Return to Transcripts main page
Piers Morgan Live
Remembering Olivia Engel; Gun Control in America; Interview with Carolyn McCarthy, Ron Barber
Aired December 18, 2012 - 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: Tonight, two more funerals, two more impossibly small coffins. Now what will America do to stop the next madman? I'll talk to the congressman who survived the Tucson shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a supporter of the Second Amendment. But I believe it's time for us to move to a different direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And the congresswoman who lost her husband in the Long Island railroad shooting.
Also, I'll go one-on-one with a gun advocate who says that lawmakers who vote for gun control have blood on their hands. Could he be serious?
And why the Second Amendment doesn't say what you think it does.
Plus an entire class gunned down, their teacher, powerless to protect them. What happened 16 years ago in Dunblane, Scotland. My exclusive with a man who lost his daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea that because the problem is guns the answer is guns. It's simply ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We'll go inside the mind of a killer. What Dr. Oz says we should do about mental illness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we need a homeland security approach to mental illness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. Good evening. Final farewells today for two more 6-year-olds, victims of the terrible attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jessica Rekos was a little girl who loved horses and has asked Santa for cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat. James Mattioli loved to sing at the top of his lungs and once asked his family, how old do I have to be to sing on stage?
Sadly, there'll be many more funerals in the days ahead as Newtown buries the 20 children and six adults killed in Friday's tragic rampage.
Meanwhile in Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Obama would support a ban on civilians owning assault weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me is John Engel. His cousin, 6-year-old Olivia Engel, was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
John, thank you so much for coming to New York, to talk to me. Obviously, just a hideous time for you, for your family. How is your family coping with this?
JOHN ENGEL, COUSIN OF OLIVIA ENGEL: Very privately. I mean, thank you for having us. Thank you for putting some attention on Olivia Rose. Having some attention placed on Olivia Rose and her best friends and those families is giving the families tremendous comfort. And they're not watching the news. They're coping by basically staying with their friends and their loved ones at home and focusing on each other.
MORGAN: What kind of girl was Olivia?
ENGEL: She was a warm -- she was outgoing. She would light up a room with her smile. She would seek you out, ask you to play. She was a great, great big sister to her little brother. She wanted to teach him. She wanted to read to him. She was just such -- she was an angel.
MORGAN: Does her little brother, Brady, he's 3 years old, does he have any real concept to what has happened?
ENGEL: No, he keeps asking, where's Via? Where's Via? He's acting like any normal 3-year-old, you know, should. I mean, he's completely innocent, and she was completely innocent, and he has kept that innocence, even if the nation has lost it.
MORGAN: The lost innocence is a very strong factor in this. People just reeling from the horror of 20 children of this age. I've got four children myself. I can't imagine literally anything worse in the world than to discover one had gone to school, you put your trust in the schools, the teachers, and they're all heroic, to lose one, to this maniac, armed to the teeth, is beyond everyone's nightmare.
What does this say about America that this is happening, do you think?
ENGEL: I think that this isn't only about America, I think this is part of the human condition. That, you know, there are troubled people out there, and there have always been troubled people out there. And they -- and we can't explain. We cannot explain. And we seek answers but we cannot get those answers, and so we look to faith. We look to God.
And we say we cannot control this. So we're going to focus on the things that we can control. We're going to focus on, you know, our loving family. They're not focused on Adam. Adam was clearly a troubled man and we can't understand that. And we're not seeking to understand that.
MORGAN: Is it any comfort at all to the family, to Olivia's parents, Brian and Shannon, that the whole world is grieving with them and for them?
ENGEL: Yes, the Facebook page we put up -- they didn't ask for that. But their friends said, there's got to be something we can do for this family. We want to -- we want to communicate with each other ad with them, and we're going to put up this tribute to her. And the letters came in and the messages from around the world. And parents, mothers, and they talked to her about her by name, Olivia Rose.
And though the parents are not watching TV and participating in the debate in this circus, they've seen that and they said this is tremendously supportive for us to know that we are not alone. At least 15 of these families are holed up in their homes very much alone. They're not watching TV. And they're not -- and this outpouring, which is worldwide in scope, is some of the only support they can rely on, so it's really important.
MORGAN: John, you served in the U.S. military, in the First Gulf War. You were a first lieutenant, you told me, on the front line. And I thank you for your service.
