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Gun Owners on Gun Control and School Safety; Scaramucci on White House Morale; Chaos and Turmoil in West Wing; Trump Calls for Gun Legislation. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 1, 2018 - 08:30   ET



[08:32:39] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so how are gun owners and gun enthusiasts feeling about all of the talk of new gun policy? I sat down with a panel of gun owners from Florida, Alabama, Connecticut, Arizona and New York. Three of them say they are now having second thoughts about their own weapons in light of the massacre in Parkland, Florida. So here's part one of our conversation.


CAMEROTA: How many of you felt after the Parkland shooting that something was going to change, that Parkland was a tipping point? Show of hands.

Why did you feel this time was different?

JACOB ENGELS, TRUMP VOTER, AGAINST GUN CONTROL: This time because the kids, the children from the school have been so front and center and so active that it just gave a little bit of a different feeling, especially because they're the next generation and they're speaking up, not that I agree with what they're pushing. But I think the use of social media and the snowball effect from what they've been able to do in this past week is entirely different from any of the previous incidents.

RICK PETERS, TRUMP VOTER, PRO GUN CONTROL: People have had enough. It's really that simple. I think sentiment has changed. I said the first day that there was going to be a tipping point at this point. We've just had enough of this constant carnage. And the question becomes, why do we not do something about it? It's really that simple, why?

CARRIE LIGHTFOOT, TRUMP VOTER, AGAINST GUN CONTROL: I think that we're having a really hard time focusing in on what the real issues are. And we all want this to stop. And we all want a fix, you know? And -- but the fix isn't banning guns. The fix is much deeper than that.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's just take a vote right here. How many people would be comfortable with an assault weapons ban? Show of hands. Two of you. OK, why not?

SCOTT POPPALARDO: I don't think there needs to be a ban. There needs to be modifications to the weapons, limitations to the weapons.

CAMEROTA: Meaning not high magazine capacity?

POPPALARDO: Correct. Correct. Because an AR-15 should not be used as a home protection weapon.

LIGHTFOOT (ph): Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to 1984.

POPPALARDO: Because it is -- it's --


LIGHTFOOT: Do you know what a fabulous gun that is for women for protection?

POPPALARDO: It is a fabulous gun. So is -- so is a shotgun.

LIGHTFOOT: It is the easiest thing to shoot.

PETERS: Yes, a shotgun is actually a much better weapon for home --

LIGHTFOOT: No, but a woman -- no, but it's much harder to handle. Not for a woman.

POPPALARDO: You don't have to -- because accuracy doesn't have to be --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carrie has a great point --


POPPALARDO: And if you hear a pump action shotgun go, most people will leave.

LIGHTFOOT: That's a balancing --

AMANDA MEYER, HRC VOTER, PRO GUN CONTROL: You also don't need home protection. You don't -- you don't need guns for home protection. The probability that you'll be involved in a gun-related crime is 0.003 percent.

[08:35:05] JASON MONTES, TRUMP VOTER, AGAINST GUN CONTROL: If I have somebody breaking into my home, I need a means of self-defense.

LIGHTFOOT: You lose --

MONTES: Whether that's a handgun, whether that's an AR-15, that should be my choice. And, frankly, I think the law allows that choice.

CAMEROTA: If they banned AR-15s, you could still defend yourself with your handgun.

MONTES: Possibly.

PETERS: I could. And a shotgun.

LIGHTFOOT: You guys are missing the key point here.

CAMEROTA: Yes, what is it?

LIGHTFOOT: This is a Second Amendment right. This is our --

CAMEROTA: Not the AR-15.

POPPALARDO: We're not taking away your guns.


LIGHTFOOT: (INAUDIBLE), please. Let me finish, please. This is a constitutionally protected right. This is not a government legislated privilege such as driving a car. This is a completely different conversation.

CAMEROTA: Yes, fair enough.

But do you think the forefathers meant the AR-15?

LIGHTFOOT: I think they meant our protection against a tyrannical government --

MONTES: Thank you.

LIGHTFOOT: And for our self-protection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So do you believe -- do you believe that --

LIGHTFOOT: So of course they don't know what the guns are. But if you -- you can't start messing with our constitutionally protected right. When you start doing that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we already have.

CAMEROTA: Well, there are interpretations, obviously, of what the forefathers meant.


