At least 18 children and three adults are killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. President Joe Biden addresses the nation on the Texas elementary school shooting.
NICOLE HOCKLEY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, SANDY HOOK PROMISE: I can`t lie about that. But there is always a way through it to something more positive. Look to the people that you love and support you. Embrace -- take the embraces from your community and those that want to help you.
And for myself, I am certainly there at any time to be of any private or public assistance that can be of use to share experience, be a shoulder to cry on, whatever you need.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Nicole Hockley, thank you. God bless you. Thank you. This is not easy to do and thank you for doing it. We really, really appreciate you.
HOCKLEY: Thank you.
REID: Cheers. Have a wonderful evening as wonderful as can be had on a horrible night like this. That is tonight`s REIDOUT. Our live coverage of today`s school shooting continues next with Chris Hayes.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It is another unspeakably horrifying day in America as 14 children and one adult, at least, were murdered in one of the worst school shootings in our nation`s history. That the number of right now is somewhat in flux. We`ve had reports from a spokesperson for the Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez who says that 18 were murdered. We don`t know at this moment which is true.
It began this morning in Uvalde, Texas, a small city 80 miles west of San Antonio, about an hour drive from the U.S.-Mexico border. According to Governor Greg Abbott, the 18-year-old shooter shot his grandmother and then abandoned his vehicle before entering Robb Elementary School with a handgun and possibly a rifle.
That school serves about 600 students, second, third, and fourth graders. About 90 percent of the students are Hispanic, nearly same amount are economically disadvantaged. The last day of the school year was scheduled for this Thursday that the superintendent just announced the schools -- district schools are now closed for the year.
Officers confirmed they responded to a mass casualty event at Robb Elementary at 11:32 a.m. Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed that 15 people were killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): He shot and killed horrifically and comprehensively 14 students and killed a teacher. The shooter, he is -- he himself is deceased and is believed that responding officers killed him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, I should tell you at the opening here, and this is a very upsetting and dynamic breaking news situation. There`s been some confusion about these numbers. There`s a report as I mentioned have a higher number. We have not been able to independently confirm that. We were trying to run that down.
Of course, we know some victims were taken to the hospital. Right now, we know the shooter acted alone, which is of course key according the chief police, and also that two local hospitals are treating injured victims. 13 children and one adult were transferred to Uvalde Memorial Hospital. Two of those patients were declared dead when they arrived. Two patients are in critical condition in another hospital in San Antonio, a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl.
Earlier this evening, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the day`s awful events and called for action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Enough is enough. Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Later in this hour, we are expecting to hear from President Joe Biden himself in an address to the nation from the White House. We are monitoring that. NBC News Correspondent Morgan Chesky is live on the scene in Uvalde.
And Morgan, I can only imagine the level of shock and grief that is rippling through that town right now. What`s the situation there?
MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Chris, shock and grief is I think putting it lightly tonight. We just saw a hearse drive by us to the school where all this took place earlier today. And I have to tell you in every direction you look in this neighborhood in this community, you see people who are wearing the pain visibly.
This is a place of about 15,000 people on the edge of the Texas Hill Country that like so many of the communities around our country thought they were safe until they weren`t. And right now, there is a massive footprint of law enforcement that has converged here at this school, Robb Elementary.
They`ve roped it off. They`re gathering evidence trying to keep everything intact as they build this case going forward. The person they say respond trouble for this, as you mentioned, is dead, an 18-year-old who grew up in this community. The motive is still unclear at this time. And it has been reported by some authorities, although not confirmed that he may have shot his own grandmother prior to walking inside this school with a handgun and potentially a rifle we`re told -- where we`re told he opened fire.
We`ve had a chance to speak to some of those individuals in this community at a civic center that`s become a reunification center, about a quarter- mile from where I`m standing. And we`ve been able to get tragic snippets of what took place earlier today. There was one gentleman, Chris, who said that he showed up this morning to give his wife flowers. It wasn`t just her last week of school this week, she was retiring. He gave her the flowers. As he walked outside of the school, he started to hear a sound and then realized it was gunshots.
And he described the reaction by law enforcement, the response is almost immediate. And that as he was running to his vehicle, another officer told him to get out of here, that a shooting was taking place. So, that`s the kind of response that took place. It was incredibly quick. And yet there was so much tragedy that took place. We`re still waiting to hear more about those brutal the tragic minutes, where the gunman entered the school and went under into immediate lockdown until when it was lifted and he was no longer deemed a threat.
We do know that according to police, possibly at this hour, there are still parents waiting to hear about the fate of their children -- of their students who were inside the school when this took place, many of them sheltering in place. That same man who dropped off flowers said his wife huddled her students towards a stage in the cafeteria, an area that she felt was the safest to be away from the windows. And he said that all of the kids did such a good job because they stayed so incredibly quiet as those gunshots rang out.
