys that should feral animals in the wildest parts of australia. these guys said, if you need a semi-automatic to kill eight animal, then you're a city boy who does not need to be out here in the first place. our olympic shooting team won gold at the atlanta olympics that year the also said, these weapons -- there is an excessive amount of firepower that is been available in the recognized it was that things they gone too far and it was a good idea to rain again. they had -- handed in their weapons and got compensation. we have seen the results in terms of a much higher standard of community safety. >> rebecca peters, what about
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the effect on suicide? we're talking about 30,000 gun deaths a year. the majority of them are people who have access to guns who pulled the trigger. >> yes. >> on themselves. >> that has been interesting. in australia, must gun deaths are suicides ias in the u.s. as well. the effect on the reduction in gun deaths has been seen in both homicides and suicides in australia. it is not just about legislation. it is also about culture. it is also about awareness. in addition to changes in the law, a lot of changes in behavior have occurred because law does affect behavior. we have higher standards of safety. the law is -- in australia, the
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laws recognize the nature of violence in our society. for example, someone who lives in a house with someone who is suicidal, if the person decides to buy a gun, during the course of inquiries about whether this is a suitable -- whether the licence should be approved, if it comes to the notice of the police there is another person in the house who has a serious mental illness and is at risk of suicide, then that is something to take into account in terms of deciding whether they should be a gun licence issued to anyone in the house. just recognizing access to guns is a risk for everyone in the house. i know, for example, people who have had, as a condition of their license, they have to store the gun somewhere else. therefore the guns are not available to someone who may be at risk in the house.
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there is a weighted taken to circumstances in each case. we of seen a reduction in suicides as well as homicides. the thing about guns is, there's no second chance. when you look at the statistics on attempted suicide and assault with completed suicide and homicide, producing the most lethal methods. if you can reduce access to firearms, then even the people are depressed, angry, drunken, jealous, for whatever reasons people engage in a violent behavior toward themselves or others, the absence of a firearm makes it more likely than the person will survive that attempt. >> we sought in china just hours before the sandy hook massacre in the allen matter school. and man in china went into a
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school with a knife and stabbed 22 children. almost all of them but one survived because it was a knife and not a gun. >> it seems obvious, but maybe it is worth saying, a gun be sh. in an attack with a gun, it also means other people are less likely to intervene. there are many reasons why an attack with a gun is more lethal than an attack with a knife. and that is why, specifically, strong roles are justified to have on a weapon that is specifically made for killing >> rebecca, we only have a few questions. onlhave many the conceal and carried it, a new law that says students can carry on campus and teachers are
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afraid of giving students a bad grade. i know you have looked at other countries outside australia. how powerful in australia was the gun lobby? look at the nra. they are hiding their heads right now. their facebook pages down. this is a particular moment when the legislation is actually debated. we will see what happens. >> the gun lobby was very powerful in australia at the time, but the combination of public opinion and also the political situation at the time -- the prime minister in australia had just won the election. he had some political space, which and a possible for him to take a bold step. >> very similar to president obama. >> exactly. he has just been reelected and gives him some leeway. in terms of other countries, in general, the mood across the world is toward stronger gun laws.