CAMEROTA: I mean you're not actually allowed to have an automatic weapon.

PETERS: I know why you want them. I know they make a lot of noise, they shoot a lot of bullets, a very macho guns, it's cool looking. I understand why they want one. But nobody can tell me why you need it.

MEYER: Exactly.

LIGHTFOOT: We don't have to need it. It's a constitutionally protected right. I don't -- I don't have to need it.

CAMEROTA: That's no -- that's --

PETERS: Those kids needed to live.


LIGHTFOOT: Of course they did.

POPPALARDO: That's not a constitutionally protected right.

CAMEROTA: And the AR-15 isn't a constitutionally protected right.

ENGELS: It's no different from any other. I'm just say the right --

CAMEROTA: Arms are, but not -- not an AR-15.

ENGELS: You have the right to self-defense and it's not only a Second Amendment right, you have the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.


ENGELS: And that is all about protecting yourself, protecting your family. If --

POPPALARDO: Right. And all those kids had the right to life and they're dead.

PETERS: You cannot yell fire in a movie theater, even though we have the right to free speech. And we've already decided that you cannot have an automatic weapon, all right. So all we're talking about is where the line is.

LIGHTFOOT: But the line is for military use. And an AR-15 is not a military rifle. It is a regular, semi-automatic rifle that looks bad ass. That's what it is.

PETERS: What about (INAUDIBLE) -- what about a semi with a bump stock.

POPPALARDO: Would your life change any if you didn't own an assault rifle?


POPPALARDO: Would your lifestyle change any?

LIGHTFOOT: My lifestyle?

POPPALARDO: Yes, would it change any?

LIGHTFOOT: No, because I -- there's other firearms I would purchase.

POPPALARDO: That's right. Exactly.

LIGHTFOOT: But my concern for my country and in the protection of our Second Amendment would. And that's scary.

POPPALARDO: So at what point will we have to stand up against our government and use lethal force in the year 2000 --

LIGHTFOOT: It's happening in Venezuela.


POPPALARDO: Look, in Venezuela. In Venezuela.

CAMEROTA: There's a million slippery slope arguments that we can use, but let's try to stay in the present.

So here's what's being proposed today, OK?

Do you support the end of the sales of bump stocks, making bump stocks illegal? A show of hands.

Three of you.

Why would you not support an end to bump stocks that mowed down 58 people from a window?

LIGHTFOOT: Oh, that's a loaded question.

ENGELS: A gun cannot do anything unless someone is operating it.

LIGHTFOOT: Thank you.

ENGELS: It is a tool. And if sick people --


ENGELS: Have a mental issue --


ENGELS: That is them. It's not the gun.

MONTES: I could do the same thing -- by law it's not illegal. It's not -- it's not considered an automatic weapon when you have a bump stock.

LIGHTFOOT: It's an accessory.


MONTES: How many times has a bump stock been used in a mass shooting?

CAMEROTA: But why are you comfortable with -- why are you defending bump stocks?

MONTES: Because I think it should be available. I think it should be available to those out there.


MEYER: For what?

MONTES: Because it's not an issue of the gun itself or the weapon itself.


MONTES: It's an issue of the individual behind it.

CAMEROTA: And which individual would want to use a bump stock.

MONTES: A crazed individual, right, who was going to a mass shooting.

CAMEROTA: Why not ban them? Why not ban them?

MONTES: What does that accomplish, though? Where are we going with that?

CAMEROTA: It keeps those 58 people alive.

LIGHTFOOT: Once you start doing that, what's the next accessory?

MONTES: Right.

LIGHTFOOT: Now you're opening up a whole nother thing because it's not a firearm.

CAMEROTA: Let's keep going through what the solutions are.

President Trump is proposing arming teachers, those that are trained and adept. Who's comfortable? Arms up.

LIGHTFOOT: If they want to, as a volunteer.

CAMEROTA: If they want to voluntarily.




CAMEROTA: Why aren't you comfortable with that, Amanda?

MEYER: I mean, I'd feel like this shouldn't even need to be explained. I think Mr. Trump is way off the mark on this. You don't want to bring more guns into a situation. The answer to solving violence is not more violence.

CAMEROTA: You were a teacher.

