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January 20th, 2013
07:39 PM ET

David Axelrod on firearm legislation: "I think the vast majority of gun owners understand that there are reasonable steps that we need to take"

Just hours prior to the 57th Presidential Inauguration, tonight Piers Morgan hosts a special Sunday evening edition of his primetime program, reporting from Washington, D.C. in advance of Monday's pomp and circumstance.

Stationed on the mall in the nation's capital, this evening the host welcomes a trio of political pundits, as David Axelrod, Jim Messina and Stephanie Cutter all join Morgan for face to face analysis of all things presidential and executive.

With the commander-in-chief set to officially open his second stint at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Morgan wonders why it is that the gun lobby has so much influence over law-making:

"What I find so baffling is the apparent power the NRA wields for example in the political system in America," the British presenter admits, directing his inquiry at Axelrod. "Compared to the amount of money they put in, the amount of membership they have, you don’t really understand why they have such power or why so many politicians at senior level are so frightened of them?"

"The truth is that it has been part of the American culture and tradition for a long time, particularly in rural areas. Hunting, gun ownership, parents passing the tradition of hunting down to children, that’s been part of our culture. On the other hand, we have in some areas of our communities, real problems with violence," says the man who served as campaign adviser to Barack Obama during his successful run for Presidency in 2008. "I think that there's an opportunity now to do something that didn’t exist before, but I am mindful of the fact that the NRA may speak in some ways for more of a fringe when it comes to this notion of people being in armed in case an overweening government comes to get them, and you hear some of that. But I think the vast majority of gun owners understand that there are reasonable steps that we need to take."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, then tune in to a special edition of "Piers Morgan Tonight" broadcast from Washington, D.C. live at 9 p.m. EST.
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Filed under: The Big Story
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Southern Jameson West

    Dear CNN
    I have a solution to this gun issue which, although won't bring back those we've lost, might provide a non-zero sum solution to the parties most affected.
    Best Regards

    January 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jackie

    Another gun ban does nothing. Doesn't even make any sense the way they try to figure out what weapon to ban. Then they leave them on the street thinking they supply will dry up? Maybe, just maybe if you made possession of a high capacity magazine a felony, you might have an impact. Limit high powered rifle mags to 5 and pistols to 10. Might, just might get that bill passed because you can go after that one accessory that makes the weapon able to do all the rounds in such a short time. Universal background checks is only common sense. OK, flame away, but most gun owners know that this is very true or they wouldn't get so upset about it.

    January 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      I have no problems with Universal Background checks, provided that the government create a site where I can log in and do the check just as an FFL does. I should not have to pay someone or travel a distance to do the check. However, I strongly disagree with a limit on the number of shots I have. Limiting magazines will only limit what law-abiding people will have, the criminals will still have their 20, 30 or even 100 round drums.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • Jackie

        Dave, Here is the thing. If a bad guy is able to get off that many rounds, you are done for. The idea that I would ever end up in a gun fight that I shoot 30 rounds is crazy. If it was a mall shooter and I couldn’t get the job done with just a few rounds, then I shouldn’t be shooting. We are responsible for every bullet that doesn’t hit the suspect. A good guy spraying bullets through the mall is just as bad as the bad buy doing it.

