Return to Transcripts main page
Piers Morgan Live
Mayor Bloomberg Speaks on Guns; The Right to Bear Arms; Acts of Heroism
Aired July 23, 2012 - 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve people versus James Holmes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The man who's accused of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got seven down in Theater 9. Seven down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A suspect is going to be male, unknown race. Black camo type outfit. Believed to be wearing a vest, gas mask and multiple long guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What was James Holmes thinking? Is he sane? What happens now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What's the appropriate punishment for this guy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll talk to some of his victims who barely escaped the rampage and the heroes who risked their lives to save others.
Plus, the big city mayor who says now is the time to hold President Obama and Mitt Romney accountable on gun control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: They have an obligation to tell the public, before the public goes to the voting booth what they will do. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A primetime exclusive with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening, our big story tonight, face-to-face with an accused killer. This is the public's first look of the man who's accused of the largest mass shooting in the history of the country. James Holmes, his hair dyed red and orange, looking dazed and unshaven and handcuffed behind -- beside one of the public defenders assigned to his case. He didn't speak. He didn't look at any of the family members at the Colorado courtroom. They never took their eyes off him.
More family members watched in an overflow courtroom on closed circuit television. You look at these pictures, want to remind you of exactly what this young man is accused of doing. Striding into the darkness of a movie theater, jammed packed with people, waiting for a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Witnesses say he was armed to the teeth.
They say he threw a gas can to the unsuspecting crowd and began shooting. When it was over 12 people, the youngest is 6 years old, were dead, 58 people injured, 17 still in hospitals. And the nation is left with the question, how could this happen? And is there any way to make sure it doesn't happen again?
Joining me now for more on our big story is a man who says President Obama and Mitt Romney have obligations to take a stand on gun control. New York City mayor , Mayor Bloomberg.
Thank you for joining me. You've been very vocal since this appalling incident happened last Friday. Why is it that both the president and the man who wants to be president are saying nothing about guns?
BLOOMBERG: Well, the first thing is, do they have an obligation to say something about guns. And since 48,000 people will be murdered with guns in the four years, the next four-year presidential term, I would argue it's a substantial problem and that they have an obligation to tell the public before the public goes to the voting booth what they will do. Specifically, not generally, but specifically.
This is a problem we've had for many years. And so they must have thought about it. They have staffs that have thought about it. And they should be answering the question. Then the question is, why do they not answer the question? And I think there is a perception in the political world that the NRA has more power than the American people. I do not happen to believe that.
MORGAN: Every time one of these things happens -- Gabrielle Giffords last year, this shooting here -- there's an outrage and then very quickly it dissipates. The American people quite quickly go back to their normal lives and they don't demand action in a way that I would expect them to.
Why do so many Americans not feel angry enough to demand further gun control?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I would take it one step further. I don't understand why the police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say, we're going to go on strike. We're not going to protect you. Unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe.
After all, police officers want to go home to their families. And we're doing everything we can to make their job more difficult but, more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them, and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets.
The only reason to have an armor-piercing bullet is to go through a bullet-resistant vest. The only people that wear bullet-resistant vest are our police officers. And that's true across this whole country. So we should -- at some point we have to understand this as our children or our grandchildren or us. But for the police officers, it's much more immediate. Because when you or I hear shots, we run away. They run towards it.
MORGAN: This shooter was able to buy four weapons. Including an assault weapon. He then on the Internet got 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Including a magazine drum which had the ability to fire 100 bullets in one minute. And he used that on these innocent people in this movie theater. That gun, that weapon, would have been outlawed under the federal law as it stood until that was allow to elapse.
Is your target right now that these politicians to try and get them to specifically outlaw that kind of weapon first? Is that a natural place to start with this debate?
BLOOMBERG: Well, it has been a tradition of and it's enshrined in our Constitution, the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has held that that right, while it's a constitutional right that you and I have, it -- the government also has the right to have reasonable restrictions. An assault weapon ban would be considered I think by the Supreme Court a reasonable restriction.
Not selling guns to minors or to people with criminal records or a psychiatric problems or drug addiction problems would be reasonable restrictions. So you start out with that. That we can have guns but not every kind of gun. I think the first question you might want to ask, if you could get the two presidential candidates sitting here across from you, why Governor Romney, did you sign a bill outlawing the sale of assault weapons when you were governor of Massachusetts, but today don't believe it's the right thing? What changed your mind?
Why, President Obama, when you campaigned three years ago, you campaigned on a promise to try to enact legislation that would ban assault rifles, assault weapons? Again, what changed your mind? Why did you not, during the last three years, do anything?
And I think it's incumbent on them to explain what changed their mind.
