War veteran lawmakers debate how Congress should respond to Las Vegas shooting

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., both Iraq War veterans with opposing views on gun control, sit down with Martha Raddatz to discuss how Congress should respond to the Las Vegas shooting.
13:52 | 10/08/17

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Transcript for War veteran lawmakers debate how Congress should respond to Las Vegas shooting
??? ??? That is a bump stock. The device used by the Las Vegas shooter to fire off almost ten rounds a second. Close to the rate of fire from an automatic weapon. There's a lot of talk in congress this week that bump stocks should be regulated just like machine guns. The in ordnra even whiching to consider that. A rare moment where both sides may be able to agree, rare, because as we all know, mass shootings almost always send the opposing camps deep into their bunker. What willic take to break the logjam on the issues that divide the country on guns? Will it take a new generation? Maybe combat veterans who know all about guns and the damage they cause to get past the politics. So we got two members of congress both 38 years old who have very different views on the gun control debate to sit together at my kitchen table. Virginia Republican Scott Taylor, a former Navy S.E.A.L. Sniper who saw combat in Iraq and recovered from severe injuries sustained there. And Massachusetts Democrat Seth Mouton, a former Marine Corps can't who had four tours in Iraq and I began by asking congressman Moton to make the case for which he thinks gun restriction would decrease gun violence. It's shown -- they're shown to affect gun violence. Plenty of studies show that states that have tighter gun laws have less gun violence. And this is an American epidemic. It's really a public health crisis. I've seen the effects of gun violence firsthand in Iraq and I know that it has no place in our schools, on our streets, at our concerts and there are things that we can do to reduce it that within the second amendment. You know, Scott and I swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united States. Both as members of congress, and the same oath as a Navy S.E.A.L. And United States marine so I don't want to do anything that violates the constitution but there are commonsense things we can do if Democrats and Republicans come together to reduce this violence in our communities. You feel entirely differently. Sure. And let me say it's great to be with you and Seth as well. Look, he like most other folks in congress both DEMs and Republicans care deeply about this country and want to protect the constitution and protect their people I understand that for sure but at the same time you know when you have a situation that happened which was tragic, traumatic and everyone feels the same emotion, they do, but it's up to leaders like us to have -- to see clarity through the emotional chaos and understand that it is a high, very high bar to be able to take some folks' rights away to try to enact policies that pay take their rights away but not really do anything. When you look at gun violence in America, and when you look at deaths like 30,000 gun -- the overwhelming majority of them are suicides and overwhelming majority use handguns. When you look at some of the populations more predisposed I guess to gun violence, domestic dispute, young men in certain areas, when you look at some of the cities and look at the numbers of them, the vast majority of gun violence are in a few cities and all have tight restrictions on guns. You can't have a gun in D.C. But there's till gun violence. As justice Scalia said you can have restrictions. It is up to us -- We already restrict -- you want to protect your family's home. Sure. A great way to protect your family's home as you know as a Navy S.E.A.L. Would be have to land mines out in front and have grenades stockpiled but we don't allow that. Of course. We don't allow those weapons of war here and don't allow families to own tanks so we have reasonable restricts that are perfectly respectful of the second amendment and know from experience that restrictions like this, that commonsense reforms will help. I would love to comment. You hear reasonable and common sense. Those are all wonderful words that everybody can agree are great that sound well but the reality is, though, reasonable common sense, what does that actually mean? I would also say -- let me finish. Again I'll say it. We have to see, you and I have to see clarity in all this emotion and to say it is a high burden for these constitutional rights that we have whether it's speech, whether it's freedom of the press, whether it's, you know, gun rights, as well, it's a very high burden that shouldn't be swayed just by political emotion. Let me talk about that. I think a lot of times opponents of making these reforms talk about political emotion. I mean, I'm sitting here, I'm just trying to do something as a leader, as a representative in congress of communities that want these reforms, nine out of ten Americans want background checks on guns. 69% of NRA -- You agree. There's already background check. Universal background checks at gun show. Without loopholes you can get around. When you're a federally licensed arm dealer if you had universal backgrounds, somebody would be able to get around -- Scott, you can always find an exception. But like we don't say -- These are the exceptions. They're exceptions that are unique to America -- They're not. There are more in America. That's true. Why do you think that is? Let's stop. Why do you think that is. Why do you think there are far more -- Some guy in France killed 84 people with a car. How many mass shootings -- That's not the point. The point is -- That is the point. The point is it's not unique to America. It's not unique to America. Yes, there are more. No question that I understand that. But the reality is like I said, I'm not willing to impede on someone's rights because just because of emotional rhetoric and other thing is when you look at evidence based studies, you mentioned studies, the things that are proposed like the background checks like the assault ban, you know, I know you're supporting that, they don't necessarily help reduce gun violence. Actually backgrounds have been shown to reduce -- Let's talk -- You're a federally licensed arm dealer you have to have a background check anyway. I get one. You get one. Almost 50% of gun sales do not happen through federally licensed dealers. So I mean look -- How many of those were used in mass shootings? How many of those were used in mass shootings? This guy went through a background check. You can always find an example -- I'm looking for -- you said -- I want to get -- Nine out of ten. Nine out of ten virginians and people -- Not true. Nine out of ten Americans want us to do this. Why are we so afraid to have a conversation. I'm not afraid to have a conversation. I'm here having a conversation. I am not going -- I'm not willing to impede on people's rights based upon your political desires. I'm just not. I want to go back and you watched this horrible event this week, just horrible, horrible. Sure. Is there anything you thought