        January 22, 2013 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Mangan

      It is often stated claim by perosns advocating gun ban legislation that High capacity Magazines should be banned . They rationalize the claim by following a series of erroneous arguments; such as , they increase the fire power and lethality (a psuedo technical argument), They have no sporting purpose, No One need them (the utility arguments). They also use the arguments based on moral attribution, that there are good guns and bad guns and good featuress and bad features and in thier opinion these thind are bad, god only for killing people, etc. What is lost in the argument and what irritates and angers the gun right advocates is that these arguments are false. Thay may sound good but they are not sound arguments. Here are some simple facts.
      1. Civilian assault weapons are semi automatic, not full automatic. They fiire only one round per pull (and release/ Reset of the trigger). This means that he capacity of a magazine does not effect the rate of fire of the gun. It may hold more but it cannot fire faster because the magazine holds more rounds. The speed with which one can change a magazine make s the size or capacity of the magazine immaterial in a semi auto action. If one has a 20 round magazine one can fire it in almost the same time as one who has two 10 rounders. Time to change a magazine is generally 1 second or less. This is NOT the case in a full auto fire arm. In full aout actions one hold of the trigger sets off a continuous firibng action till the magazine is emptied. The capacity of the magazine does have a real impact in a full auto gun. However, those machine guns/full auto guns have been restricted since the 1930 Federal Firearms laws were passed.
      2. The portrayal of assault weapons as evil and some how more dangerous than other types of rifles , such as a hunting rifle is a false construct. Thechnially they are no different and function in the same way as aany other semi automatic firearm, rifle, shot gun or pistol. This creates for the gun banner, a logical dilema.. on what basis do you carve them out or single them out as posing an unusual threat ; when they don't! They are not different in function (only one shot for one pull of the trigger). They do not spray bullets because of a high capacity magazine (full auto's do!). They are not more powerful, either by rate of rire, (other types shoot as many as fat) or by ballistics, other calibers are much more powerful in size, weight, velosity and in kenetic energy.
      In truth, this anti assault weapon ban has no rational technical basis as posing a unique hazard. It is no more or less deadly than any other type or caliber . We are only seeing this attack because it is politically correct to deamonize the gun and not the person that pulled the trigger. We gun rights advicates also see this as an incrimental strategy. Firt we deomonize the assault weapon and banit , then because most crimes are not committed wit h an assault weapon (only 300 last year) we deomonize pistols and go afetr them. When you take action based on emotion and bisa, facts do not matter.And that is how we can loose a right and incrementally!

      January 22, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • Jackie

        Joe, That is the best argument yet. I still feel like a need for a 30 round magazine is hard to justify, but I understand where you are coming from with the loss of rights incrementally and how the pistol is the real crime weapon and would be next on the list. I disagree how fast a person can exchange a magazine under pressure, but I do understand the cases where the magazine change made a difference is small examples. In a way, you could say that the 100 round drum used my Homes saved lives because it failed to work very well and it jammed. I don’t demonize any weapon because we all know the demon is behind the gun. I own some of these weapons that would be called assault weapons and I feel that the 30 round magazine does add to the weapons ability, but in my case, it is a limited addition. This is going to be a long hard and difficult debate isn’t it?

        January 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. aredroom

    David Axelrod obviously hasn't been on Facebook lately, nor has he been to Kansas.

    Also – have I just missed it, or has there been no talk of banning armor-piercing bullets?

    January 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jackie

      No talk about ammunition yet. All high powered rifles go through body armor anyway.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Joe mangan

        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. On the speed of changing magazines..I shot Shooting USA and some of the other TV shows amd you will see the simple speed of reloading a magazine the average shooter can achieve .. it makes the arguments against high capacity magazines lame. It is as fast as clapping your hands together. Also , think of the woman in Georgia that empltied 5 rounds from a revolver into an intruder ..and still didn't stop him. As part of the non-infringement .. one shpould not have the right of self protection infringed by a munitions limit .. in 1994 .. we did noy test this in court .. it would be interesting to test it now in front of the US Supremen court .. it is so arbitrary (defining a number of bullets you can have in your magazine ..) that I think it would be struck down against the higher test criteria the court uses in the case of Bill of rights issues conflicting with a necesity argument in the law .. I don't think they can prove such a limitation to be rational or to overcome the abridgement language. Hope we don't have to test it .. but maybe that is the way to keep beating down these irrational arguments. Thanks again!

        January 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jackie

        I think your legal argument has a lot of merit. I think you are right that the US Supreme court would strike it down. Good argument.

