Guns Down America’s Igor Volsky explains why we have so many mass killings in the US: “It’s a combination of hate, easy access to firearms equals tragedy” Special Programs Guns & Public Safety Written by Media Matters Staff Published 08/05/19 12:56 PM EDT Video file Citation From the August 5 edition of MSNBC's MSNBC Live: STEPHANIE RUHLE (HOST): If you had to pinpoint it, what is the problem? Too much guns, too much hate, both? IGOR VOLSKY (GUNS DOWN): It’s a combination of hate, easy access to firearms equals tragedy. That’s the problem and the fact that we have more guns in America than anywhere else in the world and they are so easy to get is the reason we're seeing these deaths. RUHLE: Well this morning the New York Post, a paper that is owned by the Murdochs, very often leads right, leads with a ban on all assault weapons. I mean, that would be massive. But we are seeing possibly a sign from the president where he tweeted, Democrats and Republicans must come together and get a strong background check. Do you think we could see either of these? VOSKY: He then goes on to say, if it's paired with immigration reform. Which I'm reading as, so he's hijacking a measure that's supported by 97% of Americans, using it as a bargaining chip to continue to put forward the kind of racist policies that the El Paso shooter was propagating through his actions. That's incredibly disgusting. And I think, Stephanie, that our Senate champions, the senators who support background checks, who support gun reform, have to get back to D.C., have to use the proforma session tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. In the senate, to try and force a conversation on passing the House passed background check bill that came to the senate about 158 days ago. The senate has done nothing on it. Where are our champions fighting? Showing us that they could fight. Showing a clear contrast between lawmakers who are actually going to do something to disarm terrorists and those who are still on vacation. ... RUHLE: These tragedies that happened over the weekend, I cannot imagine the NRA would ever want something like this to happen. Why wouldn't the NRA say, you know what? Background checks would make us safer. Wouldn't that give the NRA so much more support outside their core base? VOLSKY: They've spent their entire existence telling people that even the smallest piece of gun reform is going to lead to confiscation. For two reasons. One, they want to keep the market open to help the gun industry sell more guns and, two, they want to increase their revenues and their dues and continue to buy really Wayne Lapierre expensive suits I guess. They're not concerned about keeping us safe. That much is clear. RUHLE: Wayne Lapierre and his suits don't matter to big business. We know the government is powerful but business is as well. Tom Brokaw said it earlier. Walmart is America. VOLSKY: Yes. RUHLE: Walmart is the largest employer in the United States. One of the largest sellers of assault style weapons. Could we see big business take action after the shooting? In parkland we saw Dick’s Sporting Goods say, we are not going to sell these type of weapons anymore. We know it hurt their bottom line. But they stood by it. VOLSKY: Listen, Walmart has such an important role to play here. And I think they can do three different things. One, I think they can announce we're going to stop selling guns until we raise the standard of gun ownership in America. RUHLE: Well they have raised the age. VOLSKY: The age to 21. Two, they can say we're going to stop giving dollars to lawmakers who are backed by the NRA. That's going to be massive. And, three, we're going to start investing in the communities that we serve and we're going to start funding gun buybacks to get some of those guns off the street. Walmart is such a major player. They are so large that if they really decided to lean into this issue, we could see some real change. We should all call on Walmart to do that.