In the aftermath of the Sikh temple shootings, CNN's Piers Morgan this week has resumed his crusade for more gun control in America, although, on the bright side, on Tuesday's Piers Morgan Tonight, he hosted a more evenly balanced debate in which he and fellow liberal gun control advocate Alan Dershowtiz teamed up against two conservative opponents of gun control.
At one point, Morgan notably obsessed over the gun crime statistic specifically as his conservative guest tried to argue that the availability of guns to the general population has an impact on different types of crimes since gun owners can defend themselves and thus bring down crime generally.
But, as video of the debate shows, the liberal CNN host was still not convinced that guns make law-abiding citizens safer.
Below is a transcript of Morgan's questions to his guests from the Tuesday, August 8, Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN:
PIERS MORGAN: Let me start with you, Alan Dershowitz, we're seeing a pattern here of people who are clearly mentally disturbed in some way lawfully purchasing handguns. We saw it with Jared Laughner, with James Holmes in Aurora, with Wade Michael Page now, all buying handguns perfectly legally, all clearly in some way deranged mentally. What can we do about this?
[ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY]
Yeah, but, David Kopel, my question for you really is this: I just don't think it's good enough for people who are pro-guns and get agitated about anyone who wants gun control to simply react to all these incidents by saying there's no need to do anything because, as there are more of them, the need to do something becomes more and more urgent, doesn't it?
[DAVID KOPEL, CATO INSTITUTE
Recounts case of a gunman being stopped by an armed parishioner at a megachurch in Colorado Springs in December 2007]
Dan Baum, how do you make it harder for crazy people to legally buy weapons that they can go and do crazy things with?
[DAN BAUM, AUTHOR OF GUN GUYS: A ROAD TRIP]
Let me bring Alan in there because you've had a few whacks. [DERSHOWITZ]
Alan, let me bring in David Kopel. At what point do you try and say to Americans: The right to bear arms, according to your Constitution, doesn't mean the right for crazy people to be able to go into gun stores, buy hand guns, assault weapons, whatever it may be, and go and blow up Sikh temples or movie theaters? What do you do about that culture?
[Kopel recounts that crime in Britain increased as gun restrictions increased.]
Yeah, but let me jump in because you're using, hang on, hang on, hang on. ... You used this with me last time. It's completely untrue that the reality about the British gun situation isn't actually - particularly because of the new handgun laws brought into the mid-90s after the Dunblair atrocity - in fact, gun crime and murders from guns are on a rapid decline throughout Britain, and, you know, you, I think, threw at me-
DAVID KOPEL, CATO INSTITUTE: I'm talking about total crime...
MORGAN: Wait a minute. You also threw at me Norway. You said, "Look, it even happens in Norway." No, the reality about Norway is Norway had a massacre. Most countries, at some stage, have a crazy person who commits an atrocity. But normally, in an average year, the last ordinary figures for 2005, it had five killings from guns. America last year had, what, 11,000, 12,000? There is a massive difference here.
KOPEL: Dan, I think, made a point that other countries with no guns have higher homicide rates than the United States. But the point is, you think, you're fixated on guns. In America, we look at the harms of guns, like them being in the wrong hands, and also the benefits like crime deterrence. The reason that Britain has a much higher burglary rate than the United States and that most British burglaries take place when the families are home, is because Britain has outlawed self-defense with a firearm. Studies of American burglars show they work very hard-
MORGAN: That is such a fatuous argument.
KOPEL: -not to come into the house because they are afraid of getting shot. You can call something ridiculous, but you don't even know the studies. They're very clear...
MORGAN: I do know the studies. I've lived in Britain most of my life. Of course I know the studies. You're trying to draw some parallel between the burglary, the burglary rates in Britain if you don't have guns. What would you suggest, we go and arm everyone in Britain to kill everyone that burgles a house? Come on!
KOPEL: In the United States, we do that, and we have a lot fewer burglaries and hardly any home invasion burglaries. Yes.
MORGAN: Well, we don't have 12,000 gun murders a year, do we? Let me turn to Dan Baum. Let's try and get it back to a more even keel debate because it is incendiary, it does inspire a lot of passion. what is the sensible way of moving the two sides together? Where do you bring the "I want gun control" lobbyists to the "I don't want any gun control"? Where is there a meeting of minds?
I mean, you could argue that Mitt Romney in Massachusetts actually brought in a meeting of minds and did actually move this debate sensibly. Now, he doesn't want you to remind him of it, but he did.
Look, let me just, before we go to Alan, what I would say is it's very good to have the debate. I think not having the debate is completely the wrong response. America has to debate this because you've had two of the worst gun incidents in the last 10 years in the space of three weeks, you know, you've got to talk about this.
It's been a fascinating debate. Let's keep having the debate. The important thing in America is to keep talking about this and try not to get overexcited about it, but to try and be pragmatic and, you know, in the end, I suspect there has to be some kind of limitation to the shear volume of guns you have out there. There has to be. But for now, Alan, David, Dan, thank you for joining me. I appreciate it.