Senator Angus King Stops Short Of Calling For Assault Weapon Ban | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Senator Angus King Stops Short Of Calling For Assault Weapon Ban | Morning Joe | MSNBC
    >>> I THINK WE'RE SHOWING GREAT STRENGTH.
    I THINK THEY YOU SAID WE HAVE UNPARALLEL STRENGTH.
    THERE HAS NEVER BEEN STRENGTH LIKE IT.
    YOU KNOW WE SENT THREE OF THE LARGEST AIRCRAFT CARRIERS IN THE
    WORLD AND THEY'RE RIGHT NOW POSITIONED.
    WE HAVE A NUCLEAR SUBMARINE ALSO POSITIONED.
    WE HAVE MANY THINGS HAPPENING THAT WE HOPE, WE HOPE, IN FACT,
    I'LL GO A STEP FURTHER. WE HOPE TO GOOD GOD WE NEVER
    HAVE TO USE. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I REALLY
    BELIEVE THAT IT MAKES SENSE FOR NORTH KOREA TO COME TO THE TABLE
    AND TO MAKE A DEAL THAT'S GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF NORTH KOREA
    AND THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. I DO SEE THE CERTAIN MOVEMENT,
    YES. BUT LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
    >> THAT WAS THE PRESIDENT YESTERDAY TRAVELING ABROAD.
    IT'S HIS TRIP CONTINUES TO ASIA, FIVE COUNTRIES THERE.
    JOINING US NOW FROM CAPITOL HILL, A MEMBER OF THE ARMED
    SERVICES AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES INDEPENDENT SENATOR
    ANGUS KING. THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US.
    YOU SIT ON ARMED SERVICES. DO YOU SHARE THE PRESIDENT'S
    OPTIMISM THAT THERE'S SOME KIND OF A DEAL ON THE HORIZON THAT
    WOULD PERHAPS SCALE BACK NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM?
    >> WELL, I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE KNOWS IN TERMS OF THE IMMINENCE
    OF ANY KIND OF DISCUSSIONS. I THINK WE'RE NOT NECESSARILY
    CLOSE TO A DEAL. WHAT I HOPE WE'RE CLOSE TO IS
    TALKING, SO SOME DISCUSSIONS, SOME KIND OF EFFORT TOWARD
    RESOLUTION, BECAUSE A MILITARY ACTION, WE'VE HEARD ALL KINDS OF
    DATA IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT THAT WOULD BE, AND
    I THINK HE'S PLAYING IT TOUGH, AND INDICATING TO THEM THERE
    WILL BE CONSEQUENCES IF THEY DO SOMETHING AGGRESSIVE TOWARD US,
    BUT -- AND THE OTHER PIECE THIS HAS TO INVOLVE IS CHINA.
    CHINA IS THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT REALLY HAS ANY TRUE POWER OVER
    NORTH KOREA. SO HOPEFULLY WHAT WE'RE SEEING
    IS THE BEGINNING OF THE DANCE OF DIPLOMACY OF GETTING TO THE
    POINT WHERE THERE ARE SOME DISCUSSIONS, AND A FREEZE IN
    THEIR PROGRAM AT THE CURRENT TIME AND THEN TALKING ABOUT
    DENUCLEARIZATION, AND WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS FOR THE
    REST OF THE PENINSULA, BUT I'M
    REMINDED OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS WHERE AN AGREEMENT NOT TO
    INVADE, WAS THE KEY TO THE DEAL TO GET THE RUSSIAN MISSILES OUT
    OF CUBA. >> DO YOU BELIEVE THE
    DISCUSSIONS HAVE BEGUN TO TAKE PLACE?
    IN OTHER WORDS, IS THERE PROGRESS, AND WOULD YOU CONCEDE
    THE PRESIDENT'S APPROACH HAS MAYBE MADE THE PROGRESS, TOUGH
    PUBLIC TALK AND THEN WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES TO GET FROM
    CHIE NO NA TO NORTH KOREA? >> I THINK THAT'S THE RIGHT
    PATH. AND THE PROBLEM IS, AND THE
    DIFFICULTY IS IF YOU'RE INDICATING STRENGTH AND YOU'RE
    TALKING ACT RESOLVE AND NUCLEAR SUBMARINES AND AIRCRAFT
    CARRIERS, AT WHAT POINT IS THAT MISUNDERSTOOD ON THE NORTH
    KOREAN SIDE AS AN IMMINENT THREAT?