MORGAN: I mean it's baffling. I mean we've got a -- we've got a clip of Mitt Romney talking about this very issue. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won't chip away at them. I believe they help protect us and provide for our safety.
We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. President Obama has not. I will. We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters and sportsmen, and those who seek to protect their homes and their families. President Obama has not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: But a real sea change in his attitude there. Not the first time.
BLOOMBERG: Well, the second thing he said. I think everybody wants to preserve the right of people that want to use guns for sport, hunting or target practice, to have the right to do so. But that doesn't mean that you have an assault weapon. That doesn't mean you have a rifle that's advertised as able to bring down a commercial airliner at a mile and a half, or bullets that are designed to go through bullet-resistant vests.
Those are very different things. I cannot explain why the governor's changed his mind, or, in all fairness, why the president has not during his term in office, his first term in office, done what he had promised --
MORGAN: And I thought the president -- when he went down to Colorado, I thought he made a very evocative speech. And I thought he did all the right things. But what he didn't do was say anything about how he would personally try and ensure this couldn't be repeated. Because the reality of what happened is there could be another guy like this --
BLOOMBERG: Well --
MORGAN: Like this shooter out there right now legally buying exactly the same assault rifle.
BLOOMBERG: Or --
MORGAN: Exactly the same magazine drum with these -- BLOOMBERG: Absolutely.
MORGAN: And that's to me the incomprehensible thing.
BLOOMBERG: There are ways to get guns legally and then use them to murder people. Most murders, however, are committed with people who don't have a right to have a gun. They obtain them without a background check. They would never have passed a background check. And so I can't give you a solution to all the problems, every bad person. Whether they're bad people, have psychiatric problems. Whether they get their guns legally or illegally.
What I can tell you is how we can go and keep most of those guns out of the hands of most of the people that commit most of the murders.
MORGAN: It's interesting, the argument I find really unsustainable is, look, this guy would have done it anyway. He'd have found a way to do this. Well, you know what, terrorists will always try to find and a way to do terror.
BLOOMBERG: So what are we going to do, stop trying to fight terrorists?
MORGAN: Exactly. You don't -- you don't tackle them? Of course you do. And the interesting thing to me about America and guns, because I'm not American. You know, I'm a resident here --
BLOOMBERG: Can you imagine if there was a disease that we caught all of a sudden, some epidemiologist found a plague that was going to kill 48,000 people in this country in the next four years? I suspect that would be number one story. I suspect that would be a lot of yelling and screaming and demanding, and everybody would want to vote moneys and personnel to try to stop it. This is exactly the same thing. Except we're not doing it.
MORGAN: Look at the fact that it is believed on both sides, the NRA and the anti-gun lobby, there are nearly as many guns in America now as there are people.
BLOOMBERG: That's correct. And it's the only developed country in the world with remotely has those kinds of numbers. Guns just aren't a factor most place else, most other places. I think comes from the history of the country, of the -- citizen farmer who took up a rifle against the British.
MORGAN: Hold that thought, Mr. Mayor, because I want to get right into that when we come back after the break. Exactly whether you agree with the interpretation of the Constitution and the Second Amendment. Whether it's being applied properly today.
MORGAN: Back now. More on our big story is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Constitution is what everybody turns to on this issue. More than almost anything else in America. The right to bear arms. It seems to me it's the most significant and expensive and potentially dangerous comma in the history of literature.
Does the right to bear arms allude to a militia or does it allude to an individual? What is your personal interpretation?
BLOOMBERG: Well, my --
MORGAN: What do you think the founding fathers intended?
BLOOMBERG: I wasn't there but we have a mechanism under our Constitution that the founding fathers put in to answer exactly that question. It's called the Supreme Court. The judicial system up to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court has ruled that you have a right to bear arms but reasonable restrictions can be applied in terms of the kind of arms, the number of arms, who can buy them. And that sort of thing.
And that's what really matters. It doesn't matter what you think or I think. It matters what the Supreme Court thinks and what the legislature does. And you come back to the history of the country. We started out with our muskets. And today here we are where some people think everybody should be armed. There was a congressman that I heard quoted. I didn't hear him directly. But he was quoted as saying, if we had armed everybody in that theater, then somebody would have pulled a gun and shot the young kid who killed 12 people and injured 50-odd.
I don't know that you would want to or have your kids in that theater when everybody starts shooting.
MORGAN: And also --
BLOOMBERG: Who know also who is the one that's going to get shot? Pretty soon it's a big --
MORGAN: Another --
BLOOMBERG: It's a circular firing squad.
