Nadler: ‘The State Ought to Have a Monopoly on Legitimate Violence’

Elizabeth Harrington | December 21, 2012 | 4:08pm EST
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Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) (AP)

( – Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said only the federal government should have “high-capacity” gun magazines and that the “state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence.”

At a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday,  Nadler gathered with other House Democrats to push for stricter gun control in the wake of last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 26 dead, including 20 children.

The lawmaker told that he not only supports prohibiting the future sale of 10-round gun magazines, but he would like to confiscate high-capacity clips already legally possessed by American citizens.

After the event, asked Nadler if the shooting massacre at the Ft. Hood military base in 2009 would have been prevented by the legislation he supports.  On Nov. 5, 2009 Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, used an FN Five-Seven semi-automatic handgun, which can hold 11 to 31 rounds, to unload on the military base after reportedly shouting "Allahu Akbar," or “God is Great” in Arabic.

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. asked: “Would banning high-capacity clips at Ft. Hood have prevented Maj. Nidal Hasan from killing 13 people and wounding 29 others?”

“I don’t know.  It might have,” Nadler said.  “Certainly, it was on a military base and he may or may not have had authority to use military weapons. I don’t know whether he did or not.”

“But the point of all this is not that we can prevent every single murder, [or] we can prevent every single even mass murder, but we can reduce it greatly,” he said.  “You know, no one would say we shouldn’t use penicillin because some people still die of infections, but a lot fewer do because we have penicillin and other wonder drugs.”

Nadler continued:  “Now, the fact of the matter is that Germany has 150 or so people killed a year with guns; Canada, 170; the United States 9,000 to 10,000 a year.  We have a murder rate with guns that are 15 to 20 times higher than any other industrialized country.  There’s only one explanation and that’s the availability, the easy availability of assault weapons and of high-capacity clips.”

“Now, last Friday we lost 20 children and six adults murdered in a Connecticut school,” he said.  “Last Friday a madman attacked a school in China, an elementary school in China.  Twenty-two kids were injured, but none killed because he had a knife, not an assault rifle.  That’s the difference.” then asked, “But if a bill was brought up and passed to ban high-capacity clips would the military still be allowed to use them?”

“Of course, the military would be allowed to use them,” Nadler said.

“So only the government would be allowed to have high-capacity clips?” asked.


AR-15 rifle and bullet magazine clips. (AP)

“Well, I think the legislation doesn’t ban existing ones but -- although I would like to do that, too,” he said.  “But I think the legislation we’re talking about would prohibit the sale and probably manufacturer sale of high-capacity clips in the future, not those that are in private possession today.”

“But let me say, yes,” Nadler added.  “One of the definitions of a nation state is that the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence.  And the state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence.”

“If the premise of your question is that people are going to resist a tyrannical government by shooting machine guns at American troops, that’s insane,” he said.

Since Sandy Hook, President Barack Obama and many Democrats are urging action to address more gun control.  Obama has said he will use “whatever power” his office holds to prevent mass shootings in the future.  At the prayer vigil for the Sandy Hook shooting on Sunday, Obama mentioned the shootings in Aurora, Co., Oak Creek, Wis., and Tuscon, Ariz., but he did not mention Ft. Hood.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Nadler, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other Democrats advocated for a bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)  that would ban magazines for more than 10 rounds of ammunition.  The bill would also prohibit the transfer, possession or importation of those magazines that are manufactured after the date of the law being signed.

Following last week’s shooting, Nadler called the National Rifle Association (NRA) “enablers of mass murder.”

“We have a lobby, the leadership of the NRA, who function as enablers of mass murder,” Nadler told CNN Host Piers Morgan.  “And that's what they are. They're enablers of mass murder because they terrify the class of political people. And even though polling shows that most NRA members would support reasonable gun controls, every time someone proposes it, they come in.”

“They lie. They say they will take your guns away,” he said.  “And they stop any kind of legislation to prevent that.”

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