MSNBC’s 'NewsNation' Uses Chicago Gang Violence To Again Push For Gun Control

There was another horrific gang-related shooting last night in Chicago, the gun control capital of the United States. Despite that city’s already-strict limits on firearms, MSNBC’s News Nation used the tragedy to push yet again for gun control.

It’s not as if they didn’t understand the nature of the shooting. Anchor Tamron Hall played a clip in which Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy declared, “Illegal guns. Illegal guns. Illegal guns drive violence.”


Correspondent Kevin Tibbles, who was reporting from Chicago, exposed the futility of trying to keep guns away from criminals: “These guns are illegal. They’re coming into this area from other parts of the country. They’re often purchased illegally, or they’re purchased legally and then sold on down the line. And soon enough they get into the hands of the wrong people in neighborhoods like this and those people are the gangs.”

But Tibbles may not have been trying to highlight the limits of gun control, because he concluded his spiel with an anti-gun push that must have made his bosses proud: “There are social problems that have to be addressed. We always talk about those. There are education problems that have to be addressed. We always talk about those. But there is the gun issue here, and the gun issue came to this neighborhood last night, Tamron.”

In fact, MSNBC always talks about the gun issue, much more than they talk about social or educational problems. It’s become a tired refrain, considering that stricter gun control would have done little to prevent most of these recent mass shootings.

Hall then brought in Joy McCormack and Nate Pendleton, two parents who each lost a child to gun violence. They were there, of course, to push for gun control. McCormack called for some familiar gun control measures: “And what I think the next step is, is that we need Congress to act. We need universal background checks. We need to make sure that guns that are ending up on our streets through illegal transfers that aren't being reported, that aren't requiring background checks, we need to close the loopholes on our gun legislation to keep the guns off the streets.”

Pendleton also called on Congress to act: “Well, to me, I think the biggest tragedy especially after my daughter's passing was that Congress had an opportunity to put in place common law – I mean, common sense gun laws. And the thing is they haven't. They haven't made a move. I believe that they are failing us. We need common sense gun laws. We need universal background checks.”

It's the same old script from the Lean Forward network.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

TAMRON HALL: The News Nation is following sadness, anger, and frustration in Chicago today after another night of shocking violence, including a mass shooting on the city's south side that left 13 people injured, including a 3-year-old boy.

GARY MCCARTHY, Chicago Police Superintendent: Illegal guns. Illegal guns. Illegal guns drive violence. And military type weapons, like the one we believe to have been been used in this shooting, belong on a battlefield, not on a street or on a corner or in a park in the back of the yards.

HALL: Police believe the shooting at a park was likely gang-related and was carried out, as you heard there, using an assault weapon with a high capacity magazine. It was one of 11 shootings in the span of only 12 hours. In all two dozen people were shot. The youngest of the victims, 3-year-old Deonte Howard. His family said he was shot near his face.

WOMAN: This right here got me standing out. I’m on my corner every day until the violence stop because it has to stop.

HALL: Chicago's mayor Rahm Emanuel traveled back to the city from a fundraising event and released a statement saying, in part, ‘Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all we stand for. The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.’ NBC’s Kevin Tibbles is in Chicago and he joins me now. Kevin, I want to talk a bit more about the police response to this because, as you well know, I lived there for ten years and I think a lot of people are wondering, why can't the police somehow get an upper hand, particularly in those areas plagued by gang violence?

KEVIN TIBBLES: Tamron, first I want to paint you a picture. Tom, just spread around here. Where am I standing? This sort of situation exists in every community in the nation. It is a playground. There are a couple of kids out here this afternoon with their mom enjoying the late fall weather, enjoying the playground and safety of the playground. Tamron, this is where last night 13 people were shot including that 3-year-old boy. In a place like this. The message that is sent from this sort of jungle gym atmosphere with the swings and everything else, the basketball courts, the message is it's a safe place to come and play. Well, in many parts of Chicago, south side, southwest side, that clearly isn't the case and that's what the police are so upset about. Because he's absolutely right. The guns being used on the streets here belong on the battlefield. That’s what Gary McCarthy said and that is what many of the citizens who live in these neighborhoods are also saying, these guns are illegal. They’re coming into this area from other parts of the country. They’re often purchased illegally, or they’re purchased legally and then sold on down the line. And soon enough they get into the hands of the wrong people in neighborhoods like this and those people are the gangs. You know, the school system here has already got a safe passage program in place to help kids get from school and home and back again without getting shot. That's the situation that exists in neighborhoods like this. Neighborhoods where kids can't even go to school safely without fear of getting shot. And now as we saw last night, they can't even go over and shoot some hoops or hang out in the playset without fear of being shot by the gangs. The gang problem is a huge problem here. The police have put a lot of resources into these neighborhoods. They’ve got a lot more men and women on foot patrolling these neighborhoods. They have seized more guns than New York and Los Angeles combined but Tamron, as we saw and as we found out last night, there is still a long way to go. There are social problems that have to be addressed. We always talk about those. There are education problems that have to be addressed. We always talk about those. But there is the gun issue here, and the gun issue came to this neighborhood last night, Tamron.



