PIERS MORGAN, HOST OF PIERS MORGAN LIVE: Let’s now bring in my all-star panel. Van Jones, CNN contributor and president of Rebuild the Dream, conservative radio talk show host Dana Loesch and Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and an NRA board member.
Welcome to you all.
Van Jones, I just spoke again to Richard Feldman who is pretty close to the NRA leadership for quite awhile and the message is loud and clear from the NRA, as it always is. More guns and you’ll deal with gun violence. What do you say to that?
VAN JONES, PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER OF REBUILD THE DREAM: Well, I just think people are just flabbergasted to hear this. I mean, the idea that the kind of gun, the size of gun, the kind of magazine, none of these matters. Well, then, fine, just pass out bazookas. Start selling neutron bombs on the open market and then when people start using the bazookas and doing — say well, it’s not the bazooka or owner, you see, it’s just — I mean, it’s not the bazooka, it’s just the bazooka’s owner.
Obviously the size of the cartridge matters. Obviously the kind of weapon matters. That’s why you can’t buy bazookas, you can’t buy neutron bombs, you can’t buy weaponized drones because these things matter.
It’s very, very frustrating — the shame that I see right now is that on the one hand we’re not doing enough about mental health, but then we have people who are hiding behind the fact that we’re not doing one thing to stop us from doing anything else. And that’s wrong, too.
MORGAN: I mean, Marco Rubio said today, he’s warned that he will filibuster any new gun legislation.
Dana Loesch, how can that be an appropriate response to what happened at Sandy Hook?
DANA LOESCH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, “THE DANA SHOW”: Well, simply, Piers, because we have gun laws already on the books. Most of the proposals are simply redundancy. That’s why, why are we paying individuals to go and essentially waste taxpayer dollars to argue laws that we already have on the books?
Laws which either aren’t enforced or criminals don’t obey them simply because that’s what criminals don’t do. Criminals are called criminals because they don’t follow law.
MORGAN: Right. So Adam Lanza had two rifles, a BB gun, a starter pistol, four more weapons he took to school including the AR- 15, 1600 rounds of ammunition in his house, 12 knives, three Samurai swords, a bayonet, eye protection, ear mufflers at gun range, (INAUDIBLE) binoculars, paper targets, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And he went and did what he did.
At what point, Dana, do you say, you know what, we’re just going to make it tougher for people to be able to have this kind of arsenal?
LOESCH: Well, Piers, you realize that Adam Lanza, according to the “L.A. Times,” the “Portland Observer,” numerous local media report in Connecticut, he did try to purchase a firearm. And Connecticut’s gun laws prohibited him from doing that. Those gun laws worked in the sense that they prohibited him from purchasing a firearm.
Now as to whether or not his mother should have had her firearms perhaps stored a little bit better and kept away from her son, that’s another topic of discussion. But, you know, again, he stole firearms, he committed a crime to obtain a firearm which he then used illegally.
MORGAN: Grover Norquist, you’re on the board of the NRA. And the NRA it seems to me has a lot of very reasonable members, many of whom tweet me. And if you’re watching now, you want to tweet me, @Piersmorgan, and let me know if you’re an NRA member. And they can be quite rational and they say look, you know, we have no real problem with background checks. We don’t have any problem with more investment in mental health and so on. Not even much of a problem with the high capacity magazines.
They’re not too sure about assault weapons. But they’re quite rational in what they say but the leadership always seem to me to be — particularly Wayne LaPierre, completely outrageous. Utterly insensitive, totally uncompromising. Why is that?
GROVER NORQUIST, BOARD MEMBER, NRA: Well, I think if you look at the history of gun laws, make a list of which cities and states have the most oppressive gun laws. You’ll find they also have more crime and more shootings. There’s actually, if you look at the science, you know, liberals are always saying, we should look at the science, and yet they don’t want to look at the existing science on whether gun laws make us safer or less safe.
John Locke did the first study of all the counties in United States and where you had concealed carry permits, more gun ownership by citizens, you actually had significantly less crime, hundreds and thousands of fewer murders, fewer rapes.
MORGAN: OK, Grover, Grover —
NORQUIST: What you don’t have reported in the news is the fact that those states that put in concealed carry laws decades ago and have more people carrying guns are safer to live in than ones that ban it. So when you ask why don’t we do something stupid, the answer is because we have looked at the statistics, because we have looked at the science, and flat earthers should not be passing new laws.
MORGAN: Well, let me — let me throw some science at you. How do you explain that, as I said to Mr. Feldman earlier, America has between 11,000 and 12,000 gun murders a year, 18,000 gun suicides a year, 100,000 Americans are hit by gunfire a year. And you look at somewhere like Britain or you look at somewhere like Australia or Japan or I could name dozens of other countries that have pretty strict gun control laws, and just have negligible gun deaths.