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and also toward greater uniformity. so cooperation between countries, but also within countries and federal systems like the u.s. and australia, it is increasingly recognize that guns travel across borders. and that people travel across borders. why should people be safer -- why should people in one state be entitled to a level of safety more than in another state? that does not make sense. the trend across the world is toward tighter regulation. the u.s. is the largest producer and exporter of guns in the world. so what happens in the was in terms of regulation actually has potential impact for the rest of the world as well. >> rebecca peters, thank you very much for being with us. she previously led the campaign to reform australia's gun laws in her capacity as chair of the national coalition for gun control. she is former director of the
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international action network on small arms. she was a senior fellow of the open society institute in new york where she produced a landmark report, "gun control in the united states: a survey of state firearm laws." we will have a link to it on when we come back from our break, we turn to michael moore speaking a few hours after the massacre in connecticut. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to the oscar-winning filmmaker michael moore, who won the award for his 2002 documentary ": for columbine >> about gun violence in the u.s. speaking just hours after the sandy hook a limiter school massacre. >> earlier today, a crazy man went to an elementary school and
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attacked 22 children in china. a few hours before conn. in elementary school was attacked in china by an insane man, 22 children were his victims. but all he had was a knife. the total number of dead in the chinese elementary school? zero. [applause] i hope you don't mind, but i want to see a few words about what happened today because i have been concerned about this issue for a long time. [applause] yep, we need more gun control. yes, we need free mental-health services in this country. but i really believe that even if we had better gun-control
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laws and better mental-health, that we would still be the sort of sick and twisted violent people that we have been for hundreds of years. this something that is just in our dna. to get that out of our dna, it is going to take a lot more than casting a bill in d.c. other countries that crazy people in shootings and killings in norway and france and germany, but there hasn't been 61 mass killings like there has been in this country, justin's columbine. 61 mass shootings in this country. i like to say that's a sort of agree with the nra when they say guns don't kill people, people kill people, but i would modify it and say, guns don't kill people, americans kill people. that is what we do.
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we invade countries. and we syndromes in to kill civilians. we have five wars going on right now where soldiers are killing people -- five that we know of. we're on the short list of countries to of the death penalty. we believe it is ok to kill you when you have committed a crime. then we have all the other forms of violence in this country that we don't recall violence, but they are acts of violence. when you make sure that 50 million people don't have health insurance in your country, and that according to the congressional study done, 44,000 people a year die in america for the simple reason they don't have health insurance, that is a form of murder. [applause] when you evict millions of people from their homes, that is
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an act of violence. that is called home invasion. [applause] all the wrong people are in prison in this country. i cannot believe we're the standing blocks away from the biggest criminal operation that this country has ever seen, right down that street, and not one of them is gone to prison for what they have done. you have limited summoning millions of jobs, ruined committed these like flint, michigan, you have killed people. having seen first hand the effects of these corporate decisions, the outcry listen, drug abuse, the war suicides, all the social problems that go along with this act of violence, but we do not call it violence and no one has ever been arrested for it, i think it is a real shame.
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frankly, as an american, this is not how i want to be remembered. >> michael moore, the oscar- winning filmmaker who won the academy award for "bowling for columbine" after the massacre, speaking just hours after the massacre in connecticut. special thanks to filmmaker lorna tucker who is currently working on a documentary with the working title of "leonard peltier: an american prisoner." since friday's massacre in newtown, connecticut, that left 27 dead -- 20 children and six woman who tried to protect them" the national rifle association has been silent the powerful lobbying organization has refused to give interviews on monday, more than 150 gun control advocates marched on the nra's capital hill headquarters. among the more people directly
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impacted by gun violence. >> my son represents today how i was a victim of gun violence. my mother in 1981 was slain by her ex-husband who was estranged with the 12 page shotgun. i witnessed that. he then turned the gun on me. the gun malfunction and that is why i am here today. is peace i'm looking for attending these rallies every time we have gun violence in our country. it brings me out to this. i know all too well other people's pain. >> according to the center for responsive politics, the nra spent more than $2.2 million lobbying congress this year alone. by comparison, the gun control lobby spent just $180,000. for more we're joined by lisa graves, for melissa as deputy assistant attorney general in the clinton a ministration's department of justice, where she handled national gun policy and was the managing editor of the
