Short on Shooting Info, MSNBC’s Haake Hits Texas for ‘Permissive Gun Laws’

While he was guest-hosting Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports during the 12:00 Eastern hour, there was still a lot of information Garrett Haake didn’t have about the school shooting at an Arlington, Texas high school, but that didn’t stop him from wondering if the state’s “permissive gun laws” might have something to do with it. Later, MSNBC contributor and former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi would declare that Haake need not worry about politicizing the issue so soon, because it wasn’t actually political.

Speaking with Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey, who represents the area, Haake inquired:

Whenever we have a shooting, particularly like this in a school, there are some who say in the immediate aftermath, it is too soon to talk about the politics of guns in this country and there are some who say if the shooting has already happened, it is too late to start talking about the politics of guns in this country. I don’t have to tell you, Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country. You’ve got a potentially an 18-year-old with a handgun at school. What do you make of the situation on the ground in Texas as relates to weapons laws and how it may or may not impact the violence like this that we see in a, in a suburban high school.

For his part, Veasey gave the standard Democratic response about, “background checks and tightening up loopholes on background checks, that ought to be something that is easy. Private ownership of gun sales, when it’s a private sale.”

A few moments later, Haake welcomed Figliuzzi to discuss what the next steps would be for law enforcement. Figliuzzi explained that they would be closely examining the gun and how the suspect came to acquire it. Portraying himself as the archetypal straight-shooting law enforcement man, Figliuzzi declared this meant pushing gun control right away was not actually political:

This becomes important and I know with your last guest, the congressman, you brought up this issue of when it’s appropriate to talk about the political side or gun control side. For me as a former career law enforcement officer, this isn’t political at all. It’s a safety issue and in Texas, as of September 1st you can now possess a weapon without a license, no permit, no training. Why is that important in this? Well, we need to understand whether that played a role in this. Will that new September 1st law in Texas give even kids more access to guns, not because they can walk in and purchase one as a minor, but rather because it’s in the house more, it’s in the neighborhood more. There are simply more guns out there without background checks being done.

Even if that was true, was Figliuzzi arguing we should increase gun control on private, law-abiding citizens because a minor could possibly steal it? That does not make any sense.

This breaking news segment from MSNBC was sponsored by HughesNet.

Here is a transcript for the October 6 show:

MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

12:50 PM ET

GARRETT HAAKE: Congressman, whenever we have a shooting, particularly like this in a school, there are some who say in the immediate aftermath, it is too soon to talk about the politics of guns in this country and there are some who say if the shooting has already happened, it is too late to start talking about the politics of guns in this country. I don’t have to tell you, Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country. You’ve got a potentially an 18-year-old with a handgun at school. What do you make of the situation on the ground in Texas as relates to weapons laws and how it may or may not impact the violence like this that we see in a, in a suburban high school. 

MARC VEASEY: Yeah no, absolutely and look, we know that there are certain areas when it comes to gun safety where Democrats and Republicans are just, you know, miles and miles apart. But I think that commonsense gun legislation that would help situations like this, perhaps, again we don’t know all the details on how this student may have obtained this gun or exactly what type of gun it may have been. But things like, you know, background checks and tightening up loopholes on background checks, that ought to be something that is easy. Private ownership of gun sales, when it’s a private sale. Tightening up those loopholes. We saw what happened in Midland when it was a, just a random shooting with someone going around town, you know, shooting and killing people. That could have easily been solved by making those people go through a licensed FSL individual where that — where that firearm could have been transferred between someone that was federally licensed to sell firearms where they would have had to do a background check and you could’ve stopped that situation from occurring.

12:53

FRANK FIGLIUZZI: So, there’s a couple of things happening all simultaneously. First, there will be interviews done, interview teams will be set up among law enforcement. Anyone who knew of these students or the people involved in this fight reportedly, people in the classroom, people outside of the classroom, neighbors, there will be a total picture developed of the alleged shooter and the victim and victims to see what the tensions were that developed, how this thing broke out, what the history of this is and then simultaneously, you saw ATF at the press conference. ATF is going to focus like a laser on the weapon. Where was it accessed by this person? If the preliminary story is true that this is a student shooter, and sometimes this gets wrong, but no matter which, they will focus on how this shooter got access to the weapon. This becomes important and I know with your last guest, the congressman, you brought up this issue of when it’s appropriate to talk about the political side or gun control side. For me as a former career law enforcement officer, this isn’t political at all. It’s a safety issue and in Texas, as of September 1st you can now possess a weapon without a license, no permit, no training. Why is that important in this? Well, we need to understand whether that played a role in this. Will that new September 1st law in Texas give even kids more access to guns, not because they can walk in and purchase one as a minor, but rather because it’s in the house more, it’s in the neighborhood more. There are simply more guns out there without background checks being done. We need to study where the gun came from and lastly, were warning signs and indicators missed among the faculty, the students, the counselors? The families, was there talk of hurting someone? Was there talk of tension? Was the language of despondency being used “I can’t take it anymore. I have no other way to go.” We got to teach everyone the warning signs and indicators that someone is on the path to violence.  

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