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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Guns in America; Manti Te'o's Story

Aired January 24, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, guns in America.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: These massacres don't seem to stop.

MORGAN (voice-over): Democrats take direct aim at assault weapons.

FEINSTEIN: We should be outraged by how easy it is for perpetrators of these horrific crimes to obtain powerful military- style weapons.

MORGAN: Will a sweeping new bill make America safer? I'll talk to lawmakers backing it.

Plus Newt Gingrich on defending the Second Amendment and Obama's bold agenda.

Also introducing the gun girls live from the shooting range. Why these young women want their AR-15s.

And the New Mexico shooting that shocked the nation. My emotional interview with the uncle of a New Mexico boy charged with killing five members of his family and allegedly planning an attack at Wal-Mart.

Plus, do you believe him?

MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME LINEBACKER: What I went through was real.

MORGAN: Manti Te'o speaks. I'll ask football legend John Elway what he thinks about it and the big game in New Orleans.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Good evening. You're looking live at Capitol Hill tonight. Now ground zero in the growing battle over guns, saying enough is enough, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a tough new bill to ban more than 150 types of firearms including assault weapons and semiautomatic weapons. She also wants to make it legal magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEINSTEIN: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Oak Creek. The common thread in these shootings is each gunman used a -- semiautomatic assault weapon or large capacity ammunition magazines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The NRA is, of course, fighting back, saying in a statement, "Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law- abiding citizens for decades. The American people know that gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein's wrong-headed approach."

Well, with me now, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killed in a mass shooting at a train in 1993. She's pushing a similar gun control bill in the House, and also with me Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Welcome to you both.

Carolyn McCarthy, when I heard Dianne Feinstein today, very personal, very emotional, reliving one of the horrific things that she herself went to -- went through, as indeed you did. Here's what I don't get. I don't get why within minutes, really, of this assault weapons ban being proposed, already we start to hear, it may be impossible to get it through the Senate, through the House. And the main reason may be Democrats.

Democrats who are too worried about their own skins and their own backyards and their own political careers to do what they probably believe would be the right thing for their country. What do you do to change their minds and therefore the chances of success of this attempt to change the law?

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D), NEW YORK: Well, Piers, what you have to understand, after these horrific shootings that we go through, what the NRA does is already start to put out all the negative stuff, and then the members, to be very honest with you, start getting nervous about it.

What we're tying to do is reach out to the American people because I have to say the response from all the years of these kinds of shootings and then what happened in Newtown, that was finally what America said enough is enough.

Listen, I know it's very tough, but the NRA is not helping us at all, mainly because they're saying we're taking away their guns. We are not. They have a Second Amendment right. That's what the right is, but the Supreme Court also said we have a right to do legislation to protect our citizens.

And that's what we're doing. But they're putting out so many negative things. They're putting out lies, to be very honest with you. We have facts and figures that we can save lives. And everybody wants to say it can't be done. You know what? They said that also in '94. So this is something we can do. The president of the United States is behind us. He's going to work across this country, but the American people also are certainly gearing up for this.

And by the way, we just had a hearing yesterday, and we had hunters, we had sportspeople, and they are basically saying they go hunting, they do -- go out and have sports with guns. They don't need assault weapons. They don't know why anybody else does either.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, I keep asking -- I keep asking that --

MCCARTHY: So you're hearing --

MORGAN: I keep asking that same question of everybody that comes on my show. Why does anybody need one of these assault weapons?

I mean, Mayor Nutter, you came on my show. You took part in a very lively debate we had that night. But I never heard a good reason. The only reason I've heard anyone needs one is they're the Ferrari of weapons.

How do you get through to the debate, to the American people in a way that takes on the NRA effectively, that actually challenges their continued lie, and that's what it is. Anyone that tries to bring any ban on assault weapons wants all the guns. Because that is not the debate. Today, Dianne Feinstein made it clear, 2,200 weapons and guns will still be left in circulation. How many more types do people need?

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, PHILADELPHIA: Well, Piers, I have to tell you, and Representative McCarthy, thank you so much for your leadership. I leaned over to your colleague, Representative Esty, and said, I didn't realize that there were so many different types of guns or weapons in the first place.

I mean, no one has ever been able to truly answer the question, Piers, as to why a civilian, why virtually anyone, needs one of those kinds of weapons. And so, I mean, the lies, the misdirection, the intimidation, you know, it's time for all of us in elected office, might want to pick up a copy of John Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" and do what's right. If you do the right thing, everything else usually works out.

MORGAN: Carolyn McCarthy, in the -- I've got an interview coming up with two young women who wrote a piece in which they said they wanted the rights to have an AR-15 military-style assault weapon at home because they feared that they would be attacked and they wanted a gun that would guarantee they would murder or would kill their attacker.

How do you respond to that particular argument, which is they believe under their Second Amendment right, they should be allowed an AR-15?

MCCARTHY: I will tell you, if you talk to professionals, hunters and certainly sportsmen, they'll tell you that's probably not the kind of gun to use. A rifle is more accurate. It's certainly easier for a woman to be able to do that. So again, there are these myths and the advertisement that goes out on this.

