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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/25/22

Guests: Sheldon Whitehouse, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, Daniel Hernandez Jr., Fred Guttenberg

Summary

The victims of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting are remembered. The failure to pass gun control measures in the Congress is examined. Arizona congressional candidate Daniel Hernandez Jr. and Florida congressional candidate Maxwell Alejandro Frost discuss gun reform. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse discusses the prospects for gun control legislation in the Senate. President Biden signs a long-awaited executive order aimed at overhauling policing.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

This is Uziyah Garcia, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. His grandfather told the AP they`d started throwing the football around together, calling him "the sweetest little boy that I have ever known."

Amerie Jo Garza was 9. Yesterday, morning, Amerie received a certificate for making the honor roll. Her grandmother told The Daily Beast she was super outgoing and a teacher`s pet. She was killed while dialing 911.

Xavier Lopez was 10. He was awaiting a summer of swimming. His grandmother told ABC News he was the life of the party. He loved to dance and play baseball. And he too had just made the honor roll, as did Jose Flores Jr., 10 years old. He loved going to school, his uncle told "The Washington Post."

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10 years old, was a beautiful young girl with a lot of energy, her grandfather told ABC.

Eliahna "Ellie" Garcia also was 10. She had her first communion last year. In a Facebook post, her mother called her a doll and the happiest ever.

This is Rojelio Torres, who was 10 years old. His mother called him a very smart and loving child.

Alithia Ramirez was a very happy fourth grader.

Alexandria "Lexi" Aniyah Rubio received an all-A honor roll certificate and a good citizen award on Tuesday.

Cousins Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares and Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez were both 10 and in the same third grade classroom, according to a CBS affiliate who talked to a family member.

And a second set of cousins, Jailah Nicole Silguero and Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, were nothing but loving baby angels, always had a smile on their face and just full of life, their cousin said in a statement to ABC News, adding: "I can`t believe this happened to our angels."

Eva Mireles was a teacher for 17 years. Her aunt said she was killed while trying to protect her students, noting that she took particular pride in teaching children of mostly Latino heritage.

Mireles, is in her early 40s, was also married with a child and was an avid hiker.

Her co-worker Irma Garcia -- the two of them are pictured here together -- was also murdered yesterday, a beloved teacher. Garcia had taught at the school for 23 years, and was married with four kids. And she loved to barbecue with her family. Garcia`s son told NBC News that a friend in law enforcement said -- saw her in her classroom with her body shielding her beloved students.

The other children who were murdered at Robb Elementary School were not immediately identified, but they were also just kids, loved and adored.

These kids and their teachers died two days before summer break at school, where they were supposed to be safe. And they died in a way that is uniquely American.

As Senator Chris Murphy, who represents the state where we witnessed what we thought was the bottom, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, as he put it with so much moral clarity on the Senate floor yesterday, as he begged, begged his Republican colleagues to just use their power to just try, try to stop this, as he said, America is not unique when it comes to mental illness, or the COVID lockdowns that took place all over the world, or the popularity of shoot `em up video games.

We are only unique in this one way, that, when we go to the movie theater, or to Bible study, or to a concert, or to the club, or to a party, or to Walmart, or to a church service, or to a day spa, or on the subway, or to the store, or to do some weekend shopping, we are constantly at risk of getting shot.

And when we Americans send our kids off to school, when we drop them off at elementary school or high school, they are at risk, every minute, every day, of getting shot. Only in America. American kids, unlike any kids on earth, who don`t live in an active war zone, have to do drills to learn how to hide and to go silent if a shooter busts into their classroom.

Our kids, in the city, in the suburbs, in black neighborhoods, in white neighborhoods, in Hispanic neighborhoods, and in poor communities and affluent ones, all of them are at risk all the time every day of being hunted, stalked, and shot.

[19:05:09]

Their teachers, who we don`t even pay well, and who some of these Republican governors want to subject to lawsuits, they have to risk their lives and figure out, how would they protect their students from getting shot up by some demon, likely armed with an assault rifle that`s only different from the M-16 our military members use, in that you have to keep pressing the trigger.

