Chris Cuomo Demands Oregon Sheriff Rethink His Second Amendment Support

CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday repeatedly lectured an Oregon sheriff, demanding John Hanlin rethink his support for the Second Amendment in the wake of a shooting at a community college in his county. Citing the White House, the New Day anchor grilled, “What do you think of what President Obama just said that we are fooling ourselves and we're not caring about each other if we continue to ignore the role of guns in these crimes?” 

Repeatedly, the Douglas County sheriff tried to focus on the victims and the investigation. Cuomo kept reiterating, “In your mind, do you believe that we're a law away from this not having happened?” 

Citing a past defense of the Second Amendment, the journalist condescended: 

CUOMO: All right, look, why am I pushing you on this, sheriff? It's not because I don't want to 
respect the victims. It’s because you weighed in on it in the past and I want to know if your perspective is different being knee deep in one of these situations than just being someone who seeing it from abroad. 

Cuomo kept trying, wondering, “Do you think that that discussion [about guns] is part of the solution in situations like this? Or do you think it's avoiding what the answer to the solution is?” Finally, Hanlin said of his stance on the Second Amendment: “My position has not changed.” 

Over on NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer interviewed the sherriff and echoed his CNN colleague: 

MATT LAUER: Sheriff, I have to ask you about some things that are circulating online that involve you. Apparently you wrote a letter in 2013 after the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings to Joe Biden, the vice president, and you denounced any attempt at gun control. You wrote, according to what I've seen online, "Gun control is not the answer to prevent heinous crimes like school shootings."  And you added that "an attempt to change the Second Amendment would be irresponsible and an indisputable insult to the American people." First of all, are those statements accurate, and have you changed your mind at all based on what's happened in your community?

A partial transcript of the October 2 New Day segment is below:  

7:26am ET 

CHRIS CUOMO: How do you stop a man like this from getting a gun? 

...

CUOMO: In the past, you've taken opportunities to talk about it, because this is when we talk about it. In the moment of crisis is when it matters. And then, when it fades, only the families are left carrying the legacy of the burden in these situations. And you’ve in the past said “gun laws aren't the answer. I’m not even going to enforce them.” You wrote a letter to Joe Biden saying, “I'm won’t enforce gun laws because they're an infringement of constitutional rights.” What do you believe the line is?  

SHERIFF JOHN HANLIN: Again, Chris, I want to stay focused on completing this investigation and focus on the families of the victims. The discussion over firearms and control of firearms will occur and I'll dime in at a later time. But now is not that time. 

CUOMO: The families of the victims are going to ask for this to not happen again. You're going to learn this firsthand. Those of us who have covered these have learned it dozens of times. That's what they're going to want. Please don't let this happen again. Please don’t let someone else be taken this way. Mental health is going to come up and what we can do about it. Guns are going to come up and whether or not there’s any law you could have stopped this. In your mind, do you believe that we're a law away from this not having happened? 

HANLIN: I can't tell you one way or the other at this point. 

CUOMO: Do you think that that discussion is part of the solution in situations like this? Or do you think it's avoiding what the answer to the solution is? 

HANLIN: Do I think the discussion surrounding firearms and the control of firearms? 

CUOMO: Yes, yes. You think it's part of the solution? 

HANLIN: It's certainly got to be part of the discussion. The discussion has to occur. 

...

CUOMO: What do you think of what President Obama just said that we are fooling ourselves and we're not caring about each other if we continue to ignore the role of guns in these crimes? 

HANLIN: Well, respectfully, Chris, I'm not going to get involved in the gun debate at this point.

CUOMO: All right, look, why am I pushing you on this, sheriff? It's not because I don't want to 
respect the victims. It’s because you weighed in on it in the past and I want to know if your perspective is different being knee deep in one of these situations than just being someone who seeing it from abroad. 

HANLIN: My position on it has not changed. 

CUOMO: So, you still believe it's not about gun laws. It's not about uniform background checks. None of those things would help, sir? 

HANLIN: Again, I want to focus on this investigation and the welfare of the community. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.