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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
America's Assault Weapons; Attorneys for Alleged Rape Victim in Ohio and Her Alleged Rapist Argue Their Sides as Case Stirs Controversy Across Social Media
Aired January 8, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, HOST, "THE ALEX JONES SHOW", INFOWARS.COM: 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: You heard Alex Jones dodging my questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: How many gun murders were there in Britain?
JONES: How many great white sharks --
MORGAN: How many --
JONES: -- kill people every year but they're scared to swim?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You heard him try to change the subject and threaten me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: You think you're a tough guy? Have me back with a boxing ring in here and I'll wear red, white, and blue, and you can wear your jolly roger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight I'll talk to a legal watchdog who says this kind of behavior is more dangerous that you might think.
Plus, what will it take to stop the killing? I'll talk to people who lost their loved ones in Aurora.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE HOOVER, UNCLE OF AURORA VICTIM AJ BOIK: I am glad you're speaking out.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: And to a former Marine who says he'll never give up his gun.
Plus, does this picture tell the whole story? Two small town high school football stars accused of raping a seemingly unconscious girl. I'll talk to attorneys for the girl and one for the accused.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. And I hope Alex Jones is not just watching, but finally listening. I've been talking a lot about gun violence on the show in recent months. I want to make my position very clear once again. I'm in favor of a nationwide ban on military-style, semi-automatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
I want to close the gun show loopholes and require private dealers to run background checks on buyers at gun shows. And I'd like President Obama to increase federal funding for mental health treatment for all Americans who need it.
I think that's the right direction for America. And my guest last night, right-wing radio show host, Alex Jones, couldn't have disagreed more. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: When they get our guns, they can have their world tyranny. While the government buys $1.6 billion bullets, armored vehicles, tanks, helicopters, predator drones, armed now in U.S. skies, being used to arrest people in North Dakota. The Second Amendment isn't there for duck hunting. It's there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That interview which was really more of a rant by Alex Jones got a lot more heated. In fact I hardly get a straight answer out of him at all. But tonight I want to dig deeper into some of the important issues that were drowned out in all his yelling.
Joining me is "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof and Mark Potok for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Welcome to you both. Let me start with you. What was your overall reaction to that extraordinary exchange with Alex Jones last night?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NY TIMES: Well, I mean, as somebody who favors more gun control, I really hope that Alex Jones does more TV, because, you know, look, you've been quite articulate in making the case for gun control. Alex Jones was so much more persuasive, I think, for your average middle American in making the case, because people saw somebody who was foaming at the mouth, and they think, you know, this kind of person shouldn't be having -- I think he said 50 guns around. There -- you know, may he do a lot more of these shows.
MORGAN: I mean, look, it's been -- it's been trending on Twitter now worldwide, Alex Jones, for 24 hours. I'm sure in many ways he thinks job successfully done. He's probably going back to Texas and his fan base, and there are a lot of people that listen to him every day who would have thought, good on him. He came in and took me down.
KRISTOF: Well --
MORGAN: But beneath all that.
MORGAN: Were there any serious points --
KRISTOF: Yes --
MORGAN: -- that he raised about the actual argument?
KRISTOF: Let me -- he made one substantial -- they've made two substantial arguments. One about the Second Amendment. And let me just say that, look, everybody accepts that there are going to be limits on guns. Nobody thinks that we should be able to have anti- aircraft guns, fully automatic weapons. The question is not whether to have gun control but where to draw the line.
KRISTOF: Now, second, he argues that even if you outlaw guns, people will still have access to deadly weapons, to knives, to things like this. And of course he's right. But the point about guns is that they are so much more lethal than anything else you have around. I mean, that is why the American military arms its troops not with knives, but with automatic weapons. And if you look at Americans and what distinguishes our mortality rates from those abroad, it's guns.
American kids are slightly more likely to be murdered with non-gun weapons, with knives and, things, than kids in other industrialized countries. They're 13 times more likely to be murdered with guns.
KRISTOF: What makes the difference is guns in this country and their accessibility.
MORGAN: Mark Potok, you obviously track a lot of these activists in many different guises. What did you make of what Alex Jones' performance was like and what does it tell you about that kind of gun rights on the rather extreme side of the gun rights lobby?
MARK POTOK, SENIOR FELLOW, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, to me it was really a fairly typical performance for Alex Jones. In a way, it looked like a setup on his part. You know, I think he kind of snuck in there, planning to launch into a yelling match. You know, I think, really, the important thing about what Alex Jones is about, what he represents, is that he has pushed out a completely baseless conspiracy theories to literally tens of millions of Americans out there. Many of whom actually believe what he says.