    THAT'S THE DANGER OF THIS GAME. BUT I DO THINK YOU'VE GOT TO
    DEMONSTRATE TO THE NORTH KOREANS THAT THEY'RE FACING OVERWHELMING
    STRENGTH AS THE PRESIDENT SAID, AND THAT IT'S IN THEIR INTEREST
    TO TRY TO MAKE SOME KIND OF DISCUSSION.
    ULTIMATELY, THE REASON THE NORTH KOREANS HAVE WANTED TO DEVELOP
    NUCLEAR WEAPONS IS AS A KIND OF INSURANCE POLICY FOR KIM JONG-UN
    TO KEEP HIS JOB. AND TO THE EXTENT WE CAN
    TRANSFER THAT FEAR, THAT PAR
    KNOW YA, THAT'S THE ULTIMATE END.
    THE PRESIDENT IS IN A DELICATE SITUATION.
    HE HAS TO DEMONSTRATE STRENGTH AND ALSO HAVE REX TILLERSON OR
    OTHERS INVOLVED IN SOME DISCUSSIONS.
    THAT'S WHERE IT HAS TO GO, AND I THINK IT HAS TO START IN CHINA.
    >> DAVID? >> SENATOR KING, YOU'VE BEEN A
    CAREFUL OBSERVER OF THE INVESTIGATION OF RUSSIA,
    RUSSIA'S ACTIVITY DURING OUR CAMPAIGN.
    I'M CURIOUS WHAT YOU MADE OF CARTER PAGE'S TESTIMONY THAT WAS
    RELEASED YESTERDAY BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE, AND IN
    PARTICULAR, WEATHER YOU'RE BEGINNING TO SEE A PATTERN OF
    TRUMP CAMPAIGN OFFICIALS HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH THE RUSSIANS
    THAT LOOK AN AWFUL LOT LIKE WE'LL GIVE YOU THIS PIECE OF
    INFORMATION HOPING FOR BTER REGISTRATIONS DOWN THE ROAD.
    DID YOU HAVE ANY OF THAT FEELING AS YOU LOOKED AT THE TRANSCRIPT?
    >> IT'S A SIMILAR KIND OF FEELING YOU HAVE THIS
    PAPADOPOULOS, AND I THINK YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS MORNING THE
    UKRAINIAN AMENDMENT, IF YOU WILL, AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
    PLATFORM. THE JUNE 9TH MEETING WITH DONALD
    TRUMP JUNIOR AND THE HIGHER PEOPLE IN THE CAMPAIGN.
    THERE CLEARLY WERE THESE KIND OF DISCUSSIONS.
    I THINK ONE OF THE DISTURBING THINGS IS THE FACT OF THESE KIND
    OF CONTACT AND DISCUSSIONS AND TRIPS HAVE HAD TO BE DRAGGED
    OUT. THEY WEREN'T VOLUNTEERED.
    THEY WEREN'T BROUGHT FORTH PROMPTLY.
    AND THAT RAISES QUESTIONS IF THEY WEREN'T TELLING US WHY IS
    THAT? BUT I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT
    THIS. THIS IS A TORTOISE AND A HARE
    KIND OF THING. YOU'RE RUSHING AND WANTING TO
    GET TO CONCLUSIONS. WE'RE THE TORTOISE.
    WE'RE INTERVIEWING 100 WITNESSES AND WORKING SLOWLY, DIRECTOR
    MUELLER IS WORKING SLOWLY BIT BY BIT, AND THAT'S THE WAY AN
    INVESTIGATION LIKE THIS WORKS. COMPARE IT WITH WATER GATE WHERE
    YOU HAD FOUR GUYS IN A TWO-HOUR EVENT.
    WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT STRETCHED OVER 18 MONTHS
    ACCORDING TO "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL," IT MAY HAVE GONE BACK
    TO 2015 WHEN THE RUSSIANS STARTED TWEETING ON BEHALF OF
    DONALD TRUMP, AND IT'S A LONG PROCESS.
    HUNDREDS, PERHAPS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE INVOLVED.
    AND ANOTHER COUNTRY. AND SO IT'S COMPLEX AND SLOW,
    AND I KNOW IT'S FRUSTRATING FOR US AND FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,
    BUT THAT'S THE WAY THESE THINGS HAVE TO PROCEED.
    >> SENATOR, ON ANOTHER TOPIC, WE'RE LEARNING NEW INFORMATION
    ABOUT SUNDAY'S MASSACRE IN A SMALL TOWN CHURCH IN TEXAS THAT
    KILLED 26 PEOPLE, INJURE 20D MORE.
