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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Three Wounded in Houston College Shooting; The Next Four Years

Aired January 22, 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: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT, the next four years, a live town hall special.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Day one, President Obama's second term, can he keep his promises to America on guns after another school shooting today?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our journey is not complete until all our children from the streets of Detroit, to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

MORGAN: The economy.

OBAMA: An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless.

MORGAN: Social issues.

OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.

MORGAN: Tonight an unprecedented gathering of leaders from business, politics and people on both sides of the gun debate. I'll talk to Dan Rather, Mark Cuban, Grover Norquist, a Texas gun owner who survived a mass shooting, and a couple who stopped a thief with a gun of their own.

I'll ask them all and you, how would you grade the president for his first four years and what do you want to see in the next four?

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(APPLAUSE)

MORGAN: Good evening. Our town hall is going in just a few minutes but we begin tonight with breaking news on another school shooting. This one in a community college in Texas, three people were wounded and two are in custody after a shoot-out that apparently resulted from an altercation at the North Harris Campus at Lone Star College in Houston. Joining me now exclusively is Mark Zaragoza. He wasn't just an eyewitness, he's an EMT student who treated two people who were bleeding. He found out later that one of them was a suspected shooter.

Welcome to you, Mr. Zaragoza. A very dramatic day, obviously, at the college today. Tell me exactly what happened.

MARK ZARAGOZA, EMT STUDENT, TREATED SHOOTER: Well, I actually was coming out of class, and I had -- knew that there was a lot of commotion going on, but I wasn't really sure what it was. I had asked a few students and they had said that there were a couple of people that were shot. I proceeded to go around to the back of the library and I saw two wounded victims. And I just kind of did whatever I was trained to do in my previous medical training and started to treat them to the best I could.

And I was treating the facilities person, I was getting him taken care of, and I looked behind me and I saw another gentleman sitting against the building who also needed treatment, so I rushed over to help him. And right -- kind of as we were in the middle of helping him, then they were starting to clear the campus out. And they had asked everyone to please move to the front of the campus.

So we -- you know, a couple of us carried our victims to the front and lo and behold, when we got to the front of the campus, I found out that one of the gentlemen that I was trying to treat wounds on was the suspected shooter.

MORGAN: And tell me, and obviously with all the shootings that have been going on recently and particularly following Sandy Hook, of course, it must be everyone who is at a college or school's nightmare that they hear gunfire.

Did you hear the gunfire going off? Do you know how many people actually shot guns? Because there are various reports that it was one shooter, two shooters and so on.

ZARAGOZA: I personally did not hear the gunshots. I did hear some gunshots later as I was moving away from the scene. They were off in the distance. But as far as the gunshots go, I actually did not hear them. I was told by another student who had -- saw me, he indicated that I had arrived at about approximately one, 1 1/2 minutes after the shooting had occurred. So I actually did not hear it. The latest report was saying that there were three wounded and one of those three being the suspected shooter.

MORGAN: Right. We believe there's a fourth who had a heart attack.

The final question just briefly, if you could. My understanding is you have armed police specifically employed at the school and also civilian security, but they're not armed, is that correct?

ZARAGOZA: I think some of them are. I have -- they do have a police substation right there on campus, I do believe. But I do not believe -- I don't think the security guys are armed.

MORGAN: No, I think that's why I think there were armed police but the security guards are unarmed.

But, Mark Zaragoza, obviously terrifying day for you. And congratulations on the work that you did to help there because it must have been a really dramatic scene. And you must have had your heart racing as well. So thank you for joining me.

ZARAGOZA: Thank you.

MORGAN: I want to turn now to our version of town hall, a big conversation about the big issues President Obama will have to tackle in the next four years which, of course, includes guns in America.

Tonight, tell us what you want to see from the president in his second term. Follow us on Twitter, send questions to me @Pierstonight, and use our hash tag pmtnext4. Join the conversation, have a voice. I may ask you -- your question on air. I must ask our studio audience and you to grade the president on his first four years. We'll have the results in a few minutes.

Joining me now, though, a very stellar panel, I have to say. Dan Rather, Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform, Dallas Mavericks owner and AXS TV chairman, Mark Cuban, also Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, and Frank Bruni from "The New York Times."

Plus the newest member of our CNN family, Jake Tapper, anchor and chief Washington correspondent.

Welcome to you all.

(APPLAUSE)

Jake Tapper, first of all, welcome to the CNN family. As I think Wolf Blitzer told you earlier, you just have to work hard, keep your nose clean, and let Wolf deal with the work. That's what I tend to do.