I mean, literally, like 40 or 50 people a year get killed. How do you explain that, Grover, in any rational way that convinces me that countries that don’t have guns in mass circulation have almost no gun crime?
NORQUIST: Well, if you compare apples and apples and look at the United States, and obviously Brazil and South Africa and other countries have a great number of gun crimes and they have very serious gun laws, so gun laws haven’t solved the problem in other countries, and where you put in more gun laws in Australia and Britain you’ve had more crime in general. More robberies, more crime. That they become less safe.
Now in the United States, compare the states, 50 or 57, however you want to count them, they’ve all got different gun laws and different —
MORGAN: OK, Van.
NORQUIST: — rules and —
MORGAN: Let me get Van in here. Let me get Van in here because he’s shaking his head vigorously.
JONES: Well, first of all, that’s just actually not true but I want to say a couple of things. This is not about concealed —
NORQUIST: No, wait a minute. It is true.
LOESCH: It is true. It is true.
JONES: Hold on a second. It’s not true.
NORQUIST: You can’t deny the science.
JONES: First of all this is not about —
NORQUIST: You’re a science denier, Van.
JONES: Are you going to let me talk? You guys are wonderful —
LOESCH: About gun laws, guys and statistics.
JONES: Hey, listen, I’m with you. I’m for statistics. Here’s what’s actually true. This is not a debate about concealed carry. You want to move the argument over to something that nobody’s arguing about. Nobody’s arguing about concealed carry. People are arguing about military-style weapons on the streets of America and whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing.
LOESCH: That’s a false premise.
JONES: The —
LOESCH: That’s a false premise.
JONES: No. That’s not — it’s a false premise?
LOESCH: No. Van, do you actually know what the difference —
JONES: That’s the entire debate in Washington, D.C. right now.
LOESCH: I’m going to correct you because I’m tired of this talking point being put out there. First and foremost, let’s get something straight. Military-style assault weapons are not out on the street. We are talking about semiautomatic weapons, weapons that are capable of select fire or weapons that are fully automatic.
MORGAN: OK. But Dana, Dana, Dana.
LOESCH: Then you can — no, I’m not going to let this go anymore, Piers.
JONES: You guys say the same thing every time.
MORGAN: No, Dana, you said this repeatedly on my show.
LOESCH: Then you can use the military term. Let’s stop conflating.
JONES: You do the same thing every time.
LOESCH: Let’s stop playing ignorance and —
MORGAN: General Stanley McChrystal —
LOESCH: Now you can go ahead and continue.
MORGAN: General Stanley McChrystal used the phrase — so forget us, forget Van, forget me. One of the great military commanders of the last 20 years in America —
LOESCH: The man who bans conservatives (INAUDIBLE) — yes.
MORGAN: — said these were military-style weapons. So is he wrong? Do you know more about these weapons than General McChrystal does?
NORQUIST: Evidently because —
LOESCH: General McChrystal is also of your same ideology so I want to put that out there first and foremost. There is a deliberate effort to conflate the types of firearms. I do not own a military- style assault weapon just because of what — a firearm looks scary? Then you call it military assault? Do you realize that one of my children has a BB gun that looks like an AR-15? Is that going to be considered a military style assault weapon? It sounds silly and uneducated.
MORGAN: Adam Lanza killed — Adam Lanza killed — wait a minute. Wait a minute. Adam Lanza killed —
LOESCH: And it’s dangerous.
MORGAN: Adam Lanza, as we now know, in the space of 300 seconds, using an AR-15, killed 26 people, Dana.
JONES: Thank you.
LOESCH: And he reloaded four times.
MORGAN: He had magazine — he had a magazine for 30 bullets.
LOESCH: So, Piers, I want to ask you a question. Yes.
MORGAN: Are you telling me — are you telling me that doesn’t —
LOESCH: And he reloaded four times. Anyone can reload.
MORGAN: Are you tell me that doesn’t —
LOESCH: Anyone can reload.
MORGAN: Dana, let me finish. Are you telling me that doesn’t qualify as an assault weapon?
LOESCH: By the technical definition, no, Piers. Anything can be qualified as an assault weapon. If you stab someone with a spoon, it can be qualified as an assault weapon.
MORGAN: So you’re equating stabbing somebody with a spoon —
LOESCH: Let me ask you a question, Piers.
JONES: Oh my god.
MORGAN: — to the shooting dead 26 people in five minutes?
JONES: Hold on, hold on.
LOESCH: If this is conversation about a ban on magazine capacity —
MORGAN: Really, Dana? Really? Talk about stabbing somebody with a spoon?
LOESCH: Do you realize how easy it is to reload? Piers, you can take a speed loader and reload a revolver, 150 rounds. That means he had to reload four times.
JONES: This is the strategy — it’s the conscious strategy.