that we should do differently as a nation? That's a great question. When you look at -- let's look at this instance. Like I said a lot of rhetoric. You got to do background checks and all these thing, this guy went through checks and his brother didn't know anything wrong with him. We didn't. Look, I'm still struggling with that profile as well too. I think there's other information that will come out. The reality is when you look at some of the things that have been proposed on the other side are people who want gun control, none of them would have done anything about this issue. I'm not saying we shouldn't do something. I'm saying when you look at gun violence in America and look at the populations that are more affected by it than other ones there are some things we can work together on doing. But simple just saying we're -- gun control without confiscating them because if you want to confiscate them, yeah, maybe we could do it then but then you probably have civil war. How about fully automatic weapons. Should those be legal without restriction. I watched the video and listened to that rate of fire. It was faster than semiautomatic. It was not as full as 23u8ly automatic but it was fast, the rate of fire was fast and I hadn't even heard of bump stocks and did research. I think that should be re-evaluated and figure out if, in fact, it should meet the same burden of a fully automatic because, of course, it is faster than semiautomatic. How do you draw the line? Semiautomatic, you can fire pretty quickly and do damage too. Why do people nose those weapons. I don't feel like a semiautomatic weapon rises to that level of an automatic weapon. When you look at the bump stock and think ATF should re-evaluate them. Scott and I don't agree on everything. We support the second amendment and disagree on exactly how gun reform should be carried out but respect the fact that you're willing to have the conversation and this is the kind of conversation that we should be having. Democrats and Republicans across the aisle, doing our job as representatives of congress. Representing the people in America. And when the American people are saying we need to do something about these mass shootings we should be having conversations like this. And I'm actually working on a bipartisan bill that will eliminate this bump stock exception and will try to address the other ways that you can get around this law. Look, the gun manufacturers were smart. They figured out a way to get around the law. It's the job of congress to then step in and say that was not our intent. We did not want to provide this loophole in the law so we should fix it. We've had conversations about ft. Hood shooting and conversations about Newtown. We've had conversations about the Navy yard shooting over the years. Nothing has really changed. So why do you think this will resonate now? You know, I don't know how many innocent Americans need to die in mass shootings like this before we're willing to simply have these discussions. I'm sitting down with Republicans in the house of representatives working on legislation because of this mass shooting. The sad thing is if we don't get anything done this time, we all know there will be another one. And someday we'll have the courage to do something that's respectful of the second a.m.ment that respects the fact that we're a society that people like to hunt and people have the right to own guns. But not weapons of war. We have ways that we can reduce this violence. We're not going to ee lip Nate. You're right. There's no silver bullet that is going to eliminate all of these things. I mean, look, you live in Virginia. Virginia outlaws homicides and rapes, right? That doesn't mean that people don't get around the law and still figure out how to kill people. But you're also not going to repeal that law and say we're not going to have any restrictions. There are commonsense reforms and laws we can pass that are respectful of gun rights that still will reduce this public health crisis in America. I hear reasonable and common sense, sounds great. But at the same time when -- like what are they? What are they that actually backed by evidence do something and I have not seen that and I know you support the second amendment. We disagree on how much we both support it and how much. Reasonable people could disagree. The second amendment is not just for hunting. You hear that a lot. It's for hunting. It's not for hunting and I get how weapons have changed over time but the second amendment was put in place to be able to overthrow tyranny and with weapons of war at the time, now, look, I don't disagree people shouldn't have tanks and stuff like that. Let's not misunderstand history. I mean that's why it's there. So I think there are people who feel very, very strongly about that. Very strongly. And same on your side as well too, look, I applaud you for reaching across the aisle and trying to figure out ways that that are reasonable, you know, that aren't what I've heard in some of the emotional not you but emotional other folks with your party that have come out and said things that I don't final reasonable. I find they take people's rights away. Do you think restricting these modifications like bump stocks and other things that turn semiautomatic weapons into automatic weapons that we've outlawed before. Do you think that's reasonable? I think that you -- I think, yeah, so you could create a law that says you can't modify your semiautomatic to automatic which is already illegal, right but you know as well as I do that it's not that hard to figure out -- if you want to figure it out and you're a little bit crafty, you can do it. You know that. So if you create a law you're already outside of the law if you're doing it. I do but the reality is that these bump stocks are available for sale. I mean we don't know if the shooter had the skills -- Had you ever heard of them. I hasn't either. There's a difference between being able to machine a part to make a weapon into an automatic weapon versus just buying something off the shelf. So where do we go from here? Where do you think we'll be a year from now? I hope that this conversation will continue. You know, it took some courage for Scott to show up here especially as a Republican because a lot of Republicans are not willing to have this conversation. And I'm willing to sit down as a Democrat and be reasonable. But these are the conversations that we should be having in congress to protect the American people and let's not say just because people are emotional. My gosh, I'm kind of emotional to see that many innocent Americans killed senselessly. Of course that's emotional. But we've got to take action and do something. I'm more than willing to sit down and have a conversation to figure out how we can help out but the act we take should be ream and common sense, of course, and it shouldn't unnecessarily infringe on people's constitutional rights. So I enjoyed the conversation and look forward to having a lot more. All right. And I enjoyed it, as well. Our thanks to both congressmen for having that conversation.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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