MORGAN: I mean -- POTOK: You know, it would be amusement --
MORGAN: We'll come -- we'll come to those in a moment. Let's play again this exchange, when he got at his most heated about the 1776 being reenacted. And then I'll come to you after that, Mark, if I may.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms. It doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand? That why you're going to fail and the establishment knows no matter how much propaganda, the Republic will rise again when you attempt to take our guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, there were many alarming aspects to that outburst, but probably the most alarming to me is the way that people like Alex Jones and the more extreme members of the gun lobby, because not all gun owners share these views by a long way, and I've a lot of respect for the more measured gun owners who actually think it may be time to do something. They just want to know what it should be.
But the alarming thing to me is the way they frame this debate, that anybody who asks for more gun control, and as Nick said, there's already lots of gun control in America. It's about where you draw the line. Anyone that tries is attacking the Constitution, attacking the Second Amendment, attacking America, and trying to get everybody's guns.
That's not what I want. You know, as I've made it very clear to him or tried to, this is about getting these assault rifles, assault weapons, these military-grade stuff off the street and the ridiculous 100-bullet magazines.
That's the point, Mark. And it's that that I think is the argument that gets lost in this crossfire of abuse that comes with these guys.
POTOK: No, I think he's very, very typical of people in the militia world, the so-called patriot movement. He sees an absolutely massive conspiracy to not only take his guns or our guns, but to throw anyone who resists into concentration camps that have been secretly built by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and it goes on and on and on from there.
So, you know, he has such a rue Goldberg machine in his head, in terms of this massive conspiracy to depopulate the United States. To literally kill Americans, that, you know, when you come to talk to him about guns or anything remotely within the political mainstream, he simply goes off his rocker.
MORGAN: Yes. POTOK: And I agree. I mean, this is very much the scary part of the militia world. It's not that people think the Constitution is a great thing and ought to be defended. It's that they take these views to the very far-out reaches to the point where they think that anyone who does anything in terms of law enforcement or anything along those lines is part of some kind of fascist plot.
MORGAN: Let me bring in Nick again.
I mean, Nick, there is a concerted effort going on now by some American politicians to actually get real action. And you can sense it, that there is a movement here, from President Obama, Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein and others, they really are determined to try and make a difference now.
MORGAN: Is it going to be successful?
KRISTOF: I fear that it is not going to be very successful. And if I can push back at one thing you said. I mean, the one thing that Alex Jones said that has an element of truth to it is that assault weapons are relatively minor as a source of death in America.
MORGAN: Yes, but --
MORGAN: But let me pick you up on that.
MORGAN: Because I know he said that. But what infuriated me about that is they are -- but they are the preferred weapon of choice now for mass shooters. So if you look at Aurora.
MORGAN: If you look at the Oregon shopping mall, if you look at the firemen who were killed just before Christmas.
MORGAN: It was on Christmas. If you look at Sandy Hook, all of them involved these AR-15 style, military-style assault rifles. It's all the same thing.
MORGAN: And the reason they like them is that they can put these magazines on them and they can unload 100 bullets in a minute.
KRISTOF: But the big problem --
MORGAN: They're machine guns. KRISTOF: Yes. Absolutely. But the big problem in America is not these massacres. It's the day-in, day-out shootings that kill more than 11,000 Americans a year. And of those, a few hundred are committed with rifles. So if the only thing that legislators do is reinstitute the assault weapons ban and the high magazine, that will be great. That will be a step forward.
MORGAN: But it won't be enough.
KRISTOF: But it won't be nearly enough.
MORGAN: It doesn't send --
KRISTOF: We have to make a move on handguns as well.
MORGAN: But doesn't it, Nick, send the right signal that actually it's time to do something? Because the reaction to every outrage since I've been in America has been nothing. So Gabby Giffords, a congresswoman, can be shot in the head, six people killed, nothing happens. A temple could be shot up, a movie theater, and now a school.
We've seen almost every aspect of American life destroyed in this way and nothing gets done.
KRISTOF: Except -- I mean, it would be a step forward, but I fear that it would be not a spur to more action, but a substitute. We'd settle down. And you know it seems to me that if we have car control, if we have -- there are five pages of OSHA regulations on ladders in America, which killed 300 people so why can't we have serious regulations.
MORGAN: I can't buy six packets of Sudafed at my local Wal-Mart, but I can buy an AR-15.
