Wow: CBS Discovers Americans Who See Gun Control as ‘Assault on Their Freedoms’

Given how strongly journalists have used the Parkland shooting to promote gun control, it’s surprising to see a simple realization of how the current debate sounds to half the country. That observation occurred on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning as co-host John Dickerson mentioned his own relatives. 

Talking to Congressman Steve Scalise, himself a victim of horrific violence, Dickerson noted: “Congressman, in talking to some of my relatives who have AR-15s, they hear this debate taking place and they think it's an assault on their freedoms and that they are being lumped in with people who clearly shouldn't have access to weapons.” 

 

 

This led him to offer a conservative-friendly softball: “Do you hear that same argument from your constituents?” Usually, this sort of question is asked in reverse with the journalist wondering if a conservative cares about victims. 

Co-host Gayle King allowed Scalise to discuss how he relates to the victims of the Parkland shooting and what advice he has: 

You talked about an emotional meeting that you had with the students. I'm sure it was that. There was a very interesting article in the New York Sunday Times with a reporter who said by day the students are activists who are out there talking about gun control. But at night, they are still healing, very scared kids. What advice did you give, or what can you say to them as someone who's been through this on how to heal? 

But, of course, no interview would be complete without at least a little pressure on gun control. King wondered if the Congressman “still” “supports AR-15s being on the street.”

It’s pretty clear that law endorsement missed some very important clues and signals. They had lots of warnings, it seems. But as someone who has been through a shooting, do you still support AR-15s being on the street? 

A transcript of the segment’s questions is below: 

CBS This Morning
2/27/18
8:05am ET

NORAH O’DONNELL: Students from Stoneman Douglas high visited members of Congress yesterday. They met with the number-three House Republican, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana. He was nearly killed in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice last June. Scalise made it through seven surgeries and returned to work just three months later. He's with us now from the Capitol. Congressman, good morning. Thank you very much for joining us. 

STEVE SCALISE: Good morning, Gayle and John and Norah, how are you? 

O’DONNELL: I'm well. Thank you. I know you met with some survivors. What kind of changes did they ask for members of Congress to make? 

... 

O’DONNELL: I want to ask about some of the specifics of policy because some of the survivors have talked about raising the age limit for those to be able to purchase an assault rifle. The President has indicated he might support that, raising the age to 21. Would you support that? 

... 

JOHN DICKERSON: Congressman, in talking to some of my relatives who have AR-15s, they hear this debate taking place and they think it's an assault on their freedoms and that they are being lumped in with people who clearly shouldn't have access to weapons. Do you hear that same argument from your constituents? 

REP. STEVE SCALISE:  I do hear that from constituents. And look, millions of people have weapons like the AR-15 and use them to defend themselves. They have it for self-defense which is the tenet of the Second Amendment. So that's one of the things that you've got to balance when you're looking at change in laws. You gotta recognize, number one, in cases like the shooting and so many others, multiple laws were already broken. But worse than that, big signs were missed in many cases by government itself. The fact that government missed so many of the signs and didn't do the things that they should have done to protect people is one of the reasons that people feel they should have a need to protect themselves and their family. 

DICKERSON: Given what you've said and people's feel being personal freedom, the request from some of the students in Parkland and in other places that there be some limitations, any limitations of any kind, on the AR-15, that's just not going to happen, is it? 

... 

KING: It’s pretty clear that law endorsement missed some very important clues and signals. They had lots of warnings, it seems. But as someone who has been through a shooting, do you still support AR-15s still being on the street? 

SCALISE:  Again, you can talk about any one weapon, and if you ban that weapon, does that mean that nothing else is going to happen? I think if you look, I was fortunate in my case that I had law enforcement there on the scene who acted accordingly and took down the shooter. I wish that would have happened at the school where clearly there was at least one law enforcement officer on the scene who hid instead of confronting the shooter.

...

KING: You talked about an emotional meeting that you had with the students. I'm sure it was that. There was a very interesting article in the New York Sunday Times with a reporter who said by day the students are activists who are out there talking about gun control. But at night, they are still healing, very scared kids. What advice did you give, or what can you say to them as someone who's been through this on how to heal? 


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