You know there's this huge debate about the type of weapon that was used here. As to whether it should be confined to the military. You would have used weapons like this in a war zone. What is your view about this debate?
ENGEL: I have to tell you, I don't consider myself an expert and I didn't think that that's the kind of thing that you want me on the show for. But I'm going to tell you that I was uncomfortable with guns before I joined the military. I slept with an M-16 in my sleeping bag for six months in Iraq. I came away from the war no more comfortable with that weapon, no -- and I have to say that I don't think anybody ever gets comfortable with those weapons. MORGAN: You didn't have any place in civilian hands in America?
ENGEL: I have to say -- I'd have to say no.
MORGAN: John, I really appreciate you coming in. I'm glad you paid your tribute to Olivia Rose. She sounds an extraordinary young girl. I wish her life had not been snuffed out in this terrible way. And I can only extend to you and to her parents and to all the family my very deepest condolences.
ENGEL: And despite what I say about guns and we should perhaps not have these guns available to us, I think the real way to keep this from happening again is if everybody puts down the remote and they go and they hug their child, kiss their child, their 20-year-old child. That 20-year-old child might have come out differently if he had had the warm and loving family that Olivia Rose has.
MORGAN: Well said, John. Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Incredibly, gun sales are surging in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Colorado and Virginia, they set one-day records in background checks over the weekend as thousands of people lined up to buy guns themselves.
My next guest says there's blood on the hands, but of lawmakers who voted to ban guns from schools.
Larry Pratt is the executive director of Gun Owners of America and he said that if more people with guns had been at Sandy Hook Elementary School, most of the victims might still be alive.
Mr. Pratt, you've been aware that your comments have ignited a lot of debate. Can you try and explain to me why you believe the answer to this is to arm teachers?
LARRY PRATT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: Well, the alternative is what we have seen, where people were reduced to waiting to be murdered, without able -- being able to do anything effective to protect themselves or the adults, to protect the children. So it seems so obvious that since we have concealed carry laws in all of our country now, people can get a concealed firearm. And yet, we have laws that say not in schools.
And so in the very places that have been sought out by monsters such as the murderer of these adults and children, we're saying, no, we don't want you to be able to defend yourself. It's better that you just sit there and wait to be killed. And we find that morally incomprehensible. And deeply disturbing, that the desire to defend life has been so cast aside. And to whatever political correctness views guns as the ultimate evil. Evil is in our hearts. Not in the guns.
MORGAN: Why where the teachers put the guns?
PRATT: People can carry firearms in a concealed fashion. Do it all the time. The law provide for that.
MORGAN: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. So in a school full of 600 children, including 5- and 6-year-olds, you would have teachers walking around, armed, carrying the guns on them, where they may possibly fall and allow a 5-year-old to pick it up and possibly misfire it. Is that your solution.
PRATT: People are walking around with guns outside of schools all over our country. And we don't have those kinds of problems. You can always play the "what if" game.
MORGAN: But you have --
PRATT: But even if you were to have --
MORGAN: But, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Pratt, you have -- you have enormous problems in this country. You have over 300 million guns. You have 311 million people, many of which are children, you have more gun per adult in this country. And you have by far the worst rate of gun murder and gun crime of any of the civilized countries of this world. How could you possibly argue --
PRATT: If you will -- let me argue then.
MORGAN: I'm asking you this question.
PRATT: Let me -- let me answer.
MORGAN: How can you argue that the -- the logical -- please stop laughing.
PRATT: Because you're --
MORGAN: Please stop laughing, sir.
PRATT: You're saying what is your argument, and then you won't let me answer the argument.
MORGAN: I'm going to ask you the question but if you could stop laughing.
PRATT: You've already posited the question.
MORGAN: If you could stop --
PRATT: Let me answer your question.
MORGAN: I haven't asked you the question.
PRATT: The reason -- repeat it.
MORGAN: My question is this. If you can stop laughing for a moment. It is this, why do you believe, given that you have 300 million guns in circulation and the worst gun crime rate in any of the civilized countries of the world, that more guns is the answer to less gun murder?
PRATT: Because the problem occurs, sir, in those areas precisely where we have said no guns. The problem doesn't occur where the guns are allowed freely to be carried to be used by people. There we have very low murder rates. We have lower murder rates in other parts of the country than even in Europe. Than even where you come from.