KRISTOF: In much of America, to adopt a pet, you have to have a home visit, yet you can, you know, buy a weapon on the secondary market without any kind of background check. We have all kinds of regulations on cars to make cars safe. And people don't see that as a threat. So why can't we begin to have the same kind of public health approach, not to ban guns, but to make them a little bit safer in American homes?
MORGAN: And harder to get, the more extreme variety of weapon, for those who may be disturbed.
MORGAN: Nick Kristof and Mark Potok, thank you both very much.
KRISTOF: My pleasure.
MORGAN: Some 588 Americans have been killed by guns since the Newtown massacre. It's hard to be more precise, mostly because sometimes scientists insist the NRA has its influence to squelch research into gun death. Well, we've invited a representative of the NRA to come on the show as we have done many times, and so far they've declined. But the invitation still stands and I would like them to come on and have this discussion.
Meanwhile, disturbing testimony in a courtroom in Colorado today. Investigators say they found 76 shell casings at the movie theater where James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 more this summer. One of the victims of that terrible attack was AJ Boik and his uncle, Dave Hoover, joins me again now.
Now, Dave, thanks very much for coming back on. You were on the show last night, listening to Alex Jones as he ranted at me. What was your reaction to that as somebody who lost a loved one in the Aurora massacre?
HOOVER: Initially, I was infuriated and disturbed by his reaction. What I would hope and pray for this man is that he never gets a phone call from his loved one at 3:00 in the morning, screaming that his daughter has been killed in a theater.
I hope and pray, because this man is so far off the target on this issue, that he would not be able to deal with that kind of tragedy in his life. It's not only his children we're trying to put some reasonable legislation in place to protect, it's all of our families.
We've lost family members, here, in Tucson, and today is the anniversary of that. So, you know what, it's trying to stop and set a framework with which we can live within in America. We need to have some kind of rules in place that makes sense. Right now, we only have two sentences that were written in 1776, but yet, we have legislated things -- other things beyond that.
This is one thing that Americans just refuse to even look at or talk about because they're so afraid that people are going to come take their guns. Nobody wants to do that. Nobody wants to come take their guns, but what we want to do is keep the guns out of the hands of those criminals and those who are dangerous individuals to our society. They don't need these weapons. They don't need any weapons. But you know what, I'm willing to go through a background check, as any responsible gun owner is.
MORGAN: You know, I think you make such obvious points to me. And I find it such a fascinating debate in the sense that it's so politicized here in America. When we had the Dunblane massacre in Scotland, in Britain, it was never political at all, the debate afterwards. It was never a question of the left or right being at loggerheads over what to do. There was a consensus. We can never let this happen again, we must make it incredibly difficult. And all handguns were banned and all assault weapons were banned. And there's been no shooting at all at a school since.
Now there may well be in the future. You can never legislate completely against these things. If you banned all assault weapons in America, there's bound to be another mass shooting, of course there will be. Because there are so many weapons already out there. But my view is, you have to make a stand as a country, and you have to make a stand based on morality and ethics.
And when I see what happened to your relative and to those poor people in that movie theater, they went to see a movie in America, and 70 people got shot.
Let me ask you this, though, Dave.
MORGAN: Do you believe that there is now momentum to get real action or not?
HOOVER: I'm cautiously optimistic. I hope that there is reason out there now to listen to what we have to say. People need to stop and stop fearing that a knee-jerk reaction, that people are going to come take their guns, and we're going to stand here on the street corner and yell, do not take our guns, because our families will be put at risk.
Nobody's saying that. We need to have some reasonable rules that we can all live within, so that we can protect our families. Nobody needs to get the phone call in the middle of the night, go to a high school. I hate throwing emotion into this because we need to have an open and honest discussion about it, but when I get to the high school with my sister, his girlfriend still had his blood on her.
When he was born, shortly after my daughter was born, my -- my sister and I talked in the hallway of the hospital about how these two were going to grow up together and be close friends. And they were very close. I never want somebody else to have to go through what our family is going through.
My dad's best friend, A.J. was over there every day, was a huge part of our family. And this kid was decent with everybody. From every group. And I don't want Alex Jones to get the phone call at 3:00 in the morning that one of his children have been shot and killed by somebody who shouldn't have a handgun or a rifle or an automatic weapon. I don't want him to get that phone call.
MORGAN: No, well, I think that's --
HOOVER: We need to be reasonable.
MORGAN: That is the whole point. And you articulated that so powerfully.
Dave Hoover, thank you so much for coming back again tonight. I know you've been down there -- this trial, some terrible details today, again, from this James Holmes, evidence apparently 30 gunshots were heard in one 27-second clip, 41 calls to 911 in 10 minutes.
