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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/26/22

Guests: Joy Reid, Kurt Bardella, Amna Nawaz, Kerry Sanders


David Hogg, Everardo Zamora, Donell Harvin>


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with Republicans just tying themselves into pretzels to point the finger at every single thing but the problem, the gun, in the wake of the murders of 19 fourth graders and two of their teachers in Uvalde, Texas, from mental health, to arming teachers, to more armed law enforcement in schools, every single thing, except making it harder to buy weapons of war.

Now, I would like you to think about that, because this whole conversation defies logic. And you know what? It`s actually insulting. But you know what? You know what? In fairness, let`s just take a moment to step back and think about each of their arguments and whether that is the environment that you want or that they`d want for their children.

Let`s start with mental health.

As far as we know, there was no mental health issue with the individual who stole the futures of 19 children in Uvalde. Texas. Governor Greg Abbott even said it himself ,before he contradicted himself.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): There was no known mental health history of the gunman.

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


REID: OK, Greg Abbott, you flipped it around, and now you say that mental health was the problem. OK.

Yet NBC News reports that Abbott slashed more than $200 million from the department overseeing mental health programs in a state that is already dead last in the country for access to mental health care.

Abbott certainly hasn`t approached providing mental health services with the same zeal as making sure that every Texan who wants to carry a gun can do so anywhere at any time. Just last year, he went to the Alamo, the Alamo, to sign seven new gun rights laws, including one allowing so-called constitutional carry, allowing Texans to carry a handgun in public without a permit or the background check and training Texas used to require.

While that law does have prohibitions for people with adjudicated mental health issues, in 2017, Donald Trump as president actually made it easier for those with mental health issues to purchase guns, revoking an Obama era rule regarding background checks.

So Republicans haven`t exactly walked the walk there.

Then there`s the argument number two. Number two. Here is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton:


KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly, because the reality is we don`t have the resources to have law enforcement at every school.


REID: Really, Ken? You sure about that?

Because we have just been through a whole season of Republicans screaming about how they don`t trust teachers and teachers need to be monitored for suspicious activities, including in Texas. Republicans have legally limited how teachers can teach about things like race and slavery under the boogeyman of Critical Race Theory.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick wants his own version of Ron DeSantis` don`t say gay law in Texas. So you can`t trust teachers to speak to kids about race or gender or sexuality, but you want them to meet an AR-15 with equal force?

Well, if you want them to do that, you`re going to have to ask them to fire this:


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get into a good forward body lean.



REID: Imagine that weapon in a classroom with your fifth grader.

And if trained law enforcement officers have failed to stop mass shooters, what makes you think Ms. Sally can do it?

And then there`s this gem that we have heard for a decade that came directly from the NRA itself after Sandy Hook.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


REID: Now, the right would like you to think that, if only there were additional armed security there if, only there, then the problem would be solved.

But history tells us something quite different. Start with Columbine, where there was actually an armed security guard on the campus when the shooting happened, and still 13 high school kids and adults were killed and 20 injured.

At the Parkland school shooting in Florida there was an armed security officer, who failed to even enter the school when he heard the shots fired. And earlier this month in Buffalo, the security guard at the Tops supermarket, Aaron Salter, did engage the killer, but his shots failed to penetrate the armored vest of the gunman. Salter was killed when the gunman returned fire. He was buried just yesterday.

And at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, there remain a number of questions about security. The school district had doubled its security budget into the millions in recent years and actually had its own police force.


But while officials initially said that an armed resource officer did engage the government, today, we learned that didn`t happen, and an officer may not have even been present.


QUESTION: Was there a school officer on campus? And was that school officer armed? Because that`s what we have been told.

VICTOR ESCALON, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: So, at this time, no. No, there was not an officer readily available armed, no.

QUESTION: Was there an officer?

ESCALON: No. No. Nothing. I can`t answer that yet.


REID: OK, OK, another question. Why did almost an hour elapse before police were able to shoot and kill the gunman? And could anything have been done sooner to prevent at least some of the carnage?

What we do know is that it was long enough for parents to arrive on scene pleading with police officers to go in and save their children. You can hear them screaming, begging officers to help.

NBC News has not confirmed precisely what -- at what point this occurred or what actions law enforcement officers had already taken by that time. But the Associated Press reports that came -- that one parent who lost her daughter -- lost his daughter says that authorities were unprepared and not moving quickly enough.