It's totally wrong. It truly is wrong, but listen, there are a lot of good NRA members out there. A lot of times we're dealing with the far right on the NRA. But what people have to understand, and this is what the American people are now facing in their heart of hearts, why do we need to have these when they're slaughtering our children?

And by the way, not just these mass killings, but the killings that are going on every single day, we can do legislation to help certainly the American people to live in a safer country.

I'm a nurse. I have always been a nurse. Even in Congress. And I will say to you, I could not save every single patient. I could not save every single person from gun violence, but by gosh, I'm going to do everything I can to cut down the amount of killings, and those that are injured and stay injured for the rest of their life, like my son, you know, this is a life-changing event for people.

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCARTHY: And they have to understand that.

MORGAN: Let me -- let me ask just very, very quickly, Michael Nutter, do you believe that you can win this argument and get an assault weapons ban reinstated?

NUTTER: Yes, I believe in the American public. Americans are very, very smart. They're going to cut through a lot of this nonsense that's going on out here. They're going to let their voices be heard through their members of Congress, through mayors, through governors, through their legislatures.

They've had enough. And we are going to be successful and do something very positive here in our country.

MORGAN: Good to hear. Michael Nutter and Carolyn McCarthy, thank you both very much.

NUTTER: Thank you.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.

MORGAN: Now let's turn to last weekend's mass shooting tragedy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fifteen-year-old Nehemiah Griego allegedly used two rifles to kills his mother, his father and three of his siblings. The family owned guns. Like many people they have guns to protect themselves. Nobody could imagine this would happen, but it did.

And Nehemiah's uncle Eric Griego joins me so we can learn more about what happened, why it happened, and how this young boy did what police say he did? Eric, thank you so much for joining me. It's been an awful week for you, for the remaining members of your family. I can't imagine anything worse. I extend to you at the top of this interview my deepest and sincerest condolences.

ERIC GRIEGO, UNCLE OF NEHEMIAH GRIEGO: Thank you. I mean, we -- the services are tomorrow, and you know the family hasn't really even had a chance to get some closure on this, but unfortunately, we've had to sort of get involved in the conversation that's been so one-sided.

We knew this young man and we knew a lot about him. And he was -- he was a pretty much an average kid, I mean, above average in music and some athletics. But he -- none of us, the congregation, the huge congregation, his family, extended family, a large family, saw any sign that he was -- could remotely be possible of this. He had no criminal record. He had no interaction with the Social Service System. He'd never, to our knowledge, shot an animal or abused an animal.

MORGAN: Just to clarify exactly what happened for those viewers who have not followed this as closely as I've been following this.

Nehemiah was 15 years old and he killed your brother Greg, Greg's wife Sarah, and three of their children. There were five other siblings, I believe, who weren't there at the time. He used a 22 rifle and also to kill his father, we believe an AR-15 rifle.

And as you say, there was nothing that people can point to which showed any sign of mental disorder or any kind of obsession with guns. The only thing that I have read and gleaned from this which could have triggered everything is apparently he was pretty obsessed with playing violent video games.

You know him a lot better than I do. Do you think that that could have played any part in causing him to suddenly go off like this?

GRIEGO: We have no idea. We do know that my -- that his parents, my brother and his wife, did not allow those kind of games as far as we know. I never saw him play the games. Could he have done it on the side or clandestinely or with friends? I think it's entirely possible. Could it be the only motivation? We have no idea.

Did he have a psychotic breakdown? Did the statement about Wal- Mart, which is at the end of one of these video games really just -- is it his reference to a game as opposed to something that he was actually going to do? We don't know. And the -- and the fact is, Piers, that the media is not even trying to get to the bottom of this.

MORGAN: Right. And just to clarify that point, again, Eric, the reference to Wal-Mart is that the police claimed that they were told by Nehemiah when they arrested him that he had intended to, after killing his family members, go off and commit a mass shooting at the local Wal-Mart.

GRIEGO: Yes, that's -- and that's -- as far as we know, as far as we've been told and briefed by the investigators, that's the only thing is that he said. He said a lot of things. Apparently, he was not in a great state of mind. And so for them to say that because he said it, therefore, it must have been actually in the works and for it to now be an international headline that he was -- his next victims were Wal-Mart, which sadly is what the local media is saying and picked up by the international and the national media.

So there's a -- there's just a whole lot of recklessness being put out there by the other side, by the -- by the prosecutors and the -- and really the sheriff. Based on one --

MORGAN: Can I ask you this, Eric? Did Nehemiah, to your knowledge, did he ever use any of the guns that were in the house? Do you know if they were as (INAUDIBLE) of course locked up safely because there is this big issue if you have weapons like an AR-15 and so on, you've got to lock them away so that children of that age can't get access to them? Did you have any information about that?

GRIEGO: This is a semirural area outside of Albuquerque. Not many neighbors close around. My brother had dedicated the last 25 years of his life to try to get people who were in trouble or under addiction to turn their lives around. And by the nature of his work, there were people who were unseemly, and so he worried for the welfare of his family. The way he chose to deal with it was he thought his oldest son should be, essentially when he wasn't around, as this night that this terrible thing happened, that he should be able to know how to shoot the weapon and know how to protect his family.