But the outcome, it`s the same. The AR-15 shreds the human body. Just think about that. And think about what -- think about what that would do to a little 10-year-old body, which is why the families in Uvalde have had to use DNA and scraps of clothing to identify what`s left of their babies.

And you can`t even hunt with an AR-15, because you would have nothing to bring home and hang on your wall. And yet it is easier to buy one than it is to rent a car, something an 18-year-old can`t even do.

But that`s what our kids risk facing every day. And, please, please spare me the "don`t politicize these deaths" B.S., because these deaths, these record numbers of American slaughters, are political. They are happening because of uniquely American politics.

They are happening because 327 million Americans are essentially hostages to a morally and financially bankrupt gun lobby and the heartless, gutless politicians that they buy and own.

And please stop thinking that there is some body count, some level of brutality and carnage that will move them, these Republicans and their two pet Democrats, that the rivers of blood will one day run deep enough and the slaughters tragic enough that these politicians will say, OK, that`s enough, let`s do something, because their tolerance for blood and the NRA`s tolerance for slaughter are bottomless, as is the grief and the torture that the parents of slaughtered children, and slaughtered grandmas, and shoppers, and Bible study parishioners, all the slaughtered Americans will feel every day for the rest of their lives.

So, honestly, to hell with anybody who says don`t politicize this, because these deaths, until we change, until we stop letting this minority of ghouls rule us, this is who we are.

I want to bring in Fred Guttenberg. His 14-year-old daughter -- daughter, Jaime, was murdered in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, which is how I met you, Fred.

And if I`m exhausted, you must be enraged and sick of you, so I`m going to let you talk.

(CROSSTALK)

FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM: No, listen, I`m exhausted. I`m enraged.

I appreciate you laying it out the way you just did, Joy. My daughter should just be finishing up her freshman year of college. I spent the past year watching all of her friends post the best year of their life, and my daughter wasn`t a part of it.

And you read the names of all those beautiful children, and you read their age, 10, 10, 10. But the thing is, it`s forever 10. My daughter is forever 14. Every dream, every hope, every expectation that I could have had for her was slaughtered, you are 100 percent correct, because I sent her to school.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: And I -- listen, as anyone who follows me knows, I`m very active on social media.

Joy, I can`t find new pictures to use. Now, that may not sound like such a big deal. but it is. There`s no new memories, no new pictures, no new videos. I won`t get to watch her graduate college. I didn`t get to watch her graduate high school. I won`t see her get married because of the failure of legislators to do anything.

And I want to be super clear. And I am glad you said this is a political issue, because President Biden, being the decent human that he is, last night talked about we.

[19:10:08]

Why are we doing this? We are not.

REID: That`s right.

GUTTENBERG: Ninety percent of the American people want this fixed.

The House of Representatives is passing legislation. The president has said he will sign it; 50 members of the Senate will sign legislation. So it is not we. Let`s be clear on who it is. It is a very contained, small group. The common thread in the death of all of these children over all of these years has been Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

And let`s be clear. And I don`t want to let anyone in Texas off the hook, because what they have been doing there, they have been making that a battleground for the loosening of gun restrictions or -- so that there`s more sales.

In Texas, you now don`t know, who buys a weapon. There`s no requirement for the permits. You don`t know what their intention is. You don`t know where the weapon goes. But what we do know is, they`re having a lot of mass shootings there.

And so, Ted Cruz, stay home. Shut up. You`re going to go to the NRA convention Friday, because that`s who you are.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: Abbott, you`re going to go on Friday, because that`s who you are.

The kids don`t matter to you. The voters don`t matter to you. The question is, why are you part of that group of 50 that refuses to protect life, that refuses to protect our kids?

REID: And, Fred, the thing is, I will revise one thing that I said about that this is who we are, because you`re right. This is who they are.

But what I worry about and what frightens me -- Columbine took place in the state where I grew up, in Colorado.

GUTTENBERG: Yes.

REID: And we thought that was the most shocking thing we had ever heard. Oh, they`re shooting in schools? What? It made the administrators where I lived -- it was a little suburban town -- think, should we get metal detectors, in my little suburban town, a totally safe town. Columbine was a totally safe town.

GUTTENBERG: Yes.

REID: So, if it can happen there, we were thinking, OK, something is going to happen. And then nothing happened.

