CNN's Costello Wonders If Orlando Is 'Turning Point' For Gun Control

Carol Costello was true to her liberal form on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom with regard to her pro-gun control slant. Costello tossed softball questions at Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; and, as she's done in the past, gave a gun control supporter a platform to call for new firearms regulations, especially in the wake of the terrorist attack in Orlando. She also wondered, "Is this the turning point?" [video below]

The anchor led into the segment with Watts by pointing out that "a new report found nine out of ten people on the terror watch list who wanted to purchase a gun were able to do so." She continued with a soundbite from a gun store owner who asserted that "if you're on a watch list where you can't even fly, you shouldn't be able to buy a firearm."

Costello first prompted her guest to respond to a Twitter post from Donald Trump: "Donald Trump came out with a Tweet just a short time ago saying that he's going to break with the NRA and tell them that he would not allow people on the terror watch list or the no-fly list to buy guns. Your thoughts?" Watts replied by praising Trump: "That's great. I mean, we are looking for a bipartisan solution to this problem." She also hyped that "since 2004, more than 2,000 suspected terrorists have taken advantage of these incredibly-lax laws."

The CNN journalist followed up by noting that "most Republicans would not back Donald Trump on this issue....It's a constitutional issue. You have a constitutional right to own a gun. You don't have a constitutional right to get on board an airplane. So, if you're on a terror watch list, you should be able to buy a gun." She asked, "How would you respond to them?" Watts responded with more liberal talking points:

SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA: ...I would say that the majority of Americans want this, and that some members of Congress have stood in the way — because far too long, they've beholden to the gun lobby. The gun lobby is worried about protecting the profits of gun manufacturers. Americans are worried about protecting the lives of their children and their families and their communities.

Costello ended the segment with her "turning point" question. The gun control activist answered by claiming that "we are winning in the states. We're winning in corporate boardrooms. It's time for us to pass some common-sense legislation in Congress. I'm the mom of a gay teen, and I know that there's a lot of hate out there. There's no reason to arm hate. It is time to disarm hate."

Back in August 2015, the anchor revealed after the shooting of two journalists in Virginia that "it just makes me angry" that "nothing is ever done" to try to prevent future mass shootings because gun rights supporters "hide behind their old, tired arguments."

The full transcript of the Shannon Watts segments from the June 15, 2016 edition of CNN Newsroom:

CAROL COSTELLO: The attack here in Orlando reigniting the debate over who can legally purchase guns. A new report found nine out of ten people on the terror watch list who wanted to purchase a gun were able to do so — and that's something one gun shop manager I talked with finds upsetting.

HECTOR PAGAN, MANAGER, UNIVERSAL WEAPONS: I'm going to be honest with you: yes, it does — because if you are — if you're on a — on a watch list where you can't even fly, you shouldn't be able to buy a firearm — or any type of weapon, for that matter. I — I do believe that.

COSTELLO: All right. Joining me now to talk about this is Shannon Watts. She's the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Welcome, Shannon.

SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA: Thank you so much.

[CNN Graphic: "Terror In Orlando: Trump To Meet With NRA On No-Fly List Purchases; 9 Out Of 10 On 'No-Fly' List Can Purchase Guns"]

COSTELLO: Can you hear me? Okay. You know—

WATTS: I can—

COSTELLO: Donald Trump came out with a Tweet just a short time ago — good. Donald Trump came out with a Tweet just a short time ago saying that he's going to break with the NRA and tell them that he would not allow people on the terror watch list or the no-fly list to buy guns. Your thoughts?

WATTS: That's great. I mean, we are looking for a bipartisan solution to this problem. The NRA has stood in the way of passing legislation that would close what we call the terror gap. The reality is that since 2004, more than 2,000 suspected terrorists have taken advantage of these incredibly-lax laws.

We don't want a red herring. We want a bill with teeth. We want a bill that will prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns. And hopefully, that's the conversation Donald Trump will be having with the NRA.

COSTELLO: But as you know, most Republicans would not back Donald Trump on this issue. And gun rights owners (sic) would say, you know what? It's a constitutional issue. You have a constitutional right to own a gun. You don't have a constitutional right to get on board an airplane. So, if you're on a terror watch list, you should be able to buy a gun. How would you respond to them?

WATTS: Well, first of all, we know that responsible gun owners actually support things like closing the background check loophole and other common-sense measures, like preventing guns from being sold to suspected terrorists. So, I would say that the majority of Americans want this, and that some members of Congress have stood in the way — because far too long, they've beholden to the gun lobby. The gun lobby is worried about protecting the profits of gun manufacturers. Americans are worried about protecting the lives of their children and their families and their communities. And that is the sentiment that needs to win.

Congress needs to do its job. It needs to disarm hate; and it needs to act immediately to prevent another crime like this.

COSTELLO: I know we ask this question every time a tragedy happens — like the tragedy in Orlando. Is — is this the turning point?

[CNN Graphic: "Shooting Reignites Debate Over 'Terror Gap'"]

WATTS: You know, I hope so. I hope that something is done. Something will be done eventually. I mean, we are winning in the states. We're winning in corporate boardrooms. It's time for us to pass some common-sense legislation in Congress.

I'm the mom of a gay teen, and I know that there's a lot of hate out there. There's no reason to arm hate. It is time to disarm hate. And I would ask — ask every American to text 'disarm hate' to 64433 and join us. We put 13,000 calls in to Congress yesterday. We sent 50,000 petitions in 24 hours. We want this changed.

COSTELLO: All right. Shannon Watts, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

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