But what has created a problem in the United States is to stay in cities and schools, those are areas where we're not going to allow people to defend themselves.
MORGAN: But what is the murder rate -- what is the murder rate in Great Britain for the last three years? Do you know? From guns?
PRATT: It's under three for 100,000 and in Fairfax County where Gun Owners of America is located --
MORGAN: Just give me a number.
PRATT: The -- it is actually 0.3 per 100,000. About a tenth of what it is in your vaunted English bucolic country, sir. The fact of the matter is, with guns comes safety. If the guns are in the hands of the good guys. And when you say the good guys can't have guns, the bad guys have a monopoly and horrible things such as the shootings at the schools take place.
MORGAN: The AR-15, as we've now seen from the last three mass shootings in America, Aurora, the shopping mall in Oregon, and now at Sandy Hook school, is the preferred choice of weapon for disturbed young men who want to commit mass atrocity, can fire hundreds of bullets at rapid speed, if you have the right magazines.
The president of the United States has indicated he wants to ban assault weapons like this. What is your view?
PRATT: I think we need to ban gun control laws that keep people from being able to protect themselves. The problem is not going to go away if we ban this or that gun. We've tried that. That doesn't work. Doesn't even work in England. You have mass murders there all over Europe. There have been mass murderers.
MORGAN: You're talking complete and utter -- you are talking complete and utter nonsense.
PRATT: The solution is for people to be able to defend themselves at the point of the crime and not wait for 20 minutes for the police come after everybody is dead.
MORGAN: What you've just said, Mr. Pratt, was an absolute lie. The gun murder rate in countries like Britain or Germany or Australia, we've all suffered massacres many years ago, similar nature, have -- there are 35 people killed a year. Your country has 12,000.
PRATT: Your murder rate has -- your murder rate is lower than ours, that is true. Your violent --
MORGAN: Lower? It's 75 against 12,000 in Australia.
PRATT: Your violent crime rate --
MORGAN: They had a massacre. And they got rid of the assault weapons.
PRATT: Your violent crime rate is higher than ours as is the violent crime rate in Australia. America is not the Wild West that you are depicting. We only have the problems in our cities, and unhappily, in our schools where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.
I honestly don't understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It's incomprehensible.
MORGAN: You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?
PRATT: It seems to me that you're morally obtuse. You seem to prefer being a victim to being able to prevail over the criminal element. And I don't know why you want to be the criminal's friend.
MORGAN: What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. You don't -- you don't actually give --
PRATT: You have no --
MORGAN: You don't give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America? You don't actually care. All you care about --
PRATT: It seems to me that facts don't bother you, do they, Mr. Morgan?
MORGAN: -- is the right for any -- Americans -- you would like to see --
PRATT: Facts seem to -- they bounce right off of your head.
MORGAN: No, no, let's deal with some facts.
PRATT: You're speaking oblivious to -- what we do know is that when you go to an area in the United States where guns are freely available, readily able to be carried legally, there you find our lowest murder rates. Lower than the murder rates in Europe. You go to our cities where we have cracked down on guns and people can't defend themselves and that's where the criminals have a field day.
MORGAN: How many -- how many guns did Mrs. Lanza have in her home?
PRATT: I don't know how many she had. And that really is not the point.
MORGAN: Well, let me -- let me enlighten you.
PRATT: The point is somebody was evil and --
MORGAN: She had six guns, including four assault rifles. And what happened was, her deranged son who clearly was very disturbed --
PRATT: Her evil son. Her evil son.
MORGAN: It doesn't matter what you call him.
PRATT: We shouldn't be -- well, I think it matters because if you believe and understand that there is evil in the world, then you don't -- you try as your first line of defense to solve it psychiatrically. You protect yourself with a gun.
MORGAN: So let me -- let me finish my thread then, Mr. Pratt. So you have an evil young man who is living at home, clearly with serious troubles. And his mother has six firearms in that house. Including the weapons that he used to murder 26 people, including 20 children, age 5.
You are quite happy about that situation, are you? And you would be quite happy if there are many more people in his position, in homes around America, where there are that number of firearms, which could be used by mentally unstable people?
