Governor Huckabee's appearance before members of the NRA last week continues to draw rave reviews. From Ken Blackwell of Townhall:
The high point of the convention went to Mike Huckabee. First, he gave a speech that wowed the crowd. Afterward, on news and public affairs shows, he was just as impressive. His unbending support of the Second Amendment on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" was textbook perfect. He supported gun rights and knocked down arguments from the left that we have to ban guns to stop crime. Mr. Huckabee pushed back against Chris Matthews' anti-gun arguments, and did it with a pleasant and easygoing style. Tapes of that interview should be distributed to teach public officials how to answer questions about Second Amendment rights.Below is a transcript of that appearance on Hardball:
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about this other issue of guns. You come from a gun state. Pennsylvania—I come from a gun state. I mean, a lot of states are very pro-2nd Amendment.. Is that something you can trust Rudy Giuliani on?
HUCKABEE: One thing I have to admire about Rudy—and he was I think pretty courageous to go to the NRA because his past positions—he sued gun manufacturers. He was supportive of Brady. He was supportive of things like assault weapon bans, which really is a misnomer because it‘s really ridiculous to call a semi-automatic weapon an assault weapon. There are a lot of things that he did that angered the 2nd Amendment community.
It was courageous of him to go. I hope that he would change his positions on some of those issues and become more of the mainstream of America as it relates to the 2nd Amendment because, quite frankly, I don‘t know how a person can say I love the 1st Amendment, think we ought to have freedom of the press, freedom of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but I think we ought to go ahead and just amend the 2nd Amendment and change it.
MATTHEWS: How do we deal with guns on the streets of big cities? I grew up in Philly. They got a huge murder problem up there, kids killing the other kids. These are gang killings. What do you do when people are walking around the streets with pistols in their pockets?
HUCKABEE: The problem is not that the law-abiding citizens have firearms. That‘s what the 2nd Amendment protects.
HUCKABEE: We need to be tough on people who commit a crime with a firearm. And the NRA more than anybody...
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Once they kill people...
MATTHEWS: We are tough on people that kill people. The question is, what do you do when they‘ve got guns in their pockets before they kill people? How do you stop that unless you outlaw guns?
HUCKABEE: No, you don‘t outlaw the guns. What you do, you make sure that people aren‘t defenseless when they are approached by somebody who does have one. That‘s why many of us have concealed carry permits.
MATTHEWS: So you think in a big city like Philly or Baltimore, where they have these horrendous murder rates right now, the secret is to put more arms in the streets, to have more people carrying with right to carry so that they can protect themselves when some bad kids come down the street?
HUCKABEE: If a bad kid thinks that he‘s the only one with a gun and that he can go unchallenged, he‘s more likely to have that gun, more likely to use that gun. If he thinks that there‘s a policeman on the corner or that there‘s an armed citizen on the corner, he‘s going to be less likely to try to use that firearm in some nefarious way.
MATTHEWS: This is unbelievable! You mean you think we‘re better off with this sort of mutual destruction approach to inner-city violence?
HUCKABEE: Well, you know, Chris, I...
MATTHEWS: I mean seriously. Seriously, Governor. When you go to a big city...
HUCKABEE: ... cowboy law with everybody strapped to six-shooters.
But here‘s what I‘m talking about...
MATTHEWS: No, no, no. In big cities—I got to tell you something. They had a crime situation in Philadelphia a few months ago, where afterwards, the police stopped five cars in a row, and every one of them were unrelated to the crime, and every car had a gun in it. It‘s become a big problem in the big cities. People are all armed. And it‘s not black people or white people, it‘s everybody.
HUCKABEE: So you think the answer is to take the guns away from the law-abiding people that trying to protect themselves from these...
MATTHEWS: Well, they‘re only law-abiding until they commit the crime, and then they‘re not law-abiding. The problem is the kid who‘s...
HUCKABEE: I‘m not talking about—we‘re not talking about a crime, though, Chris. We‘re talking about a law-abiding citizen like me who wants to protect himself, or like you who wants to protect himself.
HUCKABEE: So when the thug comes up with a gun in his face, he doesn‘t just sit there and have to take whatever the kid with the gun has. That‘s what we‘re talking about in being able to protect ourselves. And the main thing is let‘s build better communities, better families and better education system so maybe these kids don‘t have guns in the first place. If we had more of them with maybe a musical instrument in their hands and we had an education system that challenged them, they might not be so quick to pick up a weapon of destruction, maybe a weapon of mass instruction.
MATTHEWS: What do we do about big cities?
And you spoke to the NRA today, and I‘m sure you spoke along these lines. And I know the point of view. My brother‘s in the NRA. I know all about it. You‘re very Second Amendment.
But what do you do in big cities where somebody shows up and sells guns for 25, 30 bucks a piece, handguns, cheap guns that kids grab because they can buy them cheap, and start using them in holdups or using them in gang warfare? How do you stop that? Because that is the nature of killing in big cities now.
HUCKABEE: Well, I think—you mean, like some pawnshop or just on the street or...
MATTHEWS: No. They‘re selling them on street corners.
MATTHEWS: I mean, it‘s not hard to get a gun in a big city. How do you do it? How do you deal with it?
HUCKABEE: Well, the answer is—is once again to make sure that, when people use a gun in the commission of a crime, that we have the harshest kind of penalties for it. And, if you supply a gun to a person who has a criminal background, then the harshest penalty needs to go to you, too.
HUCKABEE: But why should you punish the law-abiding people?
MATTHEWS: So, you‘re a Second Amendment guy all the way.
HUCKABEE: No, no, I‘m just—I‘m just telling you, there‘s no reason to punish law-abiding people and to take away their Second Amendment rights because somebody‘s abusing it.
HUCKABEE: You shouldn‘t take my free speech rights away because somebody like MoveOn.org is irresponsible with theirs.
HUCKABEE: I‘m not even wanting to take theirs away.
But you don‘t punish the good people for what the bad people are doing. And that‘s the basic premise, I think, that we argue.
MATTHEWS: Well, I‘m—I‘m with you. I think we got to go a little -
I think we got to be a little more aggressive, Governor. It‘s not my job to say so, but, if I see a kid walking down the street with anything like a bulge in his pocket, I consider that probable cause. And I wouldn‘t mind stopping and checking that out. I think we ought to be checking out guns on the streets, because it has become a horrendous problem in our big...
HUCKABEE: I just hope, if somebody holds you up on the street, though, Chris, you have something more than your good intentions to combat it with, because that‘s not going to be enough if the kid puts the gun in your face.
MATTHEWS: OK. You—you are definitely a country boy. In big cities, you cannot take the attitude that everybody carries a gun to solve their problems. It won‘t work.
Can you imagine the New York City subways with everybody armed? How would you like to be in that—in that rush hour? I mean...
HUCKABEE: No, it‘s not everybody. Chris, it doesn‘t—the beauty of it is, it doesn‘t have to be everybody. It just has to be that the criminal knows that he‘s not the only armed person on the street.
MATTHEWS: I know—I know the argument of right to carry. I know.
And it won‘t work in big cities, because there would be too many guns.
Anyway, thank you, Governor. You‘re very consistent.
HUCKABEE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It‘s probably exactly what you said to the NRA today.
Governor Huckabee, everybody likes you. I think you‘re OK.
HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris.