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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
California School Shooting; America and Assault Rifles
Aired January 10, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, another school, another shooting. Where will it end?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooter had numerous rounds of shotgun shells, 12-gauge shotgun. Numerous rounds in his pocket.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was blood everywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now the clock is ticking. What will the White House do?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: Even if what we do only saves one life, it makes sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll talk to Gabby Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, who is a gun owner and defender of the Second Amendment. But he wants to stop those senseless slaughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK KELLY, CO-FOUNDER, AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS: We elect some smart people that should be able to work out these issues. They have just neglected to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also, I meet the man who says that I'm off the rails when it comes to gun control, and we'll debate that theory.
Plus what kind of toll has all this gun violence taken on America? I'll ask Tony Robins. You may be surprised to hear what he says.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Vice President Joe Biden says his gun task force will have a set of recommendations on the president's desk by Tuesday. But that doesn't mean there's a consensus yet. Listen to this from the NRA after today's White House meeting.
Quote, "We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen."
That's where the NRA stands. And now I'm going to remind you exactly where I stand on guns.
I'm in favor of a nationwide ban on military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. I want to close the gun show loopholes and require private dealers to run background checks on all buyers at gun shows. And I want to see President Obama increasing federal funding for mental health treatment for all Americans who need it.
Meanwhile, there's another school shooting today in California. A 16-year-old reportedly felt he was being bullied was accused of attempted murder. Authorities say the student took direct aim and hit one classmate in the Science Building of Taft Union High School. He then aimed specifically at another classmate but missed.
Kyung Lah is live in Taft, California, with the latest.
Kyung, every time you hear these stories break now, a shudder comes with it because of what happened at Sandy Hook. What do we actually know about what happened here?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're learning, actually, a little bit more. Police officers just briefed us, Piers, in the last hour or so. What they're telling us is that the 16-year-old shooter actually planned this, began the planning of it last night. He took the shotgun from his home, the home he's living in. It belongs to his brother, his 19-year-old brother, and the ATF right now tracking the exact registration of the shotgun.
He then got the rounds. He went to bed. He knew that he would come to school late, slip into a side door. Police say they have video of him entering the school. He went into his classroom, directly to those two boys who he says, he tells police, who were bullying him, and he aimed at both of them, striking one of them.
I want to show you now a picture of the teacher in that classroom because what stopped it? It was this man. This teacher, Ryan Heber, what he did in addition to the counselor at the school, they convinced the boy to put down the gun, and that, Piers, is what ended all of this.
MORGAN: Do we think he had a very specific set of targets or was he stopped from being more indiscriminate?
LAH: Very specific targets. At least that's what police say he told them. That he had two specific boys he was targeting today. What we're hearing from other parents and teachers is that they felt that this boy had a troubled past. That they knew him from last year having a hit list, a boy who was bullied. He wrote down the list of popular kids in the school, primarily jocks who he didn't like.
He had a hit list of kids he wanted to kill, and that's what got him in trouble with the school last year. A lot of the parents telling me, Piers, that they were surprised to hear when all of this was happening today that this boy was actually back in school.
MORGAN: And did they have any armed security at the school?
LAH: This is a very interesting point. They normally do. A task police officer is normally assigned to this high school every single day, before, during, and after school. Today, he couldn't make it here. We've had very bad snow in the central California region. And so he couldn't get here. So there was no armed police guard.
Now I did ask the police chief here, would it have made a difference if that armed police officer was on the campus premises like he normally is? And the police officer, the police chief says it would have made no difference today.
The entire police department, he says, was able to arrive within 60 seconds. They had an incredibly fast response time, and it was the words of the teacher, the words of the teacher that ended this. And that's what they are saying, that it was absolutely vital that this teacher was able to be brave, able to distract this kid so that the other kids can get away, and then convince this boy to put down the weapon.
MORGAN: Now he sounds a real hero, this teacher, Kyung. Thank you very much, indeed.
Our next guest is a gun owner and a supporter of the Second Amendment. Mark Kelly's wife, former congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was very nearly killed in that appalling shooting in Tucson two years ago. And now the couple have a new initiative to curb gun violence. Americans for Responsible Solutions. And Mark Kelly joins me now.
Mark, welcome back. I always think of you and Gabby and other victims of these shootings whenever there's a new shooting. And it flashes up on the screen. What goes through your mind? What did you think when you heard another school shooting today?
KELLY: Well, you know, just like you, Piers, I often think about what happened to Gabby. You know, what happened here a little over two years ago and how horrific an event that was. But now I also think about what happened in Newtown. And you know we certainly can't allow ourselves to continue down this road where this happens almost now on a -- as a regular occurrence.
MORGAN: And the problem, it seems to me, you have the NRA today coming out, utterly defiant as normal, really apart from potentially allowing some kind of debate about background checks, not interested in any discussion about gun control whatsoever. What is your reaction to that?
KELLY: You know, I was optimistic that after today's meeting in the White House that there would be, you know, some statement that they could find some common ground. You know, Gabby and I like you said, we're gun owners, we're strong supporters of the Second Amendment. And I think we're with, you know, the -- you know, a large part of American society that realizes there's a problem and realizes that we could come -- come up with some common sense solutions to address this terrible condition we have in the United States.
MORGAN: One of the bosses of the NRA was on with Wolf Blitzer earlier. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NRA: We knew going into this meeting what the president's position on so-called assault weapon ban is, it's the same position he's taken for years. These are not new positions. The vice president had said we do this with an open mind, but at the meeting, he said, no, we've already made up our mind on that. No, there's not going to be an agreement on that.
In a sense, they were checking a box, they were -- they were able to say we've met with the NRA, we've met with the people that are strong Second Amendment supporters. That doesn't mean that there isn't an area for agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: David Keene, the president of the NRA.
The point, Mark, is that -- it's just -- it's arrogance and it's dangerous arrogance. All the NRA spokesmen I see out there, none of them want to entertain any form of gun restrictions whatsoever. They're not interested. Doesn't matter how bad the scale of the -- they go further. If you try and say you should, you are the ones who are unpatriotic, un-American, attacking the Second Amendment.
KELLY: Well, you know, I think Gabby and I, you know, I don't think you can get more American than the two of us. You know, I flew in combat in Operation Desert Storm. I've, you know, flown 39 combat missions over Iraq and Kuwait.
You know Gabby is a former member of Congress from a western district, a gun owner who strongly supports the Second Amendment, but on issues like assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and universal background checks, we differ with the -- with the NRA, with the NRA leadership. But in fact, I think a lot of, you know, our positions on this subject, are much in line with the NRA membership.
MORGAN: I think that's true. And I think a lot of people who are with the NRA or affiliated to it feel uneasy about the intransigence coming after massacres like Sandy Hook.
I want to play you a clip from my interview with Alex Jones. It's been watched by over five million people now. It's gone viral and you know, some people find it entertaining. I didn't. I found it terrifying. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, HOST, "THE ALEX JONES SHOW", INFOWARS.COM: And I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms. 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's 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, the thing that really concerned me about that, Mark, was the scale of the vitriol, the alarming violence of the rhetoric. You know, putting aside the sort of faintly ridiculous side to him, I found that very disturbing. He's got 50 guns, that guy, and he has a huge audience, 160 odd radio stations carry his show, the Internet is full of him. And people believe that stuff.
KELLY: Well, you know, I think I just lost some of my hearing in my right ear just listening to that.
KELLY: Had to pull -- had to pull it out a little bit there. But you know, he's got a business and an audience, and I think his audience expects that out of him. You know, he's certainly on one side. You know, one side of this issue. And I don't think a lot of -- you know, a lot of the country is with him, you know, with that. I thought -- you know, I have watched it several times, and it was -- it was very heated on his end.
MORGAN: I also interviewed Larry Pratt last night from the gun owners. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So your solution if you were there in that meeting would be to arm every school, every church, every hospital, everywhere that members of the public could be?
LARRY PRATT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: You certainly would want to encourage people who are qualified to carry a concealed firearm to be able to do so in a school zone. Right now, that is illegal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, that's really what they want. You know? Almost all of the ones I've talked to, this more guns less crime thing. They basically want to fill every public place that has people in it, to have more guns around because it makes them safer.
