I'm not sure what poll Grover Norquist is talking about here, but I am sure there's no way to magically turn the NRA's 4.3 million members into 20 percent of the population of the United States, which is over 300 million. But that's exactly what he did on ABC's This Week in response to The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel pointing out that the NRA isn't even representing the interest of their members, but the gun manufacturers instead.
There have been recent polls taken like this one, which reported that of those surveyed, 22 percent said they owned gun and about 7 percent said they belonged to the NRA, which is still a lot higher than the number the NRA itself claims to have as members. I guess it's not surprising that Norquist would like to overstate their influence since he's one of their board members.
VANDEN HEUVEL: This is the importance, the NRA is built on myths at this point in many ways. The NRA has 4 million members. It is essentially a lobby for gun manufacturers, not for its members, the majority of them, according to a poll commissioned by Frank Luntz, Republican pollster, do not agree with the NRA's positions on background checks, on ban on assault weapons. I think that's very important, because the NRA's myth has put us in a stranglehold in this country.
The other thing I'd say is I respect the noble sentiments about the need to treat mental illness, the need to deal with the video games in our culture, but other western industrialized countries have mental illness problems, have video culture. Japan is at the cutting edge. They don't allow access to military assault-style -- this is not about freedom, this is about tyranny and destruction.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The thing is, it's about all of this, this is what frustrates me...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ...I mean, you can't say it's got to be about one thing and not the other it's go to be about...
VANDEN HEUVEL: The mental illness argument has been used to evade action. More guns and bullets, more dead children. We must, must regulate guns. And I do think it's a tipping point moment, not just The Daily News and The New York Post, but you're seeing pro-NRA senators like Senator Manchin, Senator Warner, Governor Hickenlooper in Colorado, others saying we must move, speed is of the essence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I agree with that. And I think we're just saying that Senator Manchin did say we have to consider everything comprehensively. We should give Grover a chance to respond to some of this now.
NORQUIST: I think -- look, the National Rifle Association represents a great number of Americans and 20 percent will tell you in polls that they belong to the NRA. And so one, there's a very important issue, one is we should support the First Amendment as well as the Second Amendment. I'm not quite sure -- some people's suggestions of censorship there worry me.
But look, one, we have got to calm down and not take tragedies like this, crimes like this, and use them for political purposes. President Obama has been president for four years. If he thought that some gun control would solve this problem he should have been pushing it four years ago. He didn't.
Democrats had a majority in the House and a super majority in the House and the Senate for the first two years that they were in office. If they thought that this was really an important issue, they might have done something then. They didn't. So what they're now doing is politicizing a tragedy rather than trying to do something that might...