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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Guns in America

Aired January 7, 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: Good evening. On a day when accused Aurora shooter James Holmes listened to testimony about his brutal massacre while family members in the courtroom sobbed, on a day when still traumatized students in Newtown, Connecticut, were sent to school on the first Monday of the new year, this country is grappling with gun violence as never before, an issue you know I care passionately about. So here is my position loud and clear.

I'm in favor of a nationwide ban on military style, semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines. I want a close on gun show loopholes and require private dealers to run background checks on buyers at gun shows. I would like to see the president increase federal funding for mental health treatment for all Americans who need it.

I think these are entirely reasonable reactions to the outrages that have occurred in America over the last few months. And tonight, I'll go head to head with a man who actually wants to deport me for having these very views. And over 104,000 Americans apparently agree with him. That's coming up.

We begin tonight with new details from inside the Colorado courtroom for a preliminary hearing underway today for James Holmes, charged with using a military style semiautomatic assault weapon to kill 12 people and wound 58.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live outside the courthouse at Centennial, Colorado.

Ed, tell me about what happened today.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Piers. Well, this was the -- the day where we first heard from the officers that first came into contact with James Holmes the night of that shooting. These are officers that we have not heard from tell their stories in their -- in their own words. And it was very difficult for many of the family members and survivors who attended this hearing. We spoke with several of them heading into the -- in and out of the courtroom throughout the day today and we talked to them about control -- gun control issues that have been debated so fiercely here in the last few weeks in the United States.

And we started off by talking with Tom Teeds, his son Alex was one of the victims gunned down in the Aurora theater shooting back on July -- on the night of July 20th. And he talked about assault rifles and what he thought -- what he thought should happen with them, and if they should be banned. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's only one reason to use this weapon and that's to murder people. So we probably should call them murder weapons and we probably should get them off the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People kill people. Guns don't kill people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unless your job entitles you to having a gun, I fell like they should be illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My cousin is a cop, and he would tell me about kids walking around with guns. So I mean, access to guns is a little too lenient.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Piers, a mix of opinions from many of the people we spoke with today who had come to listen to this preliminary hearing today in Centennial, Colorado.

MORGAN: Ed, thanks very much indeed.

And joining me now, Jessica Watts and Dave Hoover. Jessica was in the courtroom in today's hearing. Her cousin Jonathan Blunk died protecting his girlfriend from the shooting and she joins me now exclusively. Dave Hoover's nephew, A.J. Boik, was one of those kills in the Aurora movie theater.

Welcome to you both.

Let me start with you, Jessica. It must have been a very difficult day for you and indeed for all relatives involved in that appalling incident. What was your feeling today as you sat in the courtroom watching the events?

JESSICA WATTS, COUSIN KILLED IN AURORA THEATER SHOOTING: It was definitely very sad. Very traumatic to hear new detail details regarding the shooting and the position of -- you know, where everybody was in the theater when their bodies were recovered. And also to just look around the courtroom and to see the other family members and the amount of grief that everybody is still going through.

MORGAN: When you saw the shooter up close, as you did today, did it shock you even more that he was able to arm himself in the horrifying manner that he did?

WATTS: Yes. And not only that, but you know, it was amazing to me the amount of ammunition that he had. Not only in the weapons that he used but also in his pockets and what was found on the floor and in the parking lot.

MORGAN: Let me turn to you, Dave Hoover. As I said, you're the uncle of A.J. Boil. You've been active since the Aurora shooting in trying to frame some new legislation here. Tell me about what you would really like to see happen.

DAVE HOOVER, UNCLE OF AURORA VICTIM AJ BOIK: Piers, I can't say how much I agree with your opinion and what you've stated previously. I appreciate you having your First Amendment right, and I am -- I am glad you're speaking out because that's exactly what we need to do, is have a conversation, a reasonable conversation.

This country needs to realize that we need to make sure that these guns are not in the hands of those who shouldn't have them. They need to be in the hands -- and an a RR-15 or an M-16, same weapon, just a different designation needs to be in the hands of the military or police only. High capacity magazines have no place in the -- in the world of hunting. And what we need to do is make sure that people can protect themselves at home and protect their families, but we do not need to be throwing more guns out there on the streets to be used by criminals.

And we need have a framework, at least something set in place that will tell our community and our country this is not right. This is where we're going to live. Guns do not need to be out there, like I can go buy a loaf of bread. I mean -- it's insane to be able to do that. Nobody wants to come in and say that if I'm a depressed individual going through a rough time in life, we're going to come take your guns away.

But if you're talking to a therapist and you're saying, I'm going to the theater or I'm going to church and I'm going to wreak havoc, that person doesn't need to have a gun or access to a gun. They should be having their background checked. They should be -- anybody who is a reasonable gun owner, which I am. I hunt, I went hunting this year. I harvested my deer. I am happy to go through any background check, and I expect that any other gun -- gun owner in this country is going to go through the same background check that I am.

MORGAN: Dave, thank you very much for joining me. And indeed to you, Jessica.

Anyone who's watched this show over the past few weeks knows I have taken a pretty strong stand on guns in America. It's almost gave a notice to supporters of gun rights and it's led to a petition on the White House official Web site, no less. It's entitled and I quote, "Deport British citizen Piers Morgan for attacking Second Amendment." Take a look. More than 104,000 people have signed it so far.