What scares me -- and I want to know if this is what scares you -- is that they are ghouls. They have no -- there`s no bottom. There`s no amount of blood and carnage that`s going to move Greg Abbott. That little pretend compassion he did today, you saw who they really were when Beto O`Rourke walked in the room, when they started snarling like the Confederates, right?

GUTTENBERG: Best moment of -- yes.

REID: OK, that`s who they are. They don`t care about death.

But I worry that the rest of us have taken the anesthetic, that we`re just living -- we`re willing to live under their tyranny, because the rest of us are not actively willing to remove them from being in charge of us.

We`re the -- 90 percent of us are living under the tyranny of 10 percent. How do we stop that?

GUTTENBERG: We stop being weak.

Honestly, we have given them the platform. We have given them the oxygen to do what they do. And we now need to deprive them of it. You talked about Columbine. I`m going to -- I`m not going to go as far back, because, to me, there is a defining moment that brought us to where we are today.

And it was four days after Sandy Hook...

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: ... when Wayne LaPierre went out, and his response to Sandy Hook was, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

That line had never been said before.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: That was the first time.

And they have used that line to bring us to the place where we are today. Over the course of those years, they have talked about, we can`t do anything now to change this, because a slippery slope.

But the truth is, since that line was uttered, we have been on a slippery slope, where gun sales -- heck, when Jaime was killed, 300 million weapons in America, now 400 million. We are on a slippery slope. And it`s taking the lives of our kids.

And so you know what? I say, screw you, Ted Cruz and Governor Abbott. You want this fight? I`m done talking to you. I`m done trying to reason with you. You are who you are. You are as low of a human being as can be. We will fire you. And that`s what we need to do.

I am not buying into the conventional wisdom of the next election. I think, if we keep fighting and giving people a reason to vote, we will have presidential year turnout, and we will be OK.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: But we have to give them a reason to vote, which is why Senator Schumer announcing today that there will be votes on gun safety measures which 90 percent of the American people want is a big deal, because, even if it fails, now the sides are clear.

REID: All they have done in these states, including Florida, including Texas, is make it easier.

[19:15:03]

I mean, Donald Trump is going to go to that convention. Is he going to brag about the fact that, under his presidential administration, they made it easier for people with mental health, with adjudicated mental health problems to buy a firearm? They made it easier.

GUTTENBERG: Yes.

REID: So they want to lie and say, this is about mental health.

Well, then why did you all make it easier for people with mental health issues to buy a gun? You -- that`s what you did. They have made it so that you don`t even -- you -- the person who killed and slaughtered these people in Uvalde and the person who killed your daughter and those beautiful kids in Florida, right, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas could not have rented a car, because they`re not 25.

And they`re -- they won`t pass a law, not -- they won`t do anything to stop them. They`re just making it easier for them to do it again.

GUTTENBERG: It was one of the first things he did as president, OK, was to loosen the restrictions on those with mental illness buying a gun.

But one of the even more treacherous things that he did was, during COVID, calling gun shops essential businesses, because it led to this massive surge and the surge in violence we`re seeing now.

And so, listen, they did all that. They did. And we have to now live with the consequences of that.

But those who say mental health, mental health, two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicide. So there is a real factor there. We have got to be honest about it and deal with it.

However, when it comes to homicide, it`s typically the mentally -- those are mental health issues, the gun is likely to be used on them.

What I would say to this is, those who want to talk mental health and not about the access to the gun, ask them what their plan is. They don`t have one. It`s a B.S. issue for them, so that you and I don`t talk about this.

But guess what? For the next seven months, we will be talking about this, because, unfortunately, Joy, the next shooting is already being planned.

REID: Yes, it will happen again.

I want to give you an opportunity, having, unfortunately -- this is -- the Mothers of the Movement, they call themselves the sorority that they never wanted to join. And you are in a fraternity that you never pledged and didn`t want to join.

But now that there are so many other members of this tragic, awful fraternity and these tragic, awful sororities of parents who have to do the unnatural, bury their children -- it is unnatural.

GUTTENBERG: Yes.

REID: Can you give them some advice on what happens now? How do they deal with...

GUTTENBERG: Yes.