That parent even raised the idea of charging into the school with several other bystanders. Another parent told "The Wall Street Journal" that she was temporarily handcuffed and almost arrested for supposedly interfering with the crime scene.

She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Each of them just wanted to see their kids alive again.

Meanwhile, authorities, the good guys with the guns, remain painfully short on answers.

Joining me now is NBC News senior national correspondent Kerry Sanders in Uvalde and Donell Harvin senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, former chief of homeland security and intelligence for Washington, D.C., and first responder to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Quite a resume.

Thank you both for being here.

Kerry, my friend, long time, no see. Unfortunately, when I get to see you, it`s in awful, awful circumstances like these. We need to do better on that.

But you were at that press conference today. So can you try to unpack for us and explain how it could be that, apparently, this shooter, this gunman was inside Uvalde -- inside this Uvalde school for an hour?

KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a news conference that left a lot to understand, because it really raised more questions than it answered.

First of all, let`s talk a bit about some NBC News reporting. We have up until this point been under the belief that all the children were in a classroom that was sort of a shared classroom with two teachers. I take it up with some sort of partition in the middle that could open or close.

But now my colleagues Pete Williams and Jonathan Dienst have said that their sources within Texas are reporting that there were victims in four classrooms, which suggests that the gunman was moving through the school, rather than, as we were told, down a hallway, down another hallway, and then barricading himself into that one shared classroom, as it were.

The news conference raised several questions really about the timeline. So, at 11:28, the gunman in a stolen pickup truck crashes into a ditch, gets out. And witnesses in the area initially believe somebody`s been into a car accident: Let me go over and help. The gunman gets out of the passenger side. He has a bag, which we now know had ammunition in it, and a long gun, which we now believe was some sort of AR-15-type weapon.

And he began shooting. So those people skedaddle. Somebody dials 911. In the process, he goes over the fence. Now, a 911 call is made at around 11:30. There`s a 10-minute period where he is getting over the fence, getting onto the school grounds and finding an open door.

The police department is 1.2 miles from here. Even if you were driving the speed limit and doing all of that stop signs, it would only take five minutes. And, of course, if you`re a police officer with sirens running, you would be here within moments.

The gunman gets inside. And this is where it gets a little unclear now, because we were told that he goes down one 20-step direction, one 20-step direction, and he gets into one classroom. But now we know there were at least two other classrooms where victims were found.

He barricades himself in there at one point, and this is really the most critical question. You have the officers that are in there. As you just mentioned, Joy, there`s people outside here. They`re screaming. They`re asking the authorities to let them in. They want the -- they want the officers to go in. Why are they outside?

And this one-hour period passes. Now, during this one-hour period, we don`t know why the officers did not out attempt to go in, why they didn`t breach, if they didn`t have the equipment, why they didn`t call for help, like, from the fire department. Fire departments breach every day. That`s what they do.


They get people out of mangled cars. They get people out of houses where doors are locked, and they can`t get in there because of fires. They know how to do that sort of stuff. They don`t do that.

But what they do, do is they have this one-hour period. Now, I was told at the news conference, because he used a word -- he said, well, we were negotiating. So I said, OK, I need to understand, what was going on? Was he responding to the negotiation? No response, which suggests to me that calling it a negotiation is the wrong word.

You`re negotiating when you have a conversation, even if it`s a response. So there was no response, no negotiation. And then we have this one-hour period where the officers are outside.

And the families that I have spoken to, the residents who I have spoken to, the people who are here are now wondering, maybe my child was alive. Maybe, if they had gone in, at least some of the children would have been saved.

REID: Right.

SANDERS: We know of at least one child who was playing dead, laying on top of her friend, who had also been shot, but was still breathing. But in that one-hour period -- and folks in the EMS call it the golden hour.

REID: Yes.

SANDERS: In that one-hour period, when they finally got her out and rushed to the hospital, she had died.

And so there are so many questions, Joy, from parents who want to say, what was going on in that hour? Why weren`t you going in? And why wasn`t there an attempt to figure out an alternative approach?

REID: Yes.

SANDERS: It wasn`t until the Border Patrol team arrived, got the key, went in from the administrator, the principle, opened the key to the door and then got in.

