Soledad O'Brien Takes Gun Advocate John Lott to Task For Stance on Abolishing Gun Safety Laws
It never fails. Every time we have another one of these mass shootings in the United States, someone in the corporate media is going to book this guy to carry water for the NRA and their desire to just turn us into the wild west and eliminate all gun safety laws. Gun advocate John Lott found himself getting some push back on his views from CNN's Soledad O'Brien this Monday morning though, unlike some of his interviews when he's in friendlier territory, like Fox:
The debate on gun control has been re-inflamed by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on Friday. President Obama has signaled that he may consider new legislation to prevent more attacks. Most gun rights advocates, however, have either stayed silent or insisted that the teachers at the school should have been armed. Gun rights advocate John Lott, the leading academic behind the claim that more guns result in less violence, appeared on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien to advance his pet theory.
O’Brien attacked Lott for his claim that Friday’s shooting means we should do away with all restrictions on guns. Lott argued that bans on guns in certain areas attract criminals to those areas: [...]
Lott’s claim that more guns result in less violence is popular with gun control advocates, but it’s simply not true. Lott’s research methods have been frequently called into question, and other experts have dismissed his work as “junk science.” As the Washington Post points out, concealed weapon bans have not increased the crime rate, as pro-gun advocates claimed, and there is no solid evidence that right-to-carry laws reduce violence.
Media Matters has more on Lott here: Who Is Gun Advocate John Lott?:
Gun researcher John Lott has made numerous media appearances in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. to argue against the enactment of gun violence prevention measures. While Lott uses his media platform to push a multitude of statistics -- often from his own research -- he has been thoroughly discredited as a serious academic researcher. Read on...
Transcript via CNN below the fold.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to turn now to John Lott. He is the author of a book that's called "More Guns, Less Crime."
That's his theory in a nutshell. If people had more guns, there would be more opportunity for self-defense, and not only would he not like to see new gun laws. He would like to see current laws taken off the books all together.
It's nice to have you talking with us. We appreciate it. You know, on Friday, you were talking to Piers and then again with Wolf yesterday. And you said it's time to get rid of gun laws, the takeaway for you from this massacre at an elementary school is it's time to get rid of gun laws. How does that possibly make sense to you?
JOHN LOTT, AUTHOR, "MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME": Well, I mean, because of my research, I've talked to dozens of people who have been present at these horrible events over time, and the feeling of utter helplessness is just overwhelming for these individuals.
I mean, it's hard to think of something more terrifying than being helpless there when one of these attacks occurs. Look, there is one common feature across the attacks. The ones the president mentioned, you go back from 1950 at least on.
With only one exception, all the multiple victim public shootings have occurred where more than three people have been killed have occurred where guns are banned.
We try to make an area safe by banning guns, but what happens is, it's a law-abiding good citizens who obey the ban and not the criminals, and rather than making --
O'BRIEN: But more than one thing in common, right? There is one more thing in common. One thing is common is that something has weapons too, and they go into a place where they should not be with a weapon. So I would say it's not just one thing in common. They are also armed often to the hilt and often with automatic weapons or semiautomatic weapons, right?
LOTT: Well, never with automatic weapons, but with semiautomatic weapons, sure. They have those, but here is the point. We only have very tiny areas in the United States where thaw are completely gun- free zones, but time after time, that's the place these criminals go.
Take the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings. There were seven movie theaters within a 20-minute car ride of the killer's apartment, only one that banned guns. He didn't go to the movie theater closest to his home. He didn't go to the movie theater that was largest.
The movie theater that he went to was the only one that banned guns, and you see that --
O'BRIEN: Let me stop you there. Let me stop you there. Here, again, a case where someone had a semi automatic rifle, how do you know that he chose that because they banned guns? Have talked to him? I have not seen anywhere in any transcript of anything he has said that he picked it specifically for that. He has not spoken to the media. How do you know that? You don't know that.
LOTT: OK, well, there are two points. One, I don't know in this particular case, but he picks one out of seven. It's the only one there, and the point is, every time. You go look at these mall shootings, most of the malls in the area aren't posted as gun-free zones.
And yet the only ones they always pick are the ones that are banned. Pick the Columbine case. You probably don't know -- let me give you one piece of information here. Take the Columbine case.
Do you know that Dylan Klebold, for example, was lobbying against the concealed handgun -- that was before the state legislator, he was writing a state legislator who is strongly against it.
He was particularly upset about the part of the law that would allow concealed handguns on school property and do you know the day the Columbine attack occurred. It occurred on the day of final passage of the state concealed handgun law.
O'BRIEN: But, listen, why is your takeaway --
LOTT: That is at Columbine.
O'BRIEN: Why is your takeaway to get rid of gun laws rather than there are people that should not have access to weapons. In this particular case, we know that the investigation is just at the beginning stages, but we know he used a semiautomatic rifle to blow out essentially the glass wall at the entrance to the school. So the security was useless. Why? Because he had a high-velocity, multi-shot with many rounds with him to be able to access the school. So why would you not say, that's exactly the kind of weapon that someone should not be able to easily get their hands on?
And he was able easily to get his hands on it because it was legally registered to his mother. Why is that not your takeaway?
LOTT: You know what country had two of the three worst public shootings prior to Friday? It was Germany. Germany had three of the five worst public school shootings in the world.
Now, they have extremely strict gun control laws. You can't get semiautomatic weapons. It takes a year to get a bolt action long rifle there. Yet they had the worst record in terms of multiple victim shootings at schools than we have here in the United States, even with this attack and so I --
O'BRIEN: I don't see how any of that brings you to the decision that the answer is to get rid of gun laws. The other question that I would ask you --
LOTT: Because they serve as a magnet for these attacks.
O'BRIEN: Or -- or a rational person could say -- or a rational person could say that having access to a high-powered semiautomatic rifle is inappropriate that there is no reason to go deer hunting with that. There is no reason to have access to that. That's the connection that these killers have access to those weapons. Let me ask you another question.
LOTT: No, I want to answer that that you just said. No, I don't argue second amendment. I argue crime. That's what I do. I want to answer your question here. These guns are just like any hunting rifle. The inside guts, they fire one bullet.
In fact, the Bushmaster gun there is -- would be the equivalent of a rifle that would be used for hunting very small game like squirrels. You know, it looks different on the outside because some people like to have guns that look like military weapons, but it's not. It's like any hunting rifle.
O'BRIEN: Sir, sir --
LOTT: If you want to ban all hunting rifles that's fine.
O'BRIEN: Sir, if you are trying to kill a large number of people in a massacre, that's the kind of gun you grab.
LOTT: A hunting rifle would do the same thing.
O'BRIEN: If you could inflict as much carnage on people, that's the kind of gun you grab. How you could say we should have fewer laws, not more, it boggles the mind honestly. If you would come and talk to the people in the town here, they would be stunned by you. LOTT: Unfortunately, I talked to multiple people that have been victims of public shootings. Look, semiautomatic guns are the most common gun in the United States. They are beneficial for self- defense.
If you had two criminals coming at you, you are not going to want have a gun that only fires one shot like that. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? You can't even fire a warning shot.
If you miss the first shot and you don't have a semiautomatic gun, what are you going to do for self-defense at this point?
O'BRIEN: And if you have -- if you have a man who seems to be troubled and he is armed with a semiautomatic weapon, a rifle, then there is a high likelihood that is he going to massacre a lot of people in one location, sir, in a very small amount of time.
We could continue this debate for a long time, I appreciate you talking with me this morning, but I just -- I have to say, your position -- your position completely boggles me, honestly. I just do not understand it. Thank you for talking with us.
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