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December 6th, 2012
12:13 PM ET

Carol Roth compares gun laws to violence in Syria, Alan Dershowitz disagrees: "That is so ridiculous"

Four days since the shocking murder-suicide involving the Kansas City Chief's Jovan Belcher, on Wednesday evening "Piers Morgan Tonight" welcomed a trio of guests charged with adding their insight and expertise to the ongoing debate of gun control in America.

Joining the program live, Carol Roth defended the rights of people to own firearms without restrictions, drawing a unique parallel to unrest in other countries:

"What it boils down to is the ability to protect yourself, Piers," began the "New York Times" best-selling author. "If you look at what is happening right now in Syria with the threat of chemical weapons, the only reason why they're not going to use it is because somebody else has a credible threat, such as the U.S., of using a similar weapon."

On December 1st, the 25-year-old Belcher used a firearm to murder his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, before ultimately driving to the his team's training facility and killing himself.

Earlier Wednesay, Roth took to Twitter, suggesting that weapons aren't the concern, but rather, it's those baring the arms:

Speaking live on the program last evening, she stood by her digital statement, insisting that given Belcher's state of mind, the tragedy would have occurred regardless of any restrictions preventing him from owning a firearm:

"As a gun owner, you want to be able to protect yourself. If you are somebody who is so damaged, who is at a point where you don't care about life enough that you are willing to take somebody else's life, then what that comes down to is that that person is not going to obey the gun laws."

Joining the debate out of Boston, Alan Dershowitz did not concur with Roth's Syria analogy:

"That is so ridiculous," exclaimed the Harvard-educated lawyer: "The implications of that is that every American should have access to chemical weapons, to nuclear weapons. It is just so absurd, it will result in an escalation of weapon ownership."

Comparing the United States to other nations in Europe and Asia, Dershowitz argued that America's reasonably lax gun laws have contributed to unnecessary deaths:

"We have the highest murder rate in the world, it hasn't protected us. It has resulted in arguments that should have a consequence of maybe a slap in the face, resulting in a bullet through the heart. It resulted in a double murder in this case. A murder-suicide. Guns just don't protect."

The third member of Wednesday's debate, Abby Huntsman took a position that fell somewhere in between that of Roth's and Dershowitz's, as she referenced her own social media jab that she'd tossed at the host on Wednesday afternoon:

"I think what's so important, though, is to make sure that we don't disrespect our Constitution. Our Second Amendment right, which was put in place because of - as I said on Twitter, the crazy Brits like you, Piers Morgan, that they were - wanted the American people to feel protected from the British at the time," joked the host and producer of HuffPost Live, and daughter of 2012 presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr.

"Times have changed since then. I don't think the founding fathers intended for assault weapons. For AK-47s to be walking around the streets. I don't think people should be able to go online and be able to buy guns. There should absolutely be rules in place."

Watch the clip, and listen to the arguments, as Wednesday's three guests debate the need for stricter gun laws in the United States.
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soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Brendan

    Your segment with Carol was so full of lies. Piers, you and you guests make you show a blowhard pundit show rather than an interview show. You let one of you guests get away with saying you can just go online and buy guns. That's not true you need to go through a licensed dealer. Its nit different than ordering one from a catalogue in a store. In fact its harder to now, you used to be able to just order one through sears catalogue. Your guest lie, and Alan is a mental midget. Embarasment to the legal profession.

    December 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew Klein

      So when I walk into a gun show down in Texas, right on the border with Mexico, and buy two AK's or a half dozen AR-15's with no verification or questions asked, that's going through a licensed dealer? Yeah... okay.

      December 9, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sturl

      You can still get guns from Sears, they just call it Cabela's now. You can also still get them from Wal-mart and the Mexican Trunk-discount Express without much hassle, don't worry.

      December 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • john willow

      You can't spell or use grammar properly, and you call Alan Dershowitz a mental midget. Right. Only in America.

      December 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Justice

      The problem isn't guns the problem is culture or lack thereof. There is a military weapon in every home in Switzerland. The have a low crime and murder rate. I honestly do not believe that our government could expect the same results from Americans. Do you ?

