All the senators’ votes. (On the gun bill.)
Here is an interview we did with Tom Diaz from the Violence Policy Center in the wake of Newtown about assault-style guns in the domestic market .
In February, we aired an interview with Jake Tapper about his new book, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor. When Terry spoke with him, so much good stuff came of it that we decided to make it into two interviews. We’re airing the second part today on the show. It will focus on his switch from ABC News to hosting his own show on CNN, and he’ll talk in part about asking Obama a tough question about the President’s record on gun legislation in the wake of Newtown and the White House’s response.
Jake Tapper, ABC News’ senior White House correspondent, tweeted out the names and ages of those who were killed at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Of the five or six guns I’ve gathered over the decades (IF YOU KNOW HOW MANY GUNS YOU HAVE, YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH read a t-shirt I saw once) only one is designed to use on human beings: a .38 revolver of the type that burdened policemen’s sagging belts once, before the adoption of sleeker 9mms. The gun is a stodgy old classic, Smithsonian-worthy, that evokes the Made-in-USA age and also speaks of my distance, I like to think, from the cult of maximum firepower that draws harder-boiled folks to stores and gun shows to handle Bushmasters and similar weapons with death-dealing, quasi-military designs. Such ominous firearms hold no allure for me, in part because I doubt they’d do much good against a maniac carrying one or a hypothetical goon squad equipped with their vastly superior big brothers. Ban those guns. Neuter them. I’m fine with it. I can hunt with my shotguns and my deer gun (although I’ve grown tired of hunting), and I can protect myself from miscreants with my trusty .38.
From “What Gun Owners Really Want” by Walter Kirn.
Also, THE must-watch for today: Former Rep. Gabby Gifford’s testimony on gun violence.
“I’ve always trusted that what I think is funny they will laugh at, what I think is moving will move them, what feels … interesting [to me], they will find interesting. I don’t find anything interesting about a gun. A gun is there to threaten or kill. … A gun is rarely used in film in a way that feels like … life.”
“[It’s] a variant of type of gun called the AR-15 … which was designed and developed for military use roughly during the Vietnam War period. It is one of a variety of assault rifles that militaries of the world developed when they realized that most soldiers, do not — when they’re engaged in combat — do not take accurate aim, do not fire at long distances, but rather just spray bullets in the general direction of the enemy at short-to-medium range. When the military accepted this as a fact — that soldiers are not marksmen, and they tend to just fire in bursts at ambiguous targets, and in fact most battlefield injuries are the result of just being where the bullet is and not someone actually aiming at you — the militaries of the world said, ‘Okay, we need a type of gun to give our soldiers that will do just that.’ … This was the genesis of the assault rifle. The first one was developed by the Germans in 1944. It was called the StG-44. The Soviet army quickly … made a design similar to it, which is called the AK-47, probably the most widely-used rifle in the world.”
Glock had seen this bill coming for years and had been running the factory non-stop – three shifts a day, seven days a week – building up the large capacity firearms and the large capacity magazines. When the law was enacted, it allowed for a loophole that grandfathered in pre-existing equipment before the ban went into effect. [And] Glock had this huge stockpile of the very equipment that many gun owners wanted to get because it was banned – and the value of that equipment skyrocketed.
— Paul Barrett, on how Glock made money on the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
Imagine the outcry if the government did today what it did early in the country’s history: conduct a census of arms among the general population. In the days when national defense needs rested heavily with citizen militias, it was important for the government to know who owned how many guns, and in what condition.
— Tomorrow’s guest, political scientist Robert Spitzer, explaining how in the earliest census questionnaires, the United States asked citizens how many guns they owned. Tomorrow we’re going to talk about the history and evolution of gun control and the growing influence of the NRA with Spitzer, the author of several books on the politics of gun control.
Washington Post investigative reporter James Grimaldi, on Arizona’s lax gun laws: “Essentially, there is very little obstacle to purchasing a weapon in the state of Arizona. There are laws that require you, federally, to be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. But basically state law permits anyone 21 and older to own a firearm and also, to carry it concealed in the state. That’s different than many other states, many of which have stricter gun laws.”
We’re changing the show today, in the wake of the Arizona shooting rampage. Washington Post investigative reporter James Grimaldi, who joined us last week to talk about U.S. guns in Mexico, will talk about Arizona’s gun laws, among the most lenient in the country. (complete NPR coverage here)
Audio for today’s story on investigating the hidden life of guns, including how guns from the United States have ended up on Mexican streets, is now up.
James Grimaldi, on why 60,000 guns from the United States have been found at Mexican crime scenes in the past four years: “We’re the closest country, it’s easy to get guns, it’s not difficult to cross the borders with the guns when you get them and there’s very little stopping gun runners from doing that.”
One thing to remember in Congress is, in recent years, it’s almost been a fact that Democrats can’t control Congress unless they have a number of conservative, rural Democrats and usually that translates into a strong NRA rating. And so, the White House was concerned just before the midterm elections that something that would rile the base of the NRA would further hurt them in their midterm elections.
— Washington Post reporter James Grimaldi, explaining why Rahm Emanuel stopped President Obama from pursuing greater restrictions on assault weapons in 2010, in an interview on Fresh Air about the growing gun violence in Mexico — and why it’s particularly difficult to track the gun dealers supplying the weapons.
The National Rifle Association endorsed candidates in about two-thirds of congressional races in the midterm elections. Often, the choice not to endorse was pragmatic — either both candidates had top NRA ratings or both had poor ratings. Of those endorsed, 80 percent won, according to The Washington Post’s analysis. On tomorrow’s Fresh Air, we’ll talk to James Grimaldi, one of reporters who has contributed to the Washington Post series The Hidden Life of Guns.