On Tuesday, the gun control debate raged on as CNN’s Piers Morgan once again called for stricter gun laws in the United States following the Sikh temple shooting. The topic sent the entire “Piers Morgan Tonight” panel into a heated argument, both sides refusing to compromise on their views.
“We’re seeing a pattern here of people who are clearly mentally disturbed in some way, lawfully purchasing handguns. We saw it with Jared Loughner, with James Holmes in Aurora, with Wade Michael Page now… What can we do about this?”
“Well, first of all, it’s very dangerous to try and preventatively detain people based on predictions on what they are likely to do in the future. That leads to tyranny in many kinds of societies,” panelist and criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz replied.
While that is a very valid point, Dershowitz then argued that “gun control” would have the “least negative impact on civil liberties of America.”
Then Morgan turned to panelist and attorney David Kopel and asked how “pro-gun” people could possibly think there was no need for action on gun control after two mass shootings in less than a month in the United States.
Kopel said he agreed that the issue is urgent, but there’s a need for a solution that is “intelligent and thoughtful” and not one that infringes on the rights at law-abiding gun owners. He added that future gun laws should strengthen protections for responsible gun owners and limit them for criminals and mentally unstable people.
Panelist Dan Baum then jumped in the debate and said what no one ever seems to do is “listen to gun owners.”
“Forty percent of American households own guns — very, very few of those people commit crimes with them,” Baum said. Gun owners identify very strongly with their guns, now you can like that or not like that, but they take a tremendous amount of pride in being able to live alongside these very dangerous tools and not hurt anyone.”
Using Dershowitz as an example, he said anti-gun advocates have a nasty habit of telling responsible gun owners that they can’t be trusted with guns. The reaction from gun owners is, Baum said, “to hell with you.”
On the defense, Dershowitz then compared gun laws to speed limits, saying very few people who go over the speed limit kill people but they are in place to prevent those things from happening. As he gave his analogy, Baum looked perplexed.
“At what point do you try to say to Americans, the right to bear arms, according to the Constitution, doesn’t mean the right for crazy people to really go into gun stores, buy hand guns and assault weapons, whatever it may be, and go blow up Sikh temples or movie theaters?” Morgan asked.
Kopel used England’s extremely strict gun regulations as an example, saying the violent crime rate increased significantly after the country implemented gun control.
“Hang on, hang on, hang on,” Morgan interrupted. “You used this with me last time, and it’s completely untrue.” He added that gun crime is on a “rapid decline” in England.
But Kopel refused to back down and said there are more burglaries in the U.K. because of the restrictive gun laws. At this, Morgan grew visually frustrated, calling Kopel’s argument “fatuous.”
“You call something ridiculous but you don’t even know the studies,” Kopel said.
“I do know the studies, I’ve lived in Britain most of my life,” Morgan shot back. “Trying to draw some parallel between the burglary… rates in Britain because we don’t have guns, what would you suggest? We go and arm everyone in Britain to kill everyone that burgles their house? Come on!”
Watch some of fiery segment via CNN here:
This story has been updated.