MORGAN: Also, what people who say that need to understand is how this shooter had protected himself. He had bought -- I think mostly on the Internet -- a whole load of body armor gear, which meant even if somebody had shot him, he wouldn't have been killed. He would have carried on. Probably even more frenzied than they had been before.
There's a basic -- misunderstanding I think of exactly what he had been able to purchase. I mean for example --
MORGAN: If I wanted to buy an assault weapon and a load of ammunition on the Internet, for example, and I lived in New York, even with the laws that you have, and they're more stringent than many places in America, if you got anywhere stopping me?
BLOOMBERG: You can't stop everything but you can stop most of it. This -- the federal government passed laws restricting the ability to buy certain kinds of weapons, assault weapons, law expired or wasn't renewed. That you can't sell -- that people with -- that minors can't buy. And drug addicts and psychiatric problems and criminals can't buy it. The trouble is is then the federal in the usual wink-wink of passing a law to satisfy one group but telling the other group don't worry about it, we'll make sure it doesn't get enforced, they didn't fund any of the enforcement and there's no database that you have to check against, or at least not a complete database.
What we've got to do is say, look, we just cannot continue this kind of carnage. Now, some day, there will be a shooting, which you would think would trigger in the American psyche this "I'm not going to take it anymore" attitude. Maybe if you --
MORGAN: I thought it would be this.
BLOOMBERG: Wait a second. Maybe if you shot a president. But Ronald Reagan when he got shot didn't trigger it. Maybe if you shot a congresswoman. No. Maybe if you shot a bunch of students on campus. No. Maybe if you shot a bunch of people in a movie theater. I don't know what it is. We obviously haven't gotten there yet. But we just -- this cannot continue.
MORGAN: I've read --
BLOOMBERG: And these people that want to have more guns really are not just -- they don't understand what they're asking about. You are 22 times as likely to shoot a family member than somebody trying to break into your house if you have a gun.
MORGAN: A statistics now, I read a piece by William Bratton in "The Wall Street Journal" over the weekend. And he said it started this in many cities. Where you have effective enforcement against people carrying illegal weapons on the streets, guns in particular, you will see gun crime come down.
MORGAN: And it's just an undeniable, inarguable fact.
BLOOMBERG: Yes. Get guns out of there and they can't use the guns.
MORGAN: If the political leaders in this country continue to say nothing about this, gun sales increase at the rate they've been increasing. And we see more and more of these incidents. People will say, Mayor Bloomberg, it's time you ran for the highest office. It's time you took charge of this.
BLOOMBERG: I've got a job, thank you. I've got another 528 days I think it is left in my job. I enjoy it every day. I'm not --
MORGAN: So you'll have a vacancy.
BLOOMBERG: I'm not going to be president of the United States. I'm not going to run for president -- for the presidency. But I am an American. And I care very much about our country. I have children. And I care about them. Presumably they will some day have -- give me grandchildren. And I care about them.
I have a responsibility just like you do. Just like everybody does in this country. To try to address the key issues. You and I can't solve the problem. But we can demand that those elected officials who are -- who want to be in charge have a solution to the problem. It's not always going to work. But I think -- the thing that I find most reprehensible is they're not even willing to say, "We have a problem and I have a solution."
MORGAN: And also, I just think the framing of the debate has to be we fully respect the right to bear arms. We respect the Constitution.
BLOOMBERG: Yes, sure.
MORGAN: We respect the right of every American, as I do, to defend themselves in their homes. That's not what this is about. This is about stopping what happened in that movie theater happening again.
BLOOMBERG: You see -- you see across this country mayors in every city have to address the guns on the street issue. Some more effectively than others. But mayors are about solutions. They aren't about talking. The public holds mayors accountable. If the trash isn't picked up. If the kids don't get an education. If the -- if the streets are dangerous. You hold the mayor accountable.
And so they've come up with a variety of solutions. And it would be laughable to say to a mayor, well, what are you going to do, and him saying, well, I've just -- I really feel your pain. That's not what they would say. They'd never get away with that. Unfortunately, we don't hold other levels of government to that standard. This is not a theoretical thing. These are human lives. We have children sitting on the steps of their house and a bullet whizzes by --
MORGAN: There was a 4-year-old I read -- I read in the Bronx killed --
BLOOMBERG: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: At the weekend. Shot in the head.
BLOOMBERG: People say the time is not now to address this, we have to grieve. Well, it's been 18 months since Gabby Giffords. It's been five years since Virginia Tech. It's been dozen years since Columbine. What's the right time frame? Now's maybe exactly the time to do it. And I think the president very eloquently expressed the country's grief and that is his job. And he did it very well. And people appreciate him -- appreciated him. I'm sure, him coming and trying to offer comfort.