REID: ... the deluge of publicity, of reporters in their face, of having to explain, as you do, their tragedy What are they about to go through?

GUTTENBERG: Focus on your families. Be with those you love. A lot of hugs. Make sure you eat. Make sure you drink.

I say that because the truth is, my wife and I have no idea when we ate, how we ate, how my son ate, but I know people were there making sure we did and making sure that there was food and resources there for us.

This country needs to step up and make sure that community has those resources right now, because people aren`t going to be thinking about going to the supermarket.

REID: Right.

GUTTENBERG: But I would tell those families, right now, your world is spinning. It`s about getting through the seconds of the minutes. It`s not about looking ahead a month from now, a week from now.

Get through today. You have a funeral to plan. You have law enforcement issues to deal with, and you have children who need you, and you will need your children.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: And so focus on the now. I will be there for you later.

REID: And I have one last question, because you mentioned your son, because a lot of people forget that the trauma that the parents are experiencing is double in a sense for the siblings, who it`s -- you`re missing another part.

And it has to be -- it has to be explained to you where your sister or brother is. And your parents have to be in this mode of trying to cope and do all of that. And then you`re still there and needing care.

GUTTENBERG: Absolutely.

REID: Can you just give some advice on how to care for your -- the children who are still in the home and alive?

GUTTENBERG: Absolutely.

And in my son`s case and in so many other cases, my son was there too.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: My son heard the bullets that were killing his sister.

And so it is a real issue. People think gun violence is only about those we bury. No, it`s all the collateral damage. It is the kids who have PTSD, the community that is traumatized.

And so, listen, it is such a great question. I would just say this. This is a moment where a community comes together and make sure families are supported.

[19:20:03]

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: But my life now is all about my son and making sure he`s OK.

I joke all the time that, when he was in school, I always used to have my foot up his you know what, because I expected a lot of things of him.

REID: Yes.

GUTTENBERG: After the shooting, I just need him to be OK.

REID: Yes. Yes.

And I know I have talked to Sybrina Fulton about this, is also finding that moment when you can let them go to the store and let them go around the corner by themselves. It changes the way you parent.

GUTTENBERG: We have to move forward.

REID: Yes.

Fred Guttenberg, you`re a great man. You`re brave.

GUTTENBERG: Thank you, Joy.

REID: And I don`t think I could do what you`re doing. I really don`t. I can barely read through the biographies of these children. So, I couldn`t do what you do.

So, thank you. Thank you for being here.

GUTTENBERG: Thank you.

REID: And thank you for what you do.

All right, thank you, man.

GUTTENBERG: I appreciate you.

REID: I appreciate you much more.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: Before these victims are even laid to rest, the NRA is planning to throw their big party in Texas this weekend.

Two candidates for Congress who are fighting everything the NRA stands for will join me next.

Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KERR, HEAD COACH, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: When are we going to do something? I`m tired. I`m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr says we are all thinking.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:25:36]

REID: While families in Uvalde, Texas, are just beginning to mourn the lives stolen there, the National Rifle Association will start its annual meeting on Friday in Houston, Texas.

Now, if that sounds ghoulishly familiar, that`s because it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BROKAW, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Littleton, Colorado, the investigation, the tension over this weekend`s NRA meeting in Denver, and the growing debate about the place of guns in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: In 1999, the NRA meeting was scheduled to be held in Denver just 10 days after the massacre at Colorado`s Columbine High School, at the time, the worst school shooting in American history.

The gathering sparked protests as the scaled-back event was held 11 days after the carnage, despite opposition from local leaders. The NRA`s then- president, Charlton Heston, tried to play the victim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLTON HESTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: When an isolated, terrible event occurs, our phones ring demanding that the NRA explain the inexplicable.

Why us? Because their story needs a villain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Last fall, NPR got insight into the organization`s decision-making at the time over whether to go forward.

In recordings of discussions among top NRA brass obtained by reporter Tim Mak, they at one point considered a more sympathetic posture, even considered a $1 million fund to care for the victims. As for the prospect of canceling the meeting, well, here`s that conversation.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: We have meeting insurance.

MARION HAMMER, NRA LOBBYIST: Screw the insurance. The message that it will send is that the even the NRA was brought to its knees, and the media will have a field day with it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

REID: Ah, yes, Marion Hammer, the real governor of Florida.

