On her "Couric & Co." blog today, the CBS "Evening News" anchor posted a 10-question interview with gun control activist Paul Helmke. Couric's questions largely lobbed softballs for the Brady Campaign's Helmke to hit out of the park. But beyond that, she let slip a suggestion a keener ear might have caught and followed up on.
Helmke suggested he'd prefer a law making law-abiding citizens have to show references for purchasing a gun.
That's right, references, as in asking friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. if they think you should have the right to own a gun. References for the government to pry into your life (well beyond any criminal record) before you, a law-abiding citizen, to purchase a gun, something you have the right to do under the Constitution.
Here's the relevant portion of the interview:
In approving gun sales, the focus should be on completeness, not quickness. If his documented history wasn’t a disqualifier, it should have been. Requiring references could have made it obvious that guns shouldn’t be sold to this person. A stronger, more extensive system of real background checks might have made a difference. In addition, ballistics microstamping technology might have allowed the police to determine more quickly after the first two killings who the shooter was.
Here's Couric's question immediately following Helmke's remark about references:
What do you say to those who argue that Virginia Tech had already implemented several gun safety measures on campus-banning guns in classrooms and dorms-that apparently did nothing to help?
To that point, Helmke turned his focus on a lack of, you guessed it, even more federal gun control laws, saying that people can easily evade laws in one state or locality by purchasing them in another. In other words, he hashed out his talking points: we need more national laws to restrict gun rights.
Of course that has NOTHING to do with Virginia Tech, where campus policy forebade concealed carry, even by state-sanctioned concealed carry permit holders.
Yet rather than stop the spin and refocus the question on conservative arguments that gun-free-zones are ineffective at actually stopping gunmen from shooting sprees, she continued on with her agenda of pre-determined questions.
By the way, none of those 10 questions scrutinized Helmke or his organization for seizing so quickly on the gun control issue on April 16, mere hours after the shootings.