That's what he thought. I don't think he or any reasonable human being would have ever thought that his son who he entrusted to sort of protect the family would turn the gun on the family. So whether they were locked up or not, whether they were locked up or not, Piers, my brother had entrusted him to protect the family if need --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Listen, I certainly don't want to lead you into an area that I know that you feel uncomfortable for reasons I completely respect talking about. I think it raises a number of issues, this. And, you know, the biggest concern for you and your family is not that. It's how you rebuild the lives of those who've been left and how you try and come to terms with what Nehemiah has done.

At the end he's a very young man. He's 15 years old. As you've said, I've seen other (INAUDIBLE) there was no sign of this, there was no warning bell that he could have ever done such an atrocity, and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to come on the show tonight. And again, my deepest condolences to you and all your family and the friends of everyone involved who lost their lives.

GRIEGO: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming next, Newt Gingrich joins us to talk about guns in America.

And coming up later, introducing the gun girls. They are with us live from a shooting range.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEINSTEIN: I was the one that found Supervisor Milk's body, and I was the one that -- put a finger in a bullet hole trying to get a pulse. Once you have been through one of these episodes, once you see what the crime scene is like, it isn't like the movies. It changes your view of weapons, I think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Senator Feinstein's bill to ban scores of assault weapons, the Democrats are pushing in Congress. What does Newt Gingrich think about it? The former Republican presidential candidate and House speaker joins me now.

Welcome back, Mr. Speaker. How are you?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm doing well, but I'm curious, Piers, how many intros have you done using people who have successfully defended themselves with a gun?

I understand where you come from but to say --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let me ask -- let me ask you a question.

GINGRICH: No, you --

MORGAN: Let me ask you a question.

GINGRICH: Sure.

MORGAN: How many -- how many people of the three million who own AR-15s, military-style assault rifles in this country have ever used them to defend themselves?

GINGRICH: I can't get you a number, but I'll be glad -- I'll be glad to try to find a number.

MORGAN: I haven't heard of any.

GINGRICH: But let me ask this.

MORGAN: OK. But here's my point.

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: First of all, first of all --

MORGAN: Here's my point. Here's my point. I haven't heard of any, so the answer comes back at you, why does anybody need, in civilian life, a weapon that belongs in a military battlefield, as General Stanley McChrystal and General Colin Powell both said?

GINGRICH: First of all, the civilian AR-15 is not an automatic weapon. It's illegal to have an automatic weapon of that kind. It is a semiautomatic. Second, I just -- you know, your last interview, I thought, was very revealing. The uncle of the young man kept saying, we don't know.

And I want to suggest to you that a great deal of what's going on here is everybody who wants to ban guns woke up immediately and said, I've got a bill. It's the bill I've had for 10 years. Let me bring it back in.

The fact is, we don't know about a lot of these things, mental health is a big part of it. I have challenged my liberal friends. Let's have hearings in Chicago. Chicago has very strict gun control, and was the murder capital of the U.S. last year, over 500 people were killed.

Now why is it the people who are for gun control don't want to go to Chicago to find out why gun control --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. Why are automatic weapons banned in America?

GINGRICH: Because they were felt to be too dangerous. It came out in the 1930s.

MORGAN: Why are they too dangerous?

GINGRICH: Because of high-volume of fire, which you don't get from a semiautomatic weapon.

MORGAN: OK. Do you know how many bullets the shooter at Aurora, James Holmes, fired per minute with his AR-15?

GINGRICH: No.

MORGAN: OK. He had a magazine that could fire 100 bullets in one minute. How many more bullets do you need to fire, Mr. Speaker, before that qualifies as a dangerous killing machine by your criteria?

GINGRICH: Well, by my criteria, and this goes back to the question of what you respect, Piers. I think the Second Amendment really matters. I think if you look at the new law --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But so do I, but what I want to know --

GINGRICH: It is clearly --

MORGAN: And so do I, but what I want to know is where do you draw the line? You just said this rule was set on automatic weapons back in the '30s. GINGRICH: OK.

MORGAN: I put it to you that an AR-15 military-style assault weapon as used in the last five mass shootings --

GINGRICH: It's not a military-style assault weapon.

MORGAN: But it cane fire 100 bullets --

GINGRICH: This is -- this is lovely --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: -- per minute, Mr. Speaker.

GINGRICH: Look, this is a lovely propaganda.

MORGAN: What else do you call it? What else do you call them?

GINGRICH: This is lovely propaganda.

MORGAN: A machine that can fire 100 bullets in a minute. What else do you call it?

GINGRICH: I would simply say to you that millions of people by your own definition own an AR-15. They're law-abiding. They think it is their light under our Constitution to own it, and don't kid the rest of us. The people who were just on would ban all guns if they could get away with it.

You look at the New York state law that -- that Governor Cuomo just pushed, basically, it eliminates virtually every --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But hang on, hang on. Hang on. Hang on.