And joining me now is one of the people behind the petition, Alex Jones. He's host of the "Alex Jones Show."

Welcome to you.

ALEX JONES, HOST, "THE ALEX JONES SHOW", INFOWARS.COM: Piers, thanks for having me.

MORGAN: Why do you want to deport me?

JONES: Well, we did it as a way to bring attention to the fact that we have all of these foreigners and the Russian government, the official Chinese government, now said political power goes out the barrel of a gun. It killed about 80 million people because he's the only guy that have the guns. So we did it to point out that this is globalism, and the mega banks that control the planet and brag that they've taken over in Bloomberg, AP, Reuters, you name it, brag that they're going to get our guns as well.

They've taken everybody's guns but the Swiss and the American people. And when they get our guns, they can have their world tyranny while the government buys 1.6 billion bullets, armored vehicles, tanks, helicopters, predator drones, armed now in U.S. skies, being used to arrest people in North Dakota.

The Second Amendment isn't there for duck hunting. It's there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs. Take the women in India. Your piece earlier on CNN I was watching during Anderson Cooper's show. Didn't tell you that the women of India have signed giant petitions to get firearms because the police can't and won't protect them. The answer is --

(CROSSTALK)

Wait a minute. I have FBI crime statistics that come out a year late, 2011, 20-plus percent crime drop in the last nine years. Real violent crime because more guns means less crime. Britain took the guns 15, 16 years ago. Tripling of your overall violent crime. True we have a higher gun violence level, but overall, muggings, stabbings, deaths, you -- those men raped that woman in India to death with an iron rod four feet long.

You can't ban the iron rods. The guns -- the iron rods, Piers, didn't do it, the tyrants did it. Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns. Fidel Castro took the guns.

MORGAN: OK. How many --

JONES: Hugo Chavez took the guns, and I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms. It doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand?

That why you're going to fail and the establishment knows no matter how much propaganda, the republic will rise again when you attempt to take our gun. My family in the Texas revolution in Santa Ana. My family was at the core on both sides starting left, because Santa Ana came to take the guns at Gonzalez, Texas.

Piers, don't try what your ancestors did before. Why don't you come to America, I'll take you out shooting. You can become an American and join the republic.

MORGAN: Are you finished?

JONES: Yes, I am finished. You will not take my right. You go through background checks to get guns. How about Prozac? You know the -- that's a big sponsor, isn't it? That whole class of drugs.

MORGAN: Let me ask you a question.

JONES: No, whoa, got to cut that off, don't you? Don't want to talk about -- the U.S. number one cause of death is suicide now because they give people suicide mass murder pills.

MORGAN: Calm down. Calm down.

JONES: Your answers give more money to the psychiatrists and psychologists to put more crazy people on drugs so they could kill people, Piers.

MORGAN: Let's try and have a debate here.

JONES: Yes.

MORGAN: Answer me this question.

JONES: I'm sick of the same old script here, bud.

MORGAN: That's fine, bud. How many gun murders were there in America last year? Do you know?

JONES: There were about 11,458, and about 70 percent of those were gang related. Gang bangers shooting each other. You get three and a half to four --

MORGAN: OK. That wasn't --

JONES: How many people died from infections in hospitals? 197,000 --

MORGAN: So let me just ask you the second question --

JONES: That's right.

MORGAN: How many gun murders were there in Britain last year?

JONES: How many great white sharks --

MORGAN: No, how many --

JONES: kill people every year but they're scared to swim?

MORGAN: Right. How many gun murders were there in Britain?

JONES: A very low amount. I hardly remember those statistics.

MORGAN: How many, do you know?

JONES: That was only a few hundred.

MORGAN: No, no. How many gun murders?

JONES: I actually -- actually brought statistics. Here, let me pull them out right here. I think I could do that.

MORGAN: Gun murders last year -- JONES: Oh, wait, UK violent crime, capital of Europe. "London Telegraph." Here let me give you more.

MORGAN: It's quite a simple question.

JONES: Well, that's the oldest --

MORGAN: You're a very loud man.

JONES: That's the old -- no, no. That's the oldest, very basic tactics --

MORGAN: You make a lot of noise.

JONES: -- to ask me some little factoids.

MORGAN: That -- they're not little factoids.

JONES: I already said earlier .

MORGAN: We're talking about a country --

JONES: England has a lot lower gun crime rate because you took all the guns.

MORGAN: Let me -- let me -- exactly my point.

JONES: But you've got hoards of people burning down cities and beating old women's brains out every day.

MORGAN: What a ridiculous (INAUDIBLE).

JONES: They arrest people in England, if they defend themselves, that's on record. My god, you've got a total police state. Everybody is fleeing that country because the -- you had to flee here, bud.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: Why don't you tell folks -- yes, you fled here. Why don't you go back and face the charges with the hacking scandal?

MORGAN: Answer this question. How many guns --

JONES: Why did you get fired from "The Daily Mirror" for putting that fag stories?

MORGAN: How --

JONES: You're a hatchet man of the new world order. You're a hatchet man. And I want to say this right here, you think you're a tough guy? Have me back with a boxing ring in here, and I'll wear red, white, and blue, and you can wear your jolly roger.