      December 10, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. BEttoOne

    Oh the lies....The US does NOT have the highest murder rate in the world. We are not even in the top 20

    December 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. max some times Guns do good things. But we seem to forget this don't we when bad people do bad things with guns.

    December 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mike

    How can Piers get away with saying things like "the US has the highest murder rate in the world"? Doesn't CNN have fact checkers?

    December 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Douglas Messer

      America DOES have the highest murder rate among first world nations. Would you really like to throw the third world hellholes into the equation? Doing so would be a true lie. Gun advocates say that it is all about self-defense, but they have NO evidence that carrying a gun does anything to provide protection, while those on the other side most certainly do.

      December 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Jason

        First, know what a first world nation is. It has nothing to do with social or technological development. First world nations are those who were allied with the US during the Cold War. Two of which were French Guiana and South Africa, both have much higher murder rates than the US. And by civilized, I guess you forgot about Russia. They are civilized, but sadly their murder rate is much higher than ours.

        And there is proof that a gun protects. In Decatur, GA a man broke into a woman's house while she was showering. It was originally to rob her, but he decided to drag her out of the bathroom and commit a crime of opportunity. She tricked him by telling him she'd give him her jewelry from her nightstand if he wouldn't hurt her. He let her go to her nightstand, and she removed her .22 pistol. Shot the intruder 10 times, causing him to flee and bleed to death in the process.

        Another case of a responsible gun owner avoiding bodily harm because the had means to defend themselves against a physically stronger assailant.

        December 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Truth please

    What's truthful any more?

    December 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jason

    I'm not sure if Mr. Dershowitz was being intentionally dense, or if he really did totally miss Roth's point. She's not saying all citizens need access to chemical/nuclear weapons. She's alluding to the mutually assured destruction stance the US took during the nuclear arms race with the Soviets, except she used Syria and chemical weapons, and she's absolutely correct. Anyone, a country, terrorist group or a criminal is much less likely to attack a target that is armed and capable of defending themselves. Criminals especially target those they perceive as weak and/or careless. When's the last time you heard about a lone gunman walking into a police station or a military base and opening fire? The targets are places filled with victims who won't be armed or have the ability to fight back.

    Robert Heinlein perhaps put it best:
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."

    What we need aren't fewer guns and more restrictive (but ineffective) gun laws. We need more responsible gun owners!

    December 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • etienne

      No, we need less guns, registration for all who own guns, AND more responsible gun owners.

      December 7, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • Jason

        "More responsible" applies to number. Either you are responsible or not there are no degrees in this case. You can't have less guns and more responsible gun owners. As far as registration goes, it does nothing to prevent gun related crime. It only helps identify who officially owned a gun that was used in a crime, not who committed the crime. It also doesn't prevent a criminal from obtaining a gun outside of legal channels.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roy

    Let every state in the US have guns even allow conceal and carry i bet the US CRIME rate will fall

    December 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Straight shooter

      Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow ccw now. Look how well the gun restrictions have worked for Chicago. Shootings everyday by thugs. Anti-gun individuals live in a Utopia state of mind. They make for a great victim pool for the thugs. They don't, nor will ever understand that thugs will always get access to a firearm, and it will never be legally. These are people that think if they are faced with danger, they simply call 911 and the police will save them. Of course not realizing that in most cases, by the time an officer arrives, they will most likely be dead or badly injured. I believe there needs to be a much better training course/requirements to carry a weapon. Some of the ccw classes are a joke. There should be weapon qualifications on the range to carry. Better training and a required psyc review/certification by a psycologist, similar to military/police. A mentally unstable individual will find a way to inflict mass damage. Ever heard of an I.E.D?! Untrained individuals are equally dangerous with a weapon. Proper training, proper response. Poor training, poor response. Simple as that.

      December 9, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. SGT Hall

    Canada has more guns per capita than the US...isn't that proof that people kill?

    December 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Get real

      People kill with guns not with daisies.

