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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  December 20, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST

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>> this is piers morgan tonight. guns in america a live special. ♪ >> if we work harder to keep gunz out of the hands of dangerous people there would be fewer atrocities in places like newtown.
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since friday morning, a police officer was gunned down in memphis leaving four children without her mother. >> we don't know why he did what he did. >> a woman was shot and killed inside a casino. three people were shot inside a alabama hospital. >> it is a tragic event. >> i 4-year-old was caught in a drive by in missouri and taken off life support yesterday. >> my 4-year-old baby. >> at least 10,000 americans murdered with guns every year. president obama said it is time for real reform right now. i talked to victims and family members and newark mayor and they are all here. enough is enough.
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p good evening this is our version of a town hall. people on both sides of what very well may be the most important issue in this country. these people have all been touched by gun violence in some way. join the conversation and the debate and have a view. i will ask questions and raise them on air. i want to start in newtown, connecticut where there were more funerals today. few moments ago i spoke to kneel louis. >> jesse was my son and my buddy too.
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and i'm lost for words. we did everything together. and he had so many favorite spots. where he would go. the diner in town here, the grocery store, for his bagel or muffin in the morning mistyville deli and he would get his school snack. just, i'm lost for words. and -- >> the feeling i got from everything i under stood about his last few moment as live is that he showed courage.
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he tried to get out of there. he was aware something was happening. his favorite teacher vicky soto was there. did it surprise you that he he was showing such enterprizing courage? >> that is what is said to have happened that the kids were attempting to make a run or to escape. i'm not sure of the number of survivors in miss soto's class if there were are any. but, yeah, that wouldn't surprise me. jesse that was jesse, he was the type that would take control and was adventurous. um, and he i always told jesse never to leave anybody hurt and always to help them.
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so if there was somebody that was hurt or injured, he would be the one that was helping them or trying to help them. um -- he loved life so much. and loved it to the fullest. and the little guy really had no fear to anything. and -- i -- it is just the whole thing is such a tragedy to all of the victims, to their families, my heart goes out to the other families, for their loss of their loved ones. and also for adam's father and his family. i want to extend my sympathy and my condolences to his family. they're going through what i'm
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going through. and they are not responsible for what adam did. and so, i just want them to know that. and my thoughts are with them too. my little boy said something the night before to me. and he said, dad this is going to be the best christmas ever. and he was going on about it, and i said, jesse you know, we'll make it the best we can, and i don't have much family. um, it is kind of a quiet time for me. and he makes -- made christmas happy for me and joyful and he made it what it was. and i said to him jess we'll make it the best we can. and the next day, this tragedy
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happened and it occurred, and i thought to myself, boy, was he wrong about that. >> neil heslin whose son jesse died. the poor families who suffered such terrible loss. i want to bring in newark mayor, corey booker. and psychologist and dr. depack choprah and tom ridge. corey booker let me start with you. it is heart breaking. what i find fascinating about him is his dignity. the way he was prepared to offer comfort and sympathy to the
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family of the man who had shot his child dead and said that he didn't want wide ranging gun control but didn't want to understand why this shooter's mother would want to have the kind of guns in her home to defend herself. he raised a number of issues which we will see more of tomorrow. but what do you say to other families in america that can't send them to school now to movie theaters. there is almost nowhere left now for americans to be safe because of gun violence. this is not as rare as people might think. there is a virginia tech 30 to 34 americans die every day due to gun violence. the courage and dignity that he had to deal with there is on a
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regular basis in newark. what gets me most frustrated is that we all agree in america. if you work with gun owners. we have a republican pole ster to poll gun owners and nra members and you get 70 to 90% common sense issue that we could do to make our country safer. roughly 40% of the guns sold in america are sold in a secondary market private sales. there is no registration at all. you can get someone who can't get on a plane but they can buy weapons. overwhelmingly 84% of gun owners in america believe that should change. changing that alone makes a
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difference. one out of two women he that are murdered with a gun are murdered with someone that they know well. in states that don't allow people to trade in private gun shows, that number drops by 40%. those people who have domestic violence abuse -- >> you have had a lot of experience with guns in your career it seems to be a natural crisis. you have had six of the worst. there is an escalation that these situations aurora was the worst single killing with a gun. is there a national crisis and is the president trying to register the ownership of guns in a more sensible manner?
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>> i think the president recognized today in a very appropriate statement that we have to look at a variety of risk factors that have created this epidemic and he talked in his remarks when he identified the vice president and understandably point to fire arms. and he talkeded about our mental health system and talked about a culture of violence that dominates. if we are serious about dealing with this and reducing the risk about this.