That key was available for that one hour. And the other big question is -- and we saw this in Parkland, because, as you know, the officer there, Deputy Scott Peterson, he didn`t even go in. He stayed outside.

REID: Right.

SANDERS: But we do know that, when they were looking for the gunman, they did a quick review of the security cameras to see where the gunman had gone. They have security here. They have those cameras.

From what we understand it, nobody did any sort of review to try to determine what was going on, where the movements were, just that there was somebody inside.

The one thing that the DPS did say is, in that hour period...

REID: Yes.

SANDERS: ... the initial gunfire all happened in the first period. There was later gunfire, but not as rapid as at first.

But that does not explain who was killed at what time and, more importantly, who might have been saved if the officers had somehow figured a way to at least an attempt an entry into that room to take out this gunman -- Joy.

REID: Extraordinary. Just absolutely extraordinary reporting, and hard to believe.

Kerry Sanders, wow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my friend. I really appreciate you.

Let me bring you in, Donell Harvin.

You heard that. Does any of that makes sense to you as the way to deal with an active shooter in a scene where the lives of children are involved?


In New York City and in Washington, D.C., where I`m coming to you live from, the first responders have a very well-practiced and well-rehearsed entry method. In fact, every police officer is trained to not wait for a tactical team. If you`re one person, you go in as one person. If you`re two people, you go in as two people. That`s how I was trained.

We all got tactical training, and we make entry. And you engage. And if you take fire, you give fire back.

Additionally, Kerry mentioned the golden hour. That`s spot on. I was a paramedic for 20 years. And pediatrics actually have less than a golden hour if they`re injured. And knowing that, most authorities have what`s called a rescue task force, in which they have paramedics who are trained in special tactics to go in actually with the officers and start evacuating, do rapid treatment in the hot zone of fallen victims, because we understand that, if you`re shot in a critical area, you may only have 10 or 15 minutes.

Sitting there laying out to bleed for an hour is a non-winner for most victims.

REID: Let me ask you a couple of things.

So, we know that the gunman was shot multiple times in a way that would suggest that he was shot by more than one person all at one time. Does it - - does it make sense to you that, at the time he was killed, there might have been other people alive or they might have been barricaded with them? Because it doesn`t seem logical that any officer would shoot in a way that might injure the kids.

But even the way that this person apparently died, does that make sense to you?

HARVIN: You know, there`s a lot of things about this -- this shooting that doesn`t make sense to me.

I prefer, having worked in forensics for 10 years, to wait to see what the medical examiner comes out with.

REID: Yes.

HARVIN: I will tell you that everything that I have seen so far -- and I do like to try to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt.

However, everything I have seen so far speaks to an unprofessional response. And I will leave it at that until the facts are what they are. I saw the presser today. It left me with more questions and answers, as Kerry had mentioned.


REID: Yes.

HARVIN: And I believe that there`s still a lot to be told.

I will tell you that there`s a lot of concern from many of my public safety partners about the chilling response this is going to have on school response and school safety from -- going forward.

REID: Sure.

Let me ask you very quickly, is there any evidence in everything you have done -- I read your amazing resume -- that a teacher -- because, in order to be able to go up against somebody who`s already decided to kill, and they have crossed that Rubicon, and they have got an AR-15 -- and these police took 10 minutes to go in and waited for the feds to come.

They didn`t go in. They even -- they didn`t even get the key until it was almost over. It was an hour in. Have you -- does it make sense to you to arm a teacher with an AR-15, so that they can have equal fire and be equal to the force of somebody who`s come in to murder their students? Should teachers have an AR-15?

HARVIN: Joy, you know the answer to that, but for your audience, absolutely not.

I have been a first responder for 30 years. I have responded to over 40 active shooters, which is five or more people shot in one incidence. And I will tell you that a determined assailant who is heavily armed is no match for many law enforcement officers.

REID: That`s right.

HARVIN: We -- when we are issued ballistic vests, we`re not issued money many of the higher rating ballistic vest.

And you have seen case after case where a trained professional isn`t a match for these people who are intent to kill people and maybe even die in the process.

I think teachers have a hard enough time keeping track of their schools and the kids in their schools. I don`t think arming them is going to be the answer.

REID: Yes.