    THE GUNMAN MAY HAVE BEEN TARGETING HIS MOBILE WHO ATTENDS
    THAT CHURCH BUT WAS NOT AT THE SERVICE WHEN THE MAN OPENED FIRE
    SUNDAY MORNING. MEANWHILE THE MILITARY IS
    INVESTIGATING HOW THE AIR FORCE FAILED TO ENTER THE GUNMAN'S
    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INTO A FEDERAL DATABASE.
    THAT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED HIM FROM OWNING A GUN.
    WE'RE ALSO LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE EXTENT OF THE VIOLENCE.
    ACCORDING TO AIR FORCE RECORDS WHILE STATIONED IN NEW MEXICO IN
    2012, HE FRACTURED HIS BABY STEPSON'S SKULL, AND REPEATEDLY
    HITTED, KICKED, AND CHOKED HIS EX-WIFE.
    HE PLEADED GUILTY TO CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, AND STILL ABLE TO
    PURCHASE GUNS IN COLORADO AND TEXAS.
    MY QUESTION IS HOW TROUBLED ARE YOU BY THE FACT THAT THE AIR
    FORCE DID NOT ALERT THE FBI AND GET THIS MAN'S NAME INTO THE
    FEDERAL DATABASE THAT SHOULD HAVE PREVENTED HIM FROM
    PURCHASING THE WEAPONS HE USED TO KILL 26 PEOPLE IN TEXAS?
    >> I'M VERY TROUBLED. OUR MAIN DEFENSE AGAINST THINGS
    LIKE THIS IS BACKGROUND CHECKS, TRYING TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE
    HANDS OF PEOPLE WHO SHOULDN'T HAVE THEM.
    AND CLEARLY THAT WAS THE CASE, AND I DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT WAS
    AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OR SOMEBODY DELIBERATELY DECIDED
    THIS ISN'T IMPORTANT ENOUGH, AND YOU GET INTO DISTINCTIONS
    BETWEEN WHAT TYPE OF DISCHARGE DID HE GET?
    WAS IT DISHONORABLE? NO, IT WASN'T.
    WAS IT ADMINISTRATIVE. ALL THOSE THINGS.
    CLEARLY WE HAVE TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS, AND THE ENTIRE
    DEFENSE DEPARTMENT IN MY VIEW HAS TO REVIEW POLICIES TO BE
    SURE THAT THIS INFORMATION GETS INTO DATABASES.
    I'M INTERESTED IN APPARENTLY HE HAD A VARIETY OF GUNS IN THE
    CAR. WHERE DID THEY COME FROM AND HOW
    DID HE GET THEM? DID HE BUY THEM LEGITIMATELY AT
    GUN STORES? WHAT WAS THE BACKGROUND ON THAT.
    YES, IF WE HAVE A BACKGROUND CHECK THAT MEANS ANYTHING, THE
    DATA HAS TO GET IN THERE. >> AS WE LOOK AT SOLUTIONS AND
    HOW TO PREVENT THESE FROM HAPPENING AGAIN, WE HAVE THE
    CONVERSATIONS AFTER SHOOTINGS THAT COME UP TOO OFTEN.
    BACKGROUND CHECKS ALWAYS COME UP.
    THERE'S A SYSTEM IN PLACE THAT FAILED THOSE PEOPLE IN TEXAS.
    A LOT OF PEOPLE, TOO, GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES SAYING THERE'S
    NO REASON FOR A PRIVATE CITIZEN TO OWN A MILITARY STYLE WEAPON,
    THE TYPE HE USED IN THAT CHURCH. DO YOU THINK IT'S TIME FOR THOSE
    TO BE BANNED, SENATOR? >> NO.
    I THINK WE'VE GOT TO LOOK AT THAT CAREFULLY.
    HERE'S THE PROBLEM. I'M FROM A STATE WHERE WE HAVE
    ONE OF THE HIGHEST GUN OWNERSHIP RATES IN THE COUNTRY, AND YET,
    WE HAVE ONE OF THE LOWEST RATES OF GUN CRIME.
    AN ASSAULT WEAPON -- IT'S CALLED AN ASSAULT WEAPON, BUT IT'S
    SIMPLY A SEMI AUTOMATIC RIFLE IN COSTUME WITH A DIFFERENT KIND OF
    STOCK. BUT THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE
    WEAPON IS THE SAME AS THOUSANDS OF THEM IN MAINE AND ALASKA, ALL
    OVER THE UNITED STATES THAT ARE USED BY LEGITIMATE HUNTERS.