GINGRICH: I mean, the fact is not --

MORGAN: No, hang on. Let me take you up on it. Dianne Feinstein is attacked by many Republicans as being somebody that wants to ban all guns. Do you know how many different types of guns she has permitted to remain in legal circulation in America under any proposal?

GINGRICH: No, like this. So this is what this year the government is willing to permit?

MORGAN: Why -- why would she permit twice as many.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But you've already said -- but you've already agreed --

GINGRICH: And in New York state --

MORGAN: But, Mr. Speaker, you've already --

GINGRICH: In New York state --

MORGAN: You have already agreed with the decision to not permit Americans to have automatic firing weapons. What's the difference?

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: I don't think people -- OK, so now we're arguing over whether or not very many people's lives will be saved. And I'm challenging you and others --

MORGAN: No, I'm not asking you. I'm asking --

GINGRICH: Now listen --

MORGAN: I'm asking you how many more guns --

GINGRICH: I'll go with you, Piers --

MORGAN: How many more guns does an American civilian need other than 2,200 which would be permitted under this new assault weapons ban. How many more do they need to defend themselves, for goodness sake? And what I can't understand is the difference --

GINGRICH: You keep missing --

MORGAN: -- between the killing --

GINGRICH: You keep missing the language.

MORGAN: What is the difference between mass slaughter created by an automatic weapon and by a weapon we saw at Aurora or Sandy Hook that can kill 100 people in a minute. What is the difference?

GINGRICH: Wait a second. First of all, you're making our case. Permitted. In other words, this year they're going to permit. And then next year, they may not permit.

MORGAN: Well, Mr. Speaker, there are 50 -- there are 50 or more gun control rules which do not permit Americans to use certain types of weaponry already.

GINGRICH: That' right.

MORGAN: So that permission, decision has already been taken more than 50 times.

GINGRICH: So if your -- so if your primary -- so, Piers, if your primary concern is saving lives.

MORGAN: Yes.

GINGRICH: You'd have to look at pistols because pistols are the primary killers and they're the primary killers in big cities, all of which have gun control laws -- (CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But they are not as you know --

GINGRICH: None of which work.

MORGAN: As you know, the primary preferred weapon of mass shooters, deranged young men, has been --

GINGRICH: Right. So --

MORGAN: -- attacked now of five deranged young men using AR-15s. Why do they use them? Because they're easy to use and they create the most mass killing in the shortest possible time. That is why people like Diane Feinstein and me want them removed from civilian arms. I see no difference in the ability to commit mass murder between an automatic weapon which is banned and you agree with that ban, and an AR-15, which can shoot 100 people dead or 20 children at Sandy Hook in less than a minute. I see no difference.

GINGRICH: So where -- so where are you -- so where are you on pistols that have fairly large capacity? Where are you on the pistols that killed most of the people in Chicago, Piers?

MORGAN: My position --

GINGRICH: It's OK if we kill them individually?

MORGAN: No. Let me make my position.

GINGRICH: Are you saying three, four, five, and that's OK?

MORGAN: Let my position very, very clear. What is happening in Chicago is completely outrageous, completely unacceptable. I think there's been a total breakdown in the effectiveness of the law enforcement. Because when you compare it to New York, they have solved a lot of the gun problems in New York with very stringent gun control and they've enforced it properly.

There are -- it's like the Wild West situation in parts of Chicago. I've been there, I think it's outrageous. And I think the fact that 11,000 or 12,000 people die a year in America from gun fire and a lot of that is from handguns used by criminals and gangsters is disgraceful.

GINGRICH: Right.

MORGAN: And I think many of the other --

GINGRICH: So why -- right. So why don't you share your real view?

MORGAN: Many of the other proposals --

GINGRICH: Isn't it --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: It's all wrong to me.

GINGRICH: Isn't your real view that you would ban pistols if you could.

MORGAN: No, it wouldn't. What --

GINGRICH: Wouldn't you ban pistols if you could?

MORGAN: Let me -- let me explain what I would do. I would agree with Diane Feinstein. It is the high-powered guns of any variety which can fire 30 or 40 or more rounds in less than a minute that can cause mass murder that would be my primary concern right now. And the AR-15 is a prime example of that.

GINGRICH: OK, right now, and the reason you find so many of us, and by the way, it's a substantial majority, I think the last time I saw, 63 percent of the American people agree that the Second Amendment is actually there to protect us from tyranny. The reason you find so many of us very reluctant to go down this road is we believe each step down this road leads to the next step and the next step and the next step.

And we actually think the Second Amendment is central to our liberties, not just something there for hunters, not something there for target practice, but actually there because the founding fathers remembered that when your army tried to defeat us, luckily, our peasants weren't peasants. They were citizens. And as citizens, they were in fact armed. And that's the only reason we were able to win the Revolutionary War.

MORGAN: And you think -- and you honestly think the founding fathers sat there and thought, OK, automatic weapons are banned because they are very dangerous. The semiautomatics that can fire 100 bullets in a minute are not dangerous and they should be lawful?