(LAUGHTER)

Let me ask you, Jake. A fascinating day in many ways just today in Washington as they have been a lot recently. The president seemed to me to be a man who realizes he probably hasn't achieved yet enough to guarantee his legacy whatever he sees that to be. And he looked pretty determined, pretty up for a fight and he laid out a pretty radical plan many see which many are seeing as being much more liberal perhaps than he has been in the past. As if to say, right, this is the real me and I'm going to go for it. What was your reading of it?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we have a different tone from President Obama than we've had in the past. There certainly is an evolution between what he said in the 2004 Democratic convention when he talked about there are no red states or no blue states, just the United States. It is a more assertive, bolder, if you will, version of that, except he is pushing forward asking for his vision, asking for a more progressive agenda talking about climate change even though he hasn't really been active in that much at all during his first term. Talking about gun control, which is also something he's not pushed for.

So I do think absolutely -- I wouldn't call it veering to the left. I think it's probably more with the confidence that comes from his first term he's pushing for the things that he cares about and has always cared about but hasn't had the political will or desire to act upon until now.

MORGAN: Dan Rather, the big problem for the president, as it has been in his first four years, is getting this stuff through a Republican-led House. And they've already made it clear, look, you can try, but we're going to fight you every step of the way.

How successful can he be with the kind of quite ambitious plans that he laid out yesterday for what he wants to achieve?

DAN RATHER, "DAN RATHER REPORTS", AXS TV: Well, as we sit here tonight, I think it's limited what he can achieve. That's why he has to pick his shots very, very carefully. That the opposition party has chosen to be an obstructionist party. They read the election results and they'll make nice on some things. But to answer your question, it's going to be very tough going for him. Not to say it's impossible, but it is -- don't try to do too many things.

President Clinton, who in many ways was a very effective president, he loved to undertake 75 or 80 things on at once. President Obama can't afford to do that. That his number one priorities have to be peace, world peace, of course, number one, and number two take what is happening now with the economy and move it forward. Jobs, jobs, jobs. And his number three problem is he faces a staunchly obstructionist party in opposition.

I would expect him to concentrate on trying to get his health reform package, otherwise known as Obamacare, sort of put in concrete. It's still vulnerable in some places. And tweak it. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't make that if not his first priority, his number one legislative priority, to deal with health reform.

MORGAN: Well, talking of concrete, Grover Norquist, have you got your battering rams ready now for the president? You've got the debt ceiling bust-up to come. The Republicans making it very clear they're going to fight him all the way on that. But also I get a sense that, you know, the president can be as bold and audacious as he wants in this inaugural speech that he made yesterday but you guys aren't going to let him get away with very much.

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Well, he has two problems. One is the Republicans won the House of Representatives. Boehner was elected leader of the House as much as the president was elected to run the executive branch. So he can't pass something through Congress without getting a Republican House. He has another problem, that's a Democratic Senate. Twenty Democrats are up for re-election in 2014. They're not as left-wing as he is. And they certainly didn't get elected in states as Democrat and blue as Obama did. So he's asking those guys to go out in front on his tax policies, his spending policies. Remember, he just signed to make permanent 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts in dollar terms, 99 percent of the Bush tax cuts in terms of who was affected.

These were tax cuts the Democratic Party has run against for 12 years as a bad idea from start to finish. So the Republicans made a hundred steps forward and took back either one or 15 steps and then Obama locked it in. Why? Largely because Democrats in the Senate did not want to be attached to the size of tax increases that the president wanted. So he has a Democrat Senate that's not as left wing as he is. Reid maybe, but Reid has to take care of his own. And a Republican House elected every bit as much as he was.

MORGAN: Let me bring Jake back. And you got an update from the White House about some of this. Tell me all about it, Jake.

TAPPER: Well, it's just what his next hundred days will look like. Obviously he's talked a lot about trying to combat gun violence and we'll see efforts legislatively right off the bat on that. Also, of course, immigration reform. The president has talked about how he wants to tackle that early on in his second term. So immigration reform. And that is an area, as Grover can talk about at length, where Republicans there may be an area for compromise for bipartisan consensus.

I also would expect, of course, some of the budgetary issues, of course, will be forced upon him because of the forced spending cuts, the so-called sequester being pushed back. And then something else that he spoke about on election night itself that I think we can probably expect to see in the first 100 days or so, and that is some effort at election reform. Making it easier for people to vote, not harder.

So that -- those are the items that I see coming down the pike immediately. Some of them, there are areas where there should be some bipartisan cooperation. Some of them, there will be some pretty difficult fights.

MORGAN: OK. Mark Cuban, you're a very successful American businessman, sports lover, sports owner and so on. What do you make of all this? You've got a country $16 trillion in debt.