      December 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Jason

        Stuff a daisy down someone's windpipe, and they'll be just as dead as if they were shot. Also, people commit murder with blunt objects (like rocks), ligatures (like belts), and their bare hands. So, by your logic we should make everything out of Nerf, have our pants around our ankles and have our hands amputated.

        Make no mistake. If someone wants to commit murder they don't just throw up their hands and quit because they don't have a gun. They use whatever is available.

        December 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shamus Awl

    I hate the argument that the founding fathers never intended for us to have AK-47. Of course they didn't because they didn't know about them. But what they did intend is to provide us with a final option to a tyrannical government. Just read what Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and all the anti-federalist said about the 2nd Amendment and the need for them. It isn't about protection from criminals but protection from a tyrannical government. Does that mean we have the right to AK-47s? Yes it does. Do I want my neighbor to have an ICBM in his backyard? No I don't.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Phil J

    Carol hit the nail on the head. People kill people, not guns. Until we understand that fact we will never see a reduction in the murder rate. Take away guns, people will use other methods. Never heard anyone blame a tire iron for someones death.

    December 8, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. One Opinion

    If Piers Morgan has such a problem with the way America is structured wonder why he stays. Could it have something to do with making a ton of money?

    December 8, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. danial54

    These anti gunners are making me sick. suck. Go back to England. Americans as a whole love our guns and the second amendment.

    December 8, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lord Toronaga

    Just the other day CNN had a survey on gun ownership & rights following the Belcher murder. It was overwhelmingly in favor of gun ownership. So. Morgan. Where are you going with this BS? And this is a left leaning news service. We do not want to end up with sissies like you running our lives; therefore the need for guns....

    December 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Lord Toronaga

    You can tell that all these people who are against assault type rifles never handled any gun what so ever. Personally speaking, any lever action rifle chambered in .357 or .44 magnum is an awesome old school assault rifle. Lever actions all but eliminated the Indian nations in the late 1800's. Try banning the most prodigious hunting rifle in American history. NOT.

    December 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jim Bob

    "Times have changed since then. I don't think the founding fathers intended for assault weapons."

    The colonists at the time of the revolution were armed with the same technology as the tyranny that tried to oppress them. The same cannot be said of Americans today. Other than that there is a tyranny trying to oppress them. The media is part of that tyranny. Morgan is a tool.

    December 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Lord Toronaga

    I bet they never imagined GAY marriage either. EVER. But here we are.

    December 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zahra

      Folks sure are touchy on this sbeujct!Heck, the only questions a doc asks me is if I have medical coverage. If you own guns, and a doc asks, and if you have young kids, he is probably only trying to make sure you are being safe with a loaded gun. I see no harm in that. That is his job as a baby doctor...sure. You know what to do. But how many children have been killed by loaded guns in their homes.Relax. No one trying to take your gun away from you.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Loki

    Maybe Morgan & Costas should get a hotel room together and make babies.

    December 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Crow T Robot

    How about a nice Marlin model 1895 45-70 lever action 6 shot for over the top stopping power. 405 grain....

    December 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RN in ER

    Robert Dahl says one of the most important aspects of a free democracy is the press.

    Piers is part of the problem. Lying to the American people is wrong. You can't buy a gun online.

    The founding fathers never imagined income tax either, we should abolish it.

    December 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • andrieux

      not only did they not envision an income tax but they revolted for less than we currently are subject to.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Robert

    The US has the highest murder rate in the world? Go look up some statistics. That honor goes to Honduras and it's about 22 times higher than the US rate.

    December 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Occupy Your Lives

    The criminal will simply use a sword, a baseball bat, a Tire Iron, or build a killing tool in his garage.

    You cannot prevent humans from causing evil. Evil will always find a way, when it has taken possession of one's soul.

    A well armed sane majority is the best defence against the next Virginia Tech or Aurora Colorado!

    A well armed population is also the best defence against a tyrannical government, would it ever decide to try something funny.

    December 9, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sturl

      This argument is lame.

      If someone came at you with a baseball bat or a tire iron, does that mean you're such a wimp that you would stand no chance whatsoever in that situation? And that someone swinging a bat at you from a few feet away is somehow just as threatening to your life as someone that can twitch a finger from a good distance and put you down immediately without a fighting chance?