        January 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jackie

        Joe, If you don’t mind, I am going to go and lick my wounds now. LOL

        January 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brandon

    If you actually care about a rational discussion on "assault weapons", have author Larry Correria on your show instead of the wingnuts you bring on to make gun owners look like crazies. He was on Huckabee tonight.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ichiro

      Yea, I saw him too! He was very articulate, intelligent and collected, too. Piers will have a hard time making him and pro-gun position look bad, so my guess is that he won't invite him.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Clyde Bridger

    So, America grew up as a country of hunters and therefore a culture of guns naturally transpired from that. Or so the pundits tell us. Well, I grew up in Canada, which also has a long history of hunting, but a gun culture never developed here like it did in America. We have excellent gun control laws here and a much lower gun crime rate (per capita) than America. Perhaps America should adopt our gun control policy. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, just look at what other countries are doing. Isn't that obvious?

    January 21, 2013 at 2:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark G.

      Here in Canada we also have a more kinder and gentler society with things like universal health care, employment insurance, food banks, etc. People are less desperate here and more looked after. Many in the USA call that socialism but we call it caring.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brandon

      Canada is America's hat.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mark G.

    The NRA has the power it does because they are right. And most people know it. It is though those who disagree with the NRA have blinders on and live in some kind of dream world where they ignore all the reason for gun crime and only want to blame guns instead of what causes this situation in the first place. They should look to Syria today or Mexico. They are afraid of guns and live in fear of the things they do not like and understand. Violent movies that portray guns in an unrealistic way stokes this fear. A media that turns shootings into a three ring circus also creates fear and paranoia.
    Not much has been said about pharmaceutical drugs which are implicated in mass shootings. I guess big pharma is too powerful to go after. Swimming pools kill more children than guns but the media has not mounted a campaign to ban swimming pools. Of course the purposeful killing of others is different but the vast majoruty of guns owners do not murder people.
    Almost 7000 people die every day in the USA from all causes. Guns are part of that statistic.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tim

    We can take you on a hunting trip in Oklahoma and I promise you wish you have more than 10 shells. With wild hogs taking over most of the farming land some groups can have 30 plus animals with 3-4 boars. And if a sow has piglets you better worry about her. I do understand wanting to cut back on mass shootings but this is not way. Psy testing like for the PD could be introduced and could be a way of cutting back violence.

    January 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jackie

      Whatever. I have run out and grabbed piglets in Oklahoma and you know what happens? The go “oh no, something has JR. let’s get out of here”. I have done this several time and nothing like domestic pigs. They head for the hills. A 223 isn’t a very good hog weapon. If you are shooting that fast you are wounding more than killing. Pigs are great because people pay good money to come to Oklahoma from the north to shoot those big bad hogs that will attack and kill you. Don’t tell anyone that they are not really all that bad. LOL

      January 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Brandon

        You are either joking or a liar. Either way you are just plain goofy.

        January 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jackie

        Yada yada yada.

        January 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brandon

    If you want a better discussion on the issue of guns, search Correia/Huckabee on YouTube. Link to an interview last night that is one of the best I've seen in years.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Paul

    What I find so baffling is the apparent power AIPAC wields in the political system in America. Zionist jews like Axelrod need to STFU.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jackie

      Not a big surprise when you think how much of our government is for sale. It is the system that we created.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tedd

    Here’s my reasoning of why civilians should be allowed to have high-capacity assault weapons.

    Reading posts from several different threads, I get the impression that somehow many people think “fight against tyranny” only means an all-out war between the government and the citizenry... civilians are no longer any match for the military force even with assault weapons, so what’s the point of having them, eh? …Wrong! Tyrannical leaders do not want public outcry, much less International attention, if the International community notices what they’re doing, they have very little chance in succeeding. If any government (especially major democratic countries) used a tank or bomb against their own people, you can imagine that other countries are going to know it almost immediately, right? (Even Communist China couldn't hide it.) Do you think the government can give the world a persuadable enough justification for it? If something like that happened in the US, do you think England, France, Germany, Italy, India, South Korea, Canada, (not sure about Russia and China) will just stand idly by and watch?? So, unless the government can do it without other countries knowing, tyranny won’t stand a chance. If the majority of the populace stands up with powerful firearms, there is no way for the government to be able to suppress them without causing massive commotion, ‘CAUSE WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT WITHOUT A FIGHT!! We still way outnumber them. We can give them a heck of a hard time. Even after the government got the control over the media, if tenacious insurgencies occur here and there, it would suffice to sound the alarm to the world that our liberty is being threatened, so is the liberty of the entire world. (Hey, Canadians, good luck having “a peaceful society” after America turns tyrannical.)