MARK CUBAN, AXS TV CHAIRMAN: Right.

MORGAN: America is hurting economically. And despite President Obama's best efforts in the first four years, it's still hurting. Only 8 percent unemployment. A lot of people suffering. Do you like the tenor of what you're hearing from him for his second term or is it fiddling while Rome burns?

CUBAN: No, first of all, I don't think America's in bad shape at all. And I'll say second -- MORGAN: Well, explain to a layman why that is. I hear a lot of business people say that right now. How can a country that's so riddled with debt actually not be in bad shape?

CUBAN: Well, first of all, you know, when we talk about debt, everybody likes to compare it to households. It is not the same. You know, debt -- a sovereign debt is not the same as debt I might have or any of us might have as individuals. We can't print money. The country can. We don't have a central bank. The country does. So it's -- you know, not even apples to apples, but you know, this is an entrepreneurial country.

And you know, I have investments in more than 70 companies. And not one time as a conversation about the national deficit ever come up. Not one time did the fiscal cliff ever come up. Not one time even the tax rates ever come up.

You know, the business of America is business. And we go to work. And I don't think any of these other elements really impact, you know, all but the biggest multinational companies. And so when you talk about where are we with 8 percent -- 8 percent unemployment, I don't think it's really a reflection of what the president's done.

I think it's a reflection of, you know, how the world is changing in terms of technology. There are those of us who, you know, run the computers and there's those of us who are told what to do by the computers. And that's changing how work is being done.

MORGAN: Kellyanne, I mean, that is a valid point. I mean, you know, you look at a company like Apple, for example. Most of their business in terms of jobs is outsourced now to China and places like that. China brings some back, but it makes little economic sense for them to do so in a globalized market.

I have a view about that, but it's a valid point that the nature of business in America has changed and you need less people for what you're trying to do now. What is the answer to that?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Perhaps that's true, but if you're one of the 8 percent who are unemployed and are actively pursuing employment, you feel it. You think that these aren't just statistics. They're very real. If you're one of the over 45 million who now live in poverty which has increased not decreased under President Obama's watch, you feel it. If you're one of the over 45 million Americans who lack health insurance under President Obama's first four years, you feel it.

These just aren't abject statistics for successful people to dismiss. And let me just say I think that both Republicans and Democrats have missed a tremendous opportunity in the messaging on the economy. Republicans have talked about just job creators, they always talk about entrepreneurs. And they sort of own that space a little bit. And the president talks about, you know, having the wealthy pay their fair share and whatnot, and ignores the debt in his inaugural speech yesterday. But most Americans right now, most American households, Piers, are neither job seekers nor job creators, they're job holders. And they don't fear losing their job or even replacing a lost job, but what they're saying now which was different than when your father or your grandfather had the job as head of the household is that the job is no longer enough.

It's that life in America seems to be increasingly unaffordable. To people say I have a job, my household has two or three jobs, and we still can't make it. I think the Republicans should take the opportunity to explain to them what it is -- why it is they can't make it on their jobs.

MORGAN: OK. Frank Bruni, it is the narrative then that has been wrong perhaps on both sides. Is that a valid point to make?

FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it's a valid point to make. I just also like to say when we talk a lot about what he can or can't do in the next four years there's a lot of focus on who controls the Senate, who controls the House, on the kind of legislative reality.

One thing I get the sense the president learned from his first term is that he can use the bully pulpit a lot better than he has. There are the Houses of Congress and then there's the court of public opinion. And what's doable often ends up to be a matter of what you can -- what you can do in the court of public opinion.

I think he's gotten much better even in recent weeks and in recent months at sticking to a message, at choosing a message. He's been very good on the debt ceiling talking about we're not authorizing spending, we are making good on the bills we already owe. So I think we should keep an eye on that for the next four years and see whether that opens up the realm of possibility for him.

(CROSSTALK)

RATHER: Excuse me, this is such a strong point because it's sort of got lost in coverage of the inauguration day. The forming of this group called Organizing for Action is an effort by the Obama people, the president and his people, to bring what they learned during the campaign, to support him with the so-called bully pulpit of public opinion. If they're able to do that half as well as they did in the campaign --

MORGAN: Well, you saw -- we also saw with the fiscal cliff the Republicans are feeling -- they're clearly feeling the heat from public opinion. You can see from the polls.

Let's take a break. I want to come back and talk about one of the most emotive there is of public opinions. Guns and gun control. And I will try and keep my voice which I think ironically I got flu after Dr. Oz gave me a flu jab on this very show.

