Congresswomen Eddie Bernice Johnson Transcription

Along with my managing editor last year, we interviewed Eddie Bernice Johnson to get her take on Obama's executive action and ask her about the issue of gun control in the United States.


Can you explain Obama’s executive action?

The goal is to attempt to do a background check on people who attempt to purchase guns in order to keep guns out of the hands of irresponsible people. It affects the federal agencies, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Arms and Explosives, which is called the ATF, and the FBI to close loopholes through lawmaking processes that overhauls the federal background check system.

How will this affect the safety in our country?

I think it will have a great impact because we have observed that there are people who are mentally deranged that have killed multiple innocent people without provocation. I think a number of people, including me and the President, think that if you do a background check, including on people who are not emotionally stable at the time, they should not be able to purchase a gun at that time. All kinds of murders can be prevented.

What do you think is the next step from here?

The executive action is in place. Whether or not there’s any legal action taken in attempt to nullify it or challenge it, that’s yet to be seen, but it is in place now.

What is your opinion of the open carry act recently instituted in Texas?

I disagree with the open carry act because I think it’s too broad. Open carry now can be anywhere, like churches and schools. The laws in Texas are already very broad, so I disagree with the law, especially because it has no provision for background checks.

What is the district you represent?

I represent District 30. It takes in all of Downtown, most of the city, and then it takes in Duncanville, Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Lancaster and Wilmer-Hutchins.

Have there been specific incidents in your districts that have prompted you to take a stance on gun control?

I don’t know about those kinds of specific incidents in my district, but there have been specific incidents around the country. And although I represent my district, I am also a part of the Congress, which represents the nation.

What about guns on college campuses?

I'm not sure if we’ve had a situation where there haven’t been guns on campuses, but with open carry, there is a great potential that there will be a lot more guns on campus. Texas has suffered many suicides, intentional murders, unintentional murders, so I think the proliferation of guns brings up the likeliness of lives lost.

Where do you think the root of the problem lies?

I think one of the roots of the problem is the proliferation of guns. Where there is no proliferation, there would obviously be less gun action. Secondly, I think we would need more access to mental health care, which we having a lacking for throughout the nation, but especially in the nation. When people have mental health problems, there are hardly any places, at this time, where they can go.

Why do you think the problem of gun control has proliferated so much in the U.S. instead of other parts of the world?

I think that our constitutional provision and the second amendment has been misinterpreted. The constitution speaks of a militia, which is the military, but it’s been interpreted that everybody’s a part of the military, which I think is an over-interpretation.

What should the interpretation should be?

The constitution speaks to the militia, not the individual. It speaks to the military. I don't think it’s really gun control, but it’s more gun-sensitive, so I think we can have a more safe society where there are guns.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I think that the most that I can say is that I don’t see the value of the proliferation of guns. We aren’t the wild west, and we aren’t a place without rules. I just don’t see the necessity of having handguns that widely available. I believe in people having the opportunity to hunt, and I believe in people having ownership of guns, but I do think they should be registered and background checks should be held.