HARVIN: But that`s always the go-to line from the NRA, which I call the death cult at this point, because the proliferation of weapons in this country is a sickness that we`re all going to suffer from so long as we keep on going over and over with these same scenes.

REID: Amen. Amen.

Donell Harvin, thank you. Please come back up.

HARVIN: Thank you.

REID: Up next on THE REIDOUT: When Republicans say that gun reform measures would mean that only the bad guys would have guns, you know they`re lying. And they know they`re lying. When other countries passed sensible restrictions after mass murders, voila, it worked.

Plus: The NRA`s big gun celebration is still on for this weekend in Texas, with its all-star MAGA lineup. You didn`t really think that they`d cancel it out of respect for the victims, did you?

And the Republican gun fetish. They all pose with guns in their ads. And then, when they get into office, they block all meaningful gun reform, despite widespread public support for it.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: So, you want to know why the U.S. has a staggeringly high number of shootings compared to pretty much every single developed country in the world? Because those countries actually acted after facing their own tragedies.

As "The New York Times" points out, after a British gunman killed 16 people in 1987, the country banned semiautomatic weapons like those he had used. It did the same with most handguns after a 1996 school massacre in Dunblane, Scotland.

In Australia, a 1996 massacre prompted mandatory gun buybacks that saw, according to some estimates, as many as one million firearms melted into slag. Let me repeat that. Australians willingly gave up their guns because, unlike our crowd, they`re actually pro-life. And, most recently, New Zealand banned military-style weapons pretty much immediately after the country suffered a mass shooting.

Meanwhile, this is what the U.S. has experienced over and over again.


TOM BROKAW, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It`s happened again, a mass shooting at an American school.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Out of nowhere, the deadliest shooting rampage in American history.

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, an unthinkable attack on young children.

LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: Terror in Orlando, the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

It has happened again, another deadly mass shooting at an American high school.


REID: And yet we do absolutely nothing and continue to own quadruple the number of guns per 100 people than most other countries.

That is how we found ourselves once again in this heartbreaking scenario. We are, in a sense, choosing to live this way. Meanwhile, we`re learning more of the names and stories of the 10- and 11-year-old children who died in Texas.

This is Layla Salazar, who was a whole lot of fun, as her father told the AP. She loved to swim and dance and to do -- and to watch TikTok videos.

Makenna Lee Elrod, whose aunt told ABC she loved animals and made friends everywhere she went.

There`s Nevaeh Bravo, whose cousin told "The Washington Post" that she put a smile on everyone`s faces.

Tess Mata, whose relatives told "The Post" she loved TikTok dances and the Houston Astros. In her bedroom, she made a jar full of cash she was hoping to use for a family vacation to Disney World.

Miranda Mathis, whose family friend told "The Post" she was fun, spunky and very smart.

And now we have learned the final name of the elementary school victim, Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, another student who posed for honor roll photos just before the shooting, according to "The Fort Worth Star-Telegram."

And, tragically, there is more sad news. Joe Garcia, the husband of Irma Garcia, one of the teachers killed in the massacre, collapsed and died of a heart attack while preparing for his wife`s funeral. They leave behind four kids.


Joining me now, Amna Nawaz, chief correspondent for "PBS NewsHour" and an MSNBC contributor, and Uvalde City Councilmember Everardo Zamora.

Thank you both for being here.

Councilmember Zamora, I am going to start with you.

How is this community...


REID: How is this community managing just to hold it together?

ZAMORA: It`s just pure guts, pure determination right now.

I think that it`s not really going to hit until we start, I guess, laying the bodies to rest, and it starts slowing down. Right now, they`re just -- like you said, they`re -- we`re shocked.

REID: And -- yes.

ZAMORA: We`re just trying to get answers to the questions.

REID: And some of the questions that we just saw in our previous break, we talked about the timeline, which doesn`t make sense.

Your governor came out and your lieutenant governor came out and immediately lauded law enforcement. And while we have great respect, obviously, for law enforcement when they do a great job, it`s very confusing to understand what law enforcement did in this case.

Do you have questions and concerns about that?

ZAMORA: Well, there`s always questions.

In situations like this, there`s always questions. It`s difficult. Police officers have a very difficult job. I mean, they got to make that split- second decisions. And, sometimes, those decisions are -- can determine whether a person dies or lives. And that`s why their job is so difficult.

