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tv   State of the Union With Jake Tapper and Dana Bash  CNN  May 29, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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with the victim's families. those meetings are going to take hours, so as we wrap up here and we turn to dana bash in uvalde. one of the parents of one of the dead girls. why would someone hurt my baby? why would someone hurt her baby? we'll see if biden has answers. we'll turn to dana bash for cnn's continuing live coverage. hello, i'm dana bash in uvalde, texas. and welcome to a special live noon edition of state of the union. what you're looking at right now are live pictures of president biden and the first lady, dr. jill biden. they just landed here in uvalde, and what you see is the president meeting with local officials. he is expected to go from there,
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the airport to meet with grieving families here today. try to bring some comfort to a community traumatized, absolutely traumatized by the loss of 21 innocent people. 19 of them children, as young as 9 years old. they were murdered in their classroom. this is a community just trying to understand not only that, but why 19 law enforcement officials waited an hour outside the classroom as the children made desperate 9-1-1 calls for help. the president lands here as lawmakers in washington and around the country are renewing calls for action again, but it is unclear whether the president and those in power will be able to get anything done. as we watch pictures of the president, i want to bring in arlette saenz. arl arlette, you are also here in uvalde over at the school at robb elementary waiting for the president to arrive with grieving families and arlette,
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unfortunately, this is the kind of meeting that this president has had all too often in his career. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, dana. president biden and vice president has gone into these communities time and time again but certainly, this would be one of the most difficult meetings he will be having later today when he meets with the families of those who lost those 19 children and two teachers here in that horrific massacre on tuesday. now, the president has just arrived at an airfield in uvalde. he is meeting with local officials, including state rep guterres and governor abbott, on hand to greet the president and then his very first stop here in uvalde will be right here to the memorial at robb elementary school. he and first lady jill biden will come to spend time here, really, an area where the community has been gathering over the course of the past few days. later, the president will attend
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mass and will meet privately with the families. the white house allotting several hours for the president to speak with them, as they are hoping that he can offer some type of comfort to these families in this gut-wrenching time. dana? >> arlette, thank you so much. we'll be getting back to you throughout the hour as the president comes to where you are, and moments ago, i spoke with brianna ruiz and her son, daniel, who just visited the memorial where i am here to pay respects to his fallen friends, including his cousin, 9-year-old elly garcia. daniel is just 9 years old. he climbed through a broken window to survive tuesday's shooting. brianna and daniel, thank you so much for telling your story. brianna, i'll start with you. what was it like as a parent? i mean, i can't even imagine. i have a son who's just a year
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older than daniel. awaiting those terrifying moments where he came out. >> it was terrifying. when i got the call from my father with what was going on, i had literally just left his school because he had an awards ceremony, and usually, i, when he has things like that, i'll take kids out of my school early and he asked me that day if i could, but i had errands to run, so i had just turned to him, told him to stay and i told him he was going to be okay. when i got there, that's all i could think of is, i should have taken him out, and it was scary. where i was at, i was by the
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funeral home, and i know the layout of his hallway. when they started pulling children out of the classes, i saw all the classes that surrounded his area and my cousin's area as well. once i saw all those children coming out and i saw that they wer weren't, it was a numbing, really, that i got. just because i could feel something was very off and just knowing he was still in there, the shooter was still in there. it was terrifying. one of the worst experiences ever. >> i can't even imagine. what happened when you finally got daniel. >> when he came out, it was over
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an hour later. he was actually one of the last ones from the back of his class coming out. there was a student that was struck in his classroom, and when i saw her, i mean, she was just covered in blood because he had broken her nose with a stray bullet. when i saw that and i recognized the girl was in his class, it sent a more terrifying chill through my body because i saw all his friends running out and i still hadn't seen him. and finally toward the end, when him and another friend came running out together, it gave me back, like, i couldn't catch my breath, you know, but i ran straight to him and i just held him, and i remember somebody trying to get him out of my arms, but i just kept holding