We should note that NBC News doesn`t know what may have been left out of these recordings. But the NRA is once again holding court near the site of a slaughter made possible by their one true love, making sure American mass shooters are the best equipped mass shooters and murderers in the world.

And Republicans are lining up to bend the knee. Donald Trump, of course, confirmed he`s still speaking. And the Texas party of death crew, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbott, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, are scheduled. John Cornyn apparently got cold feet. I doubt it was a conscience.

At a press conference featuring the trio, Abbott`s Democratic opponent, Beto O`Rourke, was having none of their platitudes and feigned compassion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. Excuse me.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Sit down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re out -- you`re out of line and an embarrassment.

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: Sit down and don`t play this stuff.

BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: The time to stop the next mass shooting is right now, and you are doing nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

The police should get his ass out of here. This isn`t the place to talk this over.

O`ROURKE: You said this was not predictable. This is totally predictable, when you chose not to do anything.

MAN: Sir, you`re out of line. Sir, you`re out of line! Sir, you`re out of line! Please leave this auditorium.

O`ROURKE: I`m standing up for the kids of this state to stop this from happening again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t believe you`re a sick son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.

O`ROURKE: This is on you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Let`s bring in NBC News correspondent Morgan Chesky in Uvalde, Texas.

And, Morgan, you spoke with Beto after all of that contretemps. What did he say? And what`s been the reaction in Uvalde, if any?

MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Joy, it really was a stunning scene.

We saw Texas DPS officers running towards the high school as that exchange happened inside that gymnasium, and then Beto O`Rourke was escorted out by law enforcement officers, where we met him in a parking lot.

And I did ask him the question, what do you say to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who says now is not the time to politicize this? And O`Rourke simply said: We have seen time and time again where a shooting has happened, there is a lot of talk, and, in his words, nothing was done that solved the problem.

And that`s why he said, if there is ever a time, now is the time.

As far as any reaction in Uvalde to that specific moment, the majority of the focus here, Joy, has been placed upon just finding a way to move on. I`m at the civic-center-turned-reunification-site. Yesterday, this was a site of such anguish, so many families loved waiting for agonizing hours to see if their young child had survived this horrific ordeal.

Today, with authorities confirming they have contacted every family involved now, this has become essentially a grief center. They have had counselors inside all day long. We saw teachers from Robb Elementary School visiting here earlier today.

[19:30:08]

These counselors are going to stay here for the foreseeable future to help anyone in the community. Meanwhile, every campus remains closed here. And graduation has been canceled, as this investigation only deepens -- Joy.

REID: Morgan Chesky, thank you very much. Much appreciated.

Pretty horrific stuff that you have to cover, and I want to thank you for doing it.

Joining me now, two Democratic candidates for Congress, Daniel Hernandez of Arizona, who is currently a state representative, and Maxwell Alejandro Frost of Florida.

I want to thank both of you for being here.

I wonder -- I will start with you, Maxwell Alejandro Frost. I`m going to start with you. Welcome to the show.

Give me what you think about this idea of not politicizing. This is -- this is a talking point that goes all the way back with the NRA, saying you don`t -- this is literally their talking points.

The NRA, they responded, in 2007, when Virginia Tech happened: "This is not a time for political discussions or public policy debates."

2012, when Sandy Hook happened: "The only thing that stops a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with a gun."

Parkland shooting in 2018: "Evil walks among us. God help us if we don`t harden our" -- dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.

The Republicans in Texas -- talk about saying, don`t politicize this -- they`re all using those talking points in their response to the Uvalde massacre. Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: We know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping kids safe is armed law enforcement on the campus.

Inevitably, when there`s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it.

LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): Evil will always walk among us.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): We will continue to discuss with the legislators about all the potential avenues and pathways that we can take to make sure that schools will be even safer going forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Check, check and check, Maxwell Frost. They`re rolling out the talking points.

How ironic is it for politicians who do a press conference surrounded by other politicians saying, don`t politicize this, and then using their talking points?

MAXWELL ALEJANDRO FROST (D), FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Yes, well, the reason they didn`t want to talk about the politics is because they know it`s bad politics, right?