MEYER: Yes. The last thing I want is a gun in my classroom. And when you're trying to shoot a shooter that's in the building, you're going to hit kids. Or if the police show up, and you're a black teacher holding a gun because you are defending against the shooter, you're going to get shot.

LIGHTFOOT: I totally understand what you're saying and that concern, and I know a lot of people have that, you know. But I think we agree, we don't want people armed that aren't prepared to do what needs to be done if they have and don't have the training.

MEYER: No one can possibly be prepared for a situation where you're firing gunshots around children.

LIGHTFOOT: Well, you can prepare for it.

ENGELS: You don't have that right to make that choice for children that are in school where they could be protected by somebody potentially with a gun that has training.

MEYER: You don't have the right to make a choice that a student might be caught in crossfire.

ENGELS: You don't have the right to --

MEYER: It's wrong.

ENGELS: To rule over their life --

MEYER: Have you -- have you ever been --

ENGELS: And say that they didn't have the opportunity to save those children.

POPPALARDO: But you're ruling over their lives saying that we should have AR-15s and allow someone to bring it in.

ENGELS: Incorrect. Incorrect.

LIGHTFOOT: For my self-protection or in a classroom, I want anything that's better than what he has. And I want more rounds than whatever he has.


CAMEROTA: OK, so here's why a couple of them are so relevant. They're all rethink -- three of them are rethinking their own gun purchases. But two of them destroyed their guns.

[08:40:06] So Scott, on the lower left --

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: He's the one whose video went viral. He destroyed his AR-15 because of what he saw in Parkland.

So, tomorrow, we're going to talk to him about why he decided to do this. Also the teacher on the right-hand side, the blonde on the lower right, she also destroyed her gun because of Parkland. So we're going to ask what's happened in their lives, if they regret doing that?

CUOMO: But, also, look, I think that this is a very fair reflection of where people's minds are on this issue. And at the end of the day, it becomes about the political will. If they -- there's no question that legally -- you know some of the people there are wrong about what you can and you can't do legally. Yes, it's a right in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It can be subject to reasonable regulation.

CAMEROTA: Of course.

CUOMO: Even Scalia said that, and we have it.

If the politicians want to do it, they will be rewarded or punished at the polls. That's the way it should work. Will some of those people be upset? Yes. That's the price of political action.

CAMEROTA: All right, so part two of our sit-down with gun owners is tomorrow.

CUOMO: All right, so, Russia making headlines and once again in troubling fashion. Vladimir Putin says they have developed an invincible nuclear-powered missile. Details, next.


[08:45:24] CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Hope Hicks resigning as White House communications director. Her predecessor, Anthony Scaramucci, tells NEW DAY morale is at an all- time low in the White House.

CAMEROTA: "The New York Times" reports that the president's son-in- law, Jared Kushner, also his senior adviser -- that Jared Kushner's family business received half a billion dollars in loans from financial firms after meetings in the White House.

CUOMO: President Trump bucking the GOP and the NRA in a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The president pushing to raise the age limit for certain gun purchases and expanded background checks. He slammed senators for being scared of the NRA.

CAMEROTA: Russian President Vladimir Putin touting new nuclear powered missiles that can reach anywhere in the world. He calls it, quote, invincible, saying this missile is immune to missile defense systems.

CUOMO: In Florida, prosecutors say the criminal case against the gunman suspected of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School could go to the grand jury in Broward County as early as next week.

CAMEROTA: So, for more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to for the latest.

CUOMO: So, in two weeks, we begin a new series of everyone's favorite series, CNN Heroes, everyday people changing the world. You know what we do. We go out and find amazing individuals. But we do it with your help.

We want you to meet a woman who successfully nominated her personal hero to be a CNN Hero. Thanks to her sister, Teresa Fitzgerald, honored for offering thousands of incarcerated women and their children a chance at a fresh start. Here's a taste of the story. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met Sister Tesa at the Sicana (ph) Correctional Facility. It was through her love and her support that really helped me regain my life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happily a CNN Hero thanks to Juliana's (ph) brave recommendation of my credentials.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like, oh my goodness, for everything that she's done for me, I did something for her that no one else did, you know? So it felt really good.


CUOMO: More proof that you can make a difference here. If you know someone who deserves to be a CNN Hero, nominate them. You just go to

CAMEROTA: That was a great story. We look forward to hearing everybody's nominations.