Just utter carnage in there. And then these terrible booby traps he sat -- you know, he set in his home to try to distract all the people who may race to the theater, so he could kill even more people. Just a devastating thing.
But, Dave, thank you very much indeed for now.
When we come back, he says the government has no right to know what weapons he owns. A former Marine who told a leading gun control senator that she's crossed the line.
MORGAN: Lives cut down by gun violence. These are the faces of some of the nearly 600 people killed by guns since the Newtown massacre in America. On Christmas Eve, two Upstate New York firefighters, Tomasz Kaczowka and Michael Chiapperini, were shot to death while responding to an early morning blaze. The killer armed with an assault rifle left a suicide note saying he wanted to kill as many people as possible.
On New Year's Eve, in Maryland, this little girl was struck by a bullet while celebrating at a relative's home. Police say that Aaliyah Boyer was killed by what they called celebratory gunfire. Somebody firing off rounds to welcome in 2013. She was just 10 years old.
Hours later, in New Orleans, a college student became the city's first homicide victim of the year. Antonio Llovet was found laying face up on his couch, shot in the head. The 28-year-old worked as a waiter, put himself through school. He was studying to be an engineer when he was murdered.
And in Chicago, Michael Kozel became the city's fifth homicide victim in the first two days of the new year. The store owner murdered during a robbery at his business. The 57-year-old grandfather's last words were, "They shot me in the back."
At the Newtown memorial, President Obama said that America can't tolerate this anymore. He said these tragedies must end, but it takes action, not words to stop the senseless killing.
As been reported, Diane Feinstein is introducing an assault weapons ban in Congress. Here's what she told me about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: There's no Second Amendment right to bear every type of weapon that you know of. These are a certain class of weapons. They are designed to kill large numbers of people in close combat. I don't believe the Second Amendment covers them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Many Americans agree, but many others do not. Including my next guest, he's a former Marine, Joshua Boston, who wrote a scathing letter to Senator Feinstein that went viral on the Internet.
Welcome to you, Joshua Boston.
JOSHUA BOSTON, FORMER MARINE: Thank you, Piers. MORGAN: Just to clarify your credentials, you served in Afghanistan twice and Iraq twice between 2004 and 2011 with the Marines. You're no longer in the military.
Thank you for your service, first of all. Some of the members of my family would have been out there fighting with you in both Iraq and Afghanistan and I know what you guys went through. It's very tough.
Talk to me about guns and why you felt the need to write to the senator in the way that you did.
BOSTON: Senator Feinstein's legislation is essentially stopping us from owning AR-15s. If it passes, once we register these weapons, they won't be transferable to anybody, which means once I get old, if I want to pass these -- my rifles down to my children, I won't be able to because they'll be registered to my name and the law says it cannot be transferred.
Now to me, that sounds exactly like I'm being -- my family is going to be disarmed down the road. And these weapons, I understand that bad things happen with them, bad things happen with cars. But the Second Amendment was put there for a reason. And it was put there to prevent things that we don't want happening with our government.
MORGAN: I mean you can't --
BOSTON: So that's why I wrote the letter.
MORGAN: Right, but you use the analogy of the car as many gun rights people do, you can't pass the car to your child, without registration for the child involving all the various forms you fill in for that and the various permissions you have to get. What's the difference?
BOSTON: The car is not specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Arms are.
MORGAN: But nor is an AR-15 assault rifle.
BOSTON: Neither are muskets nor is hunting or sporting, but everybody seems to bring that up.
MORGAN: Right. But there are, as you know, numerous gun control laws in America. It's purely a question of degree.
BOSTON: There is.
MORGAN: And my question for you is this. You know what these weapon can do better than most. Let me throw to a clip here. This is General Stanley McChrystal who was one of the commanding officers for the American military in Afghanistan. He was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" this morning. He said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL (RET.), U.S. ARMY: I spent a career carrying typically an M-16 and then later an M-4 carbine, and an M-4 carbine fires a 223 caliber round which is 5.56 millimeter at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It's designed to do that. And that's what our soldiers ought to carry.
I personally don't think there's any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly in -- around the schools in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Powerful words there from a very high ranking, recently departed general. I suppose my obvious question for you, Joshua, is this. Why would you want to give one of these killing machines to one of your children, anyway?
BOSTON: First off, we don't own M-4s or M-16s. We own AR-15s in difference variance of. They're not the same rifle.
MORGAN: Right but --
BOSTON: And various --
MORGAN: You know as well as I do that the AR-15 when it's modified can perform almost exactly like an M-16. I mean, we know that. And we saw with James Holmes, his trial is going on now, but in Aurora, he was able to unload at least 70, possibly more bullets into a crowded movie theater in a matter of minutes, we know that. So the difference is almost indistinguishable in terms of firepower at such close range.