But that's only half the job. The president, no matter who the next president is, also has to have a solution to this problem. It is prevention of the next disaster that we have to focus on. There's nothing we can do about what happened in the past.
MORGAN: Mayor Bloomberg, thank you very much.
BLOOMBERG: You're welcome.
MORGAN: Coming up, the right to bear arms. A great debate on what it means in America today. I'll ask experts on both sides of the question.
MORGAN: How should America respond to this tragedy? And how should the country deal with gun violence and the right to bear arms?
Joining me now is noted defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and John Lott, Jr., the former chief economist of the United States Sentencing Commission. He's also the author of "More Guns, Less Crime."
John Lott, let me start with you. You heard what Mayor Bloomberg had to say. Very strong about this issue. You clearly don't agree with him. Why?
JOHN LOTT, JR., AUTHOR, "MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME": Well, my own thing is if you look at where these attacks have occurred, there's one common factor. And that is, they keep on occurring time after time where guns were banned. People weren't allowed to go and take their permit concealed handguns or other guns into the movie theater. There are signs there. Criminal penalties if you were to go and do that.
I understand the desire to try to create these type of gun-free zones. But the problem that you face is who obeys these laws? Colorado about -- over 4 percent of the adult population has concealed handgun permits. None of those law-abiding citizens broke the law and took their guns into the theater. The person who broke the law and took his guns into the theater was the one who wanted to go and commit this carnage.
MORGAN: Right, so --
LOTT: And so --
MORGAN: But let me stop you there. What do you say to the families of those who lost people --
MORGAN: -- in this terrible atrocity? That a 24-year-old young man, clearly very disturbed, no history of mental illness, and no history of any criminality, is able to buy four weapons, including an assault rifle, a magazine drum that could fire 100 bullets a minute. He also dresses himself in ballistic helmets, gas masks, tactical vest, ballistic leggings, metal shin guards, armored boots.
Who's to stop this happening again tomorrow? Who's going to do that? If it's not going to be you or the politicians, how do you make these families feel any better about other families not having to go through this? That's what I don't get. Who stops this happening?
LOTT: Well, that's the reason I brought up the point that I did before. Let me give you a simple example, and that is, let's say you had a violent criminal, God forbid, stalking you and threatening you. You know, and threatening -- or threatening others that you love. Would you put a sign in front of your home that said this home was a gun free zone? Would that make you feel safer --
MORGAN: Your answer, your book is called "More Guns, Less Crime."
MORGAN: But presumably you would accept if there were no guns at all in America there would be no gun crime, right?
LOTT: There'd be no gun crime but there'll be other types of crime. Right.
MORGAN: Right, but there'd be no gun crime.
LOTT: By definition, if there are no guns.
MORGAN: Do you accept that America has the worst incidents of gun murders of any of what they call the civilized world?
LOTT: No, I don't think that's true. Look, guns --
MORGAN: They are not true?
LOTT: No, I mean, factually, it's not true. Look --
MORGAN: But it is, isn't it?
LOTT: No, it's not.
MORGAN: In England in 2011 -- well, let me just tell you. In England, for example.
MORGAN: There were 39 resulted in fatal injury from the firearm offenses. In America, 8,775.
LOTT: Right. It's very low --
MORGAN: How do you say you don't have a particular problem here?
LOTT: No, look, the murder rate right now -- or in the U.K. is low compared to the United States. It was even lower relative to the United States before we had any gun control laws. You go back to 1900 in England. Look at London.
MORGAN: I don't want to go back to 1900.
LOTT: No, I'm giving you an example.
MORGAN: No, but it's a ridiculous example.
LOTT: It's not.
MORGAN: It is.
LOTT: Because after they pay us the gun control laws --
MORGAN: It is a ridiculous -- example.
MORGAN: -- the murder rates went up.
MORGAN: It's a ridiculous example.
LOTT: Look, let me just finish.
MORGAN: How many murders there in 1900?
LOTT: Two murders in London --
MORGAN: Right, so in the last --
LOTT: With a gun.
MORGAN: -- 112 years we've moved from two to 39.
LOTT: No, but the point was --
MORGAN: America --
LOTT: -- it was incredibly low before you had any gun control.
MORGAN: America has 8,775 on average murders a year from guns.
LOTT: Right, OK --
MORGAN: At what point does your premise, more guns, less crime, look ridiculous?
LOTT: Look. Guns make it easier for bad things to happen. But they also make it easier for people to project themselves and prevent bad things from happening. You look across the country. There are lots of things that affect crime rates. I don't -- you probably don't know the distribution of murders in the United States.