So, tonight, there are still so many answers to questions that we`re hoping to hear from authorities. We anticipate a potential another press conference here in Uvalde. But it is a heartbreaking scene here in this tight knit community. As I pulled into the town today, Chris I parked my car and I was walking down the sidewalk. I just -- I checked with the homeowner to make sure that was OK. He knew why I was here. And he says, by the way, that teacher who was killed today was my niece. Chris?
HAYES: Morgan Chesky in Uvalde right now, we will be coming back to you. Thank you for being down there and thank you for that report. I want to go to Jonathan Dienst who`s the chief investigative reporter at NBC News New York City Station WNBC. He joins me now.
I should just say, at one level, like no amount of information that we get is going to make this make sense, right? So, we`re just trying to piece together the facts as we know them. But in a broader sense, that`s going to be impossible to piece them together in some way that there`s some light bulb of enlightenment over this truly horrific action. But what do we know and what are we here?
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: The best clarity that I can offer at this time is the casualty count. The best numbers we have 14 students killed. That`s second, third, or fourth-grade students. That`s the age, 14. One teacher, that`s 15. A grandma of the suspect, that`s 16. And the suspect himself, 17 deaths. That`s the best information we have right at this hour.
There are numerous other children and adults taken to area hospitals portal given the magnitude of this shooting incident and that is why there is still some confusion as to the total casualty count, death and injuries. My best information now, it`s more than a dozen others and perhaps even higher in area hospitals at this hour. But again, we are awaiting clarity from Texas officials.
As for the suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos lone actor. According to police, this all started in some sort of domestic dispute in his grandmother`s home, we believe, and he shot and killed his grandmother. That is the information. He then fled the scene and police were pursuing him, were in pursuit.
He gets out of the truck near that school and enters the school with a handgun. And now, we are seeing from a bulletin, an AR 15 style weapon, and goes into the school. The governor said it was one handgun and perhaps one long gun. Best information now, things do change, handgun, AR-15 style weapon, and begin shooting inside the school.
Police are there very quickly, according to witnesses, and in engaging gunfire with that suspect. They shoot and kill Salvador Ramos. A couple of officers were hit. We`re I`m told they suffered minor injuries, and the shooting came to an end. And then the search of the scene with the horrific findings of the bodies of second graders, third graders, or fourth graders, waiting to hear the ages and identities of those who are killed inside the school, as the governor of Texas said, a horrific tragedy.
HAYES: Yes. And if you`re watching us right now, I want to just be real clear on what we do and don`t know. I mean, obviously, this happened several hours ago, but it was an incredibly chaotic scene and obviously an incredibly traumatic one. There is, of course, you`ve got to be thinking right now, I think, as we all are, the parents that are at that reunification center, the children who were in that building today who are obviously profoundly traumatized.
There are also, we believe, individuals in the hospital. So, in terms of the numbers and the details here, those may change over the course of the day. There`s a lot outstanding. That pattern, however, is notable that in terms of what Morgan Chesky was saying about the rapidity with which law enforcement was present at the scene, that it sounds like they were actually tailing him in the aftermath of that first shooting of his grandmother. And then he went to the school and they were there, right, that at that moment.
DIENST: That`s our best understanding. There was some sort of pursuit or they were tracking him down. And he somehow either pulled over, left his truck in the ditch, and then went into that school. What the connection is to the school, is it just coincidental that he drove in that direction and end up there, or if there`s something more to it? We don`t know. I don`t know if we`ll ever know.
We know that law enforcement is looking at social media. There is some social media that appears linked to the suspect, it is not yet confirmed, where some guns were posted along with some other images. We are awaiting word from law enforcement before we can begin sharing that to confirm that those were in fact posted by this individual. So, that is some of the delay there. There`s a lot of work and backtracking. And these things take time.
Also taking time as numerous children rushed to area hospitals. And obviously, given the condition and IDs and notifying parents and some of the scenes that you see on that were posted on social media of the parents waiting outside the school desperate for information, and what had happened to their child, where is that child, very upsetting, very tough battle.
HAYES: Yes. And I should say, at this hour, it`s not even clear, as Morgan alluded to. It`s not clear that the reunification process has concluded, that everyone now is with children who are in the custody of the school, have been reunited with their children, have been told their child is OK, or others have been notified that their child is either hospitalized or were deceased that that process is playing out.
And again, having covered a bunch of these, and this is among the worst that there is a lot of chaos and a lot of -- a lot of crossed lines of information, so we`re going to hope to get some clarity on all this.
One other thing I should just mention here, again, to go back to the preamble with which I introduced you, I mean, the largest mass shooting I`ve ever covered, which is Las Vegas. We never found out anything, a motive, never -- I mean, we just don`t know, in the end. It`s sort of true of Sandy Hook as well. I mean, it may or may not be the case that that is what happens here whatever information manifests itself.