I think we just need a step -- take a step back and see, and see what the investigation comes up with. And, of course, hopefully, all our questions will be answered. And why was that door open, or why did he get in the room, and why did it take so long?

All those whys is -- we`re just waiting and see that those questions will be answered.

REID: Yes, hopefully.

ZAMORA: And, if not, we`re going to ask why again.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

ZAMORA: Yes, ma`am.

REID: And it wasn`t even split-seconds. It was an hour. And that`s hard to swallow, I think, just as a parent, to think about.

I want to bring Amna in.

Amna, you have been talking with these family members and members of the community. What are you hearing?

AMNA NAWAZ, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Joy, I think it`s what we have been hearing for the last two days, which is, this is still a community very much in shock, very much enveloped in grief, but also, as the councilman has referenced, and as you have been reporting and others have been reporting, there`s a growing sense of confusion and outrage about exactly what happened on that day.

I mean, we did get some details earlier from officials, laying out a few of the timeline questions and answers that we have been trying to get from them. But there`s still a lot we do not.

Now, granted, it is just two days after this horrific massacre at Robb Elementary School. We know the funeral preparations are now under way. Two funeral homes have now confirmed to me that they`re going to be providing those services free of charge.

But there`s a lot of questions that remain, not just about bringing this community to some sense of closure, trying to figure out exactly what went wrong, what police could or should have done that maybe they did not, but also for the larger question.

We know Uvalde is just the latest community to feel this kind of pain. We now live in a country where these kinds of mass shootings have become normalized to some degree. And there`s a lot of people wondering if, maybe this time, will finally be the one that makes the difference, if this is the time that things will change.

That`s the biggest question of all.

REID: And just when you speak with local officials there, is there any discomfort with the idea that there`s going to be a big NRA convention not far from where these Uvalde children and teachers lost their lives?

NAWAZ: You know, I think this is the important distinction here, right, which is that this is -- we talk about gun culture in America. This is a community that`s very -- very much into hunting.

I have talked to a lot of people who talk about how popular that is here. Guns are popular here. There is a difference, we know, between -- between having some kind of gun ownership and having well-regulated gun ownership.

And the more you talk to people here, you see that they`re able to make those kinds of distinctions. They`re not opposed to additional gun control measures. But they do want to make sure that everything`s being done to keep their community safe, to keep their rights intact.

So there hasn`t been a lot of focus, I have to say, about what other politicians are doing...

REID: Yes.

NAWAZ: ... certainly not what`s happening in Washington, certainly not the NRA convention.

What they are most focused on right now...

REID: Yes.

NAWAZ: ... is healing and helping each other, figuring out what went wrong and making sure it never happens again.

REID: Absolutely.

And, Councilmember Zamora, what does the community need? What are people telling you that right now they need most?

ZAMORA: Well, right now, they just want to -- basically just peace, prayer, I mean, emotional support.

And the city -- the city is providing counseling, they`re providing all these services. I mean, we`re -- we`re asking the families, what can we help you with all the time? And everyone, every victim, every family, we`re asking them. You need us, you tell us. We will be there to support you.


REID: Absolutely.

ZAMORA: And that`s what they need.

They need emotional support right now. They need a lot of counseling, I mean, everybody.

REID: Yes.

ZAMORA: This is a small community, and every -- everybody is affected.

When somebody passes away in this community, even if it wasn`t this, it affects a lot of people. And now it really affected the whole community, the 19, and the two teachers, all of them.

REID: Yes.

ZAMORA: Everybody knew everybody here.

REID: Yes.

ZAMORA: And, so, it`s devastating.

REID: Yes.

ZAMORA: We`re just asking for peace.

We`re asking for some kind of -- respect the families, respect the wishes.

REID: Yes.

ZAMORA: And we`re hoping that we can give them all the emotional support that we can give them, if they`re wishing to receive it from the city.

REID: Absolutely.

Well, we`re here as well. And feel free to reach out and let us know if there`s something we can say. I`m happy to give you more airtime to talk about the needs of this community. Thank you very much. And God bless.

Amna Nawaz, thank you. And Uvalde City Councilmember Everardo Zamora, thank you very much.

Still ahead: The NRA brings its twisted little unfinished gun fetish road show to Houston, as families prepare to bury the tiny victims of the latest school shooting massacre.