KELLY: Yes, I don't agree with that, Piers. I don't think, you know, by having more guns in the public that you're going to be safer. I certainly think and Gabby does that you have the right to protect yourself in your home.
You know, to listen that the solution would be to put an armed guard in every school doesn't really resonate well with me. I have flown airplanes in combat, I have been shot at on multiple occasions. It's chaos.
I have friends that are former members of SEAL Team 6, and I asked their opinion on what they think about an armed guard at the front of a school with a man potentially walking in with an assault rifle and a high-capacity magazine, and you know what they think? They think it's a ridiculous idea.
That these things happen very fast. You know, in that case, I don't think, you know, an armed security guard in the school would barely slow one of these guys down. So it's not a good solution. I mean then what do you do? Do you put somebody also in the theater, how about a museum, how about a sports stadium? You know, how many -- I mean, where does it -- where does it end?
MORGAN: Also, I mean, if you go back to what happened to Gabby on that day, there was somebody legally armed, a 24-year-old man, and he didn't actually in the end tackle Jared Loughner. But he -- I supposed he could have done, but is that the answer? I mean, is that helpful in that situation?
KELLY: Well, there was a man in a Walgreens next to the Safeway that came out when he heard the shooting, pulled out his firearm, and nearly shot the man who was involved in taking down the gunman. So that was almost a horrific massacre followed by a horrific accident. It didn't happen.
You know, in the case of Mr. Loughner, he had a magazine that had 32 rounds. I think he had another in the chamber, and he unloaded all those in a matter of just seconds. I think it was about 15 seconds. You know, if he had a 10-round magazine and could have been potentially, may not have happened, but if he was taken -- taken down after unloading 10 rounds in a magazine, then there would certainly be other people that didn't -- that died that day that would be alive today. And one of them would have been Christina Taylor Green, a 9- year-old girl who was born on 9/11, and didn't live to see her 10th birthday. She was killed with a shot after the 10th round.
MORGAN: The NRA president went on to say that when asked for any kind of reason why he wouldn't want an AR-15, for example, he cited, I think, his daughter, who was in the military and is the nearest thing to a military rifle in civilian terms is the AR-15, and she likes to use it on ranges and so on. What do you think of people in that position?
KELLY: Well, certainly, there are a lot of options. I mean, for people that like to target shoot or hunt, there are other options other than assault weapons.
You know, Piers, I went -- I went hunting over Thanksgiving with a friend of mine on his ranch in Texas. And the magazine in this case held, I think, six rounds. I needed two. I put two rounds in the magazine, not even six. You know, to have a high capacity magazine or an assault rifle, these things are really made to kill a lot of people very quickly. You know, they're made for the military.
I think General McChrystal said it -- you know, said it best, that he doesn't want his own kids around guns like this. He wants his soldiers to have weapons like this.
MORGAN: The very specific campaign that we've run on this show is very similar now to what we're hearing from the president and Joe Biden, and it is in particular exactly as you feel and Gabby feels towards these assault weapons, and yet there is this extreme resistance already from the NRA to even talking about that. What is your message to the NRA?
KELLY: Well, you know, I'd like to be able to sit down with the NRA at some point and talk to them about this. I know members, I know a lot of members of the NRA, I thought about joining the NRA at one point. I think the NRA does a lot of great things. You know, they -- most NRA members are very responsible gun owners.
So I would like to talk to them about what does their membership actually feel, and maybe, you know, we could come to some, you know, common sense solutions on some of these problems. You know, we're not going to agree on everything, but you know we've -- this is just happening way too frequently. And we can't have another 20 first graders murdered in their classrooms in this country. It is just -- it's just enough.
MORGAN: I mean, the most dispiriting thing to me, and I -- I totally concur with you that I'm sure many NRA members are perfectly law-abiding decent Americans and I like you have no desire to infringe their right to defend themselves at home or to hunt or to shoot for sport. That's not what this is about. Having said that, 100,000 new members have joined the NRA apparently since Sandy Hook. We've also seen record sales in America through December since Sandy Hook of AR- 15 style weapons and of ammunition. And I look at that kind of statistic and I despair.