DIENST: Look, I think the Sandy Hook story, I mean, that was a case of a child with mental illness. And you look at the time it took them to notify those families and pass on the correct information. And you want the families to hear it from law enforcement first, before they briefed the public on what is happening, which also explained some of the delay in information getting out to us to give to the public because they want the families to hear it first.
HAYES: Yes. That`s incredibly important, the most important thing right now as the nation and honestly the world looks on in horror at this. Jonathan Dienst, thank you for coming in. I really appreciate it.
A little over an hour after the news of the shooting broke, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut who dedicated his career to gun safety following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in his own state -- in fact, he was a Congressman, I think, that represented that area if I`m not mistaken before I became senator, he took to the Senate floor to just literally beg to plead with his Republican colleagues to do anything to help curb gun violence in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): 14 kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now. What are we doing? What are we doing? Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African-American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands. What are we doing?
This isn`t inevitable. These kids weren`t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else.
But I`m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and begged my colleagues, find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And Senator Chris Murphy joins me now. Senator, I profoundly appreciated what you had to say on the floor. And I think just to highlight something key here, again, whatever information serves about the shooters motives, there is a thing that happens here that doesn`t happen anywhere else in the world, which are this recurring ritual of mass shootings along these lines, even in countries with higher levels of per capita gun homicides.
This is -- this has become a signature of American culture and policy and society, we`ve produced this outcome. But more broadly, it just doesn`t happen in any country. It feels maddeningly simple to say this and to repeat it as I have for a decade on air and as you have in public life. But it remains the case, as you said, that is what separates us from everyone else is the number and accessibility of the weapons of death that we have here in the United States.
MURPHY: Yes. Listen, my heart is exploding for Texas, but also for these families in Sandy Hook that I know so well. They`re literally reliving their nightmare right now. I`m a parent. I`m literally talking to you at the same time that I`m thinking to myself what I`m going to say to my kids when I get home later tonight because I know they`ve heard about this, and they`re going to want to talk about it.
But you`re right, this is uniquely American. And my Republican colleagues are going to want to talk about mental health. But there`s no evidence that the United States has any more mental illness than any other nation in the world. There`s no evidence that we spend less money on treating mental illness.
What`s different about this country is the ease of access to weapons of mass destruction. I heard for the first time on your show just five minutes ago that there was likely an AR 15 involved. But of course, there was. Any of us that listened to the details play out knew that there had to be one of these military-style weapons in the shooter`s hands in order to kill that many kids in that short period of time.
And the difference between America and these other nations is not that there aren`t people with homicidal thoughts in other nations, it`s that they can`t go down to their local Walmart and buy a weapon that kills 20 kids in two minutes. We`re the only country in the high income world in which that is a possibility for a brain that is breaking.
And so, why don`t we just do something about it? My plea was honest, really. I mean, I don`t want to call out Republicans tonight. I just want to ask them, please, please, whatever you can vote for, come and talk to me about it. I`m willing to let the good pass and set aside the perfect for now. But our message to parents all across this country who are like really frightened, like we`re really frightened right now can`t be that we`re going to do nothing. So, hope springs eternal in my brain.
HAYES: Well, there`s a ritual of mass trauma that we have now entered into. And we`ve seen it since 1999, of course, from Columbine. I was just looking at an individual from Columbine who was talking about surviving Columbine and his son completing his first year in college because that`s how long ago it was.
And of course, Sandy Hook was 10 years ago, I believe this December, if I`m not mistaken on the -- on the date there. There are two things that have happened since then. The amount of guns in circulation has gone up dramatically. We know this from new reporting actually from the ATF and CDC now has been sending this as well. So, we have more guns in circulation.
But also I just want to talk about the darkness and nihilism of gun culture which to me has exacerbated and accelerated in the wake of this, so that now I`m seeing people already talking about. Ken Paxton, who`s the Attorney General of the State of Texas talking about arming teachers and this sort of solution is more guns everywhere all the time. And just your -- how you`ve watched this develop, you know, in your public life, this cultural aspect, this rhetoric around the gun, this fetishization of it in the last decade.
MURPHY: Yes, there`s a celebration of violence in this nation which has gotten demonstrably worse over the last decade. And it has become a country that is just awash in guns. Ownership of a weapon is a way to sort of translate a set of broader cultural values that you possess. And, again, nowhere but America is the ownership of a -- of a killing machine the way in which you translate values to your community.
And when you have this many weapons that are just so easily accessible, it`s no wonder that the numbers have gone sky high. You and I are talking about it tonight because there was a mass shooting today. But ordinary, everyday, gun murders have gone through the roof in the last few years, not coincidental to a 40 percent increase in the number of guns that are purchased. Because the more legal guns that are purchased, it means that there are more illegal guns that are out on our streets.