    SO I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH BANNING A WEAPON BECAUSE OF ITS
    APPEARANCE. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE HAD
    WHEN THEY DID IT BEFORE WAS THEY CHANGED THE APPEARANCE A LITTLE
    BIT AND THE BAN DOESN'T APPLY. I THINK THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES.
    FOR EXAMPLE, MAGAZINE SIZE THAT MAYBE WE DO NEED TO HAVE A
    DISCUSSION ABOUT. BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES IN THESE
    SITUATIONS, APPARENTLY, IT'S WHEN THE FELLOW, IT'S ALWAYS A
    FELLOW, STARTS TO RELOAD, THAT'S WHEN YOU MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE TO
    STOP THE TRAGEDY, AND SO MAGAZINE SIZE, I THINK IS
    SOMETHING WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT. BUT I'VE NEVER BEEN ONE TO SAY,
    LET'S GET RID OF THE SEMI AUTOMATIC WEAPONS.
    >> DO THE HUNTERS IN MAINE SAY THEY NEED AN AR 15 TO HUNT DEER?
    >> OF COURSE THEY DON'T. IT'S THE SAME GUN.
    IT JUST LOOKS DIFFERENT. AND THEY DON'T.
    AND THEY USE A MORE CONVENTIONAL SEMI AUTOMATIC RIFLE.
    BUT IT'S THE SIZE OF THE MAGAZINE, IN MAINE I THINK THE
    LIMIT IS YOU CAN ONLY HAVE A MAGAZINE THAT HOLDS FIVE BULLETS
    WHEN YOU'RE HUNTING. THE QUESTION IS DO YOU NEED
    THESE MAGAZINES THAT HOLD 30 OR MORE?
    >> SO WHAT'S A CONSTRUCTIVE SOLUTION HERE, SENATOR?
    IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THE WEAPONS SHOULD BE BANNED, IF THE
    BACKGROUND SYSTEM WAS IN PLACE AND FAILED THE PEOPLE IN TEXAS,
    WHAT'S SOMETHING YOU CAN OFFER THIS MORNING AS WE TRY TO HAVE A
    CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW TO PREVENT THESE THINGS?
    >> WELL, I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE OF THINGS.
    ONE, WE CAN CONTINUE TO REFINE AND IMPROVE THE BACKGROUND
    CHECK. WE FOUND A GAP IN IT IN THIS
    CASE. LET'S FIX THAT WITH THE
    MILITARY. SECONDLY, WE NEED TO FIX THE
    LOOPHOLES IN THE BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM SUCH AS GUN SHOW,
    THE SO-CALLED GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE OR BUYING GUNS ONLINE.
    THE TRAFFICKING IN GUNS ACROSS STATE LINES I THINK ARE ALL
    THINGS WE CAN TALK ABOUT. THIS IS THE AMENDMENT WE VOTED
    ON AND PASSED BUT NOT BY QUITE ENOUGH VOTES IN 2013.
    BUMP STOCKS. THIS THING THAT CONVERTS A SEMI
    AUTOMATIC TO ESSENTIALLY AN AUTOMATIC, OUGHT TO BE BANNED.
    SHOULD HAVE BEEN. THE ATF SHOULD NOT HAVE ALLOWED
    THEM BACK IN 2012, I THINK. SO THAT WE CAN TAKE CARE OF.
    I THINK WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MAGAZINE SIZES.
    I THINK THERE ARE THINGS WE CAN DO, AND WE ALSO NEED TO TALK
    ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. SOMEBODY THAT GOES IN AND SHOOTS
    26 PEOPLE, I THINK, CLEARLY HAS SOMETHING GOING ON.
    AND THIS GUY'S HISTORY INDICATES THAT.
    BUT TO ME, THE KEY IS BACKGROUND CHECKS.
    THE OLD SAYING OF THE NRA FOR SO LONG WAS GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE.
    PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. WELL, IF THAT'S THE CASE, LET'S
    KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF PEOPLE WHO SHOULDN'T HAVE THEM.
    WE COULDN'T EVEN PASS A BILL LAST YEAR TO KEEP PEOPLE ON THE
    TERRORIST NO FLY LIST FROM BUYING GUNS.
    WE OUGHT TO BE MAKING STEPS LIKE THAT TO KEEP THEM OUT OF THE
    HANDS OF IRRESPONSIBLE AND DANGEROUS PEOPLE.
    >> AND THIS GUNMAN OBVIOUSLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SWEPT UP IN THE
    BACKGROUND CHECK AND NOW 26 PEOPLE ARE DEAD BECAUSE
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