It took only 12 minutes into their live coverage on Thursday night of the deadly movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana before CNN Tonight invoked gun control and President Obama with panelists lamenting the lack of “sufficient common sense” on guns, the need for a “more realistic in a interpretation of the Second Amendment” and that the issue will go down in history as President Obama’s “biggest defeat.”
When host Don Lemon asked legal analyst Sunny Hostin for her thoughts on the tragedy, Hostin brought up previous shooting before turning to President Obama’s interview hours earlier with the BBC and how “one of the things that frustrates him the most is the fact the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not seem to have sufficient common sense to have gun safety laws even in the face of these repeated mass killings.”
Parroting Obama’s argument about more Americans being killed by gun violence than terrorism, Hostin complained that:
I just don't see why we can't seem to resolve this issue and we’re just confronted over and over again with these mass shootings. When will our legislators and our politicians get on board and realize this is an issue we have to deal with.
Fellow legal analyst Mark O’Mara expressed similar sentiments, opining that his “the biggest frustration is that is now becoming the norm, whether it’s shootings we’re seeing almost on a weekly basis, sometimes involving cops and now these mass shootings.”
Wishing that “common sense ruled the day,” O’Mara implored the audience to consider a “more realistic in a interpretation of the Second Amendment that makes sense in 2015” seeing as “our kids are dying” and “for whatever reason, we’re just maintaining this immunity of reality of common sense when it comes to the way we’re killing each other, mostly with guns.”
With the injured still being tended to in Lafayette, CNN political commenator (and former Obama aide) Van Jones used the occasion to state that the lack of gun control will be go down in history as President Obama’s “biggest defeat.” Emphasizing that Obama “throws out the playbook and tries to do something” whenever “these types of things happen,” Jones elaborated on the failed debate in 2012 and 2013 to pass gun control measures that he claimed Obama has not “really recovered from” [emphasis mine]:
[B]ut when those children were slaughtered and they were shot to death in their own school, he really thought he was going to be able to do something – pass any kind of bill, break this logjam and honor those dead children and when he was unable to do that, it was a heartbreaking moment for him and I don’t think he’s really recovered from it. So, every time now you see these massacres, he feels a personal sense of failure not having been able to get more done and I have to say that, often it is the case even the best laws in the world would not stop some of these things, but one would have expected by now we could have come up with some kind of common ground answer and I know this President really suffers every time this happens.
As for his own feelings, Jones worried that Americans have “los[t] our capacity for outrage, that we adapt to the absurdity that we can’t take our children and our family to the movie and there’s not one single law, not one tiny change we could make.” Before moving back to the investigation, Hostin chimed in by invoking alleged Charleston, S.C. shooter Dylann Roof:
So, some of the measures that the President tried to push forward was universal background checks....and a ban on assault weapons and, you know, it failed in the Senate where Republicans and even some Democrats oppose them and I think what’s fascinating is that we then sort of see this background check loophole happen in the Dylann Roof shooting, right, in Charleston and so, these are just common sense solutions, like a closing some of the loopholes in the background check process and a ban on assault weapons and I don’t understand why it can’t happen and it hasn’t happened.
Later in the coverage, Lemon couldn’t help but give his own summation of Republican Governor Bobby Jindal’s views of the Second Amendment (following a press conference he had just given):
[F]or the record, he’s a frequent speaker at the National Rifle Association conferences, he's compared the rights of gun ownership to religious liberty and he has said the struggle to preserve and expand gun access is a pivotal fight that could fight another generation and as governor, he has signed several gun bills into law, including a measure that prevents anyone from publishing concealed handgun permit information. Again, in Louisiana, a sportsmen paradise, where I grew up, lots of gun owners because it is so lush when it comes to hunting and fishing and sport.