Baltimore mayor tells Matthews: ‘The public agrees’ on gun control, ‘but Congress just hasn’t had the courage to act’

By Lona Panter
Friday, July 5, 2013 21:46 EDT
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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Hardball July 5, 2013
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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) used MSNBC’s host Chris Matthews’ own data on Friday to rebuke his suggestion of an urban-rural divide on gun safety laws.

Rawlings-Blake said she saw not a divide among Americans, but between citizens and lawmakers.

“That is us agreeing,” she said, pointing out Matthews’ own statement that 90 percent of Americans favor broader legislation on the issue. “The problem is, Congress can’t agree. Mayors agree, and the public agrees, but Congress just hasn’t had the courage to act.”

Matthews opened the brief discussion focusing on recent gun violence in Chicago, where six people, including a 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy, were killed and another 28 wounded on Thursday alone.

But despite strong public support, he said, lawmakers were unable to pass legislation to impose more controls on firearms. Matthews noted to Rawlings-Blake that both her city and his own hometown of Philadelphia joined Chicago in suffering from gun violence.

“It seems to be irrelevant who the mayor is,” Matthews said. “I hate to say this. It seems to be something that’s going on: too many guns in the wrong hands, too many people in the wrong situations.”

He did point to a Pew Research Center study from May 2012 showing that support skewing more heavily in urban areas, where 58 percent of respondents said they supported gun ownership regulation more, compared to 37 percent of rural respondents. Conversely, the study showed 60 percent of rural respondents were in favor of “supporting gun rights” as opposed to 40 percent of those in urban areas.

“When you dig into the numbers you find a pronounced split down — this doesn’t surprise me — between people who live out in the country, out in the rural areas, and people that live in the big cities especially,” Matthews said.

Watch Matthews’ discussion with the mayor, aired Friday on MSNBC, below:

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