(LAUGHTER)

So I will be having a word with him later. We'll be back after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit, to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

MORGAN: Safe from harm. And that means safe from guns. President Obama is asking Congress to approve his sweeping gun control plan. But can it pass?

Let's go back to Jake Tapper, who's got an update for this.

Jake, I understand the president will be meeting with some congressional members this week. Tell me about that.

TAPPER: That's right. He'll be reaching out to members of Congress. And this is a big part of this campaign for gun violence because he has a narrow margin of support among the public for his proposals. And a Gallup poll from January 17th asked would you tell your congressman to vote for President Obama's proposals to reduce gun violence? Yes, 53 percent, no 41 percent.

But here's what's really interesting about these polling numbers, Piers, and this is why President Obama is going to take his show on the road and have more of that campaigning that he did in 2012. Support for gun measures, for gun control measures, has declined precipitously since the shooting. In December, for instance, 78 percent support for gun registration, it's now 69 percent.

Those numbers are going down as we typically see after a horrific event like this, there's a big spike in public support for tougher gun control measures, and then that goes down. President Obama going to try to stop that and turn it around.

MORGAN: OK. Let's bring in some people who have views on this from very different perspectives. Suzanna Hupp, she was somebody who was a victim at Luby's Cafeteria in Texas in 1991. It was the worst shooting before Virginia Tech, that America had seen. She had a handgun that was in her car at the time.

Welcome to you, Suzanna. And what is your view of where the gun control debate is? As Jake Tapper just said, it does tend to be this huge spike in the polls of people in America say we've got to do something, and then over a few weeks, it calms down, people go back to normal. And so it goes on. What do you think?

SUZANNA HUPP, AUTHOR, "FROM LUBY'S TO THE LEGISLATURE": Well, I think there's a normal reaction, especially among us parents. You know, you want to do something. Something that will prevent something like this from happening in the future. I just take a very different view of it. I look at it and wonder how can anybody not see that these things only happen where guns aren't allowed?

That seems so crystal clear to me that we've created these killing zones that we call gun-free zones. And it makes me very uncomfortable to have my children in them.

MORGAN: Did you know how many of the last 60 mass shootings have been in gun-free zones?

HUPP: If I had to sit and count, I can tell you almost all of them.

MORGAN: Actually, it's not the case. In today's shooting, you've got kids with handguns, students in a school, your armed police everywhere. Plenty of guns in that school.

HUPP: Now do we -- do we know that you've said kids? Because my understanding is they weren't children.

MORGAN: Well, students.

HUPP: Is that -- I mean, I just, I just want to make it clear because I hear a lot about kids killing kids. And when I actually sit and look at the statistical evidence they're including 21-year-olds and it's usually gang-related violence. It's one gang member killing another over drug-related incidents.

MORGAN: But tell me this, I mean, do you go along then with this idea that you should arm almost everybody, at schools, at movie theaters?

HUPP: No.

MORGAN: At churches? I mean, but where do you draw the line?

HUPP: Yes. No. No, all I'm saying is anybody who is -- basically anybody who can vote. So we're talking about people who are of age, who have no felony convictions, who have never been adjudicated mentally incompetent can carry a gun if they choose. And the fact is when you look at it statistically only about 2 percent of the population choose to do that. I just --

MORGAN: Well, let me give you -- let me give you --

HUPP: This is crazy. Yes.

MORGAN: Let me give a statistic then. Here's where I just find it really hard to understand the statistical evidence. America has over 300 million guns in circulation. And you have 11,000 and 12,000 gun homicides a year, 18,000 Americans kill themselves with guns every year, 100,000 Americans are hit by gunfire every year. This far exceeds of the other countries.

HUPP: Sure. MORGAN: Of any comparative well-though --

HUPP: Because we do have more guns. You're dealing with --

MORGAN: But why would your answer to bringing down that statistic which presumably we all want to do, why would the answer then be more guns?

HUPP: Let me answer -- let me answer your question.

MORGAN: But hang on.

HUPP: Let me answer your question.

MORGAN: But hang on, hang on. It is your right, you said --

HUPP: But you started with one question. Let me answer it.

MORGAN: No, but -- let me just finish my point here.

HUPP: You're talking about --

MORGAN: Let me finish my -- Suzanna, let me finish my point.

HUPP: You're saying that a lot of people kill themselves with guns.

MORGAN: Let me finish my point, please.

HUPP: All right. It's your show.

MORGAN: My point is this. If you concede that the reason for that is, as you said, you have more guns --

HUPP: Yes.

MORGAN: -- why would the way to bring down those numbers be to have even more guns?

HUPP: You are not going to bring down suicide numbers by having less guns.