MORGAN: OK.

JONES: You know -- MORGAN: Let's try again. How many gun murders were there --

JONES: You're going to bang your fist now?

MORGAN: -- in Britain last year?

JONES: How many chimpanzees can dance on a head of a pin? I already went over those statistics.

MORGAN: You know the answer?

JONES: No, I don't.

MORGAN: You said hundreds.

JONES: It's very low.

MORGAN: You said hundreds.

JONES: Yes.

MORGAN: It's actually 35.

JONES: Well, the point is you can --

MORGAN: Against 11,000. Do you understand the difference in 11,000 and 35?

JONES: Yes, England wants to ban knives now because tens of thousands are getting stabbed.

MORGAN: Do you understand the difference --

JONES: The knives? The knife doesn't kill people. The gun doesn't kill people.

MORGAN: Do you understand -- yes. Do you understand the difference?

JONES: Do you understand --

MORGAN: Between 35 --

JONES: You're not going to pull on America's heartstrings.

MORGAN: -- and 11,000?

JONES: They know your script. OK? You're not going to get our guns. By the way, you guys always say we just want to take the semiautos. OK? And all this other stuff. The semiautos aren't even -- rifles aren't even used but in a fraction of the crimes. You can pull those numbers up, OK?

No, no, no. Hold on.

MORGAN: Let me ask you one question, which weapon was predominantly used in the Aurora movie theater shooting? JONES: An M-4 AR-15 variant.

MORGAN: So it was a semiautomatic assault rifle.

JONES: Yes. Again --

MORGAN: OK. Next question.

JONES: But statistically, it's very, very low.

MORGAN: That was -- do you agree it was the single biggest shooting in the history of America in terms of people hit by a shooter? Do you know that?

JONES: Now I believe that there were others --

MORGAN: No, no. It's --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: Some other students over 30.

MORGAN: No, no. This was the single biggest mass shooting --

JONES: Well, listen, you just don't want --

MORGAN: No. I'm going to --

JONES: There have been bombings of Wall Street.

MORGAN: Let me ask you a second question.

JONES: Are we going to -- listen, why can't --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let me ask you a second question.

JONES: We trust them to fly the planes.

MORGAN: You've had a lot to say, just answer this question.

JONES: No, my point is that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct.

MORGAN: Do you know --

JONES: And you're not getting it.

MORGAN: Do you know which weapon was used in the Oregon shopping mall mass shooting recently?

JONES: I understand that people who were mentally ill on all the --

MORGAN: Do you know what weapon --

(CROSSTALK) JONES: Taken inhibiters who play the shoot them up games --

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: -- want to go out and do this.

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: Because there's criminals, I don't lose my rights, Piers.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex.

JONES: Because there's criminals, I don't lose my rights.

MORGAN: Alex. Just answer the question.

JONES: Yes.

MORGAN: Do you know what the weapon used was?

JONES: Listen. Let me ask you a question.

MORGAN: No, no. Answer --

JONES: I've got the FBI statistics.

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: Listen.

MORGAN: No, no.

JONES: That the so-called semiautos that you're talking about --

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's take a break. When we come back try --

JONES: Again, you're not going to get the guns --

MORGAN: When we come back, try and answer my question. OK?

JONES: Yes. All you're going to do is sit there and play little factoid questions. Overall crime has gone down in 20 percent.

MORGAN: Yes, it's about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with Alex Jones, a man who says I should be deported for my stand on guns.

Sir Alex, here's how this is going to work. And it's entirely down to you. I'm going to ask you some questions. In the spirit of a proper debate, you've had a lot to say so far on the show, a lot of it aimed at me which his fine. But I want you to try and answer the questions. This is a proper debate. OK? I'm not trying to trip you up. JONES: No, it's not a debate. You're running the show.

MORGAN: OK. OK.

JONES: You bring in your victims up front.

MORGAN: OK. As you know --

JONES: Look. You've got your little note cards.

MORGAN: OK. OK.

JONES: I just gave you FBI statistics that violent crime --

MORGAN: Fine. Alex, Alex.

JONES: -- and gun crime is down over 20 percent.

MORGAN: Alex, let me ask you this.

JONES: And you want to go to little factoids.

MORGAN: No. They're not little factoids.

JONES: Anybody can pull those up. Listen.

MORGAN: Do you know what --

JONES: Do you have a body guard?

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: Why do you have body guards?

MORGAN: I don't have a body guard.

JONES: Yes, I've seen you on the news with them.

MORGAN: I don't have a body guard.

JONES: Don't you want to protect your wife from hoodlums or you want to call the police?

MORGAN: Let me ask you this question?

JONES: Why does Dianne Feinstein --

MORGAN: Alex. Alex.

JONES: -- tell "60 Minutes" that she plans --

MORGAN: OK. Alex.

JONES: -- to try and take Mr. And Mrs. America's guns?

MORGAN: Don't be (INAUDIBLE) over me. JONES: You guys want to disarm all of America.

MORGAN: No, I don't.

JONES: Dianne Feinstein's bill does.

MORGAN: No, I don't. I don't.

JONES: Gun confiscation.

MORGAN: No. Let me clarify for you. You don't seem to understand what --

JONES: First you register, then you confiscate.

