In response to the horrific massacre in Newtown, Conn., CNN’s Piers Morgan devoted his Friday broadcast to coverage of the tragedy and to a discussion — make that a shouting match — about gun control.
Joining him were Steve Dulan of the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and gun-rights advocate John Lott.
The conversation got heated when Morgan asked “why on Earth” anyone would advocate for more guns, given the unspeakable carnage at Sandy Hook.
“If we could suddenly make all guns disappear, I'd have a different position,” Dulan replied, going on to explain that because firearms last “several human lifetimes with minimal maintenance,” then the only way to stop shooters is with other guns.
“This is exactly the argument that I have been hearing ever since I joined CNN," replied Morgan, noting that he joined the network the week before Gabby Giffords was shot, and since then he’s covered the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo.; outside Portland, Ore.; and at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. "The argument I keep hearing is, 'Well, if everybody else was armed, it wouldn't happen.' It's a load of total hogwash!"
Nadler, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, backed up Morgan’s claims with some statistics. “The proof of the pudding is that in every other industrialized country in the world, other than the United States, they have reasonable gun control laws," he said. “They have 100 people a year, not 9,000 or 10,000 a year, killed by guns."
Morgan argued that Americans should look to the example set by Scotland, where handguns were banned in response to the 1996 Dunblane massacre in which 16 schoolchildren were killed.
Lott tried to argue that the murder rate in Scotland subsequently went up, but Morgan wasn’t having it.
“There are nearly 12,000 murders a year from guns in this country. When are you guys going to focus on that and stop telling me the answer is more guns. It is not the answer! How many more kids have to die before you guys say, 'We want less guns, not more.”
Lott fired back, telling Morgan “The gun-control laws that you're pushing have killed people.”
The host dismissed Lott's claim as “ a load of nonsense,” and then he really let loose: "I'm so frustrated, I'm so furious, that these kids have been blown away again with legally acquired weapons. Some boy, who's got problems takes his mother's three weapons – including this ridiculous assault rifle – and goes in a school and kills these kids, and you guys on the gun lobby still want to tell me the answer is more guns. It is madness!"