      Do you think that the guy in Aurora would have done such damage running around with a sword?

      Do you really believe that a bunch of civilians in a dark theater filled with smoke would be able to appropriately discharge toward the attacker without hitting any of the other people in the theater? Do you really believe that a theater full of nerds and children could eliminate the attacker without causing other problems? Do you honestly believe that if every single person in that theater pulled out a weapon and pointed it at that guy, that he would have laid down his weapons and said, "alright, you got me"?

      How do you people forget that these "criminals" are just crazy civilians like you or me, and arming the entire populous isn't exactly going to keep those with a death wish from going ahead with their plans. Just like how a baseball bat is not going to do nearly as much damage as a gun, and it is a thousand times easier to keep from being mortally injured when attacked with one.

      December 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Jason

        So only "wimps" can't defend themselves against a tire iron or a baseball bat. So, I guess a guy in the wheelchair or a 80 year old grandmother with arthritis just has to accept the fact that they're doomed wimps if someone comes at them with a baseball bat? How about a 30 year old mother of two home alone with her children? Is she a wimp because she can't use her bare hands to best a tire iron wielding intruder, or should she run and leave her children to fend for themselves?

        Even in the hands of a normal person, a heavy, blunt object can cause a fatal skull fracture in a single hit. Anyone skilled in hand-to-hand combat will tell you that in a life and death situation, you're a fool if you have access to a weapon and don't use it. So, no one with any sense would attempt to defend themselves with their bare hands against a weapon unless they had no other option.

        The gunman in Aurora picked that movie because the targets would be less likely to be armed or have the courage/skill to fight back (nerds and children). Even one person in that theater armed with a handgun could have stopped him without hitting an innocent if no other way than lying prone and shooting his legs as he walked by. And if everyone pulled a weapon, he wouldn't have given up. He wouldn't have had a chance or a choice. He would have been stopped by the very people he had come there to kill.

        Criminals are like predators in the wild. They pick easy targets. You don't want to be a victim find a way to defend yourself. For many people who don't have physical power or skill to fight hand to hand a gun is the only way they can even the odds, and allow them to defend themselves and their loved ones.

        December 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sturl

        An 80 year old grandmother with arthritis is able to wip out a handgun, aim it with her steady hands and fire it with her nimble fingers to stop some kid that already has a gun pointed at her head? Or even that she would be able to with a kid with a bat coming at her?

        Pretending that having even one person with a gun in that theater would have made an ounce of difference is ridiculous and not linked with reality. This isn't a movie, it's real life. In a dark theater filled with smoke, panicking kids and a gunman covered in body armer, you really, really believe that someone with a handgun could have made him retreat or fired a good enough shot to stop him? And to believe that if he had gone in with a baseball bat or a sword and done equal damage is even more ridiculous. You are a fool.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
      • Jason

        It's painfully obvious you've never fired a handgun or other firearm, or if you did you weren't shown the proper technique (much less practiced). I've seen my 85 year old grandmother who has severe arthritis (esp. in her hands) not only fire a 9mm pistol, but also easily hit a human silhouette target at 20 feet. So, I know it's possible with a little thing called "PRACTICE". You don't have to be young, strong or nimble which is why guns. Ever hear of the quote "God created man, but Sam Colt made them equal"? Firearms are the only weapons which don't require a great deal of strength, dexterity or months/years of specialized training to use effectively.

        People who regularly practice with a handgun could have stopped the Aurora gunman in a dark, smoke-filled, crowded theater. He was able to hit people. To paraphrase you, that wasn't a movie. That was real life. So, the reverse is at the very least plausible if not certain. Practice of proper techniques and training (doesn't have to be police or military) make a world of difference. Body armor (even Interceptor) doesn't cover the face, arms, legs, or feet and provides little protection to the sides of the torso. That right there is ~50% of the body surface area unarmored. No one ever said he'd have to be shot across the full length of the theater. He walked by people laying prone. Anyone of them could have placed shots that would have crippled his arm(s)/leg(s) thus making it possible to disarm him.