MORGAN: No.

JONES: It's always on the side, Piers.

MORGAN: What the campaign --

JONES: Well, here, give me your little queue cards and I'll answer your questions for you.

MORGAN: What was the weapon used at Sandy Hook?

JONES: I have already gone over that. Already answered it for you.

MORGAN: We haven't talked about Sandy Hook.

JONES: No. Again --

MORGAN: What was the weapon?

JONES: It's a 223 M-4.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: Again. But statistically they're using very low percentage of -- of shooting --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Right. But are you -- are you seeing --

JONES: But you guys --

MORGAN: Are you seeing a pattern --

JONES: People wouldn't go swimming because the movie "Jaws" even though great white sharks kill five people a year.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. Alex.

JONES: You're trying to scare people.

MORGAN: Let me say something.

JONES: There's no metal shark in the water.

MORGAN: The same type of weapon was used in the last three mass shootings.

JONES: Yes. And that's right. And Hitler used semiautos to kill people.

MORGAN: Why would you now --

JONES: And so did Mao.

MORGAN: Why would you --

JONES: Why is the government (INAUDIBLE) against this?

MORGAN: Why -- Alex. I don't --

JONES: What about "Fast and Furious"?

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: Why did our government ship guns to Mexico?

MORGAN: Calm down. Alex.

JONES: To blame the Second Amendment?

MORGAN: Let's have a debate.

JONES: A false flag?

MORGAN: Alex, I get accused --

JONES: To blame the Second Amendment?

MORGAN: I get accused --

JONES: Why they blow up buildings down the street here in New York?

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. I get accused when I get you guys on of talking over you, of being rude. I'm trying to be civil. All right?

JONES: Yes.

MORGAN: You've got to try and answer some of the questions, right? Here is my issue for you. Why do people need -- civilians need an AR- 15 type assault weapon? Why --

JONES: I've already said statistically, they're used in a very low amount of the crimes.

MORGAN: Look, answer the question.

JONES: That's an FBI fact. (CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: They've been used in the last three mass shootings.

JONES: Yes.

MORGAN: Why --

JONES: I'll tell you why. Because they advertise it in the media. Anybody knows that if someone jumps off the Empire State Building, they put cops up there the next day because copy cats come to do it again. The media hypes and hypes and hypes --

MORGAN: That's not the question.

JONES: Go just commit suicide --

MORGAN: Alex, why do people need them?

JONES: Go commit suicide by killing a bunch of kids and here's the gun to use --

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: -- because it's the one the U.S. Army uses.

MORGAN: Why do people need them?

JONES: They need them to protect us from the number one killer in history. Government of the 20th century university study out of Hawaii killed -- two million people. It's called democide. Google it, folks.

MORGAN: Do you believe everyone in America -- should everyone in America --

JONES: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: -- therefore have an AR-15 if they want one?

JONES: Statistically, where there's mo more guns, there's lower crime. The highest crime is in Bloomberg, you know --

MORGAN: But you have the most guns than any of the 23 richest countries in the world. And you have --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: Well, America was born on guns and whiskey.

MORGAN: Right. But --

JONES: It's true we're a violent society.

MORGAN: Right. The fact that America has the most guns --

JONES: But statistically knives kill three times more.

MORGAN: And the most gun murders.

JONES: Have you seen the FBI numbers? Knives, bats, rocks.

MORGAN: Let's talk guns --

JONES: Kill many, many times more.

MORGAN: Let's talk -- Alex, let's talk about the guns.

JONES: It's not the -- it's not the rock, it's not the knife.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: When a mother chops her kids up with a cleaver --

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. Alex. Tell me why I'm wrong about the AR-15 --

JONES: Why don't you want to get rid of drugs?

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: Is they're half your sponsors?

MORGAN: Stick to the topic.

JONES: America's number one cause of unnatural deaths now is suicide.

MORGAN: OK. Alex.

JONES: Not automobile accident.

MORGAN: Let's try again.

JONES: Not cancer. Listen.

MORGAN: You accuse me of attacking the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

JONES: I want to get people off pills that the insert says will make you commit suicide --

MORGAN: Alex.

JONES: -- and kill people.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. Let's get about the Second Amendment.

JONES: I want to blame the real culprit.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex.

JONES: Suicide pills.

MORGAN: Alex. JONES: Mass murder pills.

MORGAN: OK. Let me ask you one question. Your belief -- unless I'm wrong --

JONES: First time anybody has ever heard this, by the way.

MORGAN: Your belief, unless I'm wrong, is that under the Second Amendment, your real concern is that you will be overrun by a tyrannical regime, either from somewhere else --

JONES: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

Look at Mexico. Total gun ban for the citizens. Highest crime rate in the world. Fifty-seven thousand people dead in the last five years. Total gun ban for the citizens.

MORGAN: But you -- your main --

JONES: Switzerland has the lowest crime rate in Europe.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex.

JONES: Your country has the highest.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. We have 35 gun murders, you have 11,000.

JONES: You have -- people -- it's their brains. It's the higher crime rate.

MORGAN: Alex, let me ask you --

JONES: Violent crime is higher.

MORGAN: On this specific --

JONES: It's brains. It's people.