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it is unlikely that there are clearly multiple things that can and should be addressed. i happen to think that the mayor is onto something significant. that is a thoughtful and needed approach. but let's take a look at our mental health system. and i think you are going to see severe mental health problems. i said on the virginia tech panel. this is a young man, multiple people knew about it. they never connected the dots. this environment had to be changed. we better entertain them all.
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>> in the end, it is about the guns because without the guns you don't have the shooting. this ar 15 assault rifle has been used in the last three shootings. it is a military weapon. you have been in war zones. it is as near to an m-16 as you can get isn't it? >> you know, it is. i can visualize the state of affairs in those classrooms. i have seen that on the battlefield. and it is about those particular weapons and i look out and i realize that two years ago, i conducted a town hall like this in the aftermath of the killing of gabrielle giffords all people crying out for at least a
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dialogue a sensible conversation and national discussion where we are not afraid to culture it like it is and that is that we are not afraid to bring it to the table. and it means cutting down the straw men that are raised up when people get freaked out about this conversation. it is not about the sporting gun or the private protection gun. >> this is about the kinds of things that make killing industrial strength. there will always be these distinctions but you don't have
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to have industrial strength killing. there is cause and effect. there are other countries that have taken procedures and it has worked. england, scotland, children the same age. >> 16 children. six and seven-year-olds. national handgun ban. australia the same thing >> the president is there. it can be done. the difference in america right now is not enough people are prepared to go and talk about this. >> these may be the moment. >> these are children. >> we asked america's major gun manufactures to come on the show tonight and they didn't reresponsibility. also the nra they referred us to last night's comment. i want to bring in a man who says more guns equals less crime. tell me your views and i will raise them on air.
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majority of americans support banning the sale of high capacity ammunition clips. back with me now, let's start with you steve, the president made it clear, he wants to see a ban on assault weapons. what is your reaction? >> my reaction first off on behalf of the michigan gun coalition, i want to express sympathy to the victims of this tragedy.
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we passed a common sense change to create more safety. >> you ordered more guns didn't you? >> more licenses to go into more places. that is a little bit different. >> why do you not want to see the ban? given that they are military grade weapons they cause massive devastation. they can fire four to six bullets a second. they can fire 100 bullets in a minute. this shooter took enough bullets to wipe out the entire school and could have done. why do you want these on the streets of america?
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>> they are not going to go away anytime soon. there is no law that you can pass that would have stopped the bullet that would have been lodged in my hip. >> what do you say to the families in sandy hook? sorry. this is the worst by far for any of the countries in the world. yet your answer is more guns. >> i have had conversations with individuals who save lives with
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guns. in more than one of the folks who have come through my class have saved lives with guns. they have protected themselves and their loved ones. we look at it as guns save lives. >> tom ridge, you are hearing this. guns save lives. >> first of all i'm wondering if there are veterans, men or women in the army or marines who have had the training with assault weapons i would be curious to know whether or not they think their neighbor who has not had the training should be able to access these weapons and having been in the military where they think that is a matter of public policy and whether we should go forward with continuing to permit the sale of these items.
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>> i can jump in. my brother was in the british military. doctor who was operated on tens of thousands of people. make no miss take. wait a second. a surgeon these bullets enter and they explode inside the bone. they shatter the bone, they lead to multiple am you amputations. he said they are weapons of mass slaughter. you see, this is a car outside sandy hook school. that is a bullet hole from a bullet fired from inside the
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school. look at the power, look at the impact. imagine what that was doing to a child of six or seven. your answer is more guns makes america safe even though you have the worst gun murder rate by a massive multiple. how do you justify the claim more guns makes more safe people in america. >> every place that guns have been banned murder rates have gone up. you cannot point to one place. >> that is a complete lie. >> it is not. >> in britain the gun murder rate is 35 a year. >> you need to stop repeating a lie about what happened in other counp tris you are not going to get away with this. you lied about it the other day.
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11,000 to 12,000 the other day. >> you don't understand simple math. >> what you say drives americans to buy weapons to defend themselves. >> there are reasons why murder rates differ in different countries. do you understand the difference between changes? >> they put in the bans and punishments fines jail sen tens and it is you through it is still higher than it was in 1996.
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>> and in australia. americans know what happened in chicago and d.c. >> listen, i heard -- >> you are you calling me a liar. >> i said it went up. it was higher in. >> if you don't mind sir, show some respect to the other guests. >> i'm talking about today. what does this say about america. that even after 20 young children are murdered with these assault weapons you have people here who say we cannot take them off the streets there is nothing that we can do. when they fill people with fear sales of these ar 15s have rocketed in america as they race to defend themselves to make themselves safer. what is going to change this culture?
