Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on the Future of Gun Reform
February 22, 2018
New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney discusses the future of gun reform in the U.S. following the Parkland school shooting. We talk about the students who marched on the Florida State Capitol and how they're changing the conversation around guns. Maloney says she is proud of the next generation.
She also tells us about her new bill that would make it harder for those with mental health disabilities to get firearms. Maloney says assault weapons are weapons of war, calling for them to be banned completely.
Congresswoman Maloney also digs into the National Rifle Association's powerful influence over politicians. She believes members of the NRA will be shamed after what happened in Florida.
MALE_1: Well Florida students spoke to legislators, they also spoke to President Trump yesterday, they took part in a town hall on CNN yesterday last night that was watched by so many people and have so much attention on it. Is this group of students going to be the group that will finally get meaningful gun reform here in the U.S?
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: I- I- I certainly hope so. After my colleague Gabby was shot, uh after Sandy Hook shot 20 children and six teachers uh, after Columbine, after Orlando, after Las Vegas each time I thought, it's so outrageous, so terrible. Congress will finally act on- on sensible gun safety measures. But this time is different. The children are going to be marching on- on March 24, and I'm going to be marching with them. And on April 20, they're doing their 17 minute walk out and I predict they'll continue making statements that people have to listen to them. I am so proud of the next generation.
MALE_2: So, I mean, when we talk about the bills that need to go through to actually see some of this change happen as well, I mean you're currently working on a bill that would reinstate Obama era regulations that were actually pulled back by President Trump. He repealed those regulations. So, give us the details on- on what it means if it's made law and what kinds of shootings this would prevent uh, from happening at the end of the day.
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: Well, I would say one single action is not going to be the answer. It's a combination of really creating an environment that's safer. Believe me if guns made people safer we'd be the safest nation on earth and we're far, far from it. But particularly President Obama's regulation was to have people who were mentally ill, who could not function, it was narrow, could not function in their own life, could not function in their private affairs should not have access to guns. Now, the second amendment, uh, guarantees the right to own a gun. But we can regulate access in every country in the world except for the United States does so. They regulate it so that responsible people have guns. Not mentally ill people. This young person was crying out for help. All of his, uh, friends said he would be the one who would kill them. Uh, everyone knew he was a problem, he should have not had any access to guns. And also like we saw in Las Vegas, this- this guy had something like 75 guns! Machine guns! Machine guns and assault weapons should be banned. They're- they're weapons of war. They shouldn't be walking around schools with machine guns. It's terrible.
MALE_1: But Representative Maloney given that Republicans control both the House and the Senate and of course the White House as well and these people seem to be pretty much divided, uh, down party lines on the issue here, what are the chances that legislation will actually happen under this president?
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: You- you have to keep fighting for what's right. And- and the gun laws are so lax and so stupid. We- we literally have a law in this country, that you cannot study ways to end gun violence. I have a bill in to reverse that. We literally do not make selling illegal guns a felony in this country. Law enforcement has testified before Congress that this is so beyond belief that they don't even bother to arrest anyone because there's no penalty. Our gun laws are so lax. It really has to change. NRA stands for No Republican Action. Today the president said he will be for comprehensive, uh, background checks. I hope that that's true. I hope that it happens. I will support him. But words, uh, actions speak louder than words.
MALE_1: You mentioned the NRA. What role do they have in all of these? How responsible do you think the NRA is for a lack of movement on gun control?
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: Oh, oh. I think they are incredibly powerful. They are in every congressional district. They are active in trying to defeat every member of Congress and the Senate that does not tow their line. They hand out an extraordinarily large amount of money across this country. Uh, I have worked on gun safety from the time I went to Congress and my colleagues will tell me when they go on my bills, the NRA will come to them and offer them money to take their name off my bills that are for gun safety. They have a phenomenal amount of, uh, influence. But s- I have to think that NRA members are going to be shamed by what happened in Florida. They should have been shamed for what happened in the churches in Texas and in- in, uh, Orlando, Florida and, uh, all of these- we are unique in the world in- in mass gun shootings. And uh, if you look at every other world, we- we- every other country, we lead the world in gun violence. And it's because our gun laws are so lax. In, uh, Israel. In Russia. They have strict g- laws for access to guns. You have to pass mental tests, as you pointed out. You- you have to have- you limit the amount. Why are we letting people buy 75 assault weapons? [LAUGHTER] What for? They're- they're only there to kill people. They're not for hunting. Uh, so, I- I'm- I'm- I support hunters and I support people who qualify to be have guns for self defense if they want them. Uh, but, um, it's- it's out of hand. There are too many guns. Uh, everything is encouraging people to have guns and if anything, this Congress has moved in the wrong di- direction. They passed in the house but not the Senate the concealed gun law that allows people from lax gun states to go into areas that have stricter laws like New York with their guns.
MALE_2: And- and so, with something like this, we always follow the money, right? Because if the money is coming from the NRA and it's going into, um, a particular, you know, state representative, local representatives hands, um, and if that representative truly does represent the opinions of those that are in their district, then how can you say, if so many of those people are actually speaking out against the NRA, that you're truly representing them? [NOISE] we heard the question last night of whether or not Marco Rubio will continue to actually accept some of these dollars. So, what is it gonna take for some of the actual, uh, people to say, ah, people in office to say that they won't accept this money?
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: Well voters, fortunately we have a democracy, and we should shoot at the ballot box. And we should only vote for people who support gun safety. 90% of Americans support gun safety and their representatives should support their point of view. If they don't, run against them, support someone who is for gun safety, shoot at the ballot box, remove them from office.
MALE_2: Absolutely. Well thank you so much for joining us.
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: [OVERLAPPING] Thank you. Thank you for your attention on this life saving issue. Thank you.
MALE_2: [OVERLAPPING] Absolutely. An issue we'll continue to track. Uh, that is New York Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney. Thank you so much for joining us.
REP CAROLYN MALONEY: I had a great time and wasn't it great to see the other guy [LAUGHTER] .