Breitbart's Ben Shapiro vs. Piers Morgan On Gun Control
MORGAN: Strong words from Vice President Biden who heads the White House task force on guns. My next guest has strong words for me, says I'm off the rails on guns in America.
Ben Shapiro is editor-at-large at Breitbart.com and the author of "Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans."
So why am I off the rails, Mr. Shapiro?
BEN SHAPIRO, AUTHOR, "BULLIES," EDITOR AT LARGE, BREITBART.COM: You know, honestly, Piers, you've kind of been a bully on this issue because what you do, and I've seen it repeatedly on your show, I watch your show, and I have seen it repeatedly. What you tend to do is you tend to demonize people who differ from you politically by standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook, saying they don't seem to care enough about the dead kids. If they cared more about the dead kids they would agree with you on policy.
I think we can have a rational political conversation about balancing rights and risks and rewards of all of these different policies, but I don't think that what we need to do is demonize people on the other side as being unfeeling about -- about what happened in Sandy Hook.
MORGAN: How dare you accuse me of standing on the graves of children that died there? How dare you?
SHAPIRO: I have seen you do it repeatedly, Piers.
MORGAN: Like I say, how dare you?
SHAPIRO: I mean, you can keep saying that, but you've done it repeatedly. What you do, and I've seen you do it on the program, is you keep saying to folks that if they disagree with you politically, then somehow this is a violation of what happened in Sandy Hook. And you get -- I really like to hear your policy prescriptions for what we should do about guns.
Because you say that you respect the Second Amendment.
SHAPIRO: And you know I brought this here for you so that you can read it, the Constitution. And I would really like for you to explain to me what you would do about guns that would have prevented what happened in Sandy Hook. If you want to do what you did in the UK, right, which is ban virtually all guns, that is at least a fair argument and we can have a discussion about whether that's something that we ought to do.
MORGAN: Well, I've made it very clear what I want to do which is exactly what Mark Kelly wants to do. And in fact, rather than address your --
SHAPIRO: OK. So let's talk about that.
MORGAN: Rather than address your comment to me about standing on the graves of children at Sandy Hook, you can address them to Mark Kelly because he agrees with everything that I have been saying because he feels the same way as does his wife. They're gun owners. They both respect the Second Amendment of the Constitution. They don't want to take away anybody's right to defend themselves with guns. They don't --
SHAPIRO: They only want to take away certain types of guns, obviously.
MORGAN: They want to take away assault weapons which are capable with magazines, that we saw in Aurora and Sandy Hook, of unleashing a ridiculous amount of bullets in a very short of time.
SHAPIRO: Well, this is the question I wanted to ask you, Piers. Because I've seen you -- I've seen you talk about these weapons a lot. And I've seen Mark Kelly talk about assault weapons. The vast majority of murders in this country that are committed with guns are not committed with assault weapons, they're committed with handguns.
MORGAN: OK --
SHAPIRO: So are you willing to ban handguns in this country.
MORGAN: No. No, that's not what I'm asking for.
SHAPIRO: Why not?
MORGAN: Let me ask you --
SHAPIRO: So you only care about the kids who were being killed in Chicago as much as the kids in Sandy Hook?
MORGAN: Yes, I do.
SHAPIRO: And why don't you care about -- about banning the handguns in Chicago?
MORGAN: We'll come to that. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. What was the weapon used in Aurora in the movie theater?
SHAPIRO: It was -- it was an assault rifle, sure.
MORGAN: OK. What was the weapon used in the Oregon shopping mall?
SHAPIRO: I believe it's an assault weapon, correct.
MORGAN: OK. What was the weapon used in Sandy Hook?
SHAPIRO: It was an assault rifle.
MORGAN: What was the weapon used in the incident around Christmas when the firemen were lured to their deaths, the New York State firemen?
SHAPIRO: And bought illegally? That was -- that was an assault rifle.
MORGAN: Right. So the last four mass shootings in America were all assault weapons.
SHAPIRO: The vast --
MORGAN: That's just the reason, Mr. Shapiro. And you can smirk at me and you can laugh at me.
SHAPIRO: I'm not smirking.
MORGAN: And you can accuse me of standing on the graves of dead children.
SHAPIRO: And being a bully, yes.
MORGAN: But that is the reason that people like me and Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords want to have assault weapons like that removed from civilian hands.
SHAPIRO: Your passion on the issue --
MORGAN: That's the point.
SHAPIRO: -- doesn't really justify the rationale for why you want to ban assault weapons but not handguns.
MORGAN: You understand why we want to remove the preferred weapon of choice, these killing machines.
SHAPIRO: Well, I would like you to --
MORGAN: -- from the hands of deranged young men.
SHAPIRO: All I'm asking you is for you to be philosophically consistent. If what you're worried about is the removal of killing machines, from the hands of deranged young people, then maybe we should talk about a blanket gun ban, and let's get to what the left really wants here. And you know, you say that you're for the Second Amendment --
MORGAN: Why is it about left or right? Because in Britain, this never is about left or right. This issue. Why is it here?
SHAPIRO: Well, you know, we can talk about Britain in a second. I think the reason that it's about left and right here is because fundamentally, the right believes that the basis for the Second Amendment, and they believe in the Second Amendment. The basis for the Second Amendment is not really about self-defense and it's not about hunting. It is about resistance to government tyranny. That's what the founder said and that's what the right believes in this country.
MORGAN: Which tyranny are you fearing yourself?
SHAPIRO: I fear the possibility of a tyranny rising in this country in the next 50 to 100 years. Let me tell you something, Piers. The fact that my grandparents and great grandparents in Europe didn't fear that is why they're now ashes in Europe. So this kind of leftist revisionist history where there's never any fear of democracy going usurpatious or tyrannical is just that. It's fictitious.
MORGAN: So -- just to clarify your position then. The answer to Sandy Hook, as it was to Aurora, as it was to Gabrielle Giffords, as it was to Columbine and Virginia Tech, is you do nothing. Is that your position?
SHAPIRO: And that's not my position. I actually --
MORGAN: What is your position?
SHAPIRO: My position is that we have to calibrate laws that are designed to get hand -- guns out of the hands of bad people and keep guns in the hands of good people who want to buy them. This idea of more guns versus less guns --
MORGAN: How do you do that? How do you do that?
SHAPIRO: I think one of the ways that you do that is by better screening for mental illness. I think that you do better background checks.
MORGAN: Was Adam Lanza's mother a good person?
SHAPIRO: I don't know whether she's a good person or a bad person.
She was irresponsible with her guns.
MORGAN: Has there been any evidence to suggest she was not a good person?
SHAPIRO: No, but there is --
MORGAN: So by your criteria, she would have --
SHAPIRO: No --
MORGAN: Wait a minute, by your criteria of the good people should be allowed to guns and the bad people shouldn't, she would have been allowed a gun.
SHAPIRO: She was an irresponsible person. She didn't keep her guns locked up. And that should be against the law.
MORGAN: So then she --
SHAPIRO: If you have a mentally ill person in your house --
We're talking about laws that we can both agree on.
MORGAN: Right. Then she becomes --
SHAPIRO: I don't know why you're disagreeing with me on this. MORGAN: Then she becomes a bad person, does she?
SHAPIRO: Well, no, it's not a matter of -- it's not a matter of morally versus immorally --
MORGAN: You set the criteria, good and bad. So is she good or bad?
SHAPIRO: You're right, Piers. I should have said responsible versus irresponsible. That's correct.
MORGAN: OK. So she goes from good to bad?
SHAPIRO: No. She goes from responsible to irresponsible.
MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk more about this because we don't agree.