Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are demanding a common sense approach to gun laws. Kim Russell, a chapter coordinator for the organization, joins The Cycle to discuss the gun legislation in the Senate, as well as what her organization would like to see in terms of common sense approaches.
>>> do return next monday, the senate is expected to take up a gun control bill brought to the floor by democrats. a bill which some gop senators have already threatened to filibuster. don’t underestimate the power of what is quickly becoming one of washington’s most powerful lobbies, mom. 90,000 strong now with one message to congress. pass common sense gun control legislation. in the guest spot, kim russell who is a chapter coordinator for the grassroots group, moms who demand action. they’ve launched a week long, in honor of this sandy hook victim who would have turned 7 on thursday.
>> thank you for having me.
>> welcome to the gun control conversation. when mothers against drunk driving got involved, it was very common to say i’ll have one for the road and not have all sorts of laws. they made a mass chif change in that situation. what is the legislation that you would most like to see sort of passed? anything on the table or something that is not even being discussed? not on the table? what is your dream law that you would like to see come out of this? it is pretty straightforward. i’m a little conversation that i’m having to work so hard to make this happen. we want a ban on assault weapons. we want a ban on ammunition magazines of more than ten rounds. large quantities purchased of ammunition or guns, we want reported to the atf. no online sale of ammunition. and we want strong gun trafficking laws. we want this to be a federal crime with stiff criminal penalties. these are kind of no brainers. we also demand background checks on every purchase.
>> you said no guns, no bullet sales online. does that include no gun sales online?
>> we would love to see these taken offline. we need to have background checks. it is very important. it would really help solve our epidemic of gun violence.
>> let’s look at where those proportions line up. we start out with a couple of bills that we’ll put on the screen. the assault weapons bap that you just mentioned. the fix gun checks act which is chuck schumer’s bill. the school safety enhancement act which deals with a lot of the security questions around schools. as well as discussions about magazine regulation. if you look on the right side of the screen, what you have is the end game here. harry reid has winnowed this down to only background checks and school safety. while laudable, is not gun regulation and doesn’t deal with the access to guns and the flow of guns that you’re describing. so where do you think we are versus harry reid and this plan that will move on the floor? is it enough that he’s saying there will be amendments for these additional packages? or do you not think that will work?
>> we were very disappointed when harry reid took senator feinstein’s proposal off. we really admired her bill and wanted to see that happen. as president obama said, we deserve a vote. those kids in sandy hook deserve a vote and this is not fair. however, feinstein also said that the previous assault weapons ban passed on amendments. so maybe there is a chance here. if it doesn’t happen though, we are not going to back down. our moms are strong. they are tenacious. we’re not giving up. we will be here for 2014 and we will vote for people who vote with us. this is important.
>> kim, as i’m sure you know, so-called assault weapons are responsible for only about 2% of gun homicides every year. the vast majority are committed by handguns. as i’m sure i don’t have to tell you. i’m wondering, are mom demand action planning on calling for a ban on handguns, if not, why?
>> well, you know, we’re not infringing on anyone’s second amendment right. you can own guns. however, if there are back ground collection on all gun purchases, if straw trafficking becomes a criminal offense, and has strong penalties, the supply will dry up. criminals will not be able to get their hands on handguns as easily. right now chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in our country. however, they are 20 minutes away from indiana. they can just go over the state line and get more guns. or a straw trafficker can load up a trunk full of weapons and drive them into chicago and sell them.
>> i want to thank you first of all for having the courage to take par in the legislative process. it is a hard thing as a private citizen to put yourself out there. thank you for doing that. and i wanted to get your sense of how things have gone thus far. ari touched on the sort of legislative mechanics. there are those who have said, we didn’t act quickly enough and now the moment has passed and the public’s attention has moved on. and the momentum we had has also waned. do you think that’s right or do you still feel hopeful that we can get something meaningful passed?
>> i think if that’s how people see this, they vastly underestimate the power of mothers. we’re not going away. our movement started the day after newtown. we are now 90,000 members. we have over 80 chapters in 38 states and we are growing every day. our moms, they’re not just these casual facebook likers. these moms are throughout in every city across the country hosting rallies, writing press releases, doing interviews on television. things that they never dreamed in a thousand years they would be doing. and they are not stopping. this is about our children. they are our greatest resource. if we let our children down, then as president obama said, shame on us of.
>> you talk about the children. i’m sure as you know, women, the moms themselves are twice as likely to face, to be shot by a gun in the hand of somebody who is an intimate partner. your husband, your boyfriend, your friend, rather than a stranger. this isn’t just about the next generation. this is about you.
>> that’s true. that’s true. and we’re fighting for all gun violence. i think what got us all here is we realized our kids weren’t safe. when you figure that out, you know, mama bear comes out. that’s just how it goes.
>> we talk about homicide all the time. but there are more gun suicides than homicides in this country. that’s a whole other piece to be worried about, too.
>> this is true. we hope as our organization grows, that we can educate folks about all gun violence. suicides, homicides, you know, domestic abusers. right now we have to focus on this legislation. further down the road, we hope to have that conversation.
>> all right. best of luck to you.
>> up next, some fad for thought on what we eat. and where it goes. and this might get a little