OK, so, as we mentioned, former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was here. He says the White House morale is at an all-time low. Are there more staffers on the way out? We look at "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:52:19] CUOMO: All right, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks resigning. And her predecessor, Anthony Scaramucci, says she may not be the last key adviser to leave.


CUOMO: You do believe that we should be open to more people leaving the administration?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If the current situation and the current culture inside the administration stays exactly the way it is --

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: And there's literally no change, there will be a lot more departures. Yes, the morale is at an all-time low and it's trending lower.


CUOMO: Does the president need to beware the Ides of March?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN political director David Chalian.

Your take?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I don't know that we should be all that surprised about how low morale is, right? I mean, yes, hearing from somebody who speaks to insiders all the time is enormously helpful to get Anthony Scaramucci's take on this. But imagine any workplace dealing with just yesterday's headlines, just yesterday, one day, it would hard to imagine that morale would be good in any kind of workplace battling on every front like that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but Anthony Scaramucci, David, is blaming General Kelly. I mean he's basically saying that General Kelly -- that there's this culture of fear and intimidation and it's General Kelly's fault. And, you know, look, we've talked to him a million times about how outside the White House he's perceived as this kind of stabilizing force. But is it possible that inside the White House he has a much different role?

CHALIAN: Right. General Kelly is the man that fired Anthony Scaramucci. And so we should make that clear as he assesses that.

CAMEROTA: Make that point.

CHALIAN: But there's clearly tension, right? We know there's tension between Jared and Ivanka and General Kelly. We know that not everyone has been appreciative of the way General Kelly has tried to instill a streamline of information into the Oval Office. So perhaps that is what Scaramucci is referring to, of what needs to change.

What we have no indication of, guys, is that General Kelly is on his way out or on thin ice with the president as of today.

CUOMO: Well, he survived the Porter stuff. I mean and to Anthony's point, you know, he says, I think he knew about Rob Porter and he did nothing and that was a cover-up that went on there and that Kelly made people cover up. If he survived that with the president, why should we be suspicious that Kelly would be done?

CHALIAN: Yes, it's a good -- it's a good question, Chris. I mean that was clearly his darkest moment as chief of staff. I think that that is pretty fair to say. And he did weather that storm somewhat, although, as you see, we're still seeing reverberations of the Porter storm play out with the security clearance issues, with Jared Kushner, obviously with the Hope Hicks departure.

CAMEROTA: But, listen, if Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and General Kelly, the chief of staff, can't get along, that's an untenable, unsustainable situation, right? I mean something's got to give.

[08:55:02] CHALIAN: Yes, I -- well, certainly in most White Houses that would be untenable. What is untenable seems to be redefined all the time in this White House, Alisyn. Clearly having two people that close to the president, not being able to get along, that would seem to be a problem that the president would want to fix. But, again, he's allowed competing factions to exist inside his closest circle of advisers for most of the presidency. CUOMO: True, but that's a big reason he hasn't gotten much done.

CHALIAN: I agree.

CUOMO: I mean he can put out stats saying that two-thirds of his agenda is already completed. I guess that that's some metric that assume he wasn't looking to get much done. You know, if you have chaos around you, it's going to affect your ability to effect change.

Look at the aluminum change in tariffs that he wants to do right now and that trade swap. He just springs it on his staff. You know, he just tells his commerce secretary yesterday. They weren't ready. They don't know how to affect it. They don't have a plan on guns. Are we going to see a repeat of immigration? They didn't have a message. They couldn't stay on it. They didn't work the legislators. They couldn't expend capital. That's a team effort. You've got to have morale. You've got to have a game plan.

CHALIAN: Yes. And, I mean, my big question out of that guns meeting yesterday, which was jaw-dropping to watch, there's no doubt about it, was that just a show or did we actually start getting the beginnings of a White House legislative push on this. That to me seems entirely unclear at this moment.

CAMEROTA: Well, it seemed unclear to the lawmakers also. But part of that was the beauty of it, you know, to see them sort of stunned and back on their heels when the president was throwing out different suggestions and not staying on message.

CUOMO: Yes, and, look, if he gets something done on this that makes a positive effect, that makes it less likely to have shootings like this, bravo to the president.

CAMEROTA: Of course. Of course.

David Chalian, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: OK, so CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman will pick up after this break. And we'll see you tomorrow.