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national integrated firearms violence reduction strategy. she recently has written a piece called, "backgrounder: the history of the nra/alec gun agenda." welcome back, lisa, to "democracy now!" talk about the power of the gun lobby. are you surprised to see the facebook page down of the nra or it has gone dark, and also talk about the power of alec and what it is. >> thank you for having me on it and not surprised the nra doubt in the face of this terrific massacre in connecticut, but the fact is, the nra has been working with alec for decades and out is the american legislative exchange, the largest organization for state legislators in the country of voluntary members and a call by some of the largest corporations in the world. the nra and alec were partners for decades on numerous than laws, bills basically that were voted on in secret through alec
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meetings were in our alatas would cast a vote as an equal to legislator as some posh resort even that alec would host. those bills are quite extreme. they include not just the bill ratifying the stand your ground law in florida that was in controversy earlier this year after being cited in the trayvon martin shooting incident in florida, but also laws on the books and bills that would say as recently as last december, alec has a model resolution they wanted to be cast in the states and cities could not bar machine guns. that is out extreme their agenda is. earlier this year in the wake of the controversy, the public outcry over florida and trayvon martin and that law, nearly 42 corporations have left alec, but alec announced the nra's gun task force is no longer going to be in business yet this summer
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the annual convention of alec, there was the nra with the biggest booth at the convention and hosting that another shooting even for legislators. i point this out because alec is a way to infiltrate and trainees legislators, thousands of them, and the state houses across the country, that it is legitimate to get an equal vote to organization like the nra. many legislators go on to serve as governors, like scott walker of wisconsin, john kasich of ohio, many go on to congress for the two most powerful members, john conner and eric cantor, r alec alum. their steed in the notion that entities like the nra are entitled to equal vote to change our rights. >> can you talk about the transition from clinton to bush and your role, a very interesting meeting? >> i was on the gun task force
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to the clinton administration after the columbine shootings in 1999. i worked on it with a team of attorneys from across the department, from the atf, fbi, u.s. attorney's office and other offices within the in ministration. when the clinton administration ended and bush became president and ashcroft came in with his team, the gun meeting continued, my job was to help with the orderly transition of government on gun policy. immediately, it was a room of 12 white guys and me. suddenly, there were a lot of political appointees, people who worked very hard on political activities for the bush administration. one of the first things that task force did was go on a shooting event, a secret shooting even with the nra. they did not invite me or the career staff that was part of the justice department. it was a political mover to
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basically tell the nra that things had changed, that they were partners, and were going to spend time with the gun task force actually going off to a secret event at a shooting range with their nra buddies. at the same time, attorney general ashcroft had hidden his schedule from the staff within the department of justice, from the senior staff, who are the career staff. he was secretly meeting with the nra and working with them basically to advance their agenda in the bush in ministration, so it is no surprise that ultimately be assault weapons ban passed in 1994 was allowed to expire under the watch of the bush a ministration. >> we don't have much time, but dianne feinstein from california says she is introducing a modern-day version of the assault weapons ban with 900 exceptions. have we reached a new type of thinking where actually, a lot more could be accomplished but people will sit back and just try to do with the attempted to
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10 or 20 years ago? how powerful the nra be now? and the pro-and legislators like west virginia's manchin this is all things are now on the table? >> it is a good first that, but her law clearly exempts far too many farms and frankly, all the ones sold on the day before the bill to be retained, including these enormously powerful weapons that lead to these massacres should not be part of that bill. we need to have new thinking and go much farther than what was on the table in 1994. >> very quickly, lisa graves, what happened in michigan around gun laws in the last election and what will happen at the state level? >> one of the things that happened last week was not just the lame-duck legislature in michigan pushed through union busting legislation, but also pushed through part of the
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expanding the availability of concealed firearms in michigan. that is part of the alec agenda. it is to allow people to carry concealed weapons. what they do is play offense -- the nra plays opposite says more people need guns. they want people to be more arms rather than deal with the heart of the tragedy. >> thank you for joining us, lisa, executive director of the center for media and democracy. that does it for our show. for a collection of our reporting on gun control, go to and visit our new "topics" section. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, a conversation with best-selling author. she is out with another critically acclaimed book this year, called "help, thanks, wow ." she explores three powerful prayers that can help us through difficult times. we are glad you have joined us. conversation with anne lamott coming up right now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of