MORGAN: That's a complete lie. That's a -- I'm sorry. I can't -- you can't say things like that. In countries like Australia, where they brought in strict gun control the suicide rate involving guns plummeted. Plummeted.

HUPP: Well, suicide rate involving guns, yes. But not suicides. So you're making -- here's an example for you.

MORGAN: No, but again, again, I say --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Again, I say to you, Suzanna.

HUPP: OK.

MORGAN: That is actually also wrong.

HUPP: OK. But, Piers, you brought me on the show, let me -- let me make a point.

MORGAN: OK. Finish what you wanted to say.

HUPP: OK. There was -- there was a great article. A very short article shortly after my parents were killed, there was an article in the paper. It was in December. And it was a very short article about a brother killing his own brother with a Christmas tree stand. He had beaten his brother to death with a Christmas tree stand.

Crimes of passion have happened since Caesar's day, right? But you know what? If there had been a gun sitting next to the Christmas tree stand, he would have picked up that gun and it used it and it would be in your statistics now. Now the brother is no less dead but the gun is granted a more efficient tool. It's something that puts me on equal footing with gang members. It's something that puts --

MORGAN: OK.

HUPP: -- your granny in a wheelchair on equal footing with the thugs trying to steal her Social Security check.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: OK. Well, look, there's a lot of people in this room that find what you're saying --

HUPP: I can't -- I can't hear them.

MORGAN: Well, a lot of people are --

(LAUGHTER)

A lot of people are laughing and probably wish you could hear them. But let's move on. Let's move to Paul Cavazos and to Heidi Uriostegui.

HUPP: Look -- Piers, I've been there.

MORGAN: Suzanna, if I may move on.

Paul, you pulled out a shotgun. It's a fascinating story, this. It happened recently. You pulled out a shotgun to defend your girlfriend. It was actually a burglar attempting to steal a television set from one of your neighbor's homes. And we watched the videos, a famous bit of video now where you went out, you took your gun and you got this guy apprehended without actually shooting anybody. And you used the threat, I guess, of that weapon. It was a shotgun, I think?

PAUL CAVAZOS, DETAINED A BURGLAR WITH HIS SHOTGUN: Yes, sir. MORGAN: To me when I saw that, people sent me tweets saying well, there's the evidence, that's why you've got to be armed. I've never had any problem with what you did, I've never had any problem with an American's right to bear arms in their home with a shotgun or a pistol or a handgun to defend themselves. I get that. That's the Second Amendment.

Do you believe in anything more? Do you need to have an assault weapon, an AR-15 military style rifle or do you believe that you were armed enough to do what you did, to defend yourself and your property and your family?

CAVAZOS: Yes, in this particular case, yes. I mean, we live in a very small area. We have lots of units connected to us. I don't need a 223 rifle that could maybe miss somebody and go four houses down. In this particular case, this is exactly what I bought it for, is home defense. My girlfriend's been terrorized by this particular gentleman for the last month. And this time I was home, she let me know, and thankfully he chose the right choice for him and for my conscience as well.

MORGAN: When you hear about the debate and you hear the lady I just interviewed, making the kind of remarks that, you know, cause a room to erupt with sort of appalled laughter, let's not beat about the bush here, what -- there's clearly a clash of cultures even within the American culture about this. How do we get through it?

CAVAZOS: You know, I mean, that's a tough question. You know, I know in the -- in my home state where I live now in Texas, it's -- you know, Texas and guns, guns are interwoven with their history and one of the first things I did when I moved to San Antonio was I went to the Alamo and it gave me chills when I walked in there and saw all the different flags that were represented and saw all the, of course, the famous come and get it.

And I guess it's one of those things that, you know, Texas has a lot of pride, and I can understand why they have it. Guns are a part of it. And it -- you know, Heidi and I are both very, very proud to be living in Texas, but you know, it's not something that, you know, we like to, you know, show everybody. It's only in a very specific --

MORGAN: No, I totally respect that.

Let's take a break. Let's come back and ask my panel about the big gun debate. I'm sure you've all got different views on this, but it is to me one of the most important debates in America right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with one of the most sensitive topics in America, guns. It's my all star panel, Dan Rather, Grover Norquist, Mark Cuban, Kellyanne Conway and Frank Bruni, and also Second Amendment activist Suzanne Hupp.

Dan has very kindly offered to lip sync for me if my voice continues to deteriorate. So Beyonce wasn't available tonight. Grover, let me start with you. You're a board member of the NRA, which I don't think many people know.

NORQUIST: We have 76 board members.

MORGAN: OK, but you are a board member of the NRA.

NORQUIST: Yeah.

MORGAN: So what is your view of the gun debate right now. And where can you see at least some kind of consensus?

