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Transcript: Sen. Sherrod Brown on "Face the Nation," August 4, 2019

Brown calls for assault weapons ban
Sherrod Brown urges lawmakers to break from gun lobby following mass shootings 05:34

The following is a transcript of the interview with Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio that aired Sunday, August 4, 2019, on "Face the Nation."

MAJOR GARRETT: We turn now to Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. He is in Cleveland, but will soon be making his way to Dayton. Senator Brown, good morning. I want to ask you--


MAJOR GARRETT: --the authorities will tell us more about what happened overnight in Dayton, but I want to ask you: do you believe this is a moment in American history that we are at- or should be at a turning point on this question of mass shootings and what to do about them?

SEN. BROWN: Of course it is. I- I spoke to the mayor- to Mayor Whaley, the mayor of this great Ohio city of Dayton earlier this morning, and she said she had gotten text messages and emails and calls from, she said dozens and dozens of fellow mayors around the country, all of whom have gone through this. And you know we wake up to- to grief and sadness about these- these- these victims and these families. But, it pretty quickly turns to anger that our- that our government hasn't done anything and I- Mitch McConnell should bring us back into session on Monday. The House of Representatives has passed a background check. We can fly back into Washington on Monday morning. We could pass the background check bill and people can fly back and be home for dinner. And the president needs to sign this bill. We know what to do. We know that background checks worked. We know that- that a ban on assault weapons worked. It was bipartisan it expired and we haven't renewed it. Those are the first two things we should do and in that sense it- it could finally put the country on the right path on gun violence.

MAJOR GARRETT: Some of your Republican colleagues this morning- Lindsey Graham in the Senate from South Carolina, Fred Upton Republican from Michigan in the House, have said that they now are in favor of so-called 'red flag laws' that states use to briefly detain someone who they believe- or reasonably believe that the due process applied present a threat to the community for mental health issues. Are red flag laws in your opinion also part of this equation?

SEN. BROWN: Well I- I- I wouldn't start with that. I mean of course- of course people who have stood with the NRA in their careers will start, though, deflecting to something else. But we know that background checks work. We know that the ban on assault weapon- weapons worked. Yet we saw President Bush support the background- you know, think about this. I mean we've had- look at look at President Obama's response to Sandy Hook in Charleston. Look at President Bush's response after 9/11 where he went to a mosque and he said "Muslims didn't attack the United States, terrorists attacked the United States," and- and members of Congress need to go back to works in the Senate- go back to work tomorrow, pass the assault weapon ban that the House is passed. Get it to the president's desk. Make sure the president signs it. Then we figure other things out, but that's where we start tomorrow and do it quickly and show the country- show the country for gosh sakes that- that the- that the people representing them in Washington don't always kowtow to the gun lobby.

MAJOR GARRETT: Senator I know that's your point of view, that's what you're advocating for. You have a cell phone like everyone else in America. Are you getting any traffic on your cell phone from the Democratic leadership, or anyone else in Washington, suggesting to you what you just said is in fact likely to occur?

SEN. BROWN:  I am not hearing from any of my colleagues yet. I called the mayor this morning- I told you the mayor of Dayton. I- I you know I- I don't know. I don't know if the gun lobby- the gun lobby seems awfully strong. I mean I've been- I've had a lifetime "F" from the NRA in a state that elects a lot of people that support the NRA and that the NRA supports. But I know you can win elections, you can stand up against the gun lobby and win elections. I- but that aside, when is Mitch McConnell, when is the Republican leadership in the Senate going to actually bring this to a vote? The House of Representatives passed it- bipartisan. It's a bipartisan bill in the house. When is the Senate actually going to do it and tomorrow is the perfect day. I know that the Senate adjourned for August a couple of days ago, but bring us back have us do our job. Put this on the floor we know it works. We know it's only- it may only be a first step, but we know it works and there's just simply no reason that Mitch McConnell won't do that except for the gun lobby.

MAJOR GARRETT: Briefly Senator, you know that some on the pro-gun rights side of this ledger would say those things you outlined wouldn't stop every one of these, wouldn't stop maybe even most of them.Your response?

SEN. BROWN: Well they're not going to stop every one of those nobody's ever contended they will. But again, I say that background check- checks works. We know that. And the assault on the- the- the ban of assault weapons. I mean this- this- this young man that killed nine people before the police killed him and injured, I believe, more than two dozen did that in the space- the mayor told me did that in fewer than 30 seconds. That says two things. It says the police in Dayton are terrific that they responded that quick and saved- it says three things the police were terrific. That saved- second thing that saved hundreds of lives and third, he had enough- he had enough ammunition to kill potentially 100 or 200 people. And that's why you ban the assault weapon. And it worked when we banned it before it didn't stop every mass shooting, it didn't stop every murder, but a lot of people are alive today because we've had background checks in some places and a lot of people are alive today because we had an assault ban for- for I believe ten years in the--


SEN. BROWN: United States of America.

MAJOR GARRETT: Senator Brown, Ohio Democrat. Thank you very much for being with us. And we'll be right back.

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