KELLY: Yes. It's not -- it's not a good situation. I mean, more assault rifles on the street, probably more high-capacity magazines. You know, those issues needed to be addressed. But also, I mean, you know, one thing we need to -- seriously look at is a universal background check. I mean it is very easy in this country for a criminal or somebody who is mentally ill to get a weapon. And for the mentally -- the segment of our society that has some form of mental illness, we need to figure out how to identify them and get them some kind of treatment because a lot of these incidents if we do those things, some commonsense things, we're not going to stop every one of them, but I think we can -- you know, we can stop some of them.
MORGAN: Well, I think you're doing a terrific job, Mark, in keeping this right up there on the agenda and I congratulate you on your new initiative with Gabby. You know there is a real financial and political power to the gun rights lobby which has to be at least challenged and competed with. And I think that you're well on the way to doing that. I applaud you for that. KELLY: Well, thank you, Piers. You know, Americans for Responsible Solutions is going to focus on -- you know, on coming up with some commonsense solutions, trying to get members of Congress to pass gun violence legislation. You know, we plan to educate their constituents but also try to work with members on both side of -- sides of the aisle, like Gabby did while she was in Congress, to do something about this issue.
MORGAN: Well, send my very best as always to Gabby, and Mark, thank you very much for your time. It's been a fascinating interview because you are exactly what the gun rights lobby don't want to hear from. You are a gun owner, you're a man who supports the Second Amendment, so is your wife who was shot in the head, and you don't want to take away those rights. That's why what you say is so powerful, and I thank you for joining me.
KELLY: You're very welcome, Piers, and I'm glad -- glad you didn't get deported last week.
MORGAN: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. So am I. Thank you.
KELLY: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, a man who says that I'm off the rails with my stand on guns. And later, Tony Robins has some surprising things to say about the toll of gun violence in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: There's nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled, not shot with a stray bullet, riddled, riddled with bullet holes. In their classroom. And the public demands we speak to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
MORGAN: With me now is Ben Shapiro, editor at large at Breitbart.com, and the author of "Bullies." Do you believe that if you had an assault weapon ban, statistics prove that you could dry out the supply of these guns and make them less accessible to criminals?
BEN SHAPIRO, BREITBART.COM: I don't know whether you could make them less accessible to criminals. Let's assume that's the case, that you could make them less accessible to criminals. Again, my question remains for you, Piers -- and I'm still waiting for an answer from the left on this. They say they're pro-Second Amendment. Why don't we want to ban handguns?
If you really want to solve the, quote unquote, gun violence problem in America, why for all the guns? Why just stop yourself at assault rifles?
MORGAN: Because I believe and respect an Americans' rights under the Second Amendment Constitution that you kindly brought in to defend themselves with a handgun or a pistol. What I don't understand --
SHAPIRO: And most murders are committed with those weapons.
MORGAN: As we just established -- I talked you through them. The last four mass shootings in America --
SHAPIRO: Adam Lanza had two pistols on him.
MORGAN: He didn't use them, as you know.
SHAPIRO: If he hadn't had the assault rifle, he wouldn't have used them?
MORGAN: Explain to me this: I can't buy this. This is six packets of Sudafed, one of the many companies that make a particular ingredient which you can't buy legally in America. There we are, six packets. That is illegal for me to buy in that quantity in Wal-Mart, say. But I can buy an AR-15 military style assault rifle.
I can then, as we saw with Holmes, the shooter in Aurora, go get 6,000 rounds of ammunition from the Internet and I can go and blow up a movie theater. Do you think that's right?
SHAPIRO: Well, we can talk drug laws another time.
MORGAN: Does that make sense to you?
SHAPIRO: No, I think what would make sense is laws that are calibrated to solve the problem. So if you think the problem is only assault rifles --
MORGAN: Which guns would you remove?
SHAPIRO: I think the ones that have largely been removed from the market. Fully automatic weapons would be a good start. I think --
MORGAN: You wouldn't remove any semiautomatics at all?
SHAPIRO: No, because semiautomatic just means that when you pull the trigger once, one bullet comes out.
MORGAN: Do you understand how an AR-15 performs when it's been modified and has a magazine?
SHAPIRO: I do. I saw it in the North Hollywood shootout. You know what? It was illegal to do that. People did it anyway. We have 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. We're not able to stop people from coming illegally into the country over the southern border, into places like California, where I live normally.