LOESCH: And the only reason that he stopped was because he heard authorities.
JONES: What you’re seeing right now, Piers —
LOESCH: No, Van, this is the strategy of the people who actually deliberately want to disarm individuals.
JONES: Piers, what you’re seeing is the conscious strategy to distract and —
LOESCH: You guys talk about magazine —
JONES: Hold on a second. Hold on a second.
LOESCH: You talk about magazine restriction —
MORGAN: OK. Let Van — let Van have his say.
JONES: See, this is the conscious strategy on the part of the pro-gun folks to constantly bring things back around to things that don’t make any sense. You’re talking about people stabbing people with spoons. If that was a problem we had in America, people stabbing people with spoons, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now.
What we’re talking about is funeral after funeral after funeral. What we’re talking about is — are our children being gunned down and what we’re talking about is common sense measures. Not confiscating guns. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about commonsense measures that 90 percent of Americans agree with and the majority of gun owners agree with.
JONES: But when you guys get on television, you don’t talk like the people who actually are the gun owners in America. What you talk like are people who want to take the conversation in a direction —
LOESCH: I’m a gun owner in America, Van Jones.
JONES: — that has nothing to do — I’m sorry, you said?
LOESCH: By the way, the latest CBS poll shows that support for these gun control measures is tanking. This is —
LOESCH: let me finish my thought.
LOESCH: Then I am going to let you answer. I’m tired of this conflation and this uneducation when it comes to using terms about firearms. Let’s use —
JONES: You want to make it about terms and words. Fine. Hey, listen, what we’re talking about is funeral after funeral after funeral.
MORGAN: one at a time.
LOESCH: What’s the difference between 30 rounds and what’s the difference between seven rounds? Piers Morgan, let me ask you a question. (CROSS TALK)
MORGAN: Let me explain to you the difference. Let me explain the difference.
MORGAN: Let me ask you a question. The difference between 30 and seven is 23. So it could save 23 lives if there was a federal ban on these magazines.
LOESCH: Seven lives lost are OK with you, then? Seven lives lost are OK?
MORGAN: You know what, Dana, seven is better than 30, yes.
MORGAN: Better than losing 30, yes, it is.
LOESCH: I’m just trying to establish where you draw the line. Where do you draw the line at preventing the deaths of children, Piers?
MORGAN: I would love to draw the line — I would love to draw the line — I would love to draw the line, Dana, at zero gun deaths in America.
LOESCH: So you do believe in disarmament, then.
MORGAN: I said zero gun deaths.
LOESCH: That’s the answer that I wanted.
MORGAN: When did I say disarmament? Wait a minute. You talk about conflating the argument. Dana, when did I say disarmament?
LOESCH: I’m taking it down — I’m using your logic and going down that road. If you’re talking about limiting magazines — first and foremost, magazines are universal. I can make one in my garage.
MORGAN: I said I wanted zero gun deaths.
MORGAN: Let me finish. We have to go to break. But you said — I said I wanted zero gun deaths. You announce that meant I wanted disarmament. That’s the problem with the pro-gun debate.
MORGAN: Let’s take a break. Let’s all calm down, come back and talk about gay marriage. That will be even more lively, probably. Let’s try that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MORGAN: Back now with Van Jones and Dana Loesch and Grover Norquist. Before we move on from guns, I just want to read a quick Tweet. This is from Steven Smith, who says to me “where can you buy these deadly assault spoons?” Maybe Dana can help him with that later. Let’s move on.
LOESCH: Really, it goes over people’s heads. Anything, Piers. Stabbing deaths every day.
MORGAN: Let’s move on. It was just a little joke, Dana. Let’s turn to gay marriage. Grover, I want to play you an astonishing piece of tape, really. Yesterday we had Bill O’Reilly almost converting to gay marriage. Today, Rush Limbaugh joined in. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This issue is lost. I don’t care what the Supreme Court does, this is now inevitable. And it’s inevitable because we lost the language on this. We lost the issue when we started allowing the word marriage to be bastardized and redefined by simply adding words to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Grover, is he right? Is the gay marriage debate lost to those that oppose it?
NORQUIST: Well, it’s an interesting question. Obviously, once you get the government into defining something, they’re going to mess it up. Marriage for a lot of people is a religious sacrament in any of the Abrahamic faiths. Yet the government should be enforcing contracts, if people want a contract with who they live with and how they want to pass on their estates. For years we worked with gay groups trying to get rid of the death tax, because that was one of the discriminatory factors there.
So I think there are a number of laws that the government’s got itself into that we need to extricate it. If the government was less involved in marriage and defining it and regulating it, we might be better off, everybody.
MORGAN: Dana Loesch, what do you think?
