On her Saturday show, Melissa Harris-Perry discussed the possibility that gun control advocates may want to focus on passing legislation at the local level.
“While many are looking to the White House and Capitol Hill to make sweeping gun reform legislation, perhaps swifter and more effective action is likelier to come at the local level,” she said.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, N.C., a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, said, “For so long, gun control and gun regulation has been taken as a federal issue,” and that “even states have been loathe to engage in this issue, and legislators, and even I am getting tons of emails just for speaking on the issue, threats that I’m going to lose my office. I say, bring it on in Chapel Hill.”
He said it’s critical to have public discussions on truly effective measures, such as background checks.
Harris-Perry said she felt that certain kinds of bans can backfire on gun control advocates and that it can bring up a “18th amendment sort of prohibition problem.”
She wondered if cigarette regulation — which created a “culture change” by making it more difficult to smoke publicly and forcing cigarette companies to educate people on the dangers of tobacco — might be a better model for those who support stronger gun control.
Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot during the Virginia Tech attack, said that everyone understands the need for strong background check policies. “When you go to get a puppy at the pound, you have to get a background check,” she said.
While there are federal laws regarding background checks, loopholes exist for gun show transactions, which account for about 40 percent of gun purchases.
Haas argued that progress can be made, saying that one gun control bill moved out of a Virginia Senate committee on Friday “much to the chagrin of the NRA.”
Watch the video, via MNSBC, below.