PRATT: Americans with firearms in their homes typically have them locked in a safe. As I do. And as most gun owners certainly do. The fact that this woman did not and knew that her son was unstable, reflected poorly on her judgment. And unhappily, she paid very dearly for her poor judgment. But that's not the reason that you should be able to come down on everybody else who's a law abiding gun owner who uses good sense and to say we've got to pay for that person's stupidity, for their shortcomings.
That's just not going to wash. We're not going to let it happen, Mr. Morgan.
MORGAN: I'm sure you're not going to try and let it happen. You see my argument is not about the American's right to defend themselves in their home with a firearm. That's not the argument that I'm trying to put out there. My argument is the same as the argument that Senator Feinstein said, that the president endorses. That I believe many, many Americans now believe, following this tragedy which is that there is absolutely no use and no justification for these AR-15 type assault weapons --
PRATT: Oh, the contrary.
MORGAN: Let me finish.
PRATT: How can you say such a thing?
MORGAN: Let me finish my sentence. PRATT: The Korean merchants in Los Angeles use these kinds of firearms to protect their lives and businesses.
MORGAN: Let me finish my sentence.
PRATT: And for you to say there's no useful purpose for these guns, that's just completely wrong.
MORGAN: OK. Let me finish my sentence. There are these assault weapons, which have been used now in movie theaters, in shopping malls, in elementary schools to murder many, many Americans. And now 20 5-year-old children. And they are armed with magazines, 30 at a time here, a hundred in Aurora, in a movie theater.
And your only answer, Mr. Pratt, to people that want to get rid of both the magazines and these assault weapons, if I'm not mistaken, is to let everybody else have similar weapons? Is that the solution to America's gun murder problems?
PRATT: I would challenge you to go and tell the Korean merchants who survived the riots in Los Angeles, sorry, you had those firearms that saved your lives.
MORGAN: Can you answer my question?
PRATT: I'm answering your question. I wish you could understand it. Because you're talking against self-defense.
MORGAN: Would you like to see -- would you like to see -- would you like to see --
PRATT: You're talking against people being able to protect themselves.
MORGAN: Would you like to see teachers armed --
PRATT: And you don't want to hear it, that's why you keep interrupting me.
MORGAN: No, no, I don't mind hearing it. I think it's complete nonsense. But I mind hearing it. You would like to see --
PRATT: Well, the press tend to do that, don't they?
MORGAN: Stop being so facetious. I just want you to answer this one question. Post what happened at Sandy Hook, your answer to this problem of repeated use of this weapon with these high-capacity magazines is to continue letting Americans buy them with impunity, and to not concern yourself with these mass shootings, is that right?
PRATT: The Second Amendment means what it says, and meanwhile, you want to continue laws against self-defense. Laws that prohibit self-defense. Laws that prohibit teachers and other faculty, other members of the administration in schools from being able to defend themselves if they have a concealed carry permit. The laws prohibit them right now. We have been lobbying against those laws since they were put on. We will continue to do so, pointing out that that is where the problem is.
And for you to support them means that you're really blind to the role that that plays in enabling murders to operate within impunity.
MORGAN: Yes, I know -- I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It's down to idiots like you.
Mr. Pratt, thank you for joining me.
When we come back --
PRATT: Thank you for your high-level argument, Mr. Morgan. It's really good.
MORGAN: You know what, you wouldn't understand the meaning of the phrase high-level argument. You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense. You shame your country.
PRATT: Disarmament is dangerous. (INAUDIBLE) into role model.
MORGAN: Yes. Sure. I know all about role models and you're not one of them.
When we come back, two members of Congress who've experienced gun violence and what they want to do to make sure it never happens to anybody else.
MORGAN: President Obama says he'll support a ban on assault weapons. Will Congress agree?
Joining me now two members of Congress who have very personal connection to the issue. Carolyn McCarthy, her husband was killed in a shooting on the Long Island railroad in 1993. Also Ron Barber, he was wounded in the Tucson shooting, nearly killed Gabrielle Giffords.
Welcome to you both. I'm still kind of shaking following my last interview, as I have been after several interviews now with people who represent gun rights as they see it. It's the glibness of the argument. It's the callousness of the way that they try and justify the continued freedom of people to use these high powered assault rifles. And that's what they are, with these high-capacity magazines.
Carolyn McCarthy, when you hear this and you hear the way that debate is framed, what is your reaction?
REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D), NEW YORK: Well, to be very honest with you, I'm very happy that you had him on, because I think America should see what we're up against and the lies that they take to the American people, and unfortunately, an awful lot of them believe that.
You know, what we're trying to do is save lives. What we're doing after this shooting, and to be very honest with you, you're going to be hearing from my colleague, you know, what happened in Aurora, and what's happened in the last several years. And the shootings get worse and worse and worse. And so that we need to do something.
And I do believe, because the country cannot go through what they just saw these last several days. I believe the country will be on our side. I believe that we'll be able to get something done to make sure that we can protect certainly our children but the American people.
MORGAN: Ron Barber, I came on air on CNN nearly two years ago, just after the incident in which you were wounded and Gabrielle Giffords obviously nearly lost her life and others did lose their lives. And I imagine that following that appalling attack on a congresswoman that there would be such an outcry in America. That there would be new gun control laws then.
But there weren't. I then imagined after the Aurora movie theater massacre, which was the worst single shooting in American history, that there had to be some kind of change. But as the relatives of those who died last night told me last night on the show, the president came and saw them and nothing happened.
Now we have the worst school shooting in American history, is it ever going to change? Or is the gun rights argument that was espoused to me earlier in tonight's show in that extraordinary way, is that always going to win the argument? Or are other Americans going to rise up and say enough?
REP. RON BARBER (D), ARIZONA: Well, I believe this terrible tragedy, taking the lives of 20 little people, the same age as my two youngest granddaughters, has affected America in such a deep way, that we're in a position to have, not just a discussion, but the action that I think is necessary to prevent a reoccurrence.
For me, it has to do with two issues. It's a very complex issue overall. But there are two things that I believe we can and must do. As someone who has worked in the field of mental health for 32 years, I believe we have to do a better job of providing services and early identification of people with mental illness so we can prevent the kind of disturbance that causes somebody to do an act such has happened last Friday. And secondly, we have to take away, from those people, access to the kinds of weapons that can, in a very, very short period of time, create the kind of carnage that we saw then.
When I look back on what happened in Tucson, on January 8th last year, the man who shot us was armed with an extended clip, carrying 30 bullets. In about 45 seconds, those bullets were discharged, 19 people were wounded and six died. And in the case of -- the school in Newtown, we know that that's what happened again, even in a greater magnitude.
I think we're at a point now where people said enough. Every grandparent, just like myself, every parent who has a young child, is looking at the situation and saying, we cannot let this happen again. So I believe that the American people are going to take a different look at what happened last Friday, and they're going to demand, as they should, that those of us who have been sent to Congress, to take action and to do what's right by our country, that we're going to actually do something and we must do something.
And that's what -- my commitment is as there are I think many more -- members of Congress' commitments, including people who have traditionally supported the National Rifle Association been supported by it. Make it real clear, I am a Second Amendment supporter. I believe that's a good amendment for our country. But we have to move beyond that. These weapons have no place in the school as your previous guests have suggested. We have to deal with this problem on two levels.
MORGAN: Ron Barber and Carolyn McCarthy, thank you both very much.
Should assault weapons be banned? Is the fight over the Second Amendment? I'll talk to Alan Dershowitz and Jeffrey Toobin after the break.
MORGAN: We can't talk about guns in America without getting to the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. It's an issue that could end up in the Supreme Court again. With me now, attorney and author Alan Dershowitz and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. His new book , "The Oath, the Obama White House and Supreme Court," is out now.
Welcome to you both. Jeffrey, I find it very hard not to lose my rag when I interview some of these gun rights people, because the way they express themselves, always hiding behind the Second Amendment, their right to bear arms, which as far as they're concerned can mean anything. It could mean everyone walking around with rocket launchers.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: But they're winning. They're winning in politics. They've won in Congress. And they're winning in the courts. This is a more conservative country than it used to be. For 100 years, the Second Amendment did not mean that individuals have a right to bear arms.
MORGAN: I read your column on this. It's fascinating. Explain to me why.