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him until i walked him myself to the funeral home. a friend of his because his friend was very panicking too, and i held both of them together because they've been in school together since, what, pre-k? so i mean, they've known each other since literally they were 4 years old, and his friend was just going on about his teacher getting hurt, how the other student almost died because she got hit with a bullet, and they were just terrifiterrified. >> you climbed out through a window with broken glass. >> mm-hmm. >> and you had glass in your arms? in your hand. but you're physically okay. >> yeah. >> can you tell me about what happened in that classroom? >> we were just, like, nothing
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really, but he just shot, like, four bullets into our class, but like, her nose broke and then our teacher got shot in her leg and her torso, but she's all right. >> he was never in your classroom, because your teacher, right, locked the door and broke the key. >> mm-hmm. >> did you see his face? >> yeah. >> through the window? >> mm-hmm. >> that must have been, i can't even imagine, terrifying. what were you doing when you were in the classroom? >> we were about to do something until we heard the first two gunshots, and then she locked the door and then she just, like, dropped on the floor, but
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everyone was telling her to wake up, didn't know if she was okay. >> telling her to wake up because she had been shot? >> mm-hmm. they thought she was like, passing out because she was like, shot. >> and were you hiding under desks? where were you in the classroom? >> i was hiding under a table next to the wall. it goes to the end of the wall, like the start of the wall, and this is like, a very big table, but i could still see his face. >> through the window. do you think he saw you? >> i think he did, but at the same time, a lot of people were blocking him. so i don't really know. but i could see him staring at people in front of me.
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>> i'm sure you were all trying to stay very quiet. not easy, in any situation. it must have felt like you were there for so long. was anybody in your classroom calling 9-1-1? >> my teacher was trying to, but then, like, as soon as she was about to press the call button, she showed up to the window, so she really can't. but someone called them, but they were like, she tried to call them, but they didn't, like, pick up. so she had to text them. >> how do you feel about going to school? i know it's summer, but how do you feel about going back in the fall? >> nervous. >> are you able to talk about
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things with your mom? >> yeah. >> yeah? how do you think daniel's doing? as a mom. i mean, obviously, it's a silly question because we know the answer, but are you able to talk things through? we talked to a lot of mental health professionals that say talking is so important. >> it is, honestly, that's what i'm going to school for is counselling. i do talk to him. i do remind him of how important it is to talk to me, and the good thing that i do have with all four of my children is we have an open relationship, so they know whether they're sad or if they think they're going to make me upset or anything like that, they do talk to me. they have that trust in me and confide in me about many things,
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and he, the first night, he really didn't want to talk about it, obviously, which i mean, it was okay. i told him, you need to cry it out, you're scared, it's okay. he hasn't really step foot into his room since the incident. he was a real big gamer kid. he hasn't done that either. just because it scares him. i am working on getting him, you know, counselling and therapy long-term because i know it's something that affects him. he does have a lot of night terrors, he does talk and scream and cry in his sleep and i'll ask him, do you remember, like, you know, what you were saying yesterday? and he'll be like, no. >> you don't remember any of that? >> no. >> when you have night terrors,
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you wake up and your mom asks, you don't remember? >> no. >> what about your cousin, elly? >> she liked to play basketball. she would always, like, when my little brother was at school, her mom would pick him up and then when she would get there to their house, she would call him, like, to come in the car and stuff. because she was here. >> you guys were pretty close? >> yeah. >> i know. close to a lot of the people in there. well, i just want you to know that you are such a brave person, such a brave person. i'm sure it doesn't feel like that right now, but you really are, and it's really remarkable that you came to tell your story
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and to talk about the heroics, heroics of you and your teacher and your classmates. thank you so much, daniel. brianna brianna, thank you as well. we're now looking at live pictures of president biden arriving at the robb elementary school where 21 people were murdered, were gunned down on tuesday. he's arriving to meet with grieving families to pay his respects at a makeshift memorial that's there, just like it's here in the town square with probably hundreds or thousands of people, not just from the community but from all over. and as we wait to see the president come out of the car, i want to go to the scene there. arlette saenz, you were there with the president earlier.