And so, we just have to remind ourselves that everyday is a nightmare in this country when it comes to the epidemic of gun violence. And much of that is because there are just so many weapons in this country. And we are being trained to believe that violence is a method by which you deal with your demons, you solve your problems. That has become much worse in the last couple of years in this country.
HAYES: You know, I couldn`t help but note, an ad for a man who wants to join the Senate, Mehmet Oz who`s running in Pennsylvania where he talks about the Second Amendment and guns. And there`s two prongs in the ad. In one prong he says, you know, hunting and sport and all that, you know, and that that`s been -- I`ve seen ads like that my entire life.
You know, going back to the second part is that no, and it`s also there to take on our tyrannical government. And, you know, if our -- like this explicit idea of the gun, and the use of the gun, perhaps to take up arms, like, that -- the messaging around now, which has only grown, I`ve just watched it in increasing horror, and it goes hand in hand with this sort of explosion in the availability, which is just what our sort of culture and society are swimming in.
MURPHY: Yes, and this is a product in part of how the industry has changed, right?
MURPHY: The industry a few years ago, sort of was facing a crisis because fewer and fewer Americans were owning guns. And so, the industry decided that they were going to sort of market weapons to these very small subset of Americans that believe they needed to be armed to the hilt to defend themselves against government.
And so, what you have today is 50 percent of weapons in this country being owned by three percent of Americans. And the gun industry makes money off of sort of selling weapons based upon this fear of government, a completely totally irrational fear. But it`s unfortunately right now the operating methodology of the industry.
HAYES: I went to a gun shop two days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which as I noted earlier, is the most deadly that I`ve covered and I`ve covered several dozen I think at this point. The gun shop owner told me that after mass shootings, there`s always a surge of interest in purchasing weapons and so there`s a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy of the growth of this. I want to just as you`re watching these images of Uvalde, Texas, of course, we report at the top -- and Senator if you`re just stay with me while I reset here because we`re going to get to the present United States who will be speaking very shortly. And Senator Murphy if you`ll just indulge me.
And folks who are just joining and finishing dinner or coming home and trying to figure out what`s going on, the latest information we have is that 14 children have been murdered by a gun man in a school in Uvalde, Texas about an hour west of San Antonio, an hour north of the U.S.-Mexico border. One teacher as well. The gunman himself, 18 years old, is dead. We believe his grandmother, he shot and killed although there`s conflicting reports about her status, I have to be clear. There are also conflicting reports about that death toll.
You may have seen different numbers. We are still trying to run that down. We know there are multiple people hospitalized. We know that parents are still trying to be reunited with their children at this hour. We`re hoping to get more information about all of that as we watch this unfold. Of course, this happens just a week and a half After a mass shooting at a grocery store in a neighborhood in Buffalo by a gunman there.
And it happens in the context of a country that has seen a massive explosion in both the supply of guns and the commission of acts of gun violence, particularly shootings and homicides, which have actually become untethered from other forms of homicide in the last several years, not coincidentally, I think, with the increase in gun.
Senator Chris Murphy is with me from Connecticut who, again, Senator, your point here is incredibly well taken about the fact that this sort of thing that we`re covering right now on this television program is not the normal, everyday face of what gun violence does, which happens day in day out, not in necessarily these numbers or in this context, but creates a side of grief through communities just as surely as this has. And yet there is -- there is something about the darkness of the spectacle that has become an American National ritual that I find just truly unacceptable and horrible.
And, and just to talk a little bit about the trauma that reverberates through a neighborhood or a community like what you saw in in Newtown and Sandy Hook, because it is larger than just the people and the children who the bullets hit.
MURPHY: Yes. And I want to be clear, well, I want to make sure people understand that every single day, there are over 100 people dying from guns, I also want to acknowledge that it is completely understandable that there is a different kind of terror in this country when an episode like this happens. There`s something really incomprehensible about the level of evil that is necessitated inside a human brain to turn a gun on second and third and fourth graders.
And it really makes you think, right, about the nature of human psychology about what`s inside your brain and the brain of the people that you know if somebody like this was able to do it. So, I think it`s understandable that these moments when we have the mass shootings, are the moments where the national conversation occurs.
But it is important, as you noted, to just make clear that when it happens, the community is never, ever the same. There`s just no way to recover. Because every single one of these kids, has cousins and brothers and sisters and best friends. On average, when one person is killed by a gun, there are 20 people that experienced diagnoseable trauma.
And having been at that firehouse in Sandy Hook 10 years ago, I know what`s happening right now in Uvalde. I know what that school looks like. I know the process of identification of these kids that is going to happen this evening. It`s unthinkable. It`s unthinkable. And I just know that that community will never ever recover from this. And they are one now of literally hundreds of communities that are defined now in this country by a shooting that they have had to go through a deal with.