GINGRICH: I think the founding fathers would have found this entire debate strange because they actually believed in individual freedom and they were very suspicious of big government, and they would find the idea that you're going to permit, to use the word you kept using. You're going to permit us to have a few liberties right now, was the antithesis of the American experience.

MORGAN: But you do agree with not permitting Americans to have automatic weapons?

GINGRICH: I think 50-caliber machine guns would be bizarre. And I'm happy to say that those rules seem to work fairly well. And -- but again, Chicago is a problem, as you point out, of policing.

MORGAN: Yes.

GINGRICH: Chicago is a problem of where gun control hasn't worked.

MORGAN: Listen, Chicago --

GINGRICH: But none of the gun control --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Chicago has to sort itself out. Chicago's police force has to get in there and stop the gangs shooting each other. I totally agree with you. You're never going do hear a word from me against that. It's outrageous. I also agree with American's right to have a handgun or a pistol at home to defend themselves.

I don't see why any of them need, any American needs an AR-15 military style assault rifle, that can kill 100 people in a minute. And I will not be persuaded by it because the people who try and persuade me --

GINGRICH: I'm not asking you --

MORGAN: The people who are trying to persuade me are accusing me of attacking the Constitution, our Second Amendment, but agrees with the government decision to ban automatic weapons, and I don't see the difference.

GINGRICH: I know you don't, and all I'm suggesting to you is most of us are very cautious about allowing government to continue to extend its power, and most of us believe that there are a lot of other solutions. I think there are mental health solutions. Most of these mass killers, in fact, the young man you just described, the uncle was very open about this.

That young man, having a gun check wouldn't have worked. That young man, in fact, would have been empowered by his father to use the family gun.

MORGAN: Would that young man -- would that young man --

GINGRICH: His father has --

MORGAN: Would that young man -- would that young man -- would that young men, have slaughtered five of his family if he hadn't had access to the firearms in the house?

GINGRICH: To -- no, but now you're back to a different question. His father --

MORGAN: I'm just asking the question.

GINGRICH: -- had empowered him.

MORGAN: I don't disagree --

GINGRICH: According to the uncle --

MORGAN: I don't disagree he must have clearly had mental issues. I don't disagree he probably had a fixation as police believe from his obsession to violent videos, but I do know one thing. It is very likely that those family members would still be alive if he hadn't had such apparently easy access to weapons, including an AR-15.

GINGRICH: Right. But as his uncle tried to tell you, the reason he had access was his father thought he would be able to protect the family. His father gave him that access.

MORGAN: Right, but you --

GINGRICH: You want to put -- so you're saying you want the state to step in?

MORGAN: But, Newt, my final point is he clearly didn't protect them. He killed them, and that is the problem with this situation. But look --

GINGRICH: That's a -- no, and that's a tragedy, Piers.

O I agree with you. That's a tragedy, not a political point.

MORGAN: I agree with you.

GINGRICH: And I think it's totally wrong to try to try to turn that into something else.

MORGAN: Well, I agree with you. It's a tragedy, we don't know all of the answers, but, you know, this is a situation where we want less Americans to be killed by guns, right?

GINGRICH: I like your answer. We don't know the answers, but let's rush ahead because we do know what we'd like to do, which is what Dianne Feinstein wanted to do 20 years ago and finally she has another excuse to do what she always wanted to do. That's not looking seriously at mental health, looking seriously at violent games, looking at violent movies, looking seriously to a variety of things which may have nothing to do with a 20-year-old proposal that in fact has brought out every single chance they have to try to extend the power of the government over individuals.

MORGAN: Mr. Speaker, I've forgotten how pleasurable it can be arguing with you. Thank you for coming back.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

MORGAN: Coming next, the gun girls. Two young women who want their AR-15s. They're firing their weapons right now and they will join me from a shooting range, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A shotgun will keep you a lot safer. A double-barrel shotgun and an assault weapon in somebody's hands who doesn't know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it -- you know it's harder to use an assault weapon and hit something than it is a shotgun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Vice President Joe Biden on the best weapon for defending yourself. One of my arguments against guns is you don't need assault weapons for self defense. Joining me now are the gun girls, two women who tell us precisely why they need them.

Celia Bigelow is director of campus action for America Majority Action. Aubrey Blankenship is the director of communications for the Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Virginia.

Welcome to you, ladies.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Explain to me why you believe you need an AR-15 style assault rifle.

CELIA BIGELOW, DIR. OF CAMPUS ACTION, AMERICAN MAJORITY ACTION: Well, I personally bought one for self defense. One, they're lightweight. They're quite accurate. I can shoot them much more accurately than a handgun or a shotgun.

And three, these -- I'm going to pull a David Gregory right here and I can hold up my 30-round magazine right here, because it's actually legal in Virginia. But I want a gun that can hold a lot of ammo because if I'm faced with an intruder or multiple intruders that come into my home, I want to make sure I have enough ammo to get the job done, especially if they're armed.

So I want -- they essentially serve as an insurance mechanism to make sure that I have enough rounds, that if multiple intruders come in and they're armed, I don't have to take the time to reload.