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arlette, you have covered president biden for so many years. you have covered so many, unfortunately, so many of these instances where he can relate to people who are part of a club no one wants to be in, which is a club of people who have to bury their children. >> reporter: that's right. the president often points back to his own personal experience, his young baby daughter and wife in a car accident and seven years ago, beau biden to brain cancer. and here at robb elementary school. my eyes are set on his, the so-called beast, the vehicle that he rides in. so we'll let you know as soon as he's out and about to approach the memorial. of course, he's here with his wife, first lady jill biden. a long time teacher and educator, also a very personal moment for her as well. i actually see the first lady. she has now stepped out of the
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motorcade and will soon be meeting her husband to walk over to the memorial site where you'll see 21 crosses for the 19 children and 2 teachers who were lost. now, i don't know if you can see this on camera just yet, but the president is holding a large bouquet of flowers and he and his wife are beginning to approach the memorial. >> we do, arlette, and as we watch, i want to bring in the uvalde county commissioner. commissioner ronald garza, thank you so much for joining, and as we watch, i want to say, when the president approaches to the memorial, we'll give him a moment, but as a lifelong citizen of uvalde, somebody who represents the people here, what does this moment mean sneer. >> thank you for having me on the network. i think the president has got a good heart. he knows what it is to lose
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children at a young age. >> as you're speaking, i want to say, what we're looking at right now is the first lady and the president laying flowers at that enormous, enormous memorial and in fact, let's just watch for a moment . so we were watching the president just have a moment of
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silence. you saw him come across himself, like we said, we've seen so many moments with the president. now when he was vice president, when he was senator where he has this unfortunate connection with people who grieve the way that these parents are grieving. obviously, they're very different because this is a place where kids are supposed to be safe in this school, and i know you went to this school. >> yes. >> your family all went to this school. >> yeah, we have strong ties to robb elementary. my dad's second teaching assignment. 1965, 1970, was a schoolteacher there. i was a student. my kids. my grandkids. we are emotionally devastated here in uvalde. we're passing through a valley but we're only passing. we're going to get through this. >> and you see the president and the first lady talking to two individuals. they're members of your
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community. is that the school superintendent? >> dr. harold, our superintendent and one of the parents. >> and i really felt this the entire time i've been in uvalde and you feel this every day because this is your community. it's remarkable how much everybody knows one another. if you didn't have a family member who was murdered in this school, you know somebody who did. >> that's right. >> the fact that this is such a close knit community makes it even more painful, but in a way, brings more support. that's certainly something i've observed. >> yes. the terms close-knit has been mentioned a lot of times here. we have two tenants, tenants that lost their children in this shooting. one little girl, cute as a
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button. i would see her there at the apartment complex riding her bike and i would say hi to her and she would always say, hi, ronnie. that was her expression. i'd say, how was school today? it was good. do you like school? i like school. got to like school to be successful. tight knit. very tight knit community here in uvalde. >> i believe that the governor is there. we can't see him right now, but what would it mean, what does it mean for this moment to be a rare moment of at least physically bipartisan coming together, if not yet or maybe ever politically coming together? >> unfortunately, it's going to take an incident like that that happens in our community, hopefully to bring people together, to bring our leaders together, for them to reach across the aisle and to hopefully get things done. talking about it is not going to
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get us anywhere, because after this is gone, everybody leaves and we tend to forget. but i'm optimistic that our leaders are going to come to some kind of consensus. >> we get to see just a few seconds ago, the governor hugging the principal of the school. what does it mean to the people here? i was speaking to the uncle of elly garcia, a 9-year-old who was killed, and he said, i'm certainly grateful that the president is coming to our community, but really wish that he wasn't coming here under these circumstances, which seems to be a very logical thing to say, but do people have an extra feeling of comfort that the commander in chief, that the president of the united states is here to console them? >> yeah, in my opinion, i think