They know that the majority of Americans, including gun owners, are for things like universal background checks. They know that people have had enough of the shootings. And so, of course, they want to kick the can down the road. Of course, they want to yell at people like Beto, which, by the way, a huge thank you to Beto on that work.

That`s what we need from our leaders. And the NRA has been spewing the same talking points. I have been in this fight for 10 years, since the Sandy Hook shooting happened. And we hear the same thing time and time again from this organization.

And my message to gun owners too is, the NRA doesn`t care about everyday gun owners. They care about everyday gun manufacturers. They`re here to ensure that this industry makes money, despite our children`s lives being at risk.

And so we have to continue to fight. And what we tell people -- we saw those stickers that came out years ago on the idea that says, if I die from gun violence, politicize my death, so it never happens again.

REID: Yes.

FROST: And my generation, Generation Z, we were born into drills, shooting drills, and we understand that this problem has to stop. And now is the time to talk about the politics and to talk about the solutions.

REID: Absolutely.

And, Daniel Hernandez, you have a connection to one of these shootings that nearly killed Gabby Giffords. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is now a United States senator. He`s been one of the more sensible -- well, he`s the other -- he`s the more sensible senator from Arizona.

But the other talking point, and the other thing that it does seem that the NRA and their friends do is, they try to demonize a group that`s already pretty demonized. And that`s people who suffer from mental health issues. And they try to put it all on mentally -- on mental illness, even though there are mentally ill people all over the planet, and we`re the only country that has the mass shootings.

I want to give you an interesting contradiction from Greg Abbott when he tried that game today, because something he said at the top of his thing contradicted that. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBOTT: There was no known mental health history of the gunman.

We have a problem with mental health illness in this community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Daniel Hernandez, how can both of those two things be true?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ JR. (D), ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: They can`t. And that`s the thing.

Republicans have been using this tired playbook for the last 11 years that I have been involved. Since I was a 20-year-old intern and I had to literally hold my boss` head, so that she wouldn`t die, Republicans do this thing where they say, one, don`t politicize. We need to respect the families.

And then the step two is, let`s create a smoke screen and draw attention away from the real problem, which is the Washington gun lobby, because what they`re essentially going to try and do is run out the clock.

REID: Yes.

HERNANDEZ: So if it`s not the time to talk about what`s happening in Texas, let`s talk about what happened in New York. Let`s talk about what happened in Florida. Heck, let`s talk about what happened in Tucson, because there are still people who tell me, it`s too soon. Don`t politicize this.

So it`s this tired old playbook. And they talk themselves in circles. And no one is brave enough to call them out. That`s why people are upset. That`s why people are frustrated. That`s why people are getting angry and saying, it`s been a decade since the Giffords shootings and Sandy Hook, years since what happened in Florida.

[19:35:03]

We need our politicians to stop kowtowing to the gun lobby into the NRA and actually start doing things. That`s why we need more gun violence survivors in Congress, like Lucy McBath, who just won reelection last night...

REID: Yes.

HERNANDEZ: ... people like Maxwell, people like me, because we need these voices in Congress, because, unfortunately, it sounds like we`re going to need more people who have personally experienced gun violence to actually do something about it.

REID: Yes.

And it`s also fighting this sort of learned helplessness -- and I will go to you first, Maxwell -- that people think there`s nothing they can do until they throw up their hands. But there is something you can do. Just replace all the people who refuse to pass gun reform.

FROST: Yes. No, exactly.

I mean, and, look, I live in a state where -- in Florida, where our governor wants the future to be a place where you`re forced to give birth, that child goes to a school where they can`t learn about real history, they have constant school shooting drills, until one day maybe that drill isn`t a drill, right?

And that`s the future that they`re trying to build.

REID: Yes.

FROST: We cannot let ourselves become desensitized to this violence. It is not normal.

And we can`t forget that we lose 100 people a day due to gun violence. And even though we have these shootings a lot, you all, I want everyone to recognize that, behind every number, there is a person.

REID: Yes. There`s a human being.

FROST: And we can`t forget that. There`s a human being.

REID: Last word to you, Daniel.

Daniel Hernandez, is Kyrsten Sinema, do you believe that she is serving the people of Arizona with her refusal to do anything on this issue?