MORGAN: I'm sure that was one of the reasons Adam Lanza's mother had one at her house, along with a series of other weapons. As you now know, this deranged young man took his mother's weapon, including an AR-15, went to an elementary school and murdered 26 people, including 20 young children. I guess that is when it stops being quite so funny and becomes a much more serious issue.

Because that is what happens. The mass shooters get their hands on these things. James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, was legally able to buy one and go and commit mass murder as well. It's that that concerns me. Much as I listen to you and try to respect your argument, I agree with Joe Biden. I don't understand why you can't use a regular rifle, a regular pistol or regular handgun to defend yourself.

Why do you need these mass killing machines?

AUBREY BLANKENSHIP, DIR. OF COMMUNICATIONS, AMERICAN MAJORITY ACTION: Here is the thing, Piers, is the fact this is the most popular rifle in the United States. There's three million people, as you know well, who own these. And they are, quote/unquote, called assault weapons. However, the vast majority of law-abiding citizens who own them do not consider them for the purpose of assault, but rather hunting --

MORGAN: Well, no one uses it for hunting. Every hunter has told me if you can't get a deer down in three shots, you're not a hunter. And if you spray them with 100 bullets, it becomes a ridiculous farce where you have destroyed the animal. So that's not hunting.

BIGELOW: Actually, Piers, let me make the point really fast. Actually assault -- AR-15s in Virginia are actually not allowed to be used to hunt deer because they don't get the job done.

MORGAN: Right.

BIGELOW: They don't essentially kill deer right away.

BLANKENSHIP: The only animal is a rabbit in Virginia with an AR- 15.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Do you ladies agree with automatic weapons being banned?

BIGELOW: That's not the issue at hand right now, because they are banned.

MORGAN: That's my question. No, no, with respect, it's my question. It's, not the issue. It's the question.

BIGELOW: Yeah, but this isn't the reason we were brought on the show to talk.

MORGAN: Can you just answer my question? Let me ask you the question. I asked it of Newt Gingrich and he answered me. I just want you to answer the question. Do you believe automatic weapons should be banned, as they are?

BLANKENSHIP: Basically, that is something that I don't really --

BIGELOW: I believe right now that it's not the issue at hand. I really don't believe -- they are banned right now. They are banned right now.

MORGAN: Can either of you answer a simple question? Do you agree with the government's decision, which is an on-going law, to ban automatic weapons?

BIGELOW: Right now, yes. They should be used in the military. Because right now assault -- yeah. Automatic weapons, they're much harder to control. And they shoot many more rounds per minute than an AR-15 does.

MORGAN: OK, but you both know that an AR-15, as we saw in Aurora, and we saw at Sandy Hook, they can fire up to 100 rounds in a minute. Indeed, there are magazines that can hold 100 rounds for those weapons. And they can commit mass murder on a large scale.

Explain to me why these are less -- it's not funny. Seriously, it's really not funny. When 20 young children get slaughtered, it's not a matter to laugh. It really isn't. It's not a laughing matter.

(CROSS TALK)

BIGELOW: I'm laughing because you're interrupting me and I can't get my point in. I'm not laughing at that.

MORGAN: Let me ask you one more time --

BIGELOW: Let me make a point here. Let me make a point here.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: What is the difference in the ability to cause mass murder between an automatic weapon and an AR-15 with a 100-bullet magazine? Explain to me.

BIGELOW: Let's look at what happened when there was an assault weapons ban in place. There was a mass murder. It's called Columbine. That happened with a .9-millimeter gun, among other guns that weren't assault rifles. You can hear from Democrats. Many Democrats are making the point that banning assault rifles won't necessarily stop these mass murders from happening.

MORGAN: But you can't explain the difference in terms of ability to commit mass murder between an automatic weapon you agree should be banned and an AR-15 that can fire 100 bullets in a minute? Can you explain that to me?

BLANKENSHIP: Both know that the basic difference is you pull the trigger and it shoots, as opposed to the automatic. And we, as young women wanting to defend ourselves -- we want the capacity to have more bullets than your average handgun would have. So we have decided that this is something that we in defending and exercising our Second Amendment rights, as well as the --

BIGELOW: And let's bring up a situation here. We saw a situation in Georgia just a couple weeks ago where a mom was hiding in her attic with her two children when an intruder entered her home. She had a handgun that only had six rounds in it. She fired all six rounds, missed the intruder once, hit him five times in the face and in the neck. And he still lived. What if it had been --

MORGAN: How many of the three million Americans that own AR-15s have ever used them to defend themselves at home?

(CROSS TALK)

BIGELOW: There are far many examples, but are the media willing to cover them?

MORGAN: Do you know one?

BIGELOW: For example, yes, absolutely. In 2010, in Houston, Texas, there was a 15-year-old boy alone at home. And he was -- he was home alone with his 12-year-old sister when two intruders tried to enter in the front door and in the back door of his house. He grabbed his AR-15 and shot at them and they ran away.

MORGAN: Do you believe, ladies --

BLANKENSHIP: And the fact is --

MORGAN: Do you believe that women should be allowed on the front line in combat in the military?