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president biden making an appearance here is good. it's in order. that's what we need. we need the leader of the free world to be here, and sympathize and empathize with us. >> i want to bring in david axelrod, a cnn contributor but an aide to president obama and then vice president joe biden and dave, you have the unfortunate experience of being in the room for scenes like this, scenes of unimaginable grief with then president obama and joe biden when he was vice president. talk about what it's like, if you can even articulate, if there's even words to explain what it's like in these moments. >> yeah, well, first of all, dana, i wasn't in the room when
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they were with the families but i certainly heard about it. it's devastating for the families and devastating for the officials as well, and for joe biden in particular who knows the pain of loss so intimately and so devastatingly. it had even deeper meaning, but i remember when newtown happened and president obama texted me or emailed me and said, this is the first time i've cried in the oval office, and he was thinking as a parent. when you come to these scenes as elected officials, you know, you're there in your official duty, you're representing the country but you're also thinking as a parent and you're thinking as a grandparent as many of us
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have, and to have to try and console people who will never see their children again is an awful, awful thing. it's important, and it's necessary to bring the grief of the country and the soul and support of the country, but it's hard, and it's particularly hard, dana, because it's hard to explain how such a thing could happen and hard to explain how we don't really mobilize to do anything about it, to prevent it from happening again. i think those frustrations were felt by both president obama and vice president biden and now president biden. >> i just want to say, as you were talking, i want to note the incredible power of that memorial where the president and first lady were going from child to child, from picture to picture, from person to person who were gunned down senselessly
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in their own school. it's too much to bear to watch those images, but this is happening at a place where there is a lot of sorrow, but that's also a lot of tension about what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent that in the future and arlette, you're there at robb elementary school, and i know there was just an incident, not an incident but something happened with the few people there and governor abbott. can you explain it? >> reporter: well, so, as governor abbott was coming to join president biden at this memorial, you started to hear some of the onlookers shouting, asking specifically for the governor to help, saying that their children are not safe and that they need help here in uvalde county. in fact, even just now, i heard one of the onlookers saying the same thing to president biden, saying they need help here in this county after this tremendous, tremendous loss that
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so many families are enduring at this moment. i can tell you a little while ago, i can see president biden and the first lady holding hands as they stood in front of these wreaths taking in the photos of some of these young children who were gunned down. one little girl in the first communion dress, another photo of a boy in a t-shirt. and it is just, for the president to come in and take in this moment, this is what he and his advisers wanted was for him to come and see firsthand the loss that this community has felt and also try to offer some type of comfort to them in any way that he possibly can. now, after his stop here at the elementary school, he's going to be attending mass at sacred heart catholic church. of course, president biden attends mass every sunday but this is a very different type of sunday as he'll be in the pews with the communities, praying with them after this devastating loss. he'll then have the meetings with the families where the white house has really cordoned off several hours for him to be
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speaking with the families, hearing their concerns, and also trying to offer that type of comfort. but it's very clear that while there is a lot of debate in washington about what can be done to prevent the next type of tragedy like this from happening today, the president's focus is on offering solace and comfort to this community during this unimaginable pain. >> yes, of course. that's why he's here, but david axelrod, the fact that you have people who were there, members of the community nearby and parents asking, pleading with the governor, pleading with the president, when are you going to do something so children aren't dying? i'm obviously paraphrasing but that's the gist of it to gun violence and this has been a question that has vexed washington, and real people in the real world, like here in
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uvalde, don't understand why it is so hard for legislators they elect to come together to find some way to mitigate this. >> dana, i think most americans are struck by the groundhog day nature of this, these things happen one after another after another. we grieve, we hear thoughts and prayers, we elect officials to come and try to provide comfort, but cannot get together on any approach to gun violence in this country, which is so much greater than any other country of our wealth in the world. 11, 12 times greater homicide deaths in this country and so a mental health issue, yes, this man had a mental health issue, but we're not 11 or 12 times