TOOBIN: For a hundred years, the Constitution was interpreted to mean that state militias, essentially state police had a right to bear arms, because that's what the first half of Second Amendment says. But as of 2008, as a result of years of lobbying and years of Republican appointees to the court, in 2008, the Supreme Court said individuals have a right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
So the law of the land now is that the government is really very limited in how much gun control it could pass, even if it had the political will to do so. It's not clear that it does. But the victories of the Republican party mean that gun control is harder to do in Congress and it's harder to do in court.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, I might be wrong about this, but I've been following this now for two years through a series of outrages. I am detecting a different mood among many Americans towards this. I detect that they feel this was a tipping point.
Am I right? Or is it just going to be another statistic in the mass shooting catalog, which is getting worse and worse?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE LAWYER: I think you're right. And I think the evidence was a decision today by a large conglomerate to sell a gun company, the decision by the people in the Teachers' Union in California to think about selling stocks in companies that own guns. When economists and people who have to care about serving the interests of their stockholders start making these decisions, it generally reflects a change in attitude.
Now, where I disagree with my friend and former student Jeffrey Toobin is I think although the Supreme Court rendered a decision on the Second Amendment, it left open a tremendous amount of room for reasonable regulation. And I think if Congress has the will to do something today, I believe the courts, with some exceptions, will uphold any reasonable regulation.
The 7th Circuit just the other day struck down a very broad statute, which said no loaded guns in the city of Chicago, but implied that if it was limited to schools, if it was limited to other areas, it would be upheld as Constitutional.
Look, anything that we do will clash with either possibly the Second Amendment or the First Amendment, talking about restrictions on video games, which a lot of the conservatives are talking about, or locking people up based on predictions that they will commit these kinds of crimes, which would clash with the Fifth or Sixth Amendments.
I believe that the least restriction on liberty is entailed in having reasonable gun controls under the Second Amendment.
MORGAN: The NRA has made a statement today, the key part being they say they're prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again. I'm not sure anyone's really --
DERSHOWITZ: Don't hold your breath.
MORGAN: Yes. Jeffrey, tell me this sort of annoying -- what did he call me, a Bucolic Brit, Mr. Pratt called me. As someone that comes from a country that went through all this with Dunblane, very, very similar, 16 young school children of the same age killed, and brought in a national handgun ban, which means we only get 35 gun murders a year. By the way, it's the same story in Australia, and many European companies have a similar rate.
We just don't get it. We don't get how the NRA is apparently so powerful that it is able to dictate policy on this in the way that it does. Is that going to change? Michael Bloomberg came out strongly and said stop being so terrified of the NRA.
TOOBIN: I think the NRA is just as powerful as it's ever been. And they have all the time in the world. You know, the news media, we have a short attention span. Six months from now, we're not going to be covering this story around the clock. But the NRA is going to be working even harder then. And any debate about gun control will start to get bogged down in details, about which guns do you ban and which ones do you don't, and do you ban magazines and clips?
And it becomes very complicated. And it's very easy for the people who care about this issue to bog down the process. It's what they've always done. And I think that's what they are going to continue to do.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, what is it about the culture of gun violence in America that is so unique here? And it is unique to any of the richest countries in the world. It is so far and away the most dangerous in terms of guns. And how does it change? How do you change the mentality that says really any American, as Mr. Pratt, believes -- the answer to any of these shootings is to arm everybody else with the same kind of weapons?
DERSHOWITZ: See, I don't think it's the American culture. I think it's part of America that has that culture. And that part of America has had disproportionate influence. I grew up in Brooklyn. There was no gun culture. There's no gun culture in many parts of the world today.
And what's happening is the NRA is buying their data. They're buying their facts. They're hiring and commissioning so-called scholars to come up with the kinds of lies, direct lies you heard today from Mr. Pratt. What he did is he compared oranges and apples. He says, well, if you look at the most -- the busiest cities in the United States, compare them to urban areas, you know -- if you compare any comparable area of the United States, any comparable area, New York to London, Fairfax County to Oxford, any comparable county of the United States with any comparable county in Europe or in most parts of Asia, you will find a tremendous difference between gun crimes.
And those gun crimes are not only associated with massive and unrestricted gun ownership, but are caused by it. Take another country, for example, Israel, where obviously people need to have guns. There's terrorism. And there's almost no gun crime at all, because in order to get a gun in Israel, you have to have a 60-day waiting period. You have to take a mental health exam.
You got to go to shooting ranges and pass a test. You can only get 50 bullets. And that's a lifetime supply. There are enormous restrictions on gun ownership in that country that clearly has a need for guns. The United States is an outlier. And it's now cultural. It's partly cultural. And that part of the culture is winning over the rest of us who care more about the lives of our children than holding on to guns.