BIGELOW: I believe -- I believe they should. And I believe they should pass the same physical tests that men do before going into combat.

MORGAN: OK, then we finally agree on something. Thank you both for joining me.

BIGELOW: Yes, definitely. Thank you so much for having us.

MORGAN: Coming up, victim or laughing stock? I'll ask NFL great John Elway about Manti Te'O and the girlfriend who never existed. And Frank Rich is here to talk about the two Americas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: From guns to Benghazi, a busy for the White House and Congress. Joining me now is Frank Rich, writer at large for "New York Magazine."

Frank, is it just me? Am I basically not wise enough to America to understand why it's apparently not an infringement on the Second Amendment to ban automatic weapons, but it is to ban an AR-15 that can fire 100 bullets in a minute?

FRANK RICH, WRITE AT LARGE, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": To answer the first question, yes.

MORGAN: It's not just me?

RICH: It's not just you.

MORGAN: The answer is no.

RICH: It's not you, excuse me. There's no real logic to this sort of Second Amendment argument, although it's so deeply ingrained in the American character. It really is an American thing. Doesn't mean that people from other places can't understand it. And you obviously have gotten into it very seriously. But it's almost a religious thing.

So trying to apply logic to these arguments, they make no sense. It's just they're coming to take away our guns. It's an infringement on our rights. The state, particularly, I guess, this particular president, is going to come and get us. And the Founding Fathers wanted this. The Founding Fathers wanted slavery, too. I think that, in some ways, this gun culture is as entrenched in the American psyche as slavery. MORGAN: I agree with you. That brings me to I guess whether they can get this through. I watched "Lincoln" the other day, the movie, incredibly hard for Lincoln to abolish slavery in America. And he really went out on a limb and he did it. And a few months later, he was assassinated. But he did it because he had moral courage.

What I'm concerned about with this debate is already you're hearing a number of Democrats in red states are more worried about being kicked out of office by the NRA and other lobbyists going after them than they are about doing the right thing for the safety of America.

MORGAN: Keep in mind about Lincoln, it's a very interesting analogy, because Lincoln took a while to get there, to look at the end of slavery as a crucial issue. And he couldn't have gotten there without support, starting with, of course, from slaves and African- Americans who were already taking matters into their own hands to the extent they could.

In the case of the gun debate, there's no real support except among people like us. And you know --

MORGAN: Where is the equivalent of the NRA for those who respect the right to have a gun to defend yourself at home, but want the assault weapons gone, for example. Where is that body having the same kind of political and financial muscle?

RICH: There are some good organizations.

MORGAN: The Brady Campaign is one. They're not the same league of funding and support as someone like the NRA.

RICH: I would argue that someone like Michael Bloomberg, who is totally in favor of gun control, very strong on it, and could actually write the checks to do this, if he did it, to counter the NRA's money. I'm not sure it would make a difference because it has to come from the country as a whole. There has to be leadership at the top, but also in the red states where Democrats are running. They're scared.

It can't all come from the mayor and governor of New York, from Dianne Feinstein, who is California. It's going to have to come from the rest of the country.

MORGAN: When you see 2,200 guns can remain even with the proposal she's got, this apparently isn't dinged deemed enough to defend yourselves?

RICH: There's never enough. I mean, there's just never enough. There's no logic to it. It's a credo. And it's going to take, I think -- I feel as strongly about it as you do, but I think it's going to take a long time to marshal that leadership, marshal that ground roots support for it. As you can see from the two young women you had on the air tonight, young people are as poised to embrace this as old people.

MORGAN: I agree. Quick question on Hillary Clinton, how do you think she fared after the Benghazi hearings?

RICH: I thought she faired brilliantly. I felt that --

MORGAN: Feisty, I thought.

RICH: Feisty, yes. And I felt that, you know, look, it's a tragedy. It's murky. Some of the details are murky. Obviously, there were mistakes. But I felt she gave clear answers to what is known right now. And the attitude of many of her interrogators was so ridiculous and supercilious that she sort of brushed them off. I thought it was pretty powerful.

MORGAN: I didn't get the feeling of somebody who was bowing out of high office. I got a feeling of somebody regrouping and getting ready for a much bigger battle, I suspect, in four years.

RICH: Maybe so. I don't know about that. But she certainly did nothing to harm herself with this appearance. And I think Republicans still fighting the last election where they hoped this would put Romney in. It's going to have diminishing returns.

MORGAN: Frank, great to see you. Come back soon.

RICH: Sure. Thank you.

MORGAN: Next, from firearms to football to Manti Te'O. Superbowl champ John Elway joins us to talk about all that, and answers the big question, has he ever had a fake girlfriend himself?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL PLAYER: For people feeling that they are misled, that I'm sorry for. But -- I wasn't as forthcoming about it, but I didn't lie, and I never was asked did you see her in person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: College football star Manti Te'O, talking to Katie Couric about this bizarre hoax involving a dead girlfriend who never existed and what he knew and didn't know about it. Joining me now is an American sporting legend. He's the quarterback John Elway of the Denver Broncos. Two Superbowl wins, also very passionate about keeping America great. And joins me now to talk about many things.