HALL: All right, Kevin Tibbles, another tragic story out of Chicago. Joining me now, Joy McCormack from Chicago’s Citizens for Change, whose son was killed by gun violence and Nate Pendleton. His daughter Hadiya was shot and killed just days after she marched in the president’s inauguration parade. Thank you both for joining me. Joy, I'll start off with you here. I just asked Kevin Tibbles, I lived there for ten years and you have people who wonder naturally, what are police doing, what are the neighborhood watches doing? I watched people by the hundreds literally walk down the south side of Chicago demanding that people act and turn in folks. What is the next step here?

JOY MCCORMACK: Well, in my opinion, I mean, I think that Chicago police are doing what they can do and I think communities are trying to fight back. We're all fighting back. My organization is an organization that responds to families in the aftermath of violence. And unfortunately, we have over 100 families in our network who have lost children to violence in this city. And what I think the next step is, is that we need Congress to act. We need universal background checks. We need to make sure that guns that are ending up on our streets through illegal transfers that aren't being reported, that aren't requiring background checks, we need to close the loopholes on our gun legislation to keep the guns off the streets. Because although it is happening statistically more often in certain neighborhoods of Chicago, this is an issue that is affecting families across the city and our community of survivors demonstrates that.

HALL: But we heard, Joy, so many people say after Newtown that things would change and we saw what happened with the legislation that was proposed. Even when it came to background checks, no support from the NRA and members of Congress. How do you keep hope, if you will, for lack of a better word, that Congress will move in the direction that you would like to see, and so many other families who know the realities of this gun violence. Your son, you lost your child to this.

MCCORMACK: You know what, I did and my son at the time was 21 years old. He was a senior in college at DePaul University. He had his whole life ahead of him and he had a bright future. He was nominated to intern at the White House. He was to receive an award from Governor Pat Quinn on the day he actually was buried. And so I know too well the pain that families across this city and across this nation are suffering. And it's not really a sense of hope. It's a passion. It's the knowledge that over 74 percent of NRA members support universal background checks. So it's not that the NRA members don't support what we're saying. It's not that the nation doesn't support what we were saying. Myself, Nate Pendleton, and other parents in Chicago and across the nation were in Washington on Capitol Hill just earlier this week demanding that Congress take action, the action that they promised after Newtown. We want to see the results.

HALL: Nate, let me bring you in. While I think many people won't know Joy’s son's name on a national platform and we're happy her voice is included now in this conversation on our show, so many know Hadiya’s name, her story, they know that your family has met with the first lady, the president. I woke up this morning like a lot of people and you hear this story out of Chicago and you think, how could this be happening again? What are your thoughts now knowing that legislation has been voted down and there seems to be a sad stall, at least even in background checks?

NATE PENDLETON: Well, to me, I think the biggest tragedy especially after my daughter's passing was that Congress had an opportunity to put in place common law – I mean, common sense gun laws. And the thing is they haven't. They haven't made a move. I believe that they are failing us. We need common sense gun laws. We need universal background checks. These guns are falling into the wrong hands because you have straw purchases, you have a lot of people that is given these guns to people that do need need to have them. There’s people out here – I just came back from Washington and we were with some of the survivors of Newtown, Moms Demand Action, and we were definitely lobbying to, you know, for some of these congressmen to support us in our efforts and, you know, to stand for something. Stand for something or fall for nothing – or fall for anything.
 

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.