        A person skilled with a sword could have killed the same number of unarmed people or more (look at how many people throughout history have been killed by blades). He would have just had to have been closer to do it. Not difficult if your targets can't flee from your reach. Also, If anyone had tried to rush him it would have been nearly impossible to perform a bare-handed disarm on a person who is wielding a sword. You can grab a hold of a gun's barrel to push the muzzle away from you and others. Try doing that with a sword, and let me know how you like your new prosthetic hands.

        Please actually get some experience with guns so you know what you are talking about before you start calling people fools. Otherwise, you're just hurting your own cause.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Steve D.

    What you first have to understand is the the NRA's plan for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and others who can't own them is to rely on those restricted individuals to be honest and tell the truth. That's the NRA plan in effect right now because the law allows the sale of guns to people without a background check, without even showing an ID.

    We need one small reform: All guns sales and transfers must require a background check. Every gun owner is responsible for their guns unless legally transferred to someone else. Then I don't care what you own or how many because we'll ahve an actual system for keeping guns away from those we know shouldn't have them.

    I'd think all those law abiding gun owners would love this plan since it prevents all those illegal gun owners from buying guns openly, like they can now. I'm told gun owners are more law abiding and interested in a civil, well behaved society than msot people. This would seem to be exactly what they'd like.

    If you don't like it, jsut tell me why we should keep the current system which puts criminals and others on the honor system and depends on their honesty to keep all fo us safe. That's the NRA plan, to depend on the honesty of criminals to help keep us safe.

    It wouldn't be perfect, but it would be a lot better than what we have now.

    December 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  23. john willow

    "First, know what a first world nation is. It has nothing to do with social or technological development. First world nations are those who were allied with the US during the Cold War."

    – Your definition is way outdated. It includes Angola, which no one would mistake for a highly developed, civilized country.The UN defines First World by a Human Development Index, which includes high levels of education, social structure, etc. In this sense, the U.S. with over 30,000 gun deaths a year, is an embarrassment. Those deaths aren't from vigilantes killing criminals – they're from domestic violence, suicides, accidents, and gang violence.

    "Even one person in that theater armed with a handgun could have stopped him without hitting an innocent if no other way than lying prone and shooting his legs as he walked by"

    – Charles Bronson fantasyland. Even cops don't try to hit someone in the legs in a split-second situation. And the killer was wearing a bulletproof vest. The killer should never have been able to get his hands on guns. And these people do not go to the slums of the nation to buy guns off gang members. They get them at flea markets and pawn shops. 40% of guns are purchased without background checks. These people do not subsequently sign up for police training

    "Canada has more guns per capita than the US...isn't that proof that people kill?"

    – You're wrong. The U.S. is number one and Canada is ranked thirteenth. And the guns in Canada are hunting rifles. It's illegal to own a handgun, if you're not in a law enforcement capacity.

    Homicide rates have dropped in states with better gun control, but someone looking for a gun can always go to the next state. So Federal regulation, including thorough and universal background checks, as welll as mandatory training , is needed. The Swiss model would be an effective one. And if you do some checking, you will find out that the U.S. Founding Fathers restricted certain groups of people from owning guns, as well as forcing people to bring in guns for registration.

    If you are afraid of having your background thoroughly checked and receiving mandatory training, that alone is a good reason for you not to own guns.

    December 10, 2012 at 5:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zac

      "And the killer was wearing a bulletproof vest."

      So what? Ask any cop or vet, if you get hit in the vest, you still go down. You survive, but two or three hits to the vest and you probably aren't fighting anymore.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kavita

    "If you own guns, and a doc asks, and if you have young kids, he is probably only tinryg to make sure you are being safe with a loaded gun. I see no harm in that."Me neither fred. It is when the Doctor, who does not shoot, does not have a carry permit, and who has not gone to a gun safety class was instructing me on how to be safe with my guns, and giving me bad advice, that I got a little cross. Being safe with a gun is absolutely crucial, but if the doc knows nothing about that topic, what do they have to offer?Trey

    December 17, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse | Reply

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