MORGAN: I know you count more than most countries in the world. Let's turn to Alan Dershowitz -- LOTT: There's 75 --
MORGAN: Wait a second. Alan Dershowitz, am I --
LOTT: I thought you asked me a question.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, am I going crackers here? I mean there are nearly 300 million guns in circulation in America. Nearly 9,000 murders from those guns a year. Mayor Bloomberg, mayor of one of the great cities of America, says it's completely out of control. And that we've got to do something. No politician wants to have the debate. Mr. Lott insists we need more guns because there'll be less crime.
You have been a great criminal attorney for a long period of time. What is your view?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, we just heard the worst kind of junk science that's being pushed by the most extreme lobby group in the United States, the National Rifle Association, which if it had its way, there would be no restrictions at all. People could literally own nuclear weapons if they had their way.
And this is the worst kind of junk science. It just makes no sense at all. Use just a little bit of common sense. Obviously, if you look at countries all over the world, from Japan to Great Britain to India, you see a direct correlation between the ease of obtaining guns and the ease of using the guns to kill other people. It doesn't take a lot of intelligence or social science to understand this.
This is the worst junk science. If he ever tried to introduce this in a court of law, he would not only be laughed out of court; he'd be held in contempt and probably cited for obstruction of justice. There is no truth to anything he's saying, zero.
LOTT: I have to directly respond, please.
MORGAN: Wait a minute. Let me ask you this question. Why would a member of the American public, a non-military regular civilian, need to have a Smith & Wesson MMP-15, a civilian version of the U.S. military's M-16? When it's strapped to the shooter's back, it could hold 100 rounds. He just bought it from a store.
Why would anyone need to have an assault rifle that could shoot 100 in one minute? Tell me why. Why should that be legal? Why did that federal law allow -- again, why should we allow that?
LOTT: Are you going to filibuster? I'm happy to answer your question. I would like to respond --
MORGAN: Just answer that one point first. Then turn to Alan Dershowitz. Why does any civilian in America need to buy that weapon with a drum which contains 100 bullets?
LOTT: OK, you want me to answer?
LOTT: OK. Do you understand what the difference between a semi- automatic and automatic weapon is?
MORGAN: Answer my question.
LOTT: This is key.
MORGAN: Why does anybody need to have a gun that can fire that number of bullets?
LOTT: Sir, please, let me finish.
MORGAN: Tell me.
LOTT: OK. You said a civilian version of the gun. OK. Basically what that means is it's the same as any other hunting rifle or any other rifle in terms of inside guts. One trigger, one bullet goes out. It's not the same weapon that militaries would go and use.
MORGAN: How did he fire off so many rounds then?
LOTT: Because he pulled the trigger many times. Now, here's the deal. Any semi --
MORGAN: You're quite happy --
LOTT: Can I say something?
LOTT: You just ask me to say one thing and you won't let me finish.
MORGAN: You are quite happy for other people to go into stores and buy the same weapon with the same magazine drum that can fire off up to 100 rounds a minute?
LOTT: Can I --
MORGAN: Are you happy that you could just let that continued ad infinitum in America without any atrocities? Most decent Americans say to me, I want the right to have a gun. I want the right to bear arms, to defend myself. But I don't want anybody to have the right to have these high velocity weapons that can fire 100 bullets a minute. Why would anybody need that?
LOTT: Are you done?
MORGAN: I'm done.
LOTT: OK. Look, you have to understand, semiautomatic guns are what the vast majority of guns are in the United States. Once you can put a clip in, you can put a clip in of any length. Clips are very easy to make. One thing you should do, since we're talking about science earlier, look at the academic research on this. You cannot find one criminologist who's published in an academic journal --
LOTT: Let me finish.
MORGAN: Apparently again I am laboring under a misapprehension.
LOTT: I still haven't been able to respond.
MORGAN: You're not giving me a sensible answer.
LOTT: What I'm saying is you cannot find one academic criminologist or economist whose found that the Assault Weapons Ban, either when it was put or removed --
MORGAN: Well, I'm not an expert, but a 24-year-old kid has gone in, bought four weapons, including an assault rifle. He's bought a magazine drum which has the capacity for 100 bullets a minute. He's armed himself to the teeth with defensive gear, which will stop anybody who has got a gun in there trying to kill him anyway. He's then slaughtered a load of Americans.
He slaughtered them in a movie theater. And your answer is, it doesn't matter; that's what these weapons do; we should carry on, allowing people to do this, to buy this stuff.
LOTT: No, what I was trying to say was that you have to understand. This is the same as any other semiautomatic weapon. If you want to ban this, you are going to ban all --
MORGAN: I want to ban all assault rifles.