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more beset by mental illness in our country as in these other countries. we do have 46% of the world's privately held guns, and only 5% of the world's population. so there has to be some approach to this gun issue, and frankly, i think it's interesting that the president in his address to the nation the day of this tragedy on tuesday and to this moment has not been prescriptive on what he thinks congress should do and that says to me, he's not terribly confident about their ability to do it. >> right. >> so this is a recurring nightmare, and i would hope and, you know, i would love to see our elected officials get through this and produce something for once. you're a student of congress. i'm not very hopeful. i grieve for these parents and i grieve for the next set of
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parents who will face this set of circumstances because elected officials don't have the courage and wherewithal to come together and try to find common sense solution. >> i have an elected official here, a local elected official. the commissioner here in uvalde. ronald garza. when you see what looks like members of your community screaming, pleading with the governor, pleading with the president, do something, what do you hear on a local level? i understand that there's not much you can do on a local level when it comes to either the gun issue or the social issues that lead to this. what's your reaction to that? >> you know, dana, i'm a good listener, and i hear both sides of the story, you know, groups saying we need more gun control. the other group saying it's not a gun problem but a people
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problem. >> what do you think? >> personally, i think, and this is just my opinion, when it is all done and said, it's the individual that goes to purchase that automatic weapon, it makes it hard for people to defend them themselves. when a shooter is there with an automatic rifle, with so many rounds of bullets, it makes it just that much harder for the victims, that much harder for law enforcement to do something. it just makes it that much harder. >> speaking of law enforcement, let's talk specifically. i know we should be talking about the future, but there are a lot of unanswered questions here in your community about what happened that day. what happened on tuesday? why there were 70 plus minutes that went by with these 9 and 10 years old frantically doing what they were supposed to do, quietly using their cell phones, calling 9-1-1.
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can't imagine the fear that they had to do that, but they were so desperate, so terrified and there were these grown-ups in the hallway who didn't come in. what are you hearing about, is there any regret? i'm sure there's a lot of guilt. what are you hearing from the law enforcement community? >> from the law enforcement community, i'm like you. you know, this is all coming to light. we're learning this, and it's very frustrating. i think people here are very frustrated with the time lapse. why didn't they move in fast enough? it's a difficult situation to be in a law enforcement's uniform, shoes, and to be there, to actually be there. i can say all i want to, but until you're there, i'm not defending them by any means, but until you're there, you know, and i feel for the students. the students were apparently trained to hide under a desk, to
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be quiet, you know. >> and call 9-1-1. >> call 9-1-1. and yet, we have this carnage here, but i keep going back to the automatic weapons. you know, i'm not a gun owner, but i know people who own guns, gun enthusiasts. >> a lot of gun enthusiasts here. >> yes, but one gun enthusiast said raise the age level. is that the answer? maybe one, baby steps, but we've got to do something. >> which is one of many things that they're debating here. arlette, i want to go back to you on the scene. the president is still there. he is in the point. >> reporter: he is just entering the beast to go into this next
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location. you heard from the onlookers shouting president biden, we need help, we need change. our children are not safe in these schools. the president seemed to acknowledge them. kind of hopped up the step in the motorcade and waved but ultimately, not going to come over to the people gathered here today. but it is clear that there is frustration and that people in the community want to see some type of changes to ensure that their children can remain safe in schools. now, from here, the president should be departing at any moment. he will be heading to sacred heart catholic church to attend mass services there today as he typically does on sunday. there will be a very small contingent of reporters allowed in, which is a rarity, actually, for when the president attends his personal mass. there will not be cameras or audio, but it is expected that there will be some type of reporters on hand to witness what that scene, that moment is like as the president is celebrating mass with the community.