HAYES: You -- earlier tonight, and again, I appreciate you joining us under these conditions as sort of brutal and grueling as they are. And we`re of course thinking about the folks there. As you might see at the bottom of the screen, just to clarify, we are now quoting that Texas state senator who earlier reported that he had been briefed on the shooting. This is the Texas state senator who represents Uvalde that at least 18 children and three adults were killed in that Texas school shooting, that is the most current number we have.
And again, that comes from that state senator who was briefed. He obviously is not just some random person. He is in a position to know that. So, that comes from him and that is the latest number we have. You may have seen a New York Times push alert or other reporting to that effect.
You were extending a hand to your Republican colleagues in a spirit I think of charity and pragmatism, so I don`t want to tear that apart. But you know, the NRA conference I think is in Texas on Friday, and I truly can`t imagine anything more ghoulish, more -- just morally repugnant, than to go cheer on the cult of American guns three days after this in the state where it happened.
MURPHY: Yes, and I know there are already some high-profile Texas Republicans who have decided not to appear at conference. And, you know, it`s important to recognize that the NRA is just a fundamentally different organization than it was even 20 years ago. I mean, in the wake of Columbine, the NRA supported expanding background checks in this country. Today, they are hell-bent against any changes in gun laws and in fact, perpetuate this mythology that the only way to stop bad guys with guns is to load up communities with more guns.
It`s not a coincidence that when you pair up the list of the states in this nation that have the highest rates of gun violence, they are the list of states that have the highest rates of gun ownership. They are in the list of states with the loosest gun laws, so the NRA is not telling the truth.
And my hope is that, you know, Texas Republicans and Texas Democrats will maybe stand down and let that convention go on with without cheerleading from politicians this week.
HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Murphy, again, I really appreciate the words you had to share on the floor of the Senate tonight and making a little time with us. And I`m thinking about your constituents tonight, and all of the family members who have been seared by gun violence throughout the years and how they`re feeling tonight. So, thank you very much.
MURPHY: Thank you.
HAYES: I`m going to bring in Jasmine Crockett who`s a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, and she joins me now. State Representative, how are you doing this evening? How are things in the community that you represent?
JASMINE CROCKETT, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TEXAS: No, I think we`re all pretty somber. And we`re wondering why our elected leaders are failing to lead. You know, approximately two years ago, we were having a similar conversation as it relates to El Paso and the horrific shooting that we have there. And while the Texas legislature had every opportunity to get this right, sadly enough, Texas decided that they wanted to give more guns to more people with no training, no licensing.
And sadly enough, the most vulnerable amongst us has been attacked in a brutal way today. And I just can`t imagine why we continue to put people into office who fail to lead and fail to protect even our little kiddos.
HAYES: If my understanding is correct, and I follow this relative closely, but you serve in the Texas State Legislature, so I want to get your clarity on this. In the wake of that mass shooting in El Paso, the Texas State Legislature has made gun-carrying easier, right? It has loosened gun regulations and made guns easier both to obtain and to carry in the wake of that mass shootings. Is that right?
CROCKETT: Absolutely. House Bill 1927 was a bill that the Republicans pushed this most recent session in the wake of what we saw happen in El Paso. And in this particular bill, they said that it was too cumbersome for people to have to actually obtain a license or try to get any training. Instead, they said that everyone could carry a gun, so long as they were at least 21 years of age. They didn`t have to have anything special to walk around with a gun whatsoever.
And as many of you know, you know, as far as the long guns are concerned, that was never an issue in the state of Texas anyway. Everyone could walk around with their long guns no matter what.
HAYES: So, per that legislation which Republicans moved and pushed and was a key priority for, them any Texan over a certain age, over 21 I guess, can just carry -- openly carry a handgun, right? That this is -- there is no requirement, there`s no process, there`s no licensing, there`s no training, there`s nothing. It is the fact that if you are a resident of Texas over the age, you can carry a gun?
CROCKETT: Absolutely. Anyone can walk around with a gun. And here`s the deal. For the party that says that they back the blue, law enforcement made it clear that they were against this bill because it was going to make it more difficult to keep us safe. And so under normal circumstances, law enforcement could approach someone and they could say, hey, do you have a license for that firearm? Well, they don`t have the right to do that because there is no requisite that you have a license at this point. They specifically warned the House and the Senate that this was a dangerous bill and they did it anyway.
HAYES: What is usually the case when the police unions or sheriffs groups come to the statehouse and lobby on specific legislation? My understanding in Texas and in many states is they almost always get their way. Is that usually the way it works there?
CROCKETT: This is the only time that they didn`t listen to law enforcement. They absolutely are some of the strongest lobby that you`ll see anywhere, not just in the Texas House, not just in the Texas -- the state of Texas, but even on the federal level. Usually law enforcement gets what they want.
