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Connie Schultz: 'The People Who Should Be Afraid Are These Republicans'

"They've counted on making us afraid," Schultz said of the politicians who refuse to do anything about gun control despite overwhelming support for them.
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Rachel Maddow had Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz on last night for a lengthy interview about the mass shooting in Ohio, and this is just part:

"I just also wanted to ask you substantively what you think of that list of proposals that Governor DeWine put out and that some of the Republican members of Congress from your state are now potentially signaling support for?" Maddow asked.

"Well, the first law that Mike DeWine signed as governor was to supposedly fix a law that had limited the length of some guns. He wanted to improve that for gun owners, right? Two years ago they started allowing guns in daycares unless daycare centers put up signs prohibiting it. That's a very helpful law, as you can see. So my point is here the Senate and House leaderships are overwhelmingly Republican, both bodies, and the leadership has made clear already that they are -- they're very much in opposition of what Mike -- most of what Mike DeWine is arguing for. Even though a Quinnipiac poll showed, I think in July, that 90% of Ohioans, this is a nonpartisan issue, 90% of Ohioans want universal background checks," she said.

(Maddow previously showed a clip of a Dayton observance where Gov. DeWine's speech was interrupted by a chant of "Do something!")

"The thing about that shouting crowd, and I do give Mike DeWine credit for paying attention, that also was a nonpartisan event, Rachel," she said.

"That was a town of grieving residents who were there to show support for the victims, the people who died, the people who have been injured, the people who love them and cannot even believe yet that they have lost these people. So that was not your typical -- it feels very midwestern in a way. There wasn't a lot of chanting swear words. They weren't calling him names. They were telling him to do something. When you look at the video of that, you see people of all different ages doing that. It was quite moving."

"When you talk about that sort of a tableau, and also those poll numbers, even if you only poll gun owners, you will find numbers like that in terms of support for universal background checks. How do you envision this changing, just thinking about this in an optimistic way. Just thinking on that issue of universal background checks, does it take, I mean, sort of tactical trickery, you know? Does it take some way of doing it where the people who are going to oppose it don't have access to stop or or is it going to take some catalytic act of bravery? Does tragedy help in terms of moving people off the starting line there? Can you imagine it happening?" Maddow asked.

"I think what these tragedies, multiple tragedies, plural, are doing is making a different group of people scared. And a different group of people emboldened," Schultz said.

"The gun lobby, you know, I've been dealing with the gun activists for almost 20 years as a columnist here. Some of my first death threats came from open carry people that were so angry, at the Plain Dealer we started publishing the names and addresses of people getting permits because the state legislature passed a law saying only journalists and law enforcement could find out if your neighbor had a gun in the house, was walking around your children with guns. So this has been a long battle.

"They've counted on making us afraid, and what I am seeing increasingly -- look, leadership is lonely. You know that. In your own way, you're a leader. It's a lonely hill to stand on often. That's why it's leadership -- because not everyone can do it. The thing is, we need to see more of our citizens who never imagined themselves doing this. I think of mothers, for example, immediately come to mind who have had it, and grandmothers. My generation of women, we are really starting to look at this in a different way.

"I hear from them every day. That is not an overstatement. And they're deciding, you know, it sounds cliche, what answer will I have, right, for the children in my life, for my family? But if you really do ask yourself that question and you look where we are in this country right now, the wrong people have been afraid.

"The people who should be afraid are these Republicans who think they can keep doing what they're doing, even if 90% of Ohioans don't support them."

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