I think you would be very hard pressed to stop guns from coming across that border illegally as well. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.
MORGAN: Would you want every American to have an AR-15?
SHAPIRO: No, not every American.
MORGAN: Who would you stop?
SHAPIRO: I would stop anyone with a criminal background. I would stop anybody with a history of mental illness. And I stop and I would ask -- not ask, I would require that people who have somebody who has a criminal background or a history of mental illness in the household keep that gun locked up and safe.
MORGAN: What about background checks? Forty percent of all gun sales in America are now gun trades, are not done with a background checks.
SHAPIRO: I believe in background checks.
MORGAN: For everybody?
SHAPIRO: For everybody.
MORGAN: So there should be a database, a national registry?
SHAPIRO: If it's not public. I don't like what happened with the "Journal News," putting out gun permits, which allows criminals to target particular homes.
MORGAN: When the NRA came out today, after the meeting in the White House, and just said we're not prepared to entertain any kind of new gun restrictions, what did you think about that?
SHAPIRO: What is astonishing to me is the left's attack on the NRA. Because the NRA, they don't receive a dime of public dollars. They're an interest group. Here's what's funny, the left, they like to talk about violent video games, for example.
MORGAN: Can you stop framing this as left or right. Because I don't have a horse in the race. I don't vote either way.
SHAPIRO: You tend to be more to the left.
MORGAN: The NRA, as you know, are a very active and well funded and powerful body.
MORGAN: I want to finish a point. Very quick, I promise. The point that I'm making is this: there's been a lot of talk by a lot of people about video game violence. I haven't seen David Gregory interviewing the head of the ACLU and saying, it's your broad interpretation of the First Amendment that is responsible for this.
But people are bringing on the NRA and saying it's your broad interpretation of the Second Amendment that's responsible for this. They're an interest group. If you want legislation passed, talk to legislators.
MORGAN: Here is what the NRA and people like Alex Jones and others do --
SHAPIRO: Don't lump me in with Alex Jones.
MORGAN: Fine. After each of these massacres, they come out. All the gun rights supporters come out very strongly and very vociferously, and they basically instill fear. They say if everyone --
SHAPIRO: They instill fear?
MORGAN: If everyone in the movie theater had been armed, everyone in the school had been armed, it wouldn't have happened. Here is what happens, gun sales and ammunition sales rocket, as we've seen in the last three weeks.
SHAPIRO: Don't pass the buck, Piers.
SHAPIRO: The reason people are buying a lot of guns right now, Piers, is because people on the left are talking very much about banning guns. So a lot of people are saying, if I am not going to have the right to purchase a weapon of my choosing in two months, I'm going to go and buy it now.
MORGAN: Why did Ronald Reagan want these assault weapons removed?
SHAPIRO: You know, I don't know why Ronald Reagan wanted these --
MORGAN: You like Reagan, right?
SHAPIRO: I like Reagan. But in a lot of ways, he's not a God. I don't agree with him on everything.
MORGAN: Did you agree with him on assault weapons?
SHAPIRO: If -- I'll believe what you are saying, sure.
SHAPIRO: I don't know what his position on assault weapons was. Why don't you tell me?
MORGAN: Let me read the letter. This is a letter that he penned along with Presidents Ford and Carter in 1994 to Congress: "while we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and the law enforcement community, support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons." That is Ronald Reagan.
SHAPIRO: OK, so I can disagree with Ronald Reagan.
MORGAN: You keep framing it as a left and right thing.
MORGAN: One of the great right wing presidents of modern times agreed with me.
MORGAN: So it's not left or right, is it? (CROSS TALK)
SHAPIRO: OK, Piers --
MORGAN: The way that the NRA through the '80s and '90s and this last --
MORGAN: -- tried to frame this as a left-wing attack on the American Constitution and the Second Amendment, exactly what you tried to do. You come in. You brandish your little book as if I don't know --
SHAPIRO: That's the Constitution of the United States.
MORGAN: I know what its your Constitution.
SHAPIRO: Do you really?
MORGAN: I have been debating this for a very long time.
SHAPIRO: Then you should read the Second Amendment again.
MORGAN: I know the Second Amendment. What I haven't heard is one coherent reason for why an civilian in American needs an AR-15 military style assault weapon. Tell me why you need one.