This was the one time that they specifically decided that they were going to ignore law enforcement. And they said that this was because they were trying to push forward with an agenda as relates to our Second Amendment. And for this party to care so much about life, it`s just absolutely unthinkable that they literally are showing that they really don`t care about lives.
HAYES: I have to say that the dynamic in Texas, and I`ve seen this in another -- of other states that are dominated by Republicans, you know, the gun legislating to me, and I would like to hear what you -- how you characterize this, again, as we look at images from Uvalde, Texas, where there was a mass shooting in an elementary school there today. Right now, what we think are that 18 children were murdered, three adults. That`s the latest numbers we have. And they come from the state senator who represents that area. And we are expecting the president United States, Joe Biden, to speak on this shortly.
But my understanding against that people just sort of understand the context here in the Texas State House, I mean, that what ends up happening in the Texas State House, and I`ve seen this happen in a number of other Republican-dominated states, it`s not like there`s a policy problem that they want to solve vis-a-vis guns, it`s that the politics of guns require them to show to ratchet up every legislative session. And because there`s - - it`s just them, the Democrats aren`t passing bills, they`re not like repealing stuff, they have to get ever more extreme so that they have some new bill to introduce, because they`ve been making the rules in Texas for two decades.
So, it`s not like it`s hard to own a gun in Texas four years ago, but the politics of the issue are such that they have to own the libs and they have to show how devoted they are to the cult of the gun, such that they`ve got to come up with a new thing for every session.
CROCKETT: No, you`re absolutely right. I mean, I try to tell people all the time that we were dealing with so much political theater in the Texas House, and that`s exactly what it is. The sad part is that we live in a state that has 30 million people. We can`t afford to play political games. These aren`t pawns, these are real people. These are real lives. And sadly enough, we continue to introduce policies that are not helping people, but instead we`re hurting people. And it wasn`t just the guns.
I mean, you guys have been covering us for quite some time now well over a year because we`ve continued to lead this country in the wrong direction. And this is just another example of Texas getting it wrong.
HAYES: Can you see any -- I mean, obviously, again, we have recent history, which is that El Paso, the mass shooting via a racist murder happened in El Paso and the reaction at the policy level and the state level both in the Republican governor and the Republican state legislature was to expand access to guns.
Again, we`re waiting to hear how this individual who murdered these people today at this elementary school, these children, shot and killed these children how he obtained his weapons. Bracketing that for a moment, given that was reaction El Paso, can you imagine a universe with the NRA scheduled to hold its annual conference in Texas with Greg Abbott likened to tweet about the fact that, you know, Texas -- how much he loves guns, how much Texans love guns, how much -- how invested he is in Texans buying more guns and Californians? Can you imagine anything, anything, any horror that can possibly happen in your state that would shake that status quo?
CROCKETT: Sadly enough, I don`t. You know, we had members of the El Paso delegation tell stories about the families that lost lives on that day. I mean, we had people that were fighting on the House floor, people recounted how the governor went to El Paso and assured those in El Paso that we would do something smart.
But sadly enough, he has amnesia, and seemingly so many other folks have amnesia. I can`t imagine what these parents are going through right now. But if this is not a wake-up call, I don`t really know what it is. I mean, it doesn`t really make sense. There was no need in a state that couldn`t keep his lights on, you would think that we were focused on trying to save some sort of lives by at least being able to keep our lights on.
But instead, we spent I don`t know how many hours and how much money was spent in the house making sure that we expanded access to firearms in the state of Texas. It just didn`t make sense, especially in the wake of what we saw in El Paso. And sadly enough, even though we don`t go back into session until January of 23, I don`t have high hopes that they`re going to get it right when they go back into session.
They will simply scuff this off as some other random situation instead of trying to own up to the fact that their terrible failed policies are costing us lives, innocent lives every single day.
HAYES: Jasmine Crockett is a representative -- a state representative in Texas. She serves in that Texas House. Thank you so much for making some time with us tonight. I want to just direct people`s attention down there to the screen. You see a podium has set been set up in the White House. We are expecting President Joe Biden to give a live address at any moment.
We should note, he`s just back from a multi-day trip through East Asia. He is just getting back now. We saw the Vice President Kamala Harris react to the news earlier today. Joe Biden has a long history with gun policy. Of course, he was the mastermind and one of the chief authors of that crime bill during the Clinton years that had a whole bunch of things in it.
There was a Violence Against Women Act that was part of it. There was also of course, huge amounts of police hiring. There were also a lot of mandatory minimums that were attached to the federal sentences. There are many people who point to it as a fulcrum for the rise in mass incarceration. And in fact, it was something that he spent a lot of time explaining and in some cases apologizing for.