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he is about to depart at this very moment, as you'll see right behind me. a very emotional moment as he went picture by picture, cross by cross, taking in the scene here where so many members of the community have come to honor those who had been lost in that hor horrific massacre. he has a difficult task at the end of the day meeting with the families trying to offer some comfort but families who have so many questions about how something like this could take pla place. >> so many questions and as you medical mentioned, and want to reiterate, the president is departing robb elementary school and the memorial that sprung up with the beautiful pictures of the 19 students. ages 9 and 10. two teachers who were gunned down on tuesday. david axelrod, this next stop for the president is mass.
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one thing that struck me and has been a comfort to me as i know it has been a comfort to the community is the deep, deep faith of so many people i've spoken to here in uvalde. that's another connection that the president has with them. >> without question. i mean, i think it's faith that allowed him to survive the tragedies that he's gone through in his life. he's a person of deep faith. this is an important element of his life, and i think this is another point of contact with the community. i just want to go back a second if i can, dana, on the issue. what's going through the president's mind? in 1994, he was the co-author of an assault weapons ban that lasted for ten years and then was allowed to expire. and we have a young man here who's 18 years old and a few days after his birthday bought two military-style assault
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weapons, one which he used in the assault on children, and this isn't even on the table now, the sale or ban on the sale of assault weapons. that is not even possible in today's political environment, and what must the president think, having worked so hard on this issue in the past, and now facing this wall of opposition? to even measures like the universal background check which has the support of 90% of americans who cannot get it through the united states congress, united states senate. so think about the, what he is feeling now as he greets these people, these families who are going through the sense of loss that he once knew and knowing that he can't really answer their question as to why. why can't we get something done? >> no, he can't.
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>> it's really, this must be a day of terribly, terribly difficult emotions for him because of all of his experiences. >> per usual, very well said, david axelrod. commissioner arlette. we'll get back to you as we monitor the president's movements here in uvalde, and he is, as we talked about, going to do something he has done so many times before. he's going to meet with grieving families. we'll talk about that and when. we'll be right back. there's a monster problem and our hero needs solutions. so she starts a miro to brainstorm. “shoot it?” suggests the scientists. so they shoot it. hmm... back to the miro board. dave say“feed it?”
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some lawmakers say they are making progress on a compromise plan to address gun violence. we talk with a democrat and republican about solutions to gun violence in the united states and where they might be able to find common ground starting with the democratic whip in the u.s. senate. here with me now is the number two democrat in the united states senate. dick durbin. thank you so much, sir, for joining me. what is the latest on negotiations? yes or no, is anything actually going to get done this time? >> dana, i can't say for certain, but i can tell you, i sense a different feeling among my colleagues after uvalde. of course, ten years ago with sandy hook and parkland and so many other instances, but it is just so compelling to see the photos of these young boys and girls and to picture your own children or grandchildren captives of this madman as he's killing them off one by one amidst school and to realize
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it's time for us to do something. america is sick and tired of political excuses. >> you are in charge of counting the votes in the senate. you've done many bipartisan deals over the years with republicans. what is realistic right now? what's most likely to be part of any compromise? for example, the national red flag law. raising the minimum age to buy a gun to 21. >> i can tell you, what i want to see done is the word compromise, which you mentioned earlier. the question, i think, the real challenge is whether the republicans will step forward and show courage, political courage in a very tough situation. there will be some, and i will do everything i can to encourage that. we as democrats have a different view of the issue. we have to be looking for the compromise that makes things better. >> so what is that? of course, we've known there are
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different views on this issue for decades now, but there are areas of compromise. there have to be if you're hopeful. what are they? >> you mentioned a red flag. a person illustrating the kind of conduct that is threatening or worrisome to alert law enforcement officials early, to deal with this whole straw purchasing issue. we lost a person to a purchase someone without a criminal record and handed it over to a criminal who killed a wonderful police officer and seriously injured her partner. that sort of thing, enforcing straw purchasing, these are all small but important life-saving steps. how many of those can we bring together in a bipartisan basis? i think there are some. >> vice president harris called for an assault weapons ban yesterday. do you see any chance of that