NORQUIST: A member of the National Rifle Association, at the very beginning, said that we ought to include people who have been adjudicated as mentally unstable in the national -- in the list of people who can't get guns. That was stopped by Ted Kennedy because the lobbyists for the -- didn't want that to happen. I think we need to go back and about half the states don't really get that information into the national instant check and get those in.

If Obama really considered this an important issue, he might have done something about it when he had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. All this talk about Republican obstructionism, the Republicans had a majority of the House for the last two years. The first two years of his presidency, he could have done immigration, didn't. Could have passed something on gun control, didn't.

MORGAN: Do you own a gun?

NORQUIST: Yes.

MORGAN: What do you have?

NORQUIST: A shotgun. I live in D.C. So it's extremely difficult. Took nine months.

MORGAN: Who on the panel also owns a gun? Dan does? Mark, do you have a gun?

CUBAN: No.

MORGAN: Kellyanne, Frank? So you two have guns. I repeat, I have no problem with the self-defense element of this. Do you believe -- and I've had lots of gun rights people on the show of varying degrees of intellect, I guess, about this debate. Some choose just to abuse me. Others I found out actually presented good arguments.

Do you believe that there's compelling evidence that an assault weapons ban, if it removed the loopholes that were there last time, would have no effect, zero effect?

NORQUIST: Well, the government studies -- the Justice Department studies about the previous gun ban said it had no effect. So we actually have some social science on this.

MORGAN: It was riddled with loopholes, as everybody knows. When you see, as has happened, the last five mass shootings in America all involving an AR-15 style military assault rifle -- that's what they are. They are almost the same as an M-16. When you see that happen, do you not think there's a compelling argument to say, you know what, civilians don't need these things? And if it means that crazy people are going to get their hands on them easily, go to Wal-Mart or whatever they do, it's just time to take a humane action and remove them.

I'd love the NRA to say something like that and say not the handguns, not this, but those, those killing machines we agree don't belong.

NORQUIST: Those are the exact same weapons as a hunting rifle.

MORGAN: They're not.

NORQUIST: Yes, they are. They're exactly the same as hunting rifles and they put little goo guys on them.

MORGAN: Grover, they're not.

RATHER: I want the record to show I have my grandfather's shotgun, is the gun that I own. Look, this is one of those things. We have a cultural divide about a lot of things in this country. Big country, 320 million people, multiracial, multiethnic, multi- religious. The good book says let us come reasoned together. That's what we need to do in the gun business.

There's wide divergence of opinion. But with an assault rifle, with all due respect, I disagree with Grover. But an assault weapon, there's no excuse to have an assault weapon. And if President Obama wants to get serious, and I think he does about this, he's going to be limited to what he can pass. But some limit on assault rifles and some limit on the extreme magazine capacity that can go into those --

MORGAN: Nobody needs a 100-bullet magazine.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: The NRA could just say, we agree. Are you going to go hunting with 100 bullets in a magazine, blow a deer to smithereens.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: That's not sport. That's not hunting. What do you need them for? You don't need them to defend yourself. You don't need to spray gun people to steal a television set. This is where the NRA miss a trick in terms of the debate. They could just give a bit that is obvious.

Let me bring in somebody now, Bishop Nikkeli Demone. You're one of the organizers of the march on Washington for gun control taking place on Saturday. You have a personal interest. Tell me about your family.

NIKKEIELI DEMONE. SENIOR PASTOR, FAMILY OF FAITH FULL LIFE CENTER: Thanks for having me here. I'm bishop Nikkieli Demone. This takes a personal turn for me because my father shortly after I was born was shot to death in a case of mistaken identity.

MORGAN: And you were shot, too?

DEMONE: I was not shot. I was not shot. My father was. My father was. I never got to know him. That's one. As a bishop and as an actor, in both instances, I've presided over funerals of children who have killed other children, 18 to age 13. The 13-year-old was just sitting on his front porch reading a book and was just hit by being in the right place --

MORGAN: So what is the answer?

DEMONE: What is the answer? I agree with you, Dan Rather. And I agree with you. There is no need to have these high-powered assault weapons. There is no need for regular citizens to walk around with weapons that would decimate a body just by the bullet entering, bullets that shatter upon impact? There's no need.

MORGAN: Mark Cuban, you're a Texan. You don't own a gun. Quite unusual in Texas, I would think. And I mean that in a respectful way. There are a lot of gun owners there. What do you think of this debate?

CUBAN: One, I have no problem if you have guns in your home. That's your choice to protect yourself. We have armed guards in my house, because of all the crazies. But I think they need to be registered. I think if you own a gun, you need to be registered and pass tests.

