Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway talks about the steps President Trump will take to address mass shootings and violence and what he will willing to do to "keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people" in an interview with FNC's Martha MacCallum.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Here now exclusively tonight, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president.
Kellyanne, when I hear those people shouting do something, it goes right through me. I mean, I think every American tonight wants to figure out how to make this stop.
This is so unusual. This doesn’t happen in other countries, what’s happening in America. And we heard what the president said today -- all things I think that, you know, everybody thinks are steps in the right direction.
But when it comes to do something, what action is the president prepared to take specifically?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, thanks for having me, Martha.
I think the president laid out some concrete proposals today. Some of them -- many of them require bipartisan, bicameral support by the Congress on Capitol Hill. You just can’t get around the fact that we need legislation.
I think, in a positive way, I can refer back to the Fix NICS Act of 2018. The president signed it into law, clearly a bipartisan measure. That fixed -- I think that really strengthened the background check system for criminals, and also allowed more data sharing among state governments and federal law enforcement officers.
Also ending the bump stocks was critical, following the Las Vegas shooting, where the authorities have never come up with a motive for that shoot (ph) -- I believe over 50 people, innocent lives were taken there.
So the president stands ready to act. And I think today it was important for the president to speak, too, on behalf of a grieving nation that’s in shock, but also to offer anger and sympathy and condolences. And to point out that he’s directing his FBI and the Department of Justice to continue its work against domestic terrorism, against White Supremacy --
CONWAY: Christopher Wray, the FBI Director, testified on July 23rd about this very issue. And he laid out in detail what the FBI is doing to combat domestic terrorism and White Supremacy and other race and hate based crimes --
MACCALLUM: But Kellyanne, I’ve got to jump in because--
CONWAY: -- attention because it was the night before Bob Mueller --
MACCALLUM: And I think a lot of people look at, for example, you know, the bump stock move as a step in the right direction. But we’ve seen an acceleration in these. We have them happening, you know, by one count I heard today, 250 mass shootings in the course of this year.
We haven’t even had 250 days in the course of this -- you know, and people can quibble (ph) with you know, how those numbers were put together. But it’s just unbelievable.
You know, when I go back, I cover these stories every day. And it’s hard to remember oh wait, which one was that?
I mean, when you start getting confused about the number of shootings, I think people look to the president of the United States. And they want to see his heart on this. And they want to see his action on this.
And it is difficult.
It’s a vexing question. But you have the “New York Post” today, a very -- you know, their editorial page, a conservative page, which came out today and said, President Trump, you are positioned to assuage the fear. On gun control, you are a pragmatic centrist, someone who knows there’s a vast majority of Americans who are not to be extreme left or right on this issue. They just want the killings to stop.
What do you say to that?
CONWAY: So this -- I would say that those are very powerful words and this president is finding ways to enhance checks on criminals. And just today talked about the Red Flag Legislation that, again, bipartisan fashion -- Senator Lindsay Graham and Dick Blumenthal, Connecticut -- Democratic Connecticut -- are coming together.
The president also today spoke with Senators Toomey and Manchin about their background check legislation. He’s willing to do things that keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people, without abrogating the rights of citizens to have these --
MACCALLUM: I heard that – go ahead. I have a question for you.
CONWAY: -- in Dayton, Ohio --
-- this is a very important. In Dayton, Ohio, that killer, that monster who killed his own sister and is now dead. He -- in high school, he had a kill list and a rape list. People knew this.
You know, see something, say something. Doesn’t --
CONWAY: -- people. That was years ago. And it was not --
CONWAY: -- in his background check, probably because of the HIPAA law --
MACCALLUM: So how does someone like that get a gun legally?
CONWAY: He got it legally because this wasn’t in his background check, probably because of the HIPAA law which protects, you know, the privacy of folks.
But I know firsthand, there are crisis exceptions to the HIPAA law that -- for other reasons. So when our local law enforcement can’t get that information when somebody’s applying for a firearm -- he got that legally because the rape and kill list that had existed in high school -- where the school was actually shut down --
MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this. Because I heard the mayor of Dayton, who has been very articulate and you know, I think has handled this as well as anybody could, over the weekend.
She said she spoke with the president on the phone. She said she shared with him her belief that we needed to reenact the Assault Weapons Ban. And I know, you know, the definition of assault weapons is something that needs to be refined, as they say in this “New York Post” piece.
What did the president say to her?
And he said he was open to hearing anything that would work today. Is he open to --
CONWAY: He’s listening.
MACCALLUM: -- having a discussion on the assault ban, on banning assault weapons?
CONWAY: Well, he’s listening to all the people, right, left and center. And he will be in Dayton. He will be in El Paso in just a few short days. The quickest that he can get there, given all the security measures that attend to a president’s schedule.
And the fact is -- the president’s movements, I should say.
So he’s listening.
But also you know, people always say, do something. Do something. And then, you know what? Congress does absolutely nothing most times.
And I think that’s why people are so upset, Martha. We can’t just lay blame.
I think the president today showed shock, sympathy, grief and anger, but also resolve in action. And he’s putting himself forward there, standing ready to sign bicameral, bipartisan legislation that actually fixes the right problems.
He also put out there about mental health, Internet radicalization.
There’s so much going on. There’s no single solution, because there’s no single cause. And we have to keep our eyes open.
MACCALLUM: Well, it’s going to be interesting to see if that -- you know, conversation on the Assault Weapons Ban comes up when he’s in Dayton.
And you know, he said he’s open to all options. And so we’ll see if that’s something that he’s open to, as well.
Kellyanne Conway, thank you very much.