BOSTON: No, that's not even true. The weapon M-4, M-16 was designed to engage targets with precision in medium ranges, not for close quarters combat.
MORGAN: Right. But if you have an AR-15, whether you're at close quarters or you're 100 meters away, you're going to cause extensive and significant damage.
BOSTON: It's possible, true, but that damage is guaranteed to happen when people aren't allowed to carry a concealed weapon in a movie theater or teachers aren't allowed to carry one in their schools.
MORGAN: So your answer --
BOSTON: To protect the children that we love.
MORGAN: So your answer is that everybody in a movie theater would be armed with an AR-15?
BOSTON: No, that's not what I said. I said they should be able to carry such weapons. They should have that choice. They shouldn't be denied that right to self-defense --
MORGAN: Right but --
BOSTON: -- because of the actions of lunatics. MORGAN: Right. And again, I say this with respect, though, that choice is fine, but if everybody exercises that choice and is legally allowed to do so, you could end up with every movie theater and every school and every church and every shopping mall in America, with everybody armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and magazines that can kill 100 people in a minute.
Where does that lead America to other than utter Wild West hell?
BOSTON: All right. They said this was going to happen whenever Texas instituted its concealed handgun laws, and it hasn't happened. In the Clackamas mall shooting, there was a 22-year-old carrying a concealed weapons and he presented his weapon at -- at the threat. And he held his fire just like happened at Congresswoman Giffords' shooting. There was a CHL holder there and he held his fire.
The American people aren't as gun-happy and trigger-happy as they're being painted out to be by the media. They are smarter than that. They know when to hold their fire. They know when to fire. And we can increase the chances of success for these people that get caught in situations for their survival by education.
We've got to stop making this a taboo subject to everyone because it's scary. We can't give up our rights because we're afraid.
MORGAN: Right. I suppose the only thing I would say to that is that I believe the rights of a 6- or 7-year-old child to go to school without the fear of being murdered, to me, exceed and come higher than any rights to own an AR-15 assault rifle. That's my point.
BOSTON: Well, Piers, I don't disagree with you. I don't think children should have to be going to school worried about being murdered, but we have to accept reality. No matter what laws we pass, lord knows we have laws, and during the last assault weapons ban, it didn't stop Columbine from happening, it didn't stop the West Hollywood shoot-out from happening.
These things happen. There are criminals in our world that we have to contend with. And disarming people and taking the AR-15s out of their homes isn't going to help. There was a lady in Georgia who shot a man six times. He laid down, cried, got up and left.
Now imagine if there were multiple attackers. She only had six bullets in her pistol.
BOSTON: If there were more than one attacker, she could not be alive today.
MORGAN: Well, again, I would say that I can totally understand and respect an American's wish to defend themselves in their home, against intruders. I get that. I don't see why you can't do it with a handgun or a pistol. And the idea that you need AR-15s, you and I will have to disagree on that. Because I can't give anything I would rather less give one of my children, I got to say. BOSTON: It's education. You have to teach them. You have to educate people. Ignorance is a bad thing. You have to educate yourself on the weapons.
BOSTON: I mean, yes, they are dangerous, but they do have benefits. Regardless of the evil one man can commence with.
MORGAN: OK. Joshua Boston, listen, I have great respect for the service you've given your country and you've raised some interesting points. I don't see any benefit to a civilian owning an AR-15. I see lots of benefit to someone in the military defending the freedom of their country and I'm sure you did that extremely capably and I thank you for joining me.
BOSTON: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming next, the interview that was heard around the world, what my all-star panel has to say about my very heated exchange with Alex Jones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK KELLY, ASTRONAUT: I have a gun. Gabby and I are both gun owners. We are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. But we've got to do something to keep the guns from getting into the wrong hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords on "Good Morning America" today, the second anniversary of the shooting that nearly killed her. They have announced an effort to get politicians to stand up against gun violence.
And joining me now are three people with strong opinions on the subject of guns in America, Gloria Allred, "The Daily Beast's" Buzz Bissinger, and HuffPost Live's Abby Huntsman. Welcome to you all.
Buzz Bissinger, let me start with you. This debate is raging, as it has done for a long time in America. Do you believe that Sandy Hook represents any kind of tipping point in favor of new gun legislation?
BUZZ BISSINGER, "THE DAILY BEAST": No, I think America is a country that revels in violence, that was born in violence, that loves the image of the frontiersman and the cowboy and having guns. You know, there was a lot of protest. I think the only politician who is really trying to do anything is Michael Bloomberg.
