CNN's Soledad O'Brien vs. Gun Advocate John Lott On Gun Control
"More Guns, Less Crime" author John Lott argues that more guns would help to prevent tragedies like this Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
"I just have to say, your position completely boggles me, honestly. I just do not understand it," CNN's Soledad O'Brien told Lott after an argument with him.
O'BRIEN: Why is your takeaway to get rid of gun laws rather than there are people that should not have access to weapons. In this particular case, we know that the investigation is just at the beginning stages, but we know he used a semiautomatic rifle to blow out essentially the glass wall at the entrance to the school. So the security was useless. Why? Because he had a high-velocity, multi-shot with many rounds with him to be able to access the school. So why would you not say, that's exactly the kind of weapon that someone should not be able to easily get their hands on?
And he was able easily to get his hands on it because it was legally registered to his mother. Why is that not your takeaway?
LOTT: You know what country had two of the three worst public shootings prior to Friday? It was Germany. Germany had three of the five worst public school shootings in the world.
Now, they have extremely strict gun control laws. You can't get semiautomatic weapons. It takes a year to get a bolt action long rifle there. Yet they had the worst record in terms of multiple victim shootings at schools than we have here in the United States, even with this attack and so I --
O'BRIEN: I don't see how any of that brings you to the decision that the answer is to get rid of gun laws. The other question that I would ask you --
LOTT: Because they serve as a magnet for these attacks.
O'BRIEN: Or -- or a rational person could say -- or a rational person could say that having access to a high-powered semiautomatic rifle is inappropriate that there is no reason to go deer hunting with that. There is no reason to have access to that. That's the connection that these killers have access to those weapons. Let me ask you another question.
LOTT: No, I want to answer that that you just said. No, I don't argue second amendment. I argue crime. That's what I do. I want to answer your question here. These guns are just like any hunting rifle. The inside guts, they fire one bullet.
In fact, the Bushmaster gun there is -- would be the equivalent of a rifle that would be used for hunting very small game like squirrels. You know, it looks different on the outside because some people like to have guns that look like military weapons, but it's not. It's like any hunting rifle.
O'BRIEN: Sir, sir --
LOTT: If you want to ban all hunting rifles that's fine.
O'BRIEN: Sir, if you are trying to kill a large number of people in a massacre, that's the kind of gun you grab.
LOTT: A hunting rifle would do the same thing.
O'BRIEN: If you could inflict as much carnage on people, that's the kind of gun you grab. How you could say we should have fewer laws, not more, it boggles the mind honestly. If you would come and talk to the people in the town here, they would be stunned by you. LOTT: Unfortunately, I talked to multiple people that have been victims of public shootings. Look, semiautomatic guns are the most common gun in the United States. They are beneficial for self- defense.
If you had two criminals coming at you, you are not going to want have a gun that only fires one shot like that. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? You can't even fire a warning shot.
If you miss the first shot and you don't have a semiautomatic gun, what are you going to do for self-defense at this point?
O'BRIEN: And if you have -- if you have a man who seems to be troubled and he is armed with a semiautomatic weapon, a rifle, then there is a high likelihood that is he going to massacre a lot of people in one location, sir, in a very small amount of time.
We could continue this debate for a long time, I appreciate you talking with me this morning, but I just -- I have to say, your position -- your position completely boggles me, honestly. I just do not understand it. Thank you for talking with us.