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happening? >> well, when we have one, there's a reduction in crime with the mass shootings with these weapons that expired years ago, and unfortunately in the meantime, there's been a dramatic increase in purchases of these weapons. the ar-15 that was used by this individual in uvalde, there are now 20 million of those owned by americans across the nation, just to put it in perspective. so we've got to be realistic about what we can achieve, but there's absolutely no excuse in my mind for a military assault weapon to be sold to an 18-year-old with a backpack of ammunition who walks in to kill these innocent children. that is just unacceptable anywhere in the world and unforgivable as american leaders we let this occur here. >> senator, i know you feel strongly about that, you feel strongly about background checks and other more comprehensive gun measures, but you also are making it pretty clear you know
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the reality, but if you look back at what we saw happen in the u.s. senate, for example, after the pulse nightclub shooting, democrats actually defeated two republican proposals because they didn't go far enough. are things different now? are you at the point where you're willing to take half a loaf or are you still waiting for the whole loaf? >> i think last week, it was discouraging after the terrible incident. chuck schumer, the democratic senate leader came to the floor and said, we're going to offer a bill on the floor open to amendments, a bill on domestic terrorism just reporting statistics on it. so we called that bill for a vote on thursday and said, this will be our opportunity to bring the best ideas forward and let's vote on it. you know, dana, because you've been around for a few years, this is extraordinary in the senate to basically an open-rule approach. not a single republican would vote for it to give us a chance to proceed to the subject matter. we've got to have a more accepting situation where both sides are willing to understand
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we have to have compromise if we're going to get anything done and the american people are sick and tired of political excuses. >> yeah, and i understand the procedure on that, but just looking forward. people like your colleague, chris murphy, says we basically have to pick a couple of things and claim victory because of the reality that we're living in right now. he was speaking as a democrat. >> i'm in touch with chris, and i'm going to continue to be. my senate judiciary committee has jurisdiction over these issues. senator cornyn, who is also mee meeting, republican of texas, meeting with chris and i offered to senator cornyn, if you can make progress and move forward, don't worry about the jurisdiction. do the right thing and do as much as you can do and join together, if we can, on a bipartisan basis to show the
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american people what happened in uvalde was not in vain. the sadness and tragedy in that small town has been felt across america. we've got to respond to it with something positive that shows america we care. >> well, it does sound like a different tone in your voice, a little bit more optimistic than i've heard you on this issue in the past. we'll stay in touch with you as you're in touch with the negotiators in the senate. thank you so much, sir. >> thank you, dana. this has been a powerful program this morning. i'm glad to be part of it. sorry for the circumstances. >> thank you, sir. my next guest is a republican lawmaker who changed his mind about what should be done to prevent mass shootings. here with me now is republican congressman air force veteran and pilot in the air national guard adam kinzinger of
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illinois. thank you for joining me this morning. you now support universal background checks, red flag laws, raising the minimum age to buy a gun, banning high capacity magazines. how did your thinking evolve? >> so a lot of that happened around vegas. i woke up the morning after the vegas shooting and we heard the audio from that. and i had shot a bum stock before. i knew that was a bum stock. i called for banning bum stocks and at that point, it's like, this is getting out of hand. what are the things we can do, you know, to make a difference? i mean, obviously, there's going to be some fundamental disagreement, and it's like, well, why should somebody be able to buy a gun at 18? particularly a long gun at 18, when as of recently, they can't even smoke cigarettes until they're 21. it's just the right thing to do. the problem is, everybody is scared to inaction. they're frightened of the loudest voices and 90% of americans are begging that we do something. >> is that the reason why you
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think so many of your fellow republicans aren't where you are on those issues? >> yeah, i mean, i've talked a bunch who are where i am, but they won't say it or come out and say it. i've experienced this, whether it's talking about donald trump january 6th or the guns issue, yeah, once you make something outside the cultist position the tribal position, you're going to get a bunch of texts saying you're crazy, it's my right, it's the second amendment. we all believe in the second amendment, but believe there are reasonable things to do about it. and if you look at this shooting, if you look at buffalo, you look at parkland and all these others, they are people taking these guns, these ars under the age of 21. can we stop all of it? no. can we mitigate it? certainly. and we should be doing that now.