I don't see President Obama doing very much. We had another incident at Aurora, Colorado, where he did nothing. Mitt Romney did nothing. It's a ridiculous argument. How can we possibly have assault weapons? And frankly, why do we need guns? We don't need guns. We have 10,000 murders a year. As you tried to tell that big, fat idiot last night, how many murders by gun were there in England? What, 33? It's pathetic, but I don't see any change.
MORGAN: Gloria, it's a debate that is very hard to have without people getting very angry and very exercised. How do we try to move forward to a point of some consensus, where the gun lobby are persuaded that these AR-15 type, military-type machine guns, what they really are, are actually not part of this debate in any sane way?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, I think, Piers, that it begins with a discussion in the court of public opinion. And I want to commend you for standing up to what I think was bullying, big-time, last night, by Alex Jones. If politicians had a spine, the way you had last night, and stood up to the gun lobby and to those who who are very, very extreme in their views, as Mr. Jones was, instead of just cowering and afraid of losing the next election, we would have changes in gun laws that we would need. We would have what you suggest, for example, about closing the loopholes for gun shows.
We would have more regulation. So I think we need more discussion, not less. And we need to probably to see more of the extremists, because that's what's frightening. And the idea that he might have a gun in his hand is terrifying.
MORGAN: He owns 50 guns, which I found the most scary part of the whole thing. Abby, your father ran for president. And you know the system in Washington better than many. Do you hold out any hope? The reason I ask you, I read your Tweets today, which were pretty doom laden about this. Do you hold out any hope that if it does go to Congress, they'll pass anything involving gun control legislation?
ABBY HUNTSMAN, HUFFPOST LIVE: I do want to point out, based on the conversation last night, that it's not even worth mentioning this guy's name. He does not represent America. This is the same guy that said that the U.S. government is involved in Oklahoma Bombings and 9/11. So it's just, he really lives in the land of wacky.
But all we're asking for is a rational conversation about gun control. I think that's what you were asking for. Last night you didn't get that. And that's really what need to begin right now. But the problem is, it has to go through Congress. And as we know today, nothing can get through Congress.
But politics all starts locally. So it really has to do with these legislators going back to their local towns, their local town hall meetings, and hearing from people that they represent, they want this done. It's really going to come from the America people saying, we're outraged, and make sure the conversation continues. Just like you're having this conversation, make sure we continue to talk about it, make sure that the people that represent them, that they want it to be done. Because they just want to be re-elected at the end of the day, right?
MORGAN: But Buzz Bissinger, this is all well and good. But part of the big problem is the wording of the Second Amendment is so woolly and so open to conjecture and interpretation, and really it relied on the Supreme Court's ruling in 2008, which basically has been taken by the NRA and others to be an absolute vindication of their belief the Second Amendment gives everybody a license to have as many arms as they'd like.
BISSINGER: Look, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a constitutional scholar. It seems to me, frankly, that a 10-year-old could read the Second Amendment and say, you have the right to bear arms for the formation of a militia. I think the 2008 -- and I'm saying this as a layman. The 2008 Supreme Court ruling was a travesty. At the very least, it should be a state's right.
When they ruled the way they did, it opened it up to every night. And one of the things that Mr. Jones said that bothered me the most was the complete dismissal of what he called gang banger violence. The worst thing about guns -- as bad as Sandy Hook was, the worst thing is we are encouraging as a nation black on black genocide in our inner cities. And no one apparently cares about it.
MORGAN: It's a good point. I mean, Chicago is a totally different issue to anything else that we've seen and remains as bad as it's ever been. Let's take a break. When we come back, reading, writing and rifles. Would you feel safer if your child's teacher had a gun? I know I wouldn't. I want to know what the panel think.
MORGAN: Back with me now is Gloria Allred, "The Daily Beast's" Buzz Bissinger, and HuffPost Live's Abby Huntsman. Welcome to you all again.
Gloria, in Ohio more than 900 teachers have signed up as part of the Buckeye Firearm Association's new gun training program, in Texas. What do you make of that?
ALLRED: Well, I feel that they are afraid. And of course they are on alert. They are concerned that what happened in Connecticut might happen in their school.
I was a teacher for many years before becoming an attorney. And security in schools is something we all have to be concerned about. We all want our children to be safe and our teachers and other staff in schools to be safe. But arming teachers, I think, is the wrong step to take. We know, often, that there are more accidents in homes with guns, where children can get access to guns. Sometimes they're left not locked up or children get into the area where they are locked up.
