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MSNBC's O'Donnell Slams 'Merchants of Death' Who 'Buy Their Political Protection from the NRA'

On Monday's the Last Word show, in its new 8:00 p.m. EST time slot, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell referred to the manufacturers of high-capacity magazines as "merchants of death" who purchase "their political protection from the NRA." As he continued his push for a ban on magazines with 30 bullets in light of the Tucson shootings, O'Donnell dismissed a statement from the NRA which argued that such magazines are useful in self-defense, and went on to make his latest attack on the manufacturers:

So the merchants of death are buying their political protection from the NRA and leave us to stare at our children and wonder: Who among them will be the next nine-year-old their high-capacity magazines unload on? The next Christina Taylor Green.

He went on to plead with President Obama to talk about gun control in the State of the Union Address, or otherwise "become part of the problem." O'Donnell:

If the President follows Republican and Democratic tradition tomorrow night and says not a word about gun and ammunition control, if he does not use this moment of his increasing popularity, if he does not believe he has the communication skills to convey the necessity to control the capacity of automatic weapons, then I, for one, will become disappointed in him for the first time. And he will become part of the problem.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of MSNBC's the Last Word from Monday, January 24:

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Time for tonight's "Rewrite." On the eve of President Obama's State of the Union Address, he is facing mounting pressure to grab onto one this nation's political third rails in tomorrow's speech - gun control. In those first days after the Tucson massacre, the calls for reform started right here on this network, particularly when it comes to outlawing the previously banned high-capacity magazines like the one Jared Loughner is suspected of using on January 8. Then, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy announced they would introduce legislation to renew the ban on high-capacity magazines. On the Web site of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, a statement refers to that sensible reform as, "one of several schemes," and goes on to say, "These magazines are standard equipment for self-defense handguns and other firearms owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding private citizens choose them for many reasons, including the same reason police officers do: to improve their odds in defensive situations."

Okay, NRA. It's now on you to show us a case of anyone who could not defend themselves during the 10 years these magazines were banned, anyone who could not defend themselves with 10 bullets instead of 30 bullets. Just show us those cases, and then we'll decide if it's worth it to subject everyone else in the country to the risks of the Jared Loughners who could appear with 30 bullets ready to fire in any shopping mall parking lot in America. The Center for Public Integrity published a report showing that for the past 18 years the makers of these high-capacity magazines have raised millions of dollars for the NRA. The same report also notes, "Some of these vendors of high-capacity magazines also boast executives who are board members of the NRA."

So the merchants of death are buying their political protection from the NRA and leave us to stare at our children and wonder: Who among them will be the next nine-year-old their high-capacity magazines unload on? The next Christina Taylor Green.

[RECOUNTS NEW YORK MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG AND MARTIN LUTHER KING, III, TAKING PART IN A NEWS CONFERENCE TALKING ABOUT GUN CONTROL]

We can only hope that the President's speech writers were just taking notes. If the President follows Republican and Democratic tradition tomorrow night and says not a word about gun and ammunition control, if he does not use this moment of his increasing popularity, if he does not believe he has the communication skills to convey the necessity to control the capacity of automatic weapons, then I, for one, will become disappointed in him for the first time. And he will become part of the problem.

- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center