I'm a believer that if the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, so we ought to give all the good guys registration, make them fill out forms, make them pass test, then you give them a white hat. No one is going to mess with a good guy with a gun with a white hat in public. Seriously.

I mean, it's absolutely ridiculous to take a gun out in public because you think you might protect yourself. Don't -- like today in the shooting today, when someone just decides they're going to attack back because someone got them mad, you can't take that risk. Don't people watch "Die Hard" movies?

MORGAN: What many Americans don't realize is many countries around the world have brought in tough gun control, Japan, Australia, Britain and others. And the statistics for gun murder and for gun suicide dramatically come down when you have it. It's just a fact.

CUBAN: Part of the problem is that everybody looks at the statistics and says, well, here's the cause and here's the effect. And that doesn't work. You have to make -- to Dan's point, you have to make a decision about what you want to be as a country and where you want to go. If it's three million guns, well, if we get down to 299 million guns next year, that's a step in the right direction.

MORGAN: It's about taking steps. Let's come back after the break and let's talk about social issues. Barack Obama shocked the world yesterday. He mentioned the word gay in his Inaugural Address. Wow, what a shocker.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: So it's a bit of fun, really. At the top of the show, I asked my studio audience, who I will say from the top are pretty skewed towards Democrats and Independents -- not many Republicans in the house tonight, apart from Grover who I think speaks for thousands of them anyway. I just asked them all to put a grade up on how the president's doing, if he was back at college, A, B, C, D or F.

And here are the results. I've got them here, actually. So As 13, Bs 32, Cs 10, Ds 1, F 3. So not bad. But I guess probably representative of the whole country, really, where a Democrat-skewed audience thinks, you know what, he can do better. It's probably one of the overriding themes.

Frank, one of the things he did do very well, I thought, yesterday was break this ridiculous kind of taboo subject of mentioning the word gay at an Inaugural Address. It had never been done before. And the president, after pretty slow start on this issue, looks like he's decided right, this is about equality. And actually until we have complete equality, it's not equality.

BRUNI: My suspicion is that he's been almost always here, but now he doesn't have to worry about re-election in four years. The Inaugural remarks were, what, 18 minutes, and he mentioned twice essentially -- he used the word gay once, which had never happened before in Inaugural remarks, and he also mentioned Stonewall.

I think the Stonewall mention -- for people who don't know what Stonewall is, it was a gay bar that was raided in 1969 and it became an emblem of police bullying and harassment of gay people. To mention Stonewall along with Selma -- you have the first black president putting in the same sentence a major theater in the civil rights movement and a gay bar that was raided by the police.

This is enormous. It says a lot about where his values are right now on this issue. And I think it speaks volumes about where the country's moved.

MORGAN: Kellyanne, he also mentioned women's equality as well, women's rights. What is wrong with an America, a modern America taking a basic standpoint that all men and women should be equal, whether it's the amount they're paid for the same job, their sexuality, the color of their skin? I like the way the president brought it all together and said, you know something? Actually, equality should mean that, equality.

CONWAY: He did sort of say that, but the one word he never said yesterday, Piers, was gun or guns. And we ought to put that on the record. There's a great reason he didn't say that, I guess the same reason he never bothered to revive the assault weapons ban --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: I'm talking about guns all night, as you know. But let's move back --

CONWAY: Talking about President Obama in his second term. Let's be fair about his first term.

MORGAN: Do you have any exception to him wanting now apparently to categorize, as Joe Biden jumped in before him, about genuine equality for anyone who's gay? And that involves if they want to get married in America, getting married?

CONWAY: Piers, when the president says half the things he says, I'm not sure what he means by them. For me to characterize cryptic remarks in an Inaugural Address -- if you're asking me how I feel, I think that America has as its goal as a core governing value equality and also fairness. When you ask people, Jake Tapper -- welcome to CNN, Jake -- had those poll numbers about do you want your member of Congress to vote for President Obama's efforts to reduce gun violence, you get one answer. When you ask do you want the government to ban certain things, you get quite another answer.

And that's because we have a sense of not just of equality in the country but fairness.

MORGAN: You've been laughing here. What's amusing here?

(CROSS TALK)

CUBAN: What's amusing to me is that we're making such a big deal about it. We all live our lives, right? I think on a day-to-day basis, we accept the people around us. We have to go to work. We have to shop. We go to the gym. We go wherever. The fact that we're making a big deal about the president using the word gay is crazy. That is absolutely crazy.

BRUNI: There's a big deal to be made here, which is that only in nine states can I get married. You can get married in all the states.

CUBAN: I'm not saying there's not stupidly.