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>> three things have been pointed out clearly. one is the easy availability of weapons of mass destruction. assault weapons and the second is mental health and the third which you are asking me about is the culture of violence. the same gun laws in canada and switserland and yet you don't have the same incidence. we have a culture that has accepted the psychosis. >> anyone who says they want this military grade rifle. i have been accused of being anti-american. of not understanding an american's right to bear arms.
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>> having a fire arm to defend themself. >> when they passed the second amendment they had muskets. it didn't take into account assault weapons or you can load up on ammunition through the internet. we are living in a culture that accepts this as normal. forget trying to prove him wrong. what we need to ask ourselves is what is the solution. this kind of town hall meeting across the country. people taking action. we'll talk after the break. we are going to do something well, if it isn't mr. margin.
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mr. margin? don't be modest, bob. you found a better way to pack a bowling ball. that was ups. and who called ups? you did, bob. i just asked a question. it takes a long time to pack a bowling ball. the last guy pitched more ball packers. but you... you consulted ups. you found a better way. that's logistics. that's margin. find out what else ups knows. i'll do that. you're on a roll. that's funny. i wasn't being funny, bob. i know.
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we are going to do something that is obvious. and people want to get stuff before a ban on whatever coming in. probably magazines. people get scared. >> in the wake of the newtown tragedy gun sales are soaring across america. >> i want to bring in mrs. assan. they were in a church when a madman came in armed to the teeth. and began shooting people. tell me what happened. >> he had already shot and killed people in our facility called youth with a mission. and then went home and slept in his bed. and the next morning he came to new life church and waited for the uniform law enforcement to
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leave an hour in the parking lot and then as soon as they left he made us move. he came into the church, i apologize, he shot some people in the parking lot. he killed two sisters and severely wounded their father. and i heard the shots because it was obviously very loud. and he came into the church, everybody there were hundreds of people in the hallway. this is like 100 meters long. it houses the special needs adaults. so everybody scattered all of a sudden. get down he has a gun.
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and i took the handgun out of the waste ban of my jeans and sprinted down the hall toward him. it was like a miracle everybody found a place to hide. i took cover and i had seconded to come up with a solid game plan and i said god please with me and stepped out and said police officer drop your weapon and turned toward me with his air 15 and fired five rounds and he fell on his back and i walked toward him with my gun pointed at him and i said drop your weapon or i will kill you. and he fires at me and i killed him. >> let me jump in. that is an act of extraordinary courage on your part. you were a trained officer and you were carrying a gun for that reason.
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what is your belief about the claim that if the teachers have been armed that they could have averted the disaster and that civilians should be armed to protect themselves? >> let me say, i'm very sorry to all the parents who lost their children and to the other people who lost the adults in this massacre. i don't know what to say to you. just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. stick together you will need each other. and to answer your question, you know a teacher wants to be a teacher. he or she doesn't want to be a police officer. and i hope people listen here. i hear both sides of the argument. and i hear where you are coming from and both make sense to me.
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that is crazy. it doesn't make sense. that is not their calls. it is to be a teacher or a pilot. and when you have trained personal in place, it is their job and i think rather than having -- i think everybody has the right to bear arms. i want to say this, i was a well trained officer from a agrieve sif police department where i never called s.w.a.t. once and we had shootings all the time. >> because s.w.a.t. doesn't have better training they have better equipment. >> that is the point you were highly trained. >> thank you so much. this is the number of this, that people get driven to believe
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that they have to protect themselves and that is why they have to be armed. but it says, people should be trained for this right? >> of course. and what you are making me think about that i have not heard people talking about are cit trained police officers who know about mental illness who know how to deal with people. the problem is not mental illness. they talked about our system failing us and that is the problem. it is not the mentally ill people who are the problem. >> you were spirited this morning defending an american's right to own weapons.
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why does any american need ar 15s. what protection can that thing offer them? >> it is a military rifle. >> i don't think the conversation would be to say why i might need that weapon. >> i understand the sense that we have that we must do something we have to solve this problem. but make sure you are actually going to accomplish that. your personal crusade, i'm not convinced that you will accomestablish it. adam lanza's gun would not have been banned. the federal ban we had didn't drop national violence and this is the most important one >> it did.
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but it did. >> there is not one study that you can point to. >> a guy like adam lanza he predetermined it. >> make it difficult for him to get the tools. these guns were left unlocked. his mother left a deranged son in a house full of six firearms which could blow bodies to pieces. >> what law do you propose? >> you have to try. i have been in this country for years. it is not good enough to say we don't do anything. when does the slaughter stop. >> i'm asking you to prove your case. >> what does an assault gun do for recreation, hunting.