Welcome to you, John.

JOHN ELWAY, SUPERBOWL WINNING QUARTERBACK: Thank you. Good to be here.

MORGAN: A true legend.

ELWAY: No, not really. But I appreciate the --

MORGAN: Do you sit easily with the mantle of legend?

ELWAY: No, because I don't feel like one. But I was lucky enough to get to play 16 years in the NFL and play on a couple of Superbowl teams, which was a great thrill, especially as an athlete and as a young kid playing athletics, to have the dream of playing in the NFL and then be able to accomplish the goals and win a world championship. It was really a great thing for me.

MORGAN: Here is the question I never thought I would ask John Elway, have you ever had a fake girlfriend?

ELWAY: No. I never have.

MORGAN: Could you imagine ever having a fake girlfriend, one that you literally apparently had as a girlfriend for a year without ever physically seeing her, even when you Skyped she never appeared, et cetera, et cetera.

ELWAY: No, no. I can't imagine having that. And I know everything going on with Manti. And it's obviously a sad situation. Hate to see a kid go through that.

MORGAN: Do you buy it all, from what you've seen?

ELWAY: I do. It sounds like naivete to me. Really what it sounds to me. But then again, I'm going to wait and vet it out, see what happens. And go from there.

MORGAN: Now here's the thing about him, which is that it's obviously improved his play. So the question I guess for you now, since you are in this great high-powered position with the broncos, are you actively encouraging the Broncos now to have fake girlfriends in the hopes it boosts their play?

ELWAY: No, no, I'm not. We'd like to boost their play, but not like that.

MORGAN: I think you should sign up Manti Te'O, get him another fake girlfriend. It's improved his performance. How good of a player is he?

ELWAY: He's a good player, a good football player. He's coming out. We're just now getting into the study now that the season is ending. And we'll start getting into free agency, as well as start getting into the draft. But I think Manti has a tremendous reputation on the football field.

MORGAN: We've been talking a lot in this show, as we have on many shows recently, about guns and gun violence in America. You're from Colorado. And I was particularly appalled by what happened in the Aurora Movie Theater, as I'm sure everybody there was. But as somebody who has grown up in American culture and presumably around guns, when you were a youngster, what is your view of the debate as it stands?

ELWAY: You know, I'm still kind of waiting to hear both sides of it. I think I'm a gun owner and I'm a hunter and I enjoy that. I respect the Second Amendment.

MORGAN: As someone who hunts, shoots, so on, for sport, do you see any need for a civilian to have one of these military style rifles that can pump out 100 bullets a minute?

ELWAY: No, that's one area. I don't own a machine gun.

MORGAN: But do you see why anybody would need one as a civilian?

ELWAY: I do not. I don't see that. And I think that's the side that I'm waiting to hear about, and to see if that is the solution. Number one, if that's the solution that can prevent some of these catastrophes going on at these grade schools, then I'm all for the solution.

MORGAN: You endorsed Mitt Romney. So I assume you're a Republican as a political voter. How do you feel about the way the election went in the end? What mistakes did they make, the Republicans, do you think?

ELWAY: I don't know if you can define them as mistakes. The bottom line is I think that President Obama did a tremendous job. He's a tremendous campaigner. The people they had on the ground did a tremendous job getting the votes, getting people to the polls, and did a tremendous job there.

MORGAN: Big game coming up, the Superbowl. Where is your money going?

ELWAY: I can't bet, so my money isn't going anywhere.

MORGAN: Metaphorically. I'm teasing.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Ravens and 49ers, who is going to take it?

ELWAY: Two good football teams. But I think if you look at it on paper, I think, looking at it right now, the 49ers are going to win the game.

MORGAN: -- Dove Campaign, being comfortable in your own skin. Tell me briefly about that?

ELWAY: It's Dove Men Plus Care. And it was a campaign, Journey to Comfort and feeling comfortable in your own skin. I really enjoyed it because we did three different spots, one about dancing and embarrassing my kids, as well as the play, which was -- when I was at Stanford and the way that I walk. And so it was kind of funny, unique look at me on the other side, and to be able to mess with me, you know, myself, tell people what I was all about.

MORGAN: Are you comfortable in your own skin, John?

ELWAY: I am. I am. MORGAN: A lot of sportsmen find it very hard when they give up the really high pressure intensity of NFL or whatever it may be. How have you come to terms with not being able to be out there?

ELWAY: That takes a while. That's not something that comes overnight. I think everybody that walks away from the game of football, especially if they played for a long time or played since we were youngsters, it's always hard to walk away, and it is an adjustment once you get in to the real world and you don't have that competition, you don't have that weekly test, which I really missed.

But, you know, because mentally you always think you can play, but physically, your body -- especially in the game of football, your body runs out.

MORGAN: John Elway, it's been a pleasure.

ELWAY: Thank you.

MORGAN: Very nice to see up.

ELWAY: Nice to see you.

MORGAN: A sporting legend. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Tomorrow, a great hour with Tony Robbins here, talking about keeping America great. It's a really inspiring time.

Anderson Cooper starts now.