HERNANDEZ: I think the biggest thing right now is, we need politicians to stand up to the Washington gun lobby.

When we`re talking about corporate influence, there is no greater corporate influence than the Washington gun lobby. So we need everyone right now to help elect people who will be champions for gun violence prevention, not just saying, OK, here are the terrible people, people from all these different states, like Governor Abbott, like Governor DeSantis like Governor Ducey here in Arizona.

We need people to stand up and elect more gun violence prevention champions like us.

REID: Yes.

HERNANDEZ: Because we need real strong voices that are not going to be desensitized.

REID: Yes, indeed.

HERNANDEZ: Because we can`t be desensitized to the violence that`s happening each and every single...

REID: Wishing you both well.

You didn`t answer my question about Sinema. Very deft. You`re already a good politician.

State Representative Daniel Hernandez and Maxwell Frost, thank you both very much.

And we will be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:42]

REID: It should be crystal clear by now that the Republican Party will never waver when it comes to their utter and supine devotion to the gun lobby.

It should also come as no surprise that the vast majority of them line their pockets with money from the NRA, while actively ignoring the majority of Americans, licensed gun owners included, who want them to do something, anything, to help protect American families and children from the scourge of gun violence.

Dare to talk about slavery or LGBTQ people`s existence, or ask that students and teachers mask up or -- mask up to avoid a pandemic, and they will just rush out a law claiming to protect the kids so fast your head will spin. Ask them to keep your kids safe from guns, and you get crickets.

Well, yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decided to put their apathy in the face of carnage to the test. Hours after the devastating shooting in Texas, Schumer took steps to force votes in the coming days on legislation that would strengthen background checks.

Now, don`t get too excited. The last time they tried this, Democrats couldn`t find 10 Republicans with a spine to support that kind of legislation. And without 60 votes, Democrats only have one option, nuke the filibuster.

Enter Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who refuse to get rid of it. Why not now? Even with all these innocent victims, you ask? Well, the senior senator from Arizona told reporters -- quote -- "I don`t think that D.C. solutions are realistic here."

Well, what in the name of God is she talking about? It`s her actual job to work in Washington, D.C., and deliver D.C. solutions to the people. Mark Kelly and her fellow Arizona senator, whose wife, Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head and survived, got -- had a more succinct and astute take.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): Well, like I said, it would -- it`s (EXPLETIVE DELETED) nuts to do nothing about this.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

REID: And you know what? He`s right.

But the real question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you fed up with their perpetual inaction? Are you fed up enough to do what it takes to finally fire these people? Have you had enough yet?

Joining me now, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

So we know what`s going to happen, Senator.

Thank you for being here.

There`s been failure after failure.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): Good to be with you.

REID: Thank you.

There`s been failure after failure after failure -- we can just put it up on the screen -- after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after San Bernardino, after Orlando. The Senate has tried.They`re never -- they`re not going to be able to do it.

So, then what does this vote mean? And then what happens?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, what this vote means is that people are on record. And that`s a worthy thing to do.

But, at the end of the day, the reason Republicans are willing to be put on record voting against sensible gun laws that will protect children from being massacred in their schools is because of the power of the NRA.

And, at some point, we have got to go after the tools of the power of the NRA. And dark money, huge anonymous donations, including some stuff that smells a little bit like it came from Russia, have been the funding source of the NRA.

They have taken in $100 million in dark money in the last decade. And a lot of it goes right out into Republican elective contests. So, Republicans are loyal. For that money, they will just come straight to heel and do as they`re instructed by their NRA masters.

[19:45:05]

And we can have these continued moments of outrage, or we can make a persistent effort to make sure that the dark money tools of the NRA are taken away from them and from other groups that are ruining our democracy with secret anonymous political spending.

REID: Is -- should we, on the side, which is that 90 percent of Americans want there to be some gun reform to protect our kids from being slaughtered in school -- should we use the Republicans` tactic?

Should people just start suing the NRA when their families die of gun violence? Should they start suing gun sellers? Should they start -- should we -- the Supreme Court has said they`re for the whole lawsuit strategy of enforcing the law.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, as you know, the New York attorney general clobbered the NRA with a civil lawsuit alleging fraud, and going after all the mischief and self-dealing by their corrupt management.