MORGAN: Alex, I'm trying to get inside your brain.

JONES: Piers, if you punched me right now, it'd be -- not your first but your brain.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. Let me get inside your brain.

JONES: OK.

MORGAN: OK? I'm serious, you have a very, very big platform. You're airing I think on 63 networks.

JONES: No. No. That -- WikiPedia is like 10 years old. I went over 140 stations. XM.

MORGAN: OK. Millions of Americans hear you every day. JONES: Over a million half listeners, InfoWars.com.

MORGAN: And I --

JONES: We'll have the statistics posted right now.

MORGAN: OK. OK.

JONES: InfoWars.com.

MORGAN: Who do you believe was behind 9/11?

JONES: I absolutely know. I have the police on CNN saying get back, they're going to blow up seven. I have BBC reporter --

MORGAN: Yes, but who do you believe was behind it?

JONES: I have the proof. And I heard them on CBS radio.

MORGAN: Who? Who, Alex?

JONES: They announced they blew up the towers on CBS Radio. New Yorkers all saw and heard it.

MORGAN: Alex, who do you believe --

JONES: They blew up Building 7.

MORGAN: Alex, who do you believe was behind it? The American government?

JONES: Criminal elements of the military and industrial complex, the same ones that staged (INAUDIBLE), the same ones that staged operation --

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: The mass shootings, Operation Gladio.

MORGAN: Right. Right.

JONES: Ooh, the CIA don't like this right now.

MORGAN: Alex. Alex. Do you mean that President Bush and his administration were behind 9/11?

JONES: I mean that even mainstream news reported that the hijackers were ordered to be allowed into the United States. Michael Springman, the head of the visa department, blew the whistle on that.

MORGAN: Right. So the Bush administration was part of the conspiracy to murder --

JONES: Well, he said never let us tolerate --

MORGAN: To murder thousands of Americans -- JONES: To murder, to murder -- I can speak in this accent as well.

MORGAN: Yes. But is that what you believe?

JONES: The government -- Hitler fired bombs and turned rash tag, Piers. To bring in martial law in Germany, April 27th, 1933. Governments have staged terror attacks throughout history or allowed terrorists to attack as a pretext to invade and enslave a population.

MORGAN: How many gun do you own? How many guns do you own?

JONES: I probably own more than 50 firearms. Many of them have increased in value two or three, or even four times. I sleep very comfortably outside Austin, Texas.

MORGAN: Alex --

JONES: Knowing that I can defend my family.

MORGAN: OK. Alex Jones is the man --

JONES: InfoWars.com.

MORGAN: This is the man who wants to deport me from the country for wanting to get rid of assault rifles --

JONES: No. No. It's to point out you're a foreigner, a Redcoat, here telling us what to do.

MORGAN: Which to me (INAUDIBLE) outrageous. Whatever.

JONES: Go back where they took the guns if you don't like it. The communist --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I want to bring Alan Dershowitz who's agreed to defend me from deportation. A great guy.

You defended John Lennon, no less. You've seen the encounter there with Alex Jones. He's the guy behind this petition to have me deported. He's really one of the reasons why I'm so concerned about the lack of gun control in America. He's a man that owns 50 weapons. He has sort of a pathological view about it. He seems unhinged to me.

And the irony of these gun rights guys saying to me that I'm rude to them won't be lost on my regular viewers, I'm sure. I try to stay calm, and really there's no other way dealing with him because he's just sort of this ranting guy who doesn't want anybody to grab his guns, but no sense of awareness about the wider issue of a particular type of weapon being used to commit these mass outrages.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAWYER: Well, we lawyers refer to people like that not as witnesses but as exhibits. He was an exhibit, like a piece of evidence. You just see him speaking and you say to yourself, I don't want that man to have a gun. I wouldn't feel comfortable having an argument with him in his home where he had access to his 50 weapons, and if he got really mad at something I said or if I disputed his contentions or I told him he was lying about the FBI statistics, and that he was lying about the claim more guns equal less crime, I would be worried he would grab for his semiautomatic to try to resolve it.

MORGAN: I agree. What really would concern me about somebody like him is the amount of influence he has, a growing influence, as he boasted. He's got millions of people listening to him. And some of his YouTube rants have got tens of millions of people watching them. And he ferments this fear of a tyrannical regime, and that is why everyone in America needs to be armed with AR-15s, and it's the stuff of nonsense, isn't it? I mean the idea --

(CROSSTALK)

DERSHOWITZ: Well, it's much more dangerous than nonsense. I mean, he was essentially comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler.

MORGAN: Yes.

DERSHOWITZ: He was saying that somebody, the criminal elements within our banks, the Bloombergs. The national banks.

MORGAN: The millions --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: You can't dismiss him as just a crackpot because millions of Americans tune in to him now on a daily basis and believe what he says.

DERSHOWITZ: But let me tell you --

MORGAN: That is why to me he is a very relevant guest here and he perfectly exemplifies the problem.

DERSHOWITZ: But the reason you perform such a great service by having him on is he usually preaches to his own little paranoid choir. People who listen to him or even listening to him for entertainment purposes the way I sometimes listen to Rush Limbaugh, or because they really believe him. Now you --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, we have a little exchange --

DERSHOWITZ: To a general exchange. Right.