DERSHOWITZ: We should, in fact -- we should, in fact, ban all semiautomatic weapons. We should ban virtually every weapon except those that are absolutely essential for home self-defense and for hunting. And even that's questionable under the Constitution. Remember the constitution Talks about the right to bear arms.
LOTT: You're talking about 86% of arm also in the United States.
DERSHOWITZ: That's right. I would like to get it a little higher, maybe about 90 or 95 percent of guns in the United States. If I could ban 100 percent of guns without violating the Constitution, I would do that as well. Remember, too the other myth of the NRA is that guns have something to do with protecting liberty.
But every other liberty loving nation in the world has a prohibition on gun ownership. Not a single other country in the world has a Constitutional right to bear arms.
LOTT: Israel's not a liberty loving country?
DERSHOWITZ: No, Israel has very strict arms control --
LOTT: Israel has 15 percent of its adult population that can carry handguns in public.
DERSHOWITZ: Fifteen percent is much lower than the United States.
LOTT: No, it's not.
DERSHOWITZ: Remember what the Constitution says. The Constitution says a well-regulated militia --
DERSHOWITZ: No, it's much lower than the United States. Israel, in fact, there's been an increasing problem of some of the guns getting out of control and causing problems.
MORGAN: Israel has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.
DERSHOWITZ: -- countries that are much more comparable to the United States. Highly industrialized, larger countries, which have much lower crime rates. And that has nothing to do with liberty. My conception of liberty is not people taking arms and shooting presidents and shooting congressman. That's a kind of totalitarian approach, a Stalinist approach to liberty.
So there's no evidence that I'm aware of that guns protect liberty. There's no evidence that I'm aware of that guns reduce crime. And there's massive evidence that the easy availability of guns has a direct correlation, and I believe, causation with high murder rates in the United States.
Also suicide rates, high rates of accident, the likelihood that somebody in the family will be killed if there's a gun in the house is much higher than the likelihood that that person will use the gun to protect his family.
LOTT: You're not a statistician. You don't know what you're talking.
DERSHOWITZ: Psychological reasons, Americans like to hold guns in their hands -- you haven't given me a chance to finish my point. You've had all the time to respond. This is junk science at its worst. Paid for and financed by the National Rifle Association.
LOTT: Take that back. The NRA hasn't paid for my research. That's simply ridiculous.
(CROSS TALK) LOTT: you said my research.
DERSHOWITZ: I said the research.
DERSHOWITZ: Your conclusions are paid for and financed --
LOTT: That's -- my conclusions aren't paid for by anybody. Look, you --
MORGAN: The National Rifle Association --
MORGAN: Alan, let me -- let me give --
DERSHOWITZ: -- only funds research that will lead to these conclusions. That's a fact.
MORGAN: Alan, let me give John Lott the last word here.
MORGAN: Because you have a book in front of you.
LOTT: Right, from the University of Chicago press which he --
MORGAN: -- headlined "More Guns, Less Crime." Explain to the victims of what happened in Aurora, Colorado, why that premise is true.
LOTT: Because police can't be there be all the time to protect you. It would be great if they were. My research finds police are the single most important factor for protecting people. The problem is, even the police understand themselves, they virtually always, as in this case, arrive at the crime committed after the crime has already been committed. Same in Europe. Europe has a lot of multiple victim public shootings that are going on there. Just look at the Norway case from last year or Germany or other countries that are there. The U.K. --
MORGAN: Germany has an average about 180, 190 --
LOTT: Multiple victim public shootings.
MORGAN: The multiple occasions we're talking about are the rarity --
LOTT: That's the reason we're here right now.
MORGAN: They're the rarity in any country. My point is this --
MORGAN: My point is this, what lessons do you learn from these multiple tragedies? I started the show when Gabby Giffords was shot.
MORGAN: And I assumed that a congresswoman being blasted in the head would lead to some new form of gun laws. I was wrong. I'm assuming now that in America there is a wake-up call, that when a young man is able to arm himself to the teeth, perfectly legally, and walk into a movie theater and start slaughtering fellow Americans, something is fundamentally wrong with gun laws.
LOTT: -- show where you talk most of the time?
MORGAN: Only when the guest is talking complete nonsense.
LOTT: I see. Just respond to the junk science point. Not only is my work published by academic presses and peer review journals, but if you look through the research, you'll find about 70 percent of the articles that deal with what I deal with have found similar effects to what I have. About 30 percent claim that there's no net effect.
There's only one refereed journal that finds for one type of crime a temporary slight increase in assaults, and that disappears after a few years.
DERSHOWITZ: That says more about the inadequacy of academic research in this area that it does, if anything else. You need to use a little common sense.