MORGAN: What I find so extraordinary, Jeffrey, is this: is the cowardice of politicians in America about this. I just don't understand why some of them aren't prepared to literally stick their necks over the parapet and say, I've had enough of this. Some of them are. I mean, Diane Feinstein was brilliant last night. But there are so few of them prepared to take any kind of political risk when 20 young kids have been shot dead in a school.
TOOBIN: Well, let's see what happens. But it is political poison in this country to say you're for gun control in about 40 states. I mean, try running for office in Texas and saying you're for gun control. You won't get nominated for dog catcher.
MORGAN: But isn't being a politician sometimes about taking a moral and brave and courageous lead, rather than worrying about your next election? Where are those politicians?
TOOBIN: They are around. There are some of them. But it is also true that some of them sincerely believe what Larry Pratt was saying today. They honestly believe that more guns will make it safer. It's also politically advantageous for them to say more guns.
TOOBIN: The governor of Tennessee, the governor of Virginia all started talking about that today.
MORGAN: The reason I can't listen to this in any kind of sane way, the idea of teachers -- I mean, we had an Empire State Building shooting a few months ago where nine members of the public were all struck by bullets which came from two police officers, trained to use them, who had shot dead this one guy.
Nine different people from ricocheting bullets. Only one in five was on target. We're expecting teachers with schools, classrooms full of kids, to suddenly go and get a gun from wherever they have to hide it, pull it out and then start using this accurately at a guy with an AR-15? This is the stuff of lunacy.
DERSHOWITZ: And there are better ways of addressing school safety. Look, I recently was in Congress and in the White House. And to get into any of those buildings, you have to go through one door first. It locks behind you. Then you have to go through another door. And you get tested for metal and everything else.
TOOBIN: Good lord, Alan.
TOOBIN: Do you want to have elementary schools like the West Wing of the White House.
DERSHOWITZ: That's right. We need today -- and that's true in other parts of the world today. We got used to it. Look at buildings. You go to visit a law firm today, you can't just walk up to see the partner. You have to go and present I.D. It's the reality of life. It's far less restrictive of freedom if we have that than if we start locking people up based on suspicion, start controlling video games, start tinkering with the Second Amendment in its broadest sense.
I think there are things we can do to make our schools safer. They will require compromises with convenience. (CROSS TALK)
MORGAN: OK. Unfortunately, I have to leave it there. One final very quick question for you, Jeffrey. Just struck me listening to this debate about the Second Amendment. Given it's so open to different interpretations -- and it is. And I read both arguments. You can argue it both ways. Is there an argument for the Second Amendment to be repealed and to be clarified and be redrafted? Could that happen?
TOOBIN: Absolutely. The Constitution can always be amended. But you want to see a revolution in this country? I mean, the Second Amendment is embraced by the Republican party with a great fervor. And a heck of a lot of the Democratic party as well. You could see it revoked, but it's not going to happen.
MORGAN: Jeffrey, quickly. Sorry --
DERSHOWITZ: Every originalist should go back and carry the guns that were intended by the Second Amendment, muskets that require reloading. If you're a real originalist, carry an originalist gun, not a semiautomatic.
MORGAN: This debate is going to run and run. And we will be at the center of it, I can assure you. Thank you very much, Jeffrey Toobin, Alan Dershowitz. I appreciate you coming on.
We have breaking news tonight on the September 11th attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. An independent State Department review out today cited management deficiencies at high levels of the State Department, which the report says resulted in inadequate security. The report goes on to call the attacks, quote, "unanticipated in their scale and intensity," and says there was no protest prior to the attack.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she'll name a senior State Department official to oversee high threat posts. Stay with CNN for more on this.
When we come back, inside the mind of a killer. What Dr. Oz says we must do to try to protect Americans better than we are currently.
MORGAN: Ever since we learned the almost unimaginable scope of the tragedy in Newtown, people across this country and around the world have been asking the same question, why? What went on in the mind of this killer? Why would anybody target children? And what happened to the families they leave behind?
Joining me now are Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Dr. Michael Welner. He's a forensic psychiatrist at NYU Medical Center. Welcome to you both.