And I'm concerned that could happen in schools. I think we have to have more security, but not guns for teachers.
MORGAN: Buzz Bissinger, my problem with all of this is it's all dealing with the egg and not the chicken. They're not dealing with the problem of the gun supply. They're dealing with all the aftermath of that. The most horrifying aspect of what happens after these outrages is that the NRA and the others get on television, spread all the fear, Wayne LaPierre and Alex Jones and others, and then the Americans rush out and buy ever-more of these weapons and ever more of this ammunition. And so it goes on. The only solution, apparently, is to arm everybody else.
BISSINGER: I mean, I agree with you. I think the purchase of guns went up after Sandy Hook. Look, it is pathetic. It is ridiculous that you are allowed -- I don't care what the justification is -- that you are allowed in this country to own a semi-automatic weapon, much less a handgun. But what do you need a semi-automatic weapon for? The only reason I think you need it is, Piers, challenge Alex Jones to a boxing match, show up with a semi-automatic that you got legally, and pop him.
HUNTSMAN: I would love to see that, in uniform. But I don't think guns are -- more guns are the answer here.
MORGAN: They keep saying, don't they, more guns, less crime. More guns, less crime. In fact, that's just not backed up by any real evidence.
HUNTSMAN: It's not. And we've talked about the founding fathers earlier, but they did not intend to live in a society, the modern society that we live in today, where we have a lot more people living in big cities, higher crime, no money, or less money, rather, and more guns with no gun laws. So I think it's only rational to say we need to take a step back and really do something about this.
But there's another big component to this. And that is mental health. We can't afford mental health. You think when local governments get money to pay for things, that goes to the back burners. They say we need to pay for highways. We need to pay for education. It's really about the American people bringing it to people's attention that we need to really focus on mental health, and put money to it.
MORGAN: The focus has got to be on what causes this, not the aftermath. That's the problem. It is the chicken and the egg. You've got to deal with the chicken, not the egg.
HUNTSMAN: I think it's great that General McCrystal spoke out today about the fact that no one needs assault weapons, only the military. I don't even think people -- I think we can do away with clips. Why does anyone need multiple rounds?
MORGAN: No one needs any of that stuff. It's complete nonsense. Anyway, thank you to my great panel, Buzz Bissinger, Abby Huntsman, and Gloria Allred. I'm sure we'll have you all back very soon.
When we come back, the Ohio rape case that's stunning the nation. I'll talk exclusively to the attorney of the alleged victim and to an attorney for one of the accused.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greetings, citizens of the world. We are Anonymous. We will not sit idly by and watch a group of young men who turn to rape as a game or sport get a pass because of athletic ability and small town luck. You now have the world looking directly at you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: From the group Anonymous on why they're seeking information about a rape case that's shocking America. In Ohio, two high school football stars are accused of raping a teenage girl, with the defendants using video and social media to mock her.
With me for his first on-camera exclusive interview is Bob Fitzsimmons. He's the attorney for the 16-year-old alleged rape victim. Welcome to you, Mr. Fitzsimmons.
First of all, how is your client?
BOB FITZSIMMONS, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM: Thank you for asking, Piers. She's doing very well. She's actually a remarkable young lady and a very strong family. She's gone back to school. She's engaging in the fall activities of team sport. And just today, we just learned that she was actually given an award for some honors for her academics.
It's been tough. It's difficult. You can imagine going through this. And all the publicity also has had a drastic effect upon the family, but it's actually brought them probably closer together. They're finding strength in each other right now. And they're trying to move on and hoping to conclude this thing sooner than later, also.
MORGAN: Does she really know what happened to her?
FITZSIMMONS: Well, that's the case. She was unconscious that particular evening. And it's not the young victim that's pointing the finger. What happened was, through the actions of various individuals, including the defendants and other individuals that were there, through social media, this evidence evolved over a period of a couple days.
So her learning process and her family's process took time and it evolved to the point that the authorities then, based on that information, made the allegations and the charges against the individual defendants right now. But she was totally unconscious.
It's -- it's our children today, anybody that has a daughter, that would go out and talk to their parents with a daughter or even these young men -- today we need to, as parents, I think take a closer look at the children, what they are doing out there, because there is a lot of activities. And a lot of this social media seems to be bringing about some things that just aren't acceptable in our society.
MORGAN: I mean, the behavior of the people we see on the video is completely outrageous and unacceptable. And some of them have already apologized for this. Obviously the argument coming back is going to be and has been potentially the sexual activity between your client and these accused boys may have been consensual.