LOESCH: I’m not quite sure whether or not it’s lost. I do agree that the language has been muddled. And just the two cases that are before the Supreme Court right now, I don’t think that both of them will be tossed down. But the Defense of Marriage Act, especially where it concerns insurance benefits and engaging in contracts, I think people should be able to enter into contractual agreements with each other. There shouldn’t be any sort of stipulation on that.
That’s where, at the same time, while I’ve told individuals who have been out there advocating for same sex marriage and wanting to bring the government in, as someone who is a Christian conservative, I don’t want to bring the government in to defend my faith or to defend or define marriage. I think that’s something that should be left to the people. We don’t have the government involved in baptisms or taking of the sacrament.
So I don’t think that government should be involved in marriage, either. I think bringing the government in period is a bad idea.
MORGAN: OK. Van Jones, this sort of reminds me of conversations in America in the ’50s and ’60s, which would go along the lines of, I don’t mind, having thought about this quite carefully, black people using the same bus as me. But I’m not really ready for them to come to the same school. Is it that kind of repositioning?
JONES: It’s sad. First of all, we are on the verge of one of the great breakthroughs and achievements in human freedom, human equality. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be in a country where people — where the freedom to marry is going to be available to everybody very soon. Rush Limbaugh is right.
But the idea that suddenly now government is getting involved in marriage, government has been involved in marriage from the very beginning and nobody complained about it as long as it was for heterosexuals. Now — and I’ll say something else as well. You know, my marriage would have been illegal in a lot of parts of this country very recently, because I’m in a mixed race marriage.
So what I know is that — and the government was involved in regulating that. So what I think we’ve got to recognize now is that there’s — no matter what happens — this is a great thing about America — there is an expiration date on some of this bigotry that is in our laws, because the next generation doesn’t want to hear any of this stuff; 70, 80 percent of young people in America think that if you love somebody, marry them.
And the people who are messing up marriage in America are the heterosexuals. Heterosexuals are the ones being divorced. Heterosexuals are the — the people who are bringing marriage back and making marriage mean something is the gay community that’s fighting for that right. Now marriage means something. The Kardashians are doing more to destroy traditional marriage than gay people ever did.
LOESCH: A couple points, Piers, really quick. I can’t compare gay marriage to what black Americans have gone through, because in the Bible — and I want to point this out because this is how Christians look at this. Nowhere in the Bible —
JONES: I’m a Christian.
LOESCH: It’s not mentioned in the Bible.
JONES: That’s not true. That’s not true. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christian. I’m going to tell you right now —
JONES: The Curse of Hamm was used to say we were the victims — LOESCH: If you are trying to get Old Testament, remember, Van, the New Covenant with Christ, the New Covenant with God, that’s why we have the New Testament.
MORGAN: Dana, Dana, Dana, Dana —
LOESCH: — between a man, a woman and God, before God, on God’s terms. That’s how Christians define it.
MORGAN: Dana, Dana, Dana, what do you say to Van’s point that it wasn’t so long ago he wouldn’t have been able to get married without the help of the government interfering? Isn’t that an incredibly salient point?
LOESCH: You know what, Republicans all throughout, Piers — I agree with that because Republicans — that’s why you have the Republican party because they split from Democrats and they split from — you know, the KKK was the militant faction of that. They didn’t believe. They were the original abolitionists, the Frederick Douglass Republicans.
Yes, absolutely, they thought that was horrible. That’s why you had individuals fight for the Civil Rights Act.
JONES: Can I respond to that?
MORGAN: Unfortunately, Van, we’ve got to move on. I think you made some very good points, actually, which I think are pretty inarguable. The fact you couldn’t have got married 50 years ago pretty well says it all.
Let’s talk very quickly about a sad day, I think. Barbara Walters is going to retire apparently in May of next year, 80 odd years old, incredible energy, one of the most remarkable television journalists really ever. What do you make of that, Grover Norquist?
NORQUIST: Well, she’s had a tremendous career. She’s been great fun to watch and listen to and learn from. And I’m sure this is the sequester’s fault.
MORGAN: Dana Loesch, can we reach any point of agreement on Barbara Walters?
LOESCH: I grew up watching Barbara Walters. And it’s nice to see a strong woman with such a great — such an accomplished career in the industry and it’s sort of sad to see her go because of that.
JONES: I have had the honor to be on “The View” with her, watching her. She’s one of the best ever. She’s able to keep the empathy high, but she asks the tough questions. And I just think it’s a moment in history.
MORGAN: Yeah. Very sad day. It will be a great valedictory fly-by tour, though, lasting a year, which I’m looking forward to. So Barbara, if you’re watching, we wish you all the very best. You have been one of the truly great interviewers in television history. I for one will be glad you’re gone because you get so many great bookings which I may now have a sniff at. But that’s just a personal .
Thank you to my all-star panel, Dana, Van and Grover. I really enjoyed this. Let’s get you back soon.