BRUNI: That's a big deal. This isn't just about him using gay in his Inaugural remarks. This is about him saying on that issue, that's not fair, that's not equal rights.

MORGAN: Imagine how it would be -- imagine how it would be if actually you could be a black man or woman in America and only have your rights recognized in a number of states. People would find that ridiculous.

CONWAY: We got Defense of Marriage Act as a federal law from President Bill Clinton. And it was passed with bipartisan support.

BRUNI: Many, many years ago. A sea tide of public opinion ago.

CONWAY: Again, we're talking about things that the audience in America may not know. I think it's important for people to understand that this started with President Bill Clinton. He, as president, thought it was such a big priority he passed the defense of marriage -- defense of traditional non-gay marriage that we have it as a federal law.

BRUNI: It's a shameful thing, and he needs to say more about having done that. But he has since come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

(CROSS TALK)

CONWAY: Very recently.

(CROSS TALK)

CONWAY: Doesn't that bother you?

BRUNI: It bothers me.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: I read it. It was a very good column. He said exactly what you've been saying. So you shouldn't be quibbling about that.

CONWAY: We're not.

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk about another very contentious issue. And that is climate change. See what the panel thinks. Do you think it exists or not?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: President Obama is putting extreme weather on his agenda. And he says America has to lead the way to fight it. CNN severe weather expert Chad Myers is here along with my all-star panel.

Chad, very quickly sum up your view about the climate change debate. I've noticed, everyone has, the weather is getting a bit more extreme. And it's certainly heating up. But does that mean the climate is changing scientifically?

CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER METEOROLOGIST: Not climate, so to speak, but the weather day to day seems to be changing. And if you average that over long term, yeah, that's climate. That's what it means. Here are the facts. We'll go from 1880 at about 285 parts per million in carbon dioxide, up to 390 where we are now. That's a fact.

We know that carbon dioxide holds in heat. That's a fact. We do know, though, volcanoes can put carbon dioxide in, not much but they can. Also forest fires can put carbon dioxide in. Those are the natural ways.

Some of the other ways, which we've been doing a lot of for the past 80 or so years, burning fossil fuels. We also can get some making cement CO2 as well. And one thing you're not against, fermentation causes CO-2. MORGAN: I was very well aware of that, Chad. One of my specialty subject. Let me go to the panel, not much time. Dan, the global warming debate, my view, is quite simple. It may be wrong. Perhaps it isn't a big issue. But why take the risk? Why am I taking a risk with my kids' and their kids' lives?

RATHER: Well, that's a very good question. Let's say one thing clearly. The climate has changed dramatically over the last few years. We can debate what causes this change. Such things as the tremendous melting of the Arctic ice, we can debate what's causing it. We can debate what the solutions are. Go fast, go slow.

But what I may say is I think the Republican party's hurt itself a lot by saying this is a fact, the climate has changed. Now, let's have a debate about what's causing that and what the solution is.

MORGAN: What do you say?

NORQUIST: 1970S, we had global cooling. The same scientists told us that we were having global cooling. Now we have global warming. In both case, they wanted us to tax energy. I'm very aware the what these guys really want is an energy tax into a value added tax. That I think is a danger. They prejudge the science.

MORGAN: Let's go to a very successful guy, lives in a big guzzling state of Texas. What is your view, global warming?

CUBAN: I have no idea.

(LAUGHTER)

CONWAY: Good for you.

MORGAN: I like that answer. That is a refreshing answer.

CUBAN: I look at it honestly and say, from 1880 to 2013, that might not be a big enough sample, you know? Who knows how many years? You know, forever's a long time and it's really hard to gauge.

MORGAN: Frank?

BRUNI: Seems to me the bulk of evidence supports climate change. And if the climate is changing, the implications of that are so profound that for us to do nothing is just --

MORGAN: I know the way we pollute our Earth cannot be healthy for it.

BRUNI: No. You can take climate change off the table.

MORGAN: OK, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Before we go, some light hearted fare at my expense. This weekend, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" took on yours truly. Apparently I had high-profile guests Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'O and Jodie Foster. It was all supposedly good fun. But do I really talk in this absurd way?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. I'm Piers Morgan, or as you know me, the British Mario Lopez. This week, a series of shocking and confusing revelations. Who lied about what? Who is still hiding the truth? And who -- what -- who -- what -- who.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Honestly, I don't know what a who -- what -- who -- who is. Anyway, I'm definitely better looking than that joker.

I want to thank all my guests on my all start panel, my studio audience and all of you at home for participating in what was a fascinating look at President Obama's big challenges over the next four years.

Anderson Cooper starts now.

(APPLAUSE)