msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell challenged wannabe “Reaganites” to live up to their hero by supporting Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s upcoming legislation to ban assault weapons.
In Wednesday’s Rewrite segment, The Last Word host reminded viewers that Ronald Reagan, the conservative role model Republicans still love to quote (although he raised taxes 11 times as president), supported gun control measures, including the now-expired assault weapons ban in 1994.
Reagan, himself a victim of gun violence, told the story of his shooting in a 1991 op-ed published in The New York Times. In the piece, he voiced his support for the Brady Bill–named for President’s Reagan’s press secretary Jim Brady, who was shot in the forehead in the assassination attempt.
Along with former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Reagan co-wrote a letter to the House of Representatives lobbying for “a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons.”
“We know what President Reagan would be saying today if he were still with us. He would support Dianne Feinstein’s bill, just like he did in 1994,” O’Donnell declared. “The Reaganite position is to support Feinstein’s assault weapons ban.”
O’Donnell called Newt Gingrich a “liar” for proclaiming himself a “Reaganite.”
“Newt Gingrich has not been talking about an assault weapons ban in the aftermath of the killing of women and children in Newtown, Connecticut, last week. Newt Gingirch doesn’t blame the easy availability of assault weapons in this country for the 26 murders at Sandy Hook Elementary,” said O’Donnell. Instead, Gingrich blamed “an anti-religious, secular bureaucracy and secular judiciary seeking to drive God out of public life” for the massacre.
Newt Gingrich voted against the assault weapons ban in 1994, against President Reagan’s wishes.