That is next.



REID: The National Rifle Association will hold its annual convention in Houston, Texas, this weekend, the very state where 19 elementary school kids and their two teachers were brutally gunned down in their classroom just three days ago.

Several Republicans are scheduled to attend. Remember these names. Of course, you know them, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz all potential presidential contenders in 2024.

These events bring the Republicans votes. They also inject dollars into the NRA`s reserves, dollars that top NRA officials have been accused of spending to support lavish lifestyles.

Back in 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the gun sales promotion group, seeking to dissolve it. The rot ran that deep, saying NRA officials were defrauding the organization`s donors, spending millions on trips to the Bahamas, private jets, all-expense-paid safaris and yachts.

They were living like czars off the death of American children, churchgoers, shoppers and workers. The NRA then declared bankruptcy. But a federal judge dismissed it, finding that the petition was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage in the lawsuit.

A few months ago, a judge blocked the bid by Attorney General James to shutter the NRA, but allowed her suit against it to move forward.

Joining me now, David Hogg, co-founder of March For Our Lives and survivor of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It is good to see you again, David.

Does it surprise you at all that the purpose of the NRA appears to be, yes, selling lots of guns and making sure that they`re real, the -- really, people that they care about, which is gun sales manufacturers make a lot of money, but also living like kings?


It`s very clear that the NRA board and leadership is not the same as the membership. I have talked with many of the members. I have actually found some common ground with NRA members. It`s the leadership that is constantly telling Americans that we can`t agree on this issue, that we can`t do anything about this.

Look, Joy, I`m not going to lie. Americans are obviously very divided. We know that. We know what we don`t agree on. We need to focus on what we can agree on here. That`s why I have been talking to people like former Congressman Joe Walsh and a number of others who actually have come forward, including the former chairman of the RNC, who said that they want to figure out how we can work together, not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans, and what we can agree on to help save our kids.

And, look, I don`t agree with everything that Joe says. I don`t agree with everything Michael believes in either. But we do agree, ultimately -- and I know the vast majority of Americans do -- that we must do something to save our kids, which is why we`re calling for a march, a second March For Our Lives on June 11 around the country, for Republicans to come in, for Democrats to come in, for Americans of all political affiliations, and show up and march with us to demand Congress be united in the way that Americans are starting to coalesce and become united around this issue.

We do agree. We agree that gun violence must end. And if you agree with that, if you want to join us and demand Congress act, text MARCH to 954- 954. Once again, that`s MARCH to 954-954.

REID: And, look, there were students marching, walking out today from all over the country.

There are these walkouts. I think we have video of one of them that was in Detroit. Once again, kids are being called upon to lead to try to save their own lives, which is embarrassing for me as an adult and as a parent.

But the same thing happened with you guys. I mean, the March For Our Lives, I attended it. It was one of the most incredible rallies, moving moments, including X Gonzalez, who did this moment of silence for six minutes. I have never seen anyone command television and understand the power of silence like -- I have never seen anything like that, right?

And it was so moving. And it made a lot of us believe, OK, this is going to happen, right? Nothing happened. And the reason it didn`t happen is money. Money is more powerful than even that image of a survivor of a school massacre.

Look at the money, $13.6 million over his career lifetime Mitt Romney has taken in from the NRA. You can go all the way down that list to Marco Rubio, who also has run for president. That`s part of what boosts their numbers.


The current top five recipients of money from the NRA, per Open Secrets, are John Boozman of Arkansas, James Lankford of Oklahoma, John Thune of South Dakota, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John Hoeven of North Dakota.

Those are the people who would have to come together with Democrats to pass the thing everyone, including every gun owner I know -- I know people with homes full of guns. And even they say that you, at your age, should not be able to buy an AR-15, because you can`t rent a car probably, right, that somebody 18, 19, 20, you can`t rent a car and be able to get this weapon.

They agree on it. Gun owners agree on it. OK? Those people who get that money are paid to say no. How do you change that?

HOGG: Look, I think it comes down to people like Mitt Romney thinking about their kids, honestly.

I think, in this moment, it`s really hard, even if you have taken that amount of money, to look and say, kids, being dropped off at school and only being able to be identified by their DNA is somehow acceptable in our country, that that has to be the cost of this issue. It doesn`t.