MORGAN: This is a little exchange that happened just right at the end here which others haven't seen yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms. Doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand? That's why you're going to fail and the establishment knows no matter how much propaganda, the Republic will rise again when you attempt to take our guns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You see, when you have this debate on the East Coast or even the West Coast, I find that a lot of Americans come up to me and they're totally behind what I'm trying to do. It's a very specific thing. It's not about taking away his right to defend himself or his family at home or to grab anybody's guns other than these military- style assault weapons.

He doesn't want to hear any of the nuances of the debate. He couldn't tell me how many people get murdered by guns.

DERSHOWITZ: Because he doesn't want to hear the --

MORGAN: He knows it's very, very low. He doesn't want to hear it.

DERSHOWITZ: One thing I would suggest is it's time for us -- everybody hates commissions, but it's time for us to have a commission of 10 great distinguished scientists to put the lie to this notion of more guns, less crime. I know the statistics. I know the FBI data. I teach it.

But most Americans believe the NRA propaganda. The NRA buys scholars. They buy statistics. It's just wrong.

MORGAN: -- lies. It is total lies. Britain has strong gun control, for example, and averages 35 gun murders a year. America has very lax gun control and has 11,000. Britain is about a fifth the size of America. I can do simple math. Japan has the toughest gun control in the world. They have two or three murders a year.

Australia had a massacre in the '90s. They brought in a ban on all main high-powered guns and assault rifles and so on. They have had no mass shootings since.

This is not rocket science. It's there to be had. The problem is that the NRA -- and I'm sure Mr. Jones is a big fan of theirs and probably helps them.

DERSHOWITZ: He probably thinks they're way, way, way too much part of the establishment. He's way, way to the right of the NRA.

MORGAN: -- is the political power the NRA now wield means that politicians are too cowed to say anything. I have people say to me, you're so brave. What is brave about wanting to stop 20 more children getting murders?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think you're right about that. I don't think it's the NRA power. I think it's people like us, not the two of us, but Americans who care about guns aren't doing enough to make our case to the public.

MORGAN: Why not? DERSHOWITZ: Because we think it's their issue. We have given that issue over to them because they have lobbyists. They pay money. But in the end, the people determine the outcome. And it's wrong, and it's racist and it's bigoted to say that guns are quintessentially American. They may represent a part of America, but my grandparents who came over from Poland and lived in Brooklyn, New York, are just as much Americans. People who came over from Ireland, people who came over from Italy, we're just as much Americans. We live on the coasts.

And we have a right to define the America that we want to live in. And we have the obligation to win politically, to vote for people to put gun control as a high priority. They put it as a number one priority. We who favor gun control put it as a 16th or 17th priority. So it's our fault, not the NRA's fault.

MORGAN: And the important thing of getting people like Alex Jones on the show is to hear him actually say that he believes President Bush, the American administration under him, were responsible for 9/11. And that is why he wants Americans armed, to defend themselves against that kind of murderous tyranny. And it's the most dangerous rhetoric I have heard in a very long time.

DERSHOWITZ: It's very important that he be exposed on your show, because decent Americans don't want to be associated with that kind of paranoid view of American history. They don't want to believe that our government is capable of engaging in the kind of tyranny that he fears. You know, government does a great deal of good for people. Yes, there are reasons to constrain government. That's why we have the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights.

Justice Scalia, who wrote the opinion, said very clearly the Second Amendment permits reasonable regulation for prevention of people like him from getting guns, for prevention of crazy people with long records, criminal records from getting guns.

We have to do more to fulfill what the real meaning of the Second Amendment is, reasonable access to guns for self protection and for hunting. And there's no room in America for the semiautomatic, automatic, and others kind of weapons that are simply designed to create mass havoc.

MORGAN: I believe that an increasing majority of Americans do not agree with the likes of Alex Jones. I think they realize a tipping point has been reached. When you have a movie theater shot up, and then a school, an elementary school, enough is enough. And they mustn't let the agenda be driven by people like him.

DERSHOWITZ: And when the NRA gets up and says the solution to it is to arm teachers in elementary schools and give kids guns --

MORGAN: -- wild west. It's lunacy.

DERSHOWITZ: We don't want to live there.

MORGAN: Thank you so much for coming in. When we come back, a man who truly does believe the solution to gun violence is yet more guns. Sheriff Joe Arpaio on why he wants armed volunteers outside schools.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I am not someone who believes that having multiple armed guards in every school is something that will enhance the learning environment. And that's our first responsibility inside of school, is the learning environment. You don't want to make this an armed camp for kids. I don't think that's a positive example for children.

We should be able to figure out some other ways to enhance safety.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. My next guest says armed guards are exactly what American schools need. In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona has called for armed volunteers to patrol about 50 schools under his jurisdiction.

And the sheriff joins me now. Welcome to you, sheriff.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: How are you doing, Piers?

MORGAN: Explain to me why you believe that the answer to these gun massacres is to have a lot more guns.

ARPAIO: Well, you know, I'm not going to get into that. We have many, many laws pertaining to guns already. We ought to enforce those laws. But I'm taking immediate action. I have a volunteer posse made up of 3,500 armed, well trained -- 100 hours of training. We just finished another program at the malls, very successful.