SHAPIRO: I told you why the general population of America, law abiding --
MORGAN: Why do they need those weapons?
SHAPIRO: They need them for the prospective possibility of resistance to tyranny, which is not a concern today. It may not be a concern tomorrow.
MORGAN: Where do you expect the tyranny to come from?
SHAPIRO: It could come from the United States, because governments have gone tyrannical before, Piers.
MORGAN: Do you understand how absurd you sound?
SHAPIRO: Here's where you go into the absurd and the bullying.
MORGAN: I'm not the one who came in here and accused you of standing on the graves of dead children.
SHAPIRO: Because you're the one who is doing that.
SHAPIRO: You know what I call it? Punching back twice as hard. MORGAN: That's what I call bullying.
MORGAN: What is astonishing?
SHAPIRO: What's astonishing about it is that for weeks now, you have been saying that anybody who disagrees with your position is absurd, idiotic, and doesn't care about the kids in Sandy Hook. Then when I say that that's a bullying tactic, you turn around and say I'm bullying you for saying that. It's absurd. It's ridiculous.
MORGAN: Let me ask you again, what is the point of a civilian having an AR-15?
SHAPIRO: The point of a civilian having an AR-15 assault weapon -- many of them are ex-military. Right, I have military friends. I don't have a problem with Colin Powell owning an AR-15 assault weapon.
SHAPIRO: It depends on the civilian.
MORGAN: Forget criminals, the mentally ill.
MORGAN: An average civilian without a criminal record, why do they need one?
SHAPIRO: To protect against the possibility of eventual government tyranny. This was the purpose of the Second Amendment originally. It remains the purpose of the Second Amendment now. And pretending that governments have never gone usurpations before --
MORGAN: You genuinely believe your own government is going to turn on you in a way that you require an AR-15 to challenge them? You really believe that will happen in modern day America? Is that what you think?
SHAPIRO: They may not turn on me. They may not turn on my children. But the fact is this, history is replete with democracies going tyrannical. It has happened. It happened in France in the 19th century. It happened in Spain in the last century. It happened in Germany. It happened in Italy. It happened in Japan.
MORGAN: The reason we cannot remove AR-15 assault weapons is because the threat of your own government turning on you in a tyrannical way?
MORGAN: That is your position?
SHAPIRO: It is because there are countervailing rights and responsibilities. (CROSS TALK)
SHAPIRO: I don't understand why you can't -- why can't we agree about reasonable law.
MORGAN: You have made your point crystal clear. People aren't stupid. They can make up their own minds. Ben Shapiro, thank you.
Coming up, my exclusive with an amazing young man who survived a deadly school shooting and now wants to help the people of Newtown. He tells his story, next.
MORGAN: We have breaking news tonight on the Aurora Movie theater massacre. A day after chilling testimony, a court ruled the prosecution proved their case. That means that Holmes will go to trial for the shooting rampage that killed 12 people and wounded nearly 60 others. He's being held without bail and is expected to be formally arraigned tomorrow.
Joining me now, a survivor of another shooting. A year go, 10 shots rang out in a cafeteria of Chardon High School. Now exclusively, one of the students who was wounded in Chardon, Nick Walczak. Nate, welcome to you.
NICK WALCZAK, WOUNDED IN CHARDON H.S. SHOOTING: Thank you.
MORGAN: You were left paralyzed. You were shot four times. You're in a wheelchair now. You're 18 years old now. What are your feelings about this debate? You have heard a lot of the arguments.
WALCZAK: I am just an 18-year-old kid. I realize that, but I have an opinion. And what I'm going to say is something needs to be done. Kids go to school. They don't choose to go to school. And they're not protected in school.
I mean, I obviously was not. And this is because of non-strict -- we need stricter gun laws, really.
MORGAN: When you hear, like my last guest, somebody so intransigent, who just says look, this is the Constitution of the United States and it entitles us to have these weapons --
WALCZAK: The second amendment, I -- you know, the Second Amendment is -- I fully support it. But fully automatic weapons, like you said, they are unneeded. What would you need a fully automatic weapon for?
MORGAN: Or the semiautomatic. These semiautomatic weapons, when they're modified, behave like an automatic, behave like a machine gun.
