Andrea Mitchell Blames ‘The South’ for New York Gun Violence

During a segment on her Monday MSNBC show using the third anniversary of the Newtown school shooting to demand gun control, host Andrea Mitchell pleaded for national legislation: “Andrew Cuomo, the governor who passed really tough gun legislation in New York....Yet he has said that it is impossible task because you can't do it state by state.”

She claimed states that support gun rights were to blame: “It has to be a national conversation because those guns just come in, in people's trunks from the south and they are actually more valuable because they get sold on the black market in New York City...”

Fellow MSNBC anchor Kate Snow agreed: “Right, one state's law doesn't stop the next state – someone in the next state from having a gun.”

At the top of the segment, Mitchell touted Snow’s interview with parents of two of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut:

And it has been three years since the day 20 children and six staff members were gunned down in a Connecticut elementary school. A tragedy that many thought would transform the national debate over gun violence in America. Since Sandy Hook, 554 children under the age of 12 have been killed by a firearm. MSNBC's Kate snow asked the parents of two Newtown victims about guns in America.

In the portion of the interview that was featured, Snow urged parents Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley to wade into 2016 campaign politics:

> In light of San Bernardino, I want to ask about politics just a little bit because we're in the middle of a heated presidential race. Donald Trump came out and said, the GOP frontrunner, that if everyone in that room had been armed, they would have been able to take out the shooters.

> Do you worry at all about the discourse right now, the conversation around gun control and gun rights and gun ownership? And then, by the way, the number of people buying guns right now is way up. They had the biggest sales ever on Black Friday.

Following the taped portion of the exchange, Snow lamented the failure of Democrats to use the tragedy to push through gun control:

A lot of people thought, Andrea, that it would be after Sandy Hook, that you know – you remember Joe Biden lobbying and trying to get those measures passed the spring after Newtown and it just didn't happen. But they do feel like we’re now maybe approaching another tipping point and perhaps there’s – you know, what they want is a move toward consensus. They want everybody on the same page because I don't think there's anyone in America who’s not horrified by the number of shootings that we're having.

Mitchell chimed in: “And I’ve gotten to know Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, of course, through all of this. They were at the White House last week. They have tried. They have dedicated themselves to this passion and, you know, passionate cause, and tried to make it a national cause.”

Here is a full transcript of the December 14 segment:

12:13 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And it has been three years since the day 20 children and six staff members were gunned down in a Connecticut elementary school. A tragedy that many thought would transform the national debate over gun violence in America. Since Sandy Hook, 554 children under the age of 12 have been killed by a firearm. MSNBC's Kate snow asked the parents of two Newtown victims about guns in America. Mark Barden lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel. Nicole Hockley lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan.

KATE SNOW: In light of San Bernardino, I want to ask about politics just a little bit because we're in the middle of a heated presidential race. Donald Trump came out and said, the GOP frontrunner, that if everyone in that room had been armed, they would have been able to take out the shooters.

MARK BARDEN: That looks good on paper or maybe in a movie, but not in real life. It just doesn't work out that way. There's chaos. There's pandemonium. You’re going to have people shooting each other. I’ve read where in active shooter situations there were armed civilians that chose to not engage because they didn't know where the S.W.A.T. was in that –

SNOW: Didn't know who the bad guy was.

BARDEN: They didn't know who the bad guy was. The good guys don't know who the bad guys are. They could – you know it just doesn't work.

NICOLE HOCKLEY: If there had been more guns there, there would probably just be more people dead, more innocent lives lost. It's illogical. We don't accept that.

BARDEN: Statistics prove that. It just doesn't work.

SNOW: Do you worry at all about the discourse right now, the conversation around gun control and gun rights and gun ownership? And then, by the way, the number of people buying guns right now is way up. They had the biggest sales ever on Black Friday.

HOCKLEY: Yeah. I think as long as we are perpetuating fear of each other, then that need to want to protect yourself potentially with a firearm is going to increase. So I can understand why more guns are being sold because people are hearing messages of fear and hate and wanting to protect themselves. I understand that. But that's not rational. It's emotion-based. There's no evidence to suggest that will work. And it's not the way that we should be looking out for each other and helping each other through this.

MITCHELL: And NBC's Kate snow joins me now. Kate, heartbreaking to see these parents again. We’ve watched them in the Rose Garden, we’ve watched them on each anniversary, and nothing changes.

SNOW: Right. That's how they feel. And we talked at another point in that interview about their feelings every time there's a shooting in this country. Mark said when he saw the news on San Bernardino he collapsed to the floor. This is something that we can't even begin to relate to, losing a child at that age, and then having to relive it every single time there's another shooting. So both of them have clearly taken their experience and use it now to fuel their activism. They’re working really hard not just on gun control legislation, which they care about, but they also realize that right now, they say perhaps their best opportunity is mental health legislation and trying to help people who need, you know, who need treatment.

MITCHELL: Another horrifying statistic is that an American child has died by gun violence every other day since Sandy Hook.

SNOW: Yeah, it’s –

MITCHELL: Part of your reporting.

SNOW: It's unbelievable. And look at that map. Those are all the incidents since Sandy Hook. I think Nicole said at one point she thinks that we are reaching a tipping point. A lot of people thought, Andrea, that it would be after Sandy Hook, that you know – you remember Joe Biden lobbying and trying to get those measures passed the spring after Newtown and it just didn't happen. But they do feel like we’re now maybe approaching another tipping point and perhaps there’s – you know, what they want is a move toward consensus. They want everybody on the same page because I don't think there's anyone in America who’s not horrified by the number of shootings that we're having.

MITCHELL: And I’ve gotten to know Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, of course, through all of this. They were at the White House last week. They have tried. They have dedicated themselves to this passion and, you know, passionate cause, and tried to make it a national cause. Andrew Cuomo, the governor who passed really tough gun legislation in New York, which is not an easy task, upstate New York very pro-gun, rural. Yet he has said that it is impossible task because you can't do it state by state. It has to be a national conversation because those guns just come in, in people's trunks from the south and they are actually more valuable because they get sold on the black market in New York City or –  

SNOW: Right, one state's law doesn't stop the next state – someone in the next state from having a gun.

One other thing I would say, Andrea, that they want us to focus on, I asked them, I said on this day, three years later – and by the way, they’re on vacation, they get away from Sandy Hook on this day because they don't want the spotlight on them, so we recorded that last week – but they said on this day, think about acts of kindness. Think about treating someone just a little bit nicer, not just today, but every single day. And that's something that they want to be part of the legacy of their children, is this idea of paying it forward and treating people with kindness because they think that a lot of violence could be prevented if people are surrounded by, you know, the kindness of strangers and then don't ultimately end up doing such heinous things.

MITCHELL: Kate Snow, thank you so much for being here.

SNOW: Good to be here. Thanks.  

MITCHELL: And make sure to watch more of Kate's interview this afternoon, here on MSNBC, during her show at 3:00 Eastern. Not too long from now.

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