Gun Control Not, Apparently, a Priority for Attorney General

By Beacon Staff

Watch CBS Videos Online

Bloggers at POLITICO and The Atlantic are taking note of an interview Attorney General Eric Holder conducted with Katie Couric where he demonstrated relatively little interest in pursuing the assault weapons ban or closing the so-called “gun show” loophole. Ben Smith notes that 65 Congressional Democrats recently sent a letter urging Holder to pursue other priorities, while Couric questions Holder on whether Democrats have grown increasingly cozy with the National Rifle Association.

Transcript from the Couric Interview, <a href="http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/04/holder_deferential_on_guns_cautious_on_detainees.php" title="Marc Ambinder at the The Atlantic”>via Marc Ambinder at the The Atlantic:

KATIE COURIC: What about reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole? Do you think that will stop the flow of weapons to the U.S?

ERIC HOLDER: Well, I think the thing we need to do is come up with those things we can do right away. And we’re gonna be moving 100 ATF agents to the border. About 26 DEA agents to the border. And that will happen over the next 30 days or so. And I think that will have a pretty dramatic impact on reducing the flow of weapons into Mexico.

(TRACK) But the guns being purchased and used in the US has also become front and center, given that a recent series of mass shootings from southern Alabama sound up to upstate New York have killed 57 people. While The Attorney General said he supported reinstating the assault weapons ban during his confirmation hearing, he’s been silent on the subject since.

KATIE COURIC: Did someone tell you to back off?

ERIC HOLDER: No one’s told me to back off. I understand the second amendment. I respect the second amendment.

KATIE COURIC: It’s been reported that democrats on capital hill are getting increasingly chummy with the NRA and receiving more campaign contributions from that organization than in previous years. And nobody wants to get the NRA riled up. Has this become political at all?

ERIC HOLDER: No, I don’t think it has. In fact, I look forward to working with the NRA to come up with ways in which we can use common sense approaches to reduce the level of violence that we see…in our streets and make the American people as safe as they can possibly be.

KATIE COURIC: What about gun shows? In over 30 states, people can simply walk into gun shows and buy a gun, sometimes, from unlicensed dealers without a background check. Would you support closing the gun show loophole?

ERIC HOLDER: Well, again, these are issues that we’ll have to discuss. The president will be the one who will ultimately set policy. Things that are politically saleable and things that will ultimately be effective.

KATIE COURIC: Does the closing the gun show loophole fall into those categories?

ERIC HOLDER: Well, that’ll be one of the things I’ll talk about with the president.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.