So why not utilize and mobilize a posse, which a sheriff can do, in the perimeters? I don't believe in putting the posse in the schools, but protect the kids and teachers by outside patrol, visible deterrents. And keep the bad guys out of the schools.

MORGAN: At Columbine, you will be aware, there was an armed sheriff; 12 students got killed and a teacher. Ft. Hood, which is one of the most protected army bases in the world, 13 people were killed, 29 wounded. Virginia Tech, there were a number of armed security people.

Why are on Earth do you think these patrolmen, as you put it, who you have taken of the streets and given a bit of training to, could do any better?

ARPAIO: We don't pick them off the streets. They're well trained and they have the authority under the sheriff. Nothing is perfect. Look at Norway. You remember the massacre in Norway that don't even allow guns. So you never can say everything is perfect.

But you sure can take action, try to deter any operation. Don't surrender. Don't just talk about it, that every politician seems to be doing. Get something done, so that's what I'm doing.

MORGAN: What about this old quaint idea, what about taking guns off the streets rather than flooding the streets with more guns?

ARPAIO: Well, I don't know. We have a Second Amendment. You know. You have been through this, many conversations about this. You have a First Amendment. There's a Second Amendment. But guns do not kill people. We just had two murders, my office investigated, by knives. Should we take all the knives away? Where do you draw the line?

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Here's my point, sheriff. Here's my point, which I tried to make to Alex Jones, but he was ranting too loudly to really focus on what I was saying.

ARPAIO: Don't take it out on me.

MORGAN: No, no, I won't. In Britain, we had a very similar massacre in Dunblane, in Scotland, 1996. As a result, as I'm sure you know, a national handgun ban was brought in. And it also banned all automatic and most semiautomatic rifles as well. It would have banned the weapons used at Aurora, at Sandy Hook, at the Oregon shopping mall, and others.

Since then, there has been no single shooting at a school in Britain. There have been two smaller massacres in that period, both by people who actually had licenses for these arms. But in the main, Britain has been almost gun murder free. And it averages about 35 gun murders a year, as I tried to tell Alex Jones.

In America, where you have 300 million firearms in circulation, and you have extraordinary lax gun control, you have between 11,000 and 12,000 gun murders a year. Britain is just a fifth of the size of America. Five times 35 is not 11,000.

So clearly America has a particular problem. It has by far the greatest number of gun murders of the 23 richest countries in the world. Again, my question to you really is this, why do people keep propagating a myth that more guns means less gun murder?

ARPAIO: But Piers, why are you comparing your country with the United States? I believe we have 350 million people that live in this country. I was in London, for your information. I spent a week with BBC. They were following me around on how we operate our jails.

But I brought up the gun issue. The media didn't even want to address the gun issue when I said that Bobbys should be armed, too, because things are changing in England. But nobody wants to talk about it in England, which is really strange. You're talking about it. I'm glad you are. MORGAN: It's not that strange. The situation hasn't changed because the number of gun murders hasn't changed. We can talk about lots of things wrong with my country. There's terrible problems with knife crime, with obesity, with gang violence, all sorts of social ills. I'm not claiming my country is perfect at all.

I can tell you one thing that we got right. When a load of school children were massacred by a madman with a gun, we banned guns in my country. I'm very proud of those politicians and of the public for rising as one, left to right -- it wasn't a political issue -- and getting something done that has meant there's been no school shootings since.

There probably will be in the future. But by God, we made it difficult. What I don't see in America is any collective will by the people who run this country, including yourself, to try and make it more difficult for people who are disturbed to get their hands on these AR-15 style, military style assault weapons, which are killing machines.

ARPAIO: Well, I think Smith and Wesson six-cylinders kill, too. So you know, this is the Second Amendment. We do follow the Constitution in this country. And that's the way it is. If you don't like it, go change the laws.

I'm here to enforce the laws. I'm doing the best I can to enforce the laws and protect the people of this county, Maricopa County. If you want to change laws and everything else, OK. By the way, I know you're going to say something about this. But tomorrow -- tomorrow is the year anniversary where my deputy sheriff was gunned down with an assault rifle.

So you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to arm every one of my deputy sheriffs with automatic and semiautomatic weapons. They're going to defend themselves against anybody, anybody that tries to kill my deputies, whether it's with a gun, a knife, or a bomb.

MORGAN: OK. Sheriff, that's entirely your prerogative. As you say, until the laws change, you are perfectly entitled to arm everybody you like in your jurisdiction with an AR-15. And if that's your decision, you think that's the answer to America's gun problem, that is entirely a matter for you. Thank you for joining me.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

MORGAN: Now some breaking news. The White House has just responded to the petition to deport me for my stand on guns. From Press Secretary Jay Carney, he says, I quote, "the White House responds to all petitions that cross the threshold, which is 25,000, and we will respond to this one. In the meantime, it's worth remembering that freedom of expression is a bedrock principle in our democracy."