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>> it is a semiautomatic gun that looks like a military weapon. most guns owned by americans are semiautomatic. >> it is like a hunting rifle that on the outside looks like a military weapon. but look. >> how many bullets can et fire in a second. >> i'm answering your first question. >> no wait. you will not downgrade what these weapons do. >> you wouldn't let me finish before. >> how many bullets does it fire a second? >> the point -- sir, you have to let me finish. >> do you want to anner? >> i'm going to answer your first question and then i'll answer the second question. the reason why you have a semiautomatic weapon. if i have to manually load it. i have two criminals coming at
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me. i have to load the first bullet and then i have to load the second. what happens if i fire a shot and i miss? >> how many bullets does it fire in a second. >> the place can't be there all the time. the police can't be there all the time. >> are you going to answer my question. >> you how many bullets can it fire in a second. >> i think your estimate is high. >> it can fire four to six a second 100 in a minute. that can wipe out 20 children in a matter of seconds if not two minutes. >> it is a characteristic of all semiautomatic guns. >> you want people to think they
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are harmless old hunting rifles and it is a disgrace that you won't answer those questions. >> we will take a break. >> you have to answer the questions truthfully to an american audience. that is what you have to do. when we come back survivors tell me about the terrible impact on their lives and the people that were taken from them. ñ?çtooool
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we are talking to survivors of mass shootings. first corey booker. i find this an almost impossible debate to stay calm about. it makes me so angry and i don't understand why there is there has only been one shooting in my city who has acquired a gun legally. they are done because criminals, there are states now, 19 states where there is less than 100 people they have registered in the system as mentally in capable.
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>> let's me go to you. you lost your father in the temple shooting. i don't mean to be disrespectful. what is your reaction? you have a gun owner. >> i have a gun i was in army rotc. those guns are meant for annihilation. you can deter somebody with a knife like my father did. he wrestled the guy with a butter knife and he left the building. you want to take the argument that way so they can have a
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hollow fight. >> if you can pass the mic down to danielle. you were involved in the tucson tragedy. what do you think about this? >> there are two points having more guns does not solve the problem. having more people who are trained who stopped who didn't call in swat because she was trained. you know when these people come in and they have planned this for a significant amount of people they are ready, but the peoplen the area are in a pan et and this is not something that you expect. getting rid of the assault weapons. it is not a perfect bill but we
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can close the loop holes to make sure we are taking some of the weapons off the street. the reason why he only killed six people was because he had to reload. he had some automatic weapon, but he had an extended clip that had 30 rounds. the time he stopped is when someone grabbed that clip when he was trying to reload. there's no reason you need 30 rounds in a magazine. >> nobody needs this stuff. that's how they commit mass slaughter. daniel, thank you. we'll be right back. check out my new treadmill app.
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my guest's son was killed at columbine, and lori's daughter was injured at virginia tech. i'm told you're wearing your son's shoes he died in. which brings it home. >> we had the same size shoes, so i wear these shoes. these are the shoes he was wearing on april 20th, 1999. i walk in his shoes to honor him. >> you have achieved a lot. you have managed to bring in an elimination of gun show background check loopholes in colorado. do youen watt to see that nationally? are you agast that it isn't a national thing? >> i am. in colorado we put it on the ballot. we took a vote of the people, we won that election. 70% to 30% in a progun western state.
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people in oregon close it the same year, 62-38. you put something sensible before the people and they'll support it. >> your daughter survived. she was shot at virginia tech. here's the thing. i love america, and i love americans, i really do, i've been very lucky here. i've worked here for seven years, i live here. i respect the second amendment, when i hear this debate, my heart just sinks that there's still so many people that just don't see a reason to ban these highpowered assault weapons. what is your view? >> i absolutely believe in banning those weapons, i believe in banning semiautomatic weapons, the killer at virginia tech, used 30 round high capacity magazine clips on his guns and untold carnage in those classrooms. the virginia tech families, almost all of them. i speak for all of them, would like to have -- do a better job with background checks. tom ridge served on the panel. the panel concluded at the end of their investigation that all
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gun sales should go through a background check. >> can you pass the mike to roxanna? i wanted to give the last word to you. we all remember the terrible story, she was nine years old. what is your view? >> all military style weapons should be banned, period. background checks for all -- my husband is a gun owner, he likes to hunt. but i think every weapon should have a background check and these military style weapons you spoke of earlier, there's no reason why civilians should have them. the slaughter has to stop. you're not going to stop criminals -- power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that?
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