Dr. Oz, you were in Newtown on Friday. You spent time with the people there. It's, as we said there, an unimaginable tragedy. But for them, it's very, very real. What was your experience like?
DR. MEHMET OZ, HOST, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": Well, two main things in my mind dominated the conversation. The first is there's this incredible grace that they have in Newtown. They've come together, I think as most humans do when you face a catastrophic, senseless event, where you can't make sense of it. They come together just through the hymns alone and the vigil that I attended at St. Rosa's Church. You could hear people just crying out and then being responded to.
The other thing that I heard, which is why I think so much of America is captivated by this story, is all the kids said, nothing ever happens in Newtown, except now it did. This bucolic New England town had something happen that was unimaginable, just like it could happen in any town in America.
That's why I think there's a call to action that's perhaps louder than has been heard in prior mass events it's like this.
MORGAN: Dr. Welner, everyone is asking the question. There's no apparent motive here which is obvious to anybody. You have a loner who may or may not have been suffering some neurological disorder, like autism or Asperger's. We don't know these things as fact yet.
But he certainly was at home a lot of the time, had social problems, seems to have been very bright in certain areas, like mathematics and so on, and played a lot of violent video games. From that what we know about his profile, what do you think has happened here?
DR. MICHAEL WELNER, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Well, the common thread, going beyond what you talked about, is that there is a motive. In this case the police do know, because they've already been to some of his records -- and I would applaud them for not sharing it, because it is what he thinks is legitimate.
But again, this is an indefensible act. And why it is so important for us, even when we consider him, to repudiate his behavior as disgusting. Because people are watching us, including people who are fantasizing about us talking about them. If we don't collectively, in the press and the leadership, say this is disgusting, this is repulsive, but rather to say who failed him, then everyone who has a grievance like him, who nurtures it and then says, finally, I want my grievance to be heard because I'm anonymous.
So the problem with this phenomenon -- and it is a phenomenon. And I realize you've raised interesting issues about guns. And we'll talk about video game violence, because there is an incentive for relevance, and there is a vehicle of escapism of video game immersion that enables people who want to be deadened to crawl in the cracks and stay there, where no one can discover them until it is too late.
MORGAN: I think that is absolutely spot on. The issue of all these things, mental health, video games, guns and so on, actually all of it is to blame. It is a collection of events, situations in somebody's life who is disturbed that all collides. I feel passionately about guns because without the gun here, this person couldn't have perpetrated the mass killing in the time that he did it. But he would have probably done something.
OZ: He might have. On the other hand, I think we need a homeland security approach to mental illness. Guns we can debate over, and I'll let the politicians do that. But for sure, we have a system -- as a heart surgeon, I can treat you, Piers, if you're having a heart attack, and do just about anything I need to keep you alive.
In fact, I can arrange a system to transport you to my hospital to save your life. But in psychiatry, hands are bound. So many rules govern what they're allowed to do, it makes it almost impossible to provide that kind of broad scale support. And the brains of these folks -- I know we're going to talk about that.
MORGAN: We have a biopsy of a brain. Let me pick up on this one point. On the brain, looking at this picture, you've noticed a pattern in many of these incidents. Tell me about that.
OZ: This is not my work. This has been well reported by pathologists looking at the brains of crazy people who have sociopathic tendencies. That green area you see in the front of the brain is the part that controls how we would verbalize empathy. But it is really built to tell what goals and purposes are out there.
The reason our brains got so big, Piers, over millennia is because we needed that large brain to connect with each other. It is missing in these people. So just to pick up on what Michael said, they don't have a connection. So you have to speak a very different language and be very clear in what you're sending out, because they will interpret anything as being beneficial to them.
These are people who torture animals because they can't defend themselves.
MORGAN: We'll leave it there. Doctors, thank you both very much indeed. It is fascinating material. I hope we get more answers as we go on. We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow, a special PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT on guns in America. It's the issue that's front and center across the country. Tomorrow, we're tackling it head on. I'll bring together lawmakers, survivors, experts, people on both sides of this very contentious debate. We'll have Cory Booker, Tom Ridge, Deepak Chopra and many others to talk about the tragedy in Newtown and the step America must now take to keep everybody safe from gun violence.
We also want to hear from you. We're taking your questions and your Tweets. Again, Guns in America, a live PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT special. That's tomorrow.
And that's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.