Is she in any position to determine that either way, do you think? If not, are there witnesses you think who will be able to? FITZSIMMONS: Well, there were already other witnesses that testified at the preliminary. But let me just say this. The allegations are that a young lady was unconscious. There is a picture that most anybody that has read or heard about this particular case has seen. If you look at the picture, there is little doubt that this young lady was unconscious.
I don't care who you are or where you are, a person has the right not to have their body invaded by another individual without consent. That's just wrong. And in this particular case, she was unconscious. And there can be no consent. There can't be assumed consent with this particular girl, with the state she was in. And that's what this was about.
And like I said, it was through their own actions and through their friends' actions that this was revealed. But there is a terrible problem I believe with the actions of men and women, taking advantage, especially in the social context, where they know somebody in this country -- and there's been a lot of strong women that have came forth and told their stories about what's going on.
And probably about 20 years ago when I was first practicing -- 25 years ago, we came about with some new legislation called Rape Shield Statutes, which really protected the victim. Because in those days, in the old days, they used to bring up the character and reputation of a girl with other individuals and people would be fearful.
Perhaps today we may look at more stringent sentencing and more stringent laws, but there needs to be some movement. And if nothing else, this particular family and this young girl want to take this and turn it into a positive. There has been a lot of people that have offered support and help financial. They have offered to pay attorney's fees. And we aren't charging for those.
So they have actually asked that those money be donated to the Madden House at the YMCA in Wheeling, West Virginia, that takes care of abused women and also rape victims. They would like to turn it into a positive.
MORGAN: I think that's an excellent thing. And I would like to send our very best wishes to your client. Obviously she's been through, whatever happens with the legal process, an awful ordeal that you wouldn't wish on any young girl. So please do that for us, wish her well with her continued recovery.
FITZSIMMONS: We will. Thank you so much, Piers.
MORGAN: I want to bring in Walter Madison, who is the attorney for Malik Richmond, one of the teens accused of rape. Obviously it's a very emotive case. It's dividing the community It's dividing America in many ways.
Your client, along with his friend, is, you know, public enemy number one right now. How do you defend him?
WALTER MADISON, ATTORNEY: Quite simply. Piers, first thing I want to make clear for everyone that they should understand really well, Malik Richmond has nothing to do with that video. Mr. Fitzsimmons premised his statement when he says defendants and he lumps them together. Malik Richmond had nothing to do with the video. He's not depicted. He didn't produce the video. He was never charged or is he charged with disseminating any material, nor is there any evidence whatsoever that he sent any photographs or promoted what we've seen on the Internet. OK?
Now, the other problem in terms of defending him, we have to right to ship. One of the problems is Mr. Fitzsimmons has aligned himself with rape crisis centers, et cetera, and movements, if you will. That issue can't be put on the back of my client. He deserves a fair trial. There is an atmosphere in that community -- just today, the schools on lock down. There was a death threat.
I don't know what attendance will be like the rest of the week there at school. But there were witnesses in that community that were willing to be -- come in on behalf of my client.
MORGAN: Does your client accept that he behaved badly on the night, just generally?
MADISON: He is 16 years old. Certainly he wouldn't want to be judged for the rest of his life for what he did at 16, nor would you or I. He is a juvenile. And there's a juvenile court for that reason, because juveniles lack the maturity to really contemplate the decisions that they make and the effect that it will have on them the rest of their lives.
MORGAN: Do you believe that there is sufficient doubt about your client's involvement in the sexual aspect of this case, that he will be acquitted?
MADISON: Look, I'm not here to do what social media is doing, OK. I'm here to at least offer a voice. I have a message. The message is simple. This case -- as serious as it may be, we have rights in this country to a fair trial. Now, as repugnant as this video is, OK, it is his form of expression, the gentleman we now know as Michael. That's his form of expression.
And the irony is that social media also argues that they have a right to expression. And therefore, they may say and do what they like without impunity, without even identifying themselves. So because we don't like what he says, and it charges us emotionally, my client becomes vilified for it. And it's protected speech.
MORGAN: I think that certainly very strong points to be made on both sides, as there have been tonight, about the role of social media. It is a dangerous, dangerous way of dealing with any of these stories. The trial is scheduled to begin on February 13th. I'm sure we'll talk again. Thank you very much for coming in.
MADISON: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
MORGAN: Be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night I'll bring back Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. Things got pretty heated the last time he was here. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: I honestly don't understand why you would rather have people be victims of crime than defend themselves. It's incomprehensible.
MORGAN: You are an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We'll see if things can be a little bit more civilized tomorrow and a bit more constructive perhaps on both sides. That's tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.