So, that can be proven to work. And then there was a terrific lawsuit brought against that creepy commentator who pretended that the shooting of the schoolchildren in Sandy Hook had been a prop, had been a fake, and that the parents who`d lost their children were actors, and it wasn`t real, or they were participants in a conspiracy.

And now he`s trying to figure out how to get into bankruptcy to hide his assets because he lost, because he lied. So, yes, litigation is a beautiful thing. And courts give people a chance where, in Congress, they don`t have a chance because of dark money influence.

REID: Would you -- do you agree with me that we essentially -- if Democrats had 11 more senators, you could pass gun reform, right?

WHITEHOUSE: Oh, yes.

REID: Isn`t the isn`t the Occam`s razor answer to replace 11 Republicans with 11 Democrats, which would negate Manchin and Sinema?

WHITEHOUSE: Yes. Yes.

You change that and everything changes. Frankly, we probably only need about four or five.

REID: There you go.

WHITEHOUSE: Because I think we could find a way around the filibuster.

You don`t have to undo the filibuster to find ways around the filibuster and prevent Mitch McConnell from using it as a tool of minority special interest rule.

REID: Yes. Yes.

WHITEHOUSE: So, yes, you could solve that problem if we had four or five more Democrats.

REID: Even four or five.

WHITEHOUSE: You don`t have to do 11.

REID: You heard it here. You need four or five, everybody. Replace four or five of those Republican senators, and you could have the things that you want.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you, sir. Really appreciate you.

We will be back after this.

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Joy.

REID: Cheers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:52:13]

REID: Today marks two years since George Floyd pleaded with Minneapolis police officers to release their knees from his neck and back, so that he could breathe as he was pinned to the ground, two years since Derek Chauvin chose to keep the deadly pressure on Floyd for more than nine minutes, until there was no life left in the 46-year-old black man`s body.

On this anniversary, President Joe Biden signed a long-awaited executive order aimed at overhauling policing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation, to address profound fear and trauma, exhaustion that particularly black Americans have experienced for generations, and to channel that private pain and public outrage into a rare mark of progress for years to come.

This executive order is going to deliver the most significant police reform in decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: The order directs federal law enforcement agencies to revise their use of force policies and to restrict tactics like choke holds and no-knock warrants.

It requires the use of body-worn cameras. It also creates a national registry of officers fired for misconduct and restricts the transfer of most military equipment to police.

Relatives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were there with the president, including George Floyd`s daughter, who once told Biden that her daddy changed the world.

The president`s order, unfortunately, only applies to federal law enforcement officers and does not apply to local police agencies. And that is not the president`s purview.

It does mean, of course, that more work needs to be done. The president`s executive order is the direct result of Congress, specifically Republicans, being unwilling to do their jobs on taking up police reform.

Still, today, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act sits in the Senate waiting to be passed.

We`re back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:58:01]

REID: So, it`s been a rough one, but I want to end the show tonight with the impassioned words of Golden State Warriors basketball coach Steve Kerr, whose own father was killed by gun violence nearly 40 years ago.

Last night, just hours after the Texas shooting, he used his pregame news conference to not talk about basketball, but to say what we as a nation are all feeling and, more importantly, what our nation`s leaders needed to hear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERR: When are we going to do something?

I`m tired. I`m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I`m so tired of the excuse. Well, I`m sorry. I`m tired of the moments of silence.

Enough. There`s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R.8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple of years ago. It`s been sitting there for two years. And there`s a reason they won`t vote on it, to hold onto power.

But I want every person here, every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild or mother or father, or sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?

We can`t get numb to this. We can`t sit here and just read about it and go well, let`s have a moment of silence. Yes, go Dubs. You know, come on, Mavs. Let`s go.

And 50 senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background check, universal background checks? Ninety percent of us, we are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we, the American people, want.

They won`t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It`s pathetic. I have had enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Have you all had enough? I have had enough.

We only need four more senators, four more. I said 11. The senator said we only need four more. That will negate Manchin and Sinema, and it will get gun reform passed, police reform passed, the things we want passed.

That`s it. That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.