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>> governor greg abbott says the shooting shows the need for more laws addressing mental health. texas senator ted cruz wants to reduce the number of doors in schools, install bulletproof glass, put armed cops on school bus campuses. is that enough to stop mass shootings if the u.s. doesn't also do something about access to guns? >> i mean, look, ultimately, i think it's a hard issue because people have to make a decision to go and do a mass shooting but if we think just hardening schools or reducing, basically turning schools into military camps is going to be the answer, even if it does work, which it won't, but even if it does, that's not the kind of country i want to live in. i've got a kid 4 months old now, i don't want to have a military id to check him into the front gate of his elementary school. and so, look, what you're seeing right now, dana, is all of these people that are, these politicians that are scared to death to talk about the gun issue. they know that this is an issue, but they're scared to talk about it. so they launch into this thing
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about mental health. we all agree that mental health is a problem. first off, i'd ask, have they actually put any more money into mental health? people like ted cruz, highly doubt it. but secondarily, at the same time, why is an 18-year-old buying an ar? the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, typically i agree but there are 150 good guys with guns at this shooting that didn't do anything until basically border patrol s.w.a.t. showed up. we've got to take handle of this, man, this is insane. >> congressman, you still do oppose the ban on the kind of assault weapons in the shooting. can you explain why private citizens need weapons of war? >> look, i have opposed a ban, you know, fairly recently. i think i'm open to a ban now. it will depend what it looks like because there's a lot of
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nuances on what toconstitutes certain things but i have to wonder, maybe it's somebody to own one, maybe you need an extra license, maybe you need extra training. so the question is, is it a ban versus an additional certification? but i got to tell you, 99.9% of people who own ars are not going to walk into a school and do this, but the problem is, for those that support the second amendment, like me, we have to be coming to the table with ways to mitigate 18 years old buying these and going to schools. my side is not coming forward with reasonable ways to defend an amendment that's very important, so i'm looking at this going, fine, if people put forth solutions about certifying who can buy an assault weapon, i'm certainly open to that. >> so that is another change, it sounds like, you're willing to make. congressman, i want to turn to the topic of january 6th. you, of course, are a member of that committee, the house republican leader.
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kevin mccarthy said he will not comply with the committee's subpoena to interview him as it currently stands. are you considering holding the sitting house minority leader in contempt of congress? >> you know, that's a big deal, obviously. there are things we can do, including, you know, whether it's with ethics or other things. trust me, every day, we're talking about what to do when these members, if these members don't comply with the subpoena, so we'll see. but i'll tell you. ultimately, it says way more about him than us if he doesn't come in, because, look. he has information. we want to talk to him. this is the house that he wants to be the speaker of, by the way, and he's saying, look ooirgi'm not going to be here next year in congress but if he is speaker, lightweight. you didn't bother to comply with the subpoena. kevin mccarthy has no respect for the institution anymore, for the process. all he wants to do is be powerful and it's not even be
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powerful through normal means but really through kissing up to donald trump. that's more on him than on us. >> adam kinzinger, we have to leave it there. thank you so much for joining me this morning. >> you bet. >> thank you so much for watching "state of the union" today. we are closely following president biden's visit here in uvalde, texas. the news continues next.
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