MORGAN: There we have it, not deported just yet. When we come back, America's leading political family, the Kennedys, know all to well the deadly toll of gun violence. Patrick Kennedy and Christopher Kennedy Lawford are here to talk about that and how this country deals with mental illness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXEC. VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: We have a completely cracked mentally ill system that's got these monsters walking the streets. And we've got to deal with the underlying causes and connections if we're ever going to get to the truth of this country and stop this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The NRA's Wayne LaPierre talking about mental health and guns. Joining me now, two men who have a lot to say on both of these issues, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Christopher Kennedy Lawford, author of "Recovery to Live, a Conversation with 100 of the World's Top Treatment Experts." Welcome to you both.

Two Kennedys, I mean, I can't think of two better people to ask about this debate, and your reaction I guess initially to the interview I had with Alex Jones. What did you feel?

CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY LAWFORD, AUTHOR, ACTOR, ACTIVIST: It was disheartening, I think, you know, I think just to see the anger there. Also, he kept talking about the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment -- Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Second Amendment, said that it should be revisited every 20 years to see if it is still appropriate.

I mean, this is something that was written a long time ago. And he probably doesn't know what the real intent of the Second Amendment was. So for him to quote this and just the absolute vitriol that is there is really disheartening.

PATRICK KENNEDY, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I was just disturbed, disturbed as a human being that this is what our civil discourse has come to. What makes our country so great is that we're about passing power peacefully and not violently. In my last year as a member of Congress, I would say perhaps half of the members of Congress had to live wearing bullet proof vests and had armed guards.

MORGAN: Really?

KENNEDY: During the aftermath of Obamacare, when there were -- the president was being held in effigy and these kinds of threatening comments of people like the man you just had on were blocking members of Congress from being able to go and vote, you may recall, of that. And people like John Lewis were being called epithets, racial epithets. And this wasn't just isolated.

This was happening both in our nation's capital and around the country. We've had a devolving of this civil discourse in our country, whether it is guns or it's this issue of mental health or anything that is a hot button issue, where we can't talk to one another. And that I think is the more disruptive, disturbing thing. I felt threatened when he was threatening you. The fact that we're not thinking about one another in those ways -- he was assaulting your human dignity.

MORGAN: I mean, personally I never felt threatened by him. What I felt was it was one of those things where you want to let him talk, because getting inside the mind of a man who has -- you know, he has millions of people that listen to him every week and believe what he says. There is a sort of leading commentator in American society actually saying the American government, under President Bush, ordered 9/11. I mean, this is the stuff of madness.

LAWFORD: It is scary. I think the underlying thing is when you are talking about guns with being able to be purchased by people who have underlying mental illness -- and I have written this book that is about addiction. And 50 to 70 percent of the people that present with addictive disease or mental illness have the other. So we're talking about some really -- some ill folks who are able to get weapons of mass destruction really.

MORGAN: And that's what these weapons are. This is what I find so disturbing about the debate. People like Alex Jones, the NRA and others, they shout so loudly and so regularly, they cloud the debate and frame it in the way they would like it to be. They're trying to grab our guns, Second Amendment, all of this kind of stuff.

I don't want to change the Second Amendment. I don't want to change an American's right to bear an arm in their home to defend people. I want to get rid of these killing machine assault weapons off the street. Get rid of them.

KENNEDY: When you had Sheriff Arpaio say guns don't kill people, people kill people -- yes, try killing that many people in such a short amount of time with a hammer or a knife. That just shows how --

MORGAN: We know in the same week as Sandy Hook, a mad man in China attacked a school and he stabbed 22 of the children. They all lived. That's all you need to know. Had he had a gun, they would all be dead. Of course guns kill. That is their only purpose.

LAWFORD: I also think Patrick and I are -- we come from a family where gun violence definitely affected us.

MORGAN: Of course.

LAWFORD: And it affected the people immediately, but it affects a family for generations. People that have been gunned down in these places like Aurora and Sandy Hook, those people will be affected for generations. And to see the lack of compassion by folks who are demanding their right to be able to have these guns for those that are suffering is -- is disconcerting.

MORGAN: Are you surprised that following the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and of Bobby Kennedy that we are in a position in America now where these kind of lawless mass shootings are happening with regularity and no one is doing much about it? KENNEDY: Well, as I said, I think that the lack of discourse -- so that that is really what's offensive in our country, where we should be able to debate our problems without impugning the integrity of the people who have positions. And I think we need to have a for fundamental discussion because our whole Democratic system is falling apart as a country.

We cannot understand and bridge the divide between us. And that leaves us to fight each other and look at it in an antagonizing way of each other as enemies. I think that's a fundamental problem. I think this gun issue is sparking this. But you can see all around, our democracy is in peril right now. And it is that kind of fear, vitriol, paranoia that's substituting for debate.

MORGAN: And it has very real consequences, because what happens, as we saw in December, is that America then has a surge in sales of these assault weapons and ammunition. I could talk to you guys all night about this. I've got to go, unfortunately.

It is a terrific book, "Recover to Live, Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction." Christopher Kennedy Lawford, great to see you. Best of luck to --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Great to see you again.

KENNEDY: God bless.

MORGAN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: For those who may not have heard earlier, I want to go back to our own breaking news tonight. The White House has responded to the petition to deport me for my stand on guns. Press Secretary Jay Carney says "the White House responds to all petitions that cross the threshold, and we will respond to this one. In the meantime, it is worth remembering that freedom of expression is a bedrock principle in our democracy."

So I guess my future here is in the hands of President Obama. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts right now.