WALCZAK: Right. MORGAN: Although it wasn't used in your particular instance, the reality is when they're used at a movie theater or an elementary school, they cause complete carnage. And that is the argument.
WALCZAK: Right. Whether it's fully automatic or semiautomatic, my opinion is something needs to happen. It really does.
MORGAN: Your hearts must have gone out to the families involved in Sandy Hook. It must have brought back awful memories for you. Your life has obviously been turned upside down by what happened to you. What advice can you give them?
WALCZAK: Hang in there. I mean, I -- I have a friend named Danny Dave (ph). He didn't get shot, but he's a survivor because he has the mental picture of being there. And it's just -- it's really sad because he's such a good kid. He just hangs in there. You have to -- you got to just break away from what happened and just try to get some help, do whatever you can.
MORGAN: You have a friend who I think was a diver who also was left paralyzed by an accident diving. And you drew great strength from that, I know. Is that important to find other people? Have you thought about going up to Sandy Hook?
WALCZAK: I would love to go up to Sandy Hook. Whether it's me being paralyzed or me finding other people who were in a school shooting, it helped me a lot just to heal mentally. It was good therapy. Probably the best therapy I have had is having other people that went through the same thing I have, whether it's a spinal cord injury or a school shooting.
MORGAN: I have seen a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook. And this inspires, this debate, a lot of emotion on both sides. I have seen lots of young people, in particular, leading the call of enough is enough, something has to be done. I get a feeling that the younger generation are not as entrenched about their views that everyone should have any guns they like as perhaps their parents' generation and so on.
What do your friends and people that you know think in your age group?
WALCZAK: They feel that something does need to be done, but what? What can we do? In our case, it wasn't a semiautomatic or a fully automatic. It was semiautomatic, I'm sorry. But what can be done? We do have a cop in our high school now that's there all day. But what else can be done?
You know, something has to be done with the guns that already have been purchased. I feel there needs to be stronger background checks. Even the family needs to be checked before even purchasing a weapon of any type.
MORGAN: You have to know who has the guns.
WALCZAK: Right. MORGAN: That should be the first protocol. And there are too many guns to remove them all, obviously. But it's unsettling that I can't buy six packets of pain killers, but I can buy an AR-15 at Wal- Mart. I don't think that's ever going to help society.
WALCZAK: I also feel that guns need to be more locked up, locked up at all times. Because most of -- what I feel is most of the shootings that happen is guns that have been taken. It's not guns that were legally bought, or they were legally bought, but they were taken. They need to be locked up.
MORGAN: Nick, you're an inspiration. It's amazing that you have got the confidence you have now, and the positivity, I know, that you have about your future life. I wish you all the very best with that. It's a harrowing thing you have been through and I appreciate you coming in.
WALCZAK: Thank you very much, Piers. Nice to see you.
MORGAN: Coming up, a man who has helped millions of people in this country. Tony Robbins on how Americans can get through these stressful times.
MORGAN: My next guest has some things to say about the toll of gun violence in this country that may surprise you. He's a guy who has helped of Americans. As we were just talking about, joining me now is Tony Robbins.
Tony, such a polarizing issue this. I do try and respect the views of people I don't agree with about this, although I find the way they deliver them sometimes very insensitive. What is your view of guns, generally?
TONY ROBBINS, LIFE AND BUSINESS STRATEGIST: Well, I think the first issue, for me, is what's really happening? What's really happening in our culture. And I think what's beautiful is as painful as this is, human beings can change one of two ways. They can change because there's an opportunity. They make it happen. Or they do it because they are at a threshold.
America is at a threshold. The stacking of these brutal events, especially on young children, is pushing us where gun owners are saying something has got to be done. That's creating an environment where real change can occur.
I think the most important thing is, besides discussions about the how, is for us to look at each other, no matter what side. I have friends on both sides of this issue, very good friends on both sides of the issue. And it's the ability for us to get them to see, hey, listen, everybody has pure intent. We all have to want the exact same thing.
That young man who was on earlier, obviously Gabby, obviously Mark, yourself, myself, we all want to make sure our kids are safe. We all want to make sure that our family, our husbands, wives, mothers, fathers are safe. We all want to make sure people are respected.