I know that Mitt Romney and others have taken a lot of money from the NRA. But, ultimately, if they want to play ball, and they want to do something around background checks, for example, or red flag laws, Rick Scott has done a lot of stuff. The Florida state legislature is largely owned by the NRA, but guess what?

We showed up and we demanded action. And we did change gun laws. Because of the laws that we created, we disarmed somebody who said -- who threatened to kill my own mother through a court order with a right to due process.

And that law that we created has now been used nearly 6,000 times in the state of Florida to disarm people that are a risk to themselves or others. These laws do work. But the reason why it works is because we worked together with Republicans, who I very much do not agree with.

There are even things in that bill that we passed that I don`t agree with. But, ultimately, we passed a law, and it did save lives. And guess who signed it? Rick Scott, who`s in the Senate, and has also taken money from the NRA, right?

I know that they may have taken money from the NRA in the past. But, ultimately, if they want to do the right thing now, even if it just saves one life, I`m here to talk to them and meet with them, anybody, because my goal here isn`t just to attack the NRA. It`s not to attack Republicans. It`s attack one thing.

And I think all Americans should -- can and should be behind us, attacking gun violence.

REID: Yes.

HOGG: Because none of us think that that should continue. And we need to demand that our leaders act.

And importantly, Joy, as Americans, we need to make sure that the media doesn`t just move on from this issue and then it goes away, and we wait until the next Sandy Hook...

REID: Yes. Yes.

HOGG: ... because it`s going to happen, or the next Parkland.

REID: You`re absolutely right.

HOGG: We need to act now.

REID: Yes.


HOGG: ... one thing.

REID: Yes.

Republicans` kids and grandkids shouldn`t be shot down in school either. And so everyone should agree on this. Everyone -- every gun owner agrees on it. We should just do it.

David Hogg, thank you very much. Always good to see you, hopefully under better circumstances.


HOGG: March with us on June 11.

Thank you.

REID: Thank you very much. I appreciate you.

Coming up next: trying to understand conservatives` just obsession with specifically these weapons that are designed for warfare, which are now being used to slaughter innocent Americans at an appalling, shocking rate.

We will be right back.



REID: Today`s Republican Party doesn`t actually stand for much, except banning books, turning women into state-mandated incubators, targeting the LGBTQ community, and mass deportation -- oh, yes, and guns.

You have to prove that you love guns, that guns are the precious, in order to get anywhere in the party. How else are they going to get the NRA to pay their campaign expenses?


MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: So, when people say I won`t support guns, they`re dead wrong.


NARRATOR: Eric Greitens is a conservative warrior. And when he fights back, he brings out the big guns.

GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): You don`t know who`s got what in their purse, lipstick, an iPhone, or maybe a little Smith & Wesson .38.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): In 2022, I`m going to blow away the Democrats` socialists agenda.


REID: OK, but you all realize that`s crazy, right?

And once elected, they don`t actually do anything, except stand in the way of sensible gun reform that roughly 80 percent of Americans support. And when these tragedies strike and more Americans die, the best they can muster up is their thoughts and prayers, as if they don`t have any power to actually do anything, or vague references to the possibility of thinking about maybe considering doing something, but really planning on doing nothing, because, again, they love guns.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I mean, it was a -- it was tragedy. We all up here -- immediately, you think about your own family.

I believe that we don`t have a gun control problem. We haven`t an idiot control problem.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I can`t assure the American people there`s any law we can pass to stop this shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator firing off a few rounds from an AR-style rifle.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): And I will say the entire state of Texas, the entire country is grief-stricken.




REID: The Republican Party never changes.

For decades, they have consistently blocked gun reform, opting instead to sit aside and watch the body count rise. Is this time going to be any different? We will see.

More after the break.



REID: The last major gun legislation Congress passed was in 1994, thanks to then-Senator Joe Biden.

It prohibited the manufacture or -- for civilian use of certain assault weapons, as well as certain ammunition magazines that were defined as large capacity. That law expired in 2004 under the George W. Bush administration and a Republican controlled Congress.

Since then, Republicans have consistently refused to do anything about guns. In the meantime, more children have paid the price of their inaction and of the literal arms race taking place in our population.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Congress voted on a gun control bill on Wednesday, and it was rejected. The bill would have required mandatory background checks on private gun sales.

KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Just hours to go, and it appears expanded background checks is headed to failure today, a disappointment for Newtown families and advocates like Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Moments ago, the Senate defeated several last- minute gun control amendments that were tacked on to a budget bill.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": Four votes last night on what to do about guns in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre in the Senate on Monday. These gun control measures came up for votes, but not one got the needed 60 votes necessary to move forward.


REID: With me now, Kurt Bardella, adviser to the DNC and the DCCC.

And, Kurt, there`s actually data that shows that that crime bill actually decreased the number of massacres, right? And after, the number of massacres exploded. We`re waiting to get those numbers. When they get them, I`m going to put them on screen.

But, for now, let`s talk about this district in Uvalde where this massacre took place. This is a district where there was an opportunity for the person who represents that district in -- oh, there it is. So there`s the mass shootings before there was a gun -- an assault weapons ban, and then after it expired. The red on the end is after the assault weapons ban expired, and the blue is before there was an assault weapons ban.

So, it went down, and then it went way, way, way, way up afterwards. There was an opportunity for the man who represents this district that contains Uvalde. His name is Tony Gonzales. He won the seat in the district very narrowly by -- he got 50 -- about 50 percent of the vote. His opponent got 46, approximately, percent of the vote.

And there was a third candidate. There was a libertarian candidate. Here he is talking to Garrett Haake about why he did not support H.R.8, which would have been a background check bill that actually would have helped in this case.


GARRETT HAAKE, NBC SENIOR NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Why, in Texas, can you buy an AR-15 when you`re 18 years old? You can`t buy a beer when you`re 18 years old. Why do you need to be able to buy an assault rifle?

REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): You know, I think part of the conversation, we have to be unified. This country is not unified.

HAAKE: We are unified around background checks for that kind of thing.

GONZALES: No, we`re not.


HAAKE: Eighty percent of the country is in favor of mandatory universal background checks for buying a firearm. That`s about as unified as we get about anything.

GONZALES: What happens is this, is any time there`s something that goes wrong, people like to blame other people, instead of looking inward.

HAAKE: Haven`t an answer my question, though.

Why does an 18-year-old need an AR-15 in the state of Texas?

GONZALES: So, this is how the legislative process works, is, Congress determines the laws.

Right now, we have a Congress that won`t talk to one another.



He didn`t answer the question, Kurt. This guy`s bragging about having voted against gun reform legislation. This seems to me like a -- sort of a layup for Democrats. This is a swing-swing district.

KURT BARDELLA, DNC AND DCCC ADVISER: Yes, I mean, right there, that`s your campaign, Joy, if you`re running against this guy.

And it`s just -- it`s the poster child for all Republicans. I mean, we`re at a point here, where how many lives need to be lost? What`s the threshold for the pro-life party to finally decide enough is enough?

It`s interesting that, when anyone that has a dark shade of skin commits a crime, Republicans are willing to move at warp speed to do anything, whether it`s build a wall, pass the Patriot Act. They`re willing to go to extreme measures any time someone with a darker shade of skin commits a crime.

But God forbid another gun crime happens in America. They`re nowhere to be found. They`re in the pocket of the NRA. They`re celebrating. They`re having a convention this week in Texas, and they`re going to celebrate gun ownership in America.

This is the only place in the world where we live through this cycle every week, every month. It never ends. And the Republican answer is, well, we just need more guns. If more guns were the answer, Joy, this wouldn`t happen anymore.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: We have more guns per capita than anywhere in the world. What are they talking about?

It`s very clear that, at the end of the day, the Republican Party has made a conscious decision, it is a design, that the lives that are lost by guns in America don`t matter to them, that they`re acceptable losses, because it`s more important for them to be able to walk around with their AR-15s and feel like they`re tough, and live out their goofy and sickening fantasy world, where they get to walk around and showcase their bravado and strength and might, while their kids die.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: That`s really where we`re at in this country.

REID: There is no such thing as pro-life. That term should be banished. Let`s bury it. It isn`t real.

There is no country on Earth where people run for office by cosplaying as a mass shooter, like cosplaying shooting massive guns, as if you`re in a military conflict. Nobody does that but this country.

Kurt Bardella, thank you.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.