But one aspect of that legislation in those Clinton years, of course, were a number of gun safety measures. During the Clinton years, of course, famously, the assault weapon ban, which was then repealed once George W. Bush was in power. This was a wedge issue for many years, the sight of contested conflict.
And while the politics around this, both in the polling and public opinion hasn`t changed, it`s still a contested issue. And in fact, polling shows majorities, in some cases, massive super majorities of Americans who favor some common sense restrictions on gun ownership. What has happened in the last 10 years particularly is a kind of total domination of the policy levers by the most extremist faction of American life, an extremist faction that we should say, is getting more extreme in its rhetoric and also more intense in just the number of guns being produced and bought.
One of the most important things to understand about this country at this moment is that the percentage of households that own guns is declining as the number of guns in the hands of people is increasing.
There you see the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, is coming to address the country now.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening, fellow Americans. I had hoped, when I became President, I would not have to do this again. Another massacre, Uvalde, Texas, an elementary school, beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happened see their friends die as if they`re on a battlefield, for God`s sake. They`ll live with it the rest of their lives.
There`s a lot we don`t know yet, but there`s a lot we do know. There are parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same.
To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away. There`s a hollowness in your chest, and you feel like you`re being sucked into it and never going to be able to get out. It`s suffocating. And it`s never quite the same. And it`s a feeling shared by the siblings, and the grandparents, and their family members, and the community that`s left behind.
Scripture says -- Jill and I have talked about this in different contexts, in other contexts: "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." So many crushed spirits. So, tonight, I ask the nation to pray for them, to give the parents and siblings the strength in the darkness they feel right now.
As a nation, we have to ask: When in God`s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God`s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done? It`s been 340 -- 3,448 days -- 10 years since I stood up at a high school in Connecticut -- a grade school in Connecticut, where another gunman massacred 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Since then, there have been over 900 incidents of gunfires reported on school grounds. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Santa Fe High School in Texas. Oxford High School in Michigan. The list goes on and on. And the list grows when it includes mass shootings at places like movie theaters, houses of worship, and, as we saw just 10 days ago, at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don`t tell me we can`t have an impact on this carnage. I spent my career as a senator and as Vice President working to pass commonsense gun laws. We can`t and won`t prevent every tragedy. But we know they work and have a positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled.
The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong. What in God`s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? Deer aren`t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God`s sake. It`s just sick. And the gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them the most and largest profit.
For God`s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry. Here`s what else I know: Most Americans support commonsense laws -- commonsense gun laws.
I just got off my trip from Asia, meeting with Asian leaders, and I learned of this while I was on the aircraft. And what struck me on that 17-hour flight -- what struck me was these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world.
Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?
Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God`s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbies?
It`s time to turn this pain into action. For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: It`s time to act. It`s time -- for those who obstruct or delay or block the commonsense gun laws, we need to let you know that we will not forget. We can do so much more. We have to do more.
Our prayer tonight is for those parents, lying in bed and trying to figure out, "Will I be able to sleep again? What do I say to my other children? What happens tomorrow?"
May God bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day. And may the Lord be near the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit, because they`re going to need a lot of help and a lot of our prayers. God love you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, will you go to Texas, sir? Sir, will you go to Texas?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President of the United States Joe Biden addressing the country tonight clearly grief-stricken and weary. A man who of course famously knows grief, knows the grief of losing a child and then of an adult son, of a loved ones. Why are we willing to live with this carnage was the question he asked, a question a lot of people I think ask, are asking, have been asking since 1989, the Columbine shooting, have been asking particularly since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 in which any kind of policy response, particularly at the Federal National level, has seemed increasingly difficult to achieve.
One of the other people who knows this grief, sadly, someone who has met with the President to discuss this issue is Fred Guttenberg. His daughter Jamie was killed in the Parkland Florida mass school shooting back in 2018. Fred, thank you for joining us tonight.
And first, I just want to say I imagine this is very difficult emotionally for you and I`m offering my deepest condolences and thank you for making a little time to talk to us tonight.
FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER DIED OF A SCHOOL SHOOTING: Thank you. Honestly, just listening to the President, it just continues to pull me back to a moment that is unfathomable. I mean, reality is my wife is downstairs, emotional. I should be downstairs with her. But the country needs to hear our voices. This is not normal. This is not OK.
And I -- and I just want to kind of touch on something the President said when he said why are we willing to live with this? We are not. It`s time to call out who is. It`s not we. 80-something -- 90-something percent of the American people want this dealt with. But there was a very specific group, and they have managed to hold the country hostage on this issue. And currently, they all reside in one political party.
A lot of them reside in Texas. The Texas governor, the Texas lieutenant governor, the two senators, they mock the issue of doing anything to reduce gun violence. They are all scheduled this Friday to be at the NRA convention that by the way, is going to be held in Texas. This isn`t we the majority of American people want something done.