LOTT: A lot of very liberal guys in academia who has been doing research.
MORGAN: We have to leave it there. Look, it is a spirited debate. I don't want to treat you unfairly, Mr. Lott. There are lots of Americans that I'm sure agree with you. I don't agree with you. I'm not an American, an American resident.
LOTT: -- very few points.
MORGAN: The point I'm making really is this has to stop. You can't just let kids of 24 go and buy all this gear in stores --
LOTT: You're going to kill more people with your policies. Don't you --
MORGAN: Really? Really?
DERSHOWITZ: We've tried your way for too long.
LOTT: When you ban guns from areas, the only people that are going to have them to shoot are going to be the bad guys. The point is, by allowing people to defend themselves when the police can't be there, you're going to stop these crimes from occurring to begin with.
MORGAN: Well, we'll have to agree to disagree.
DERSHOWITZ: Your approach has been tried for years. (CROSS TALK)
MORGAN: We have very strong gun laws. Guess what, we had 39 people killed by guns in a year that America --
MORGAN: In the year America had 8.775. Mr. Lott, Alan Dershowitz, thank you both very much.
When we come back, how one hero put himself in harm's way to protect his son and his son's girlfriend.
MORGAN: There were heroes in that darkened movie theater, people who risked their own lives to save their friends and family. Their stories are extraordinary. Heidi Sudani daughter Faris (ph) survived because her boyfriend's father put himself between her and the killer. Mike White Sr. is that man. And he joins me now along with Heidi Sudani.
Welcome to you both. I've been hearing lots of stories this week of extraordinary heroism. Heidi, let me start with you. How is Faris, your daughter?
HEIDI SUDANI, DAUGHTER SURVIVED THEATER SHOOTING: She's doing OK. The doctors are very pleased with her progress so far. She's still in very serious condition. But everything looks like it's going the right direction.
MORGAN: Mike, you were in the movie theater watching a film when all hell broke loose. You had your son, Mike Jr., with you, who was also hit but has come out of hospital. Just briefly tell me what the experience was like for you when this killer started?
MIKE WHITE SR., SURVIVED THEATER SHOOTING: Well, first, it was amazement that -- I thought it was just part of the movie. And then I guess the -- knowing that all of a sudden there was real bullets and that they could be hit and hurt and killed, it just -- it made it where I guess you just went into automatic mode to help try to save people.
MORGAN: And you did an extraordinary thing. You put yourself in front of Faris, trying to protect her from the killer. Heidi, how did you feel when you heard what had happened in there, about this extraordinary act of heroism, both by Mike Sr. and by his son?
Sudani: Do you know, there are -- I don't know the words to articulate how thankful I am for that bravery. There's just -- there are no words. I am so thankful and so appreciative. And this man is so humble. He doesn't want to take the credit that he deserves. But he most certainly is a hero.
MORGAN: Heidi, how did you feel seeing the scenes from court today? I don't know if you saw them or not. SUDANI: I didn't.
MORGAN: The scenes of the alleged killer, James Holmes, with his bright orange-red hair, looking very sort of spaced out. What do you feel when you see him. People are of two minds, whether to discuss him at all or whether you need to discuss him to analyze him, to work out exactly what has driven him to do this.
SUDANI: You know, at this point, I haven't seen anything of the court hearing. I haven't watched any of it. I saw the picture of him with the red hair, just within the last 30 minutes was the first time I saw that. I just think he looks like a psycho. And I don't care to think about him.
MORGAN: Mike, I mean, you were there, obviously, in the movie theater, when he was carrying out this monstrous assault. What were your feelings about the court appearance today?
WHITE: Well, my feelings were -- I was all for hearing the charges that was going to go against him. But when it was delayed for another week, I turned the television off, because I didn't want to go through what I thought that was just going to be nothing but just formal things they was going through. And the part that I wanted to see what was they was going to do to this gentleman who walked -- I'm not even going to call him a gentleman. Who walked into a theater and decided to take lives of people he didn't even know, he didn't even have a grudge against.
So I actually turned off the television when they decided they were going to postpone it for a week, the charges against him.
MORGAN: Yes. Well, perfectly understandable reaction. Mike, I want to congratulate you for your heroism on that night.
WHITE: Thank you.
MORGAN: Almost certainly probably saved Faris' life. I wish her all the very best with her recovery. Heidi, please send us all our very best wishes to her for that, and also to Mike Jr., who clearly was a little hero as well. So thank you all for coming on the show.