So we have forgotten that and we get polarized. Kind of like if you put your fist out and I push on you like this. What happens? Ninety nine percent of people are going to do that, push right back. The more we polarize each other, the harder it is to create real change. So I think the most important thing right now is for us to be able to enter the other person's world and say, I know their intent is pure.
We have one difference. The differences in different parts of this country is how to do it. And what's encouraging is the vice president today saying, look, we're truly going to sit down and hear from every faction and look at what the solutions are. If we demonize, though, we'll be having the discussion 10 years from now and they're going to be even more pains. We've got to step out of it.
MORGAN: As with my -- the guest, Mr. Shapiro tonight, the problem is that if you try to talk about gun control with those who don't believe about in it, they are completely intransigent. They don't want to give up any weapons. And they then try to frame it as you want to take all our guns and infringe my Constitutional rights.
That's not what I want to do or Mark Kelly, or Joe Biden, or Barack Obama, not what anybody sensible actually wants to do. But that is the way, when you talk about the demonizing, that the argument gets framed. And it makes you look like you're being unpatriotic if you dare to question it.
ROBBINS: Yes. There's a martial art known as Akido that I'm sure you're familiar with. Most martial arts are about breaking the other person. What's beautiful about the art of Akido -- and I've had a chance to practice it -- is someone's attack on you becomes an energy that you welcome. Instead of trying to hurt them, you align with them and redirect them.
It's actually a very beautiful art. That's really what we're not doing on the economy, on guns or any other part. We become more and more polarized.
So there is a solution. That is, if you can allow -- I watched you here. You took a lot more in -- you took umbrage obviously to the idea that you're stepping on graves, which anyone would. But it was different than even for yourself when you're saying you're wrong. It makes it hard. I've done the same thing.
MORGAN: Listen, I'm trying to be fair minded. I'm trying to listen to the debate. What I find hard is when I'm categorized as being some raging lefty who hates the Constitution. I totally respect and admire the Constitution and the Second Amendment and an Americans' right to defend themselves at home.
What I haven't heard yet, and he couldn't give me one, is a coherent argument for why any civilian actually needs one of these assault weapons. I don't think anybody does. And you've got to make a stand somewhere. You have to start somewhere. The logical place to start, given the automatic weapons are banned, is you go to the next level down, semiautomatic weapons.
You know, in an ideal world, I'd have all guns gone, as we have in Britain. But this is not my country. And I respect the fact that most Americans wouldn't wear that kind of argument. That's why I feel angry when I'm being categorized in a way that I think is wrong.
ROBBINS: But I agree with you. I thought it was unfair what he said. I'm not saying that to blow smoke in your direction. But when we're passionate, both sides tend to do this. And I think what we really have to be able to do is create a little space to say where are we aligned. There has to be more discussion about we do we agree on?
We agree on protecting our kids. We agree on respect. What are some ways that we can do that? We may differ on the decisions, but we don't have to make the person wrong. I can disagree without making you wrong, that I want to deport you or you're just wrong on any side. It doesn't work for us.
But I think there's another issue, though, that I haven't heard talked about. We're not going to eliminate guns in this country. There's 300 million of them, right, regardless of your point of view. And people are still not noticing who's creating this havoc, the who. I don't mean just mentally ill. It's young males. How many young females have done this?
MORGAN: Almost all the recent massacres have been young males.
ROBBINS: Even if you look through history, you find this. And there's a reason. Young males get filled with testosterone at a young age. And when they have these strong emotions, no one has taught them -- all cultures, Piers, have had a transition from being a child to being an adult. And that transition is about how to use power responsibly so that you protect and care.
The military, for hundreds of years, has shown people how to use these and not be abusive with them.
MORGAN: I think there are lots of different components here. I think video games, Hollywood violent movies, mental health, all these issues, parental responsibilities. But in the end, they are all the eggs. And the catalyst for the killings is the gun.
Tony, it's good to see you.
ROBBINS: Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: We have a big one-hour special coming up. We're looking forward to that very much. We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Many are passionate about the issue of gun violence in America. And tomorrow I'll be revisiting some of the more explosive interviews from this week with people on both sides, including the Alex Jones encounter in full.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.