Chris, I was on some of the earlier programming. And I`ll say something I said earlier, Senator Murphy, you are a hero. You have been heroic today. But you can`t do this alone. And the issue is in the Senate. The House is passing legislation, they will continue to pass legislation. The President will sign it. The Senate is a roadblock.
I need any able minded, reasonable Republican, if you still exist, walk into Senator Murphy`s office tonight and grab him and say I want to walk onto the Senate floor with you and join you in this. It is the only option left because the truth is, this gun violence is predictable, it is preventable. But I can already tell you the next one is going to happen if we sit by and continue to do nothing.
HAYES: Fred, you had your life change obviously with the death of your daughter and you have -- in the wake of that found the resolve and the strength to commit yourself to this issue. What if -- what have you learned in the course of that? You`re not someone who is doing this before. You now have done this for a bit. You`ve been very, very, very involved. Were there things that you didn`t realize before you went in that are clear to you now?
GUTTENBERG: I thought the country was actually maybe more divided on this, and actually the country is not. 80 to 90 percent of the country wants this done. It is amazing to me how separated a governing body is from where the country is. And I will tell you, there is a common thread, a person, a common person who has stood by as the numbers of weapons on the streets have increased, the number of killings have increased. His name is Mitch McConnell.
He put out a statement today. It looked exactly like the statement he put out after my daughter was killed. And he stood by and still did nothing. And so, I am actually amazed that this country has -- that the numbers of people who say they want something done are blocked by Mitch McConnell, and that governing body.
And so, there`s also for me a weird sense of hope there because we know exactly where the problem is and we know exactly what to do about it. Because if this latest shooting doesn`t shake them and nothing gets done, there`s an election not too far away. Let`s kick their butts out of -- out of the Senate because they`re not doing their job.
HAYES: Do you -- have you had occasion in your work to -- and I imagine you have, talked with others who have also had their lives affected by this. And not just folks who went to your daughter`s school or whose family members were taken or wounded by a mass shooting, but other forms of gun violence, things that happen every day in our country 100 times and what that -- what that bond is like, and what is happening in that community that we`re watching the B-roll on right now in Uvalde, Texas.
GUTTENBERG: Chris, I`ve spent the years since my daughter was killed traveling this country and sadly, meeting all the new families affected by gun violence. In fact, in a few days, I`m traveling to Buffalo for that reason to meet with those families. I continue to be amazed by these amazing people who become shattered and broken and ended up going forward as part of the fight to do something about gun violence.
I continue to be amazed at how this entire universe of survivors, knowing the challenges that exist in the Senate, continue to push forward, because they don`t want it to happen to someone else. And I`ll just say this, and I`ve said it on some of the earlier programming, there is a whole new community now affected and they`re going to be struggling. And they`re going to not know which way is up for a bit.
If any of those families are watching this, I just want them to know they can reach out to your program. I hope that`s OK with you to get in touch with me.
HAYES: Of course.
GUTTENBERG: Because I am here. There is there is there`s survivors all around this country who are here. I spoke to my friends at World Central Kitchen earlier today. They are sending a team, may already be in the area to help assist with ensuring that these families eat. My wife and I honestly, Chris, I can`t tell you how my family for a couple of weeks ate. I just know it happened because of my amazing community.
I want to make sure that this community is taken care of as well. And so, anything that I can do, I just want you to make sure that message gets delivered.
HAYES: Fred Guttenberg, please extend our thoughts and our support to your wife. And we`re thinking about her. We`re thinking about all you folks from Florida, and all the families that are watching this with a special pain in their heart of the knowledge of knowing what it`s like to lose someone. And I really, really admire you as a person and for doing what you`ve done and appreciate you taking time on a night like this to talk to us. Thank you, Fred.
GUTTENBERG: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: I want to bring in Kris Brown, who`s president of Brady, an organization that works on gun violence prevention. Kris, it`s good to have you here, obviously, the worst of possible circumstances. I think for a while -- I think part of what is very difficult for people to process and in some ways, I think enervating to the advantage of the NRA and other forces that are defending the status quo and in fact want to make things worse, is the sense that no shocks the conscience will dislodge the trajectory that we`re on.
What do you say to people who feel despair as someone who spends every day from the time you get up to when you go to bed working on this?
KRIS BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY CENTER: Look, I mean, I`m a mom. I send my -- you know, my senior high just celebrated her prom last weekend. It`s devastating to be in an America where this happens every day. And what I say to my friends, what I say to my family, what I say to all of those who support us which are a vast majority of Americans who want changes, gun laws, gun safety laws really work.
And at the end, what I really want to see happen is the change that we impasse, that we common individuals living in a society where we go out in public, where we take our kids to school, and we go to the movies, and we shop aren`t targeted in any way because of that.