WHITE: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, inside the mind of James Holmes. What one expert thinks of his appearance in court this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HOLMES, ALLEGED COLORADO SHOOTER: Hello, I'm James. I've been working with a temporal illusion. It's an illusion that allows you to change the past.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His goals are to become a researcher and to make scientific discoveries. It's a good start. HOLMES: Gamers might feel like they have a superpower. And it might let them have more fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A video obtained by ABC News of James Holmes at a summer science camp six years ago. Xavier Amador is a psychologist and expert on schizophrenia. He joins me now along with security expert Brad Thor, author of "Blackness."
Welcome to you both. Xavier, talk me through the psychology of -- or what you think the psychology is of this killer. Because that clip we just saw, perfectly normal clip of a young student. In court today, he showed signs of being pretty disturbed. He could be putting this on, trying to avoid a potential death penalty sentence.
What was your expert view watching him today.
XAVIER AMADOR, PSYCHOLOGIST: If he was trying to put us on that he's mentally ill, there's a lot of things he could have done. There's a lot of notes he could have written. There's things he could have shouted while he was shooting. That's not what's jumping out at me.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. Here's a guy who was functioning well, going to college, going to a PH.D. program, withdrew. Common onset age for people with schizophrenia and illnesses like that, 24.
When I first heard about this shooting, my first thought was I bet he's between the ages of 18 and 25.
MORGAN: Would somebody of that age, if they are genuinely schizophrenic -- would they be in control of what they're doing?
AMADOR: Sometimes yes, sometimes not. Let me say, from this distance, I can't diagnose him with schizophrenia. But where there's smoke, there's fire. There's so many warning signs. This guy does not have -- this young man does not have a history of violence. He doesn't have a history of criminal behavior.
He has a history of excelling and then suddenly withdrawing from life. Now he's got bright orange hair, looking like the Joker, doing something that is so unbelievably out of character. What we're hearing so far is actually an incredibly common story.
I've worked on about 50 death penalty cases.
MORGAN: You also have been to see Jared Loughner, Gabby Giffords attempted assassin.
MORGAN: Right. And you've studied him from psychological profile. Is there anything similar there in the kind of way they go about --
AMADOR: The similarity in those cases and all the others I've worked on, including the Capitol shooter. Most people don't remember Russell Westin who charged the capitol trying to get the Ruby Satellite System back from the CIA, is untreated mental illness.
People with schizophrenia are not more violent than the general population. But, you know, we're talking about gun control. I think it's an incredibly important debate, as a U.S. citizen.
I'm an immigrant, but I'm a U.S. citizen. It's an important debate. But what we're not talking about, what I'm not hearing in the news is the debate about closing hospitals, mental health hospitals.
When we see mental health beds close, we see a rise in homicides committed by people with mental illness. And it's people with untreated mental illness. So I don't want to add to the stigma abut schizophrenia.
I would like to add to the stigma about our under funding of mental health care in America.
MORGAN: It's a good point. Brad, let's turn to this security aspect of this. Is there anything more that can be done to prevent this kind of incident happening again?
BRAD THOR, SECURITY EXPERT: If you want to look at can we make movie theaters safer, you can always harden the security around these places. But every time you do that, you have changed the fabric of American life.
This is a tradeoff. This is a horrible, horrible massacre. This was terrible what happened. You have to ask yourselves, how common is this? Is this going to happen again? Is it something we need to secure theaters or public spaces? Because if we're going to do it in the movie theaters, why don't we do it in the shopping malls.
MORGAN: Do you feel comfortable that this guy could go and buy all this ammunition, all these weapons, all this protective gear, and do so perfectly legally without anyone picking him up?
THOR: He didn't do anything to trigger anything. He had -- for him to buy the weapons, he had have a background check.
MORGAN: The reason I feel animated about this, it's that point which makes me more exercised not less. It's the fact that he's perfectly apparently normal, and he's perfectly --
AMADOR: Appear normal. We don't know if he's normal.
MORGAN: He can't be normal. Whatever he is, there guy is not normal. But it's the fact that he could do this legally, and that someone else could be out there tomorrow, perhaps even more unstable, doing exactly the same thing. THOR: It's a horrible, horrible occurrence. But this guy did not buy a gun off the Internet. He may have purchased a gun, but it had to go to an FFL, to a gun dealer, a gun store by him where he had to go and pass a background check.
At some point, you have to be free in this country, up to the point where you cross that line, or else we have the police coming into everyone's homes 24/7 a day, looking for signs that you may commit a crime.
It's the balance between liberty and security. And it is a difficult balance.
MORGAN: We have to leave it there, chaps. Thank you both very much.
We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow, a rare exclusive with "Bowling for Columbine" director Michael Moore on the tenth anniversary of that movie. We'll take your questions on Twitter live. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.