    By the way, tyrants know that too (they are crazy but not stupid), so they won’t do a thing until they can relatively disarm the populace and make them controllable. So they give you the most plausible rationale, just as Hitler said, “Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!" ….Only if the German people didn't listen to him, so many Jews did not have to perish in Auschwitz.

    This is why, still today, a well-armed citizenry is a strong deterrence against tyranny. Don’t think so hastily that you can out-think our Founding Fathers.

    January 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jackie

      Tedd, if the government goes off the deep end, use the 30.06 at long range and you can get as many M-16's as you want. Think I will stick with the 30.06 or 308 thank you.

      January 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nae

    Is Piers really serious when he says “the govt. has nukes, should we too?” ??? No matter how evil a tyrannical govt. gets, they don’t want to contaminate their land and water, which they’ll have to deal with for the next several decades. And how would any govt. benefit from indiscriminately decimating the number of taxpayers? Does Piers have a brain???

    Besides, tyrants would rather not resort to mass-killings unless they have a specific agenda against a specific group of people like Hitler did. They want to control us and force us to obey them so they can exploit us, not kill us. If they drastically reduce the number of people they can exploit, they’ll enjoy much less return, k?

    January 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MarkinCA

    There is a strange arguments floating out there in the media and blogs about the Second Amendment. The first is it was included in the Bill of Rights for the purposes of hunting. That was surely not the case. The writings of the Founders serve to clarify this point. The intent was twofold: protection against government abuse and the means to defend oneself, family, and property. While modern semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 were beyond the dreams of Jefferson, Madison, Adams, etc, I think the Founders likely did imagine that small arms designs would advance and new technologies be developed. I think the intent of the Second Amendment was clearly for citizens to have access to the current technology in small arms. Remember, they were in the era of the flintlock musket. That was their state-of-the-art small arms technology. The Founders didn’t limit access to this technology and only allow citizens to have bows and outdated matchlock muskets, both of which would satisfy the “needs” of hunters. No, I think the intent was for citizens to have access to the current technology in small arms. In the current day that would including an AR-15.

    January 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarkinCA

      The Founders understood having to face an armed populace would help check the actions of the federal government. What an awful position for the citizens of the United States to be forced to defend their rights with arms. Who would want that? The only way that would make any sense would be if the government was acting illegally or oppressively, denying them their natural rights. In doing so, the citizens would be risking their lives, homes, any money they had, everything. Things would have to be pretty bad. But we have a history of that here in the United States don’t we? Actually, since the American Revolution many other oppressive governments have been overthrown by their people. The Founders wanted, very intentionally, to make the government think twice about overstepping its authority because they would have to face an armed populace. Even in the modern context, think about what it would mean for the President to order the Army to confront a group of American citizens? How many in the military would follow that order? There would almost certainly be issues with Posse Comitatus that would have to be addressed. That would be a horrible position and that is the point. An armed populace is a check against abuse by the government. Not that anyone wants that scenario to happen, but it is as relevant today as it was when the Bill of Rights was drafted.

      January 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Gary M

    Why do we refuse to allow other countries to possess WMDs [weapons of mass destructions] but we allow our Wal-Marts to sell WMDs?

    January 23, 2013 at 1:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nae

      We do allow some countries (ex. UK, France) to have real WMD like Nuclear Weapons, because they are the good guys. We don’t want some countries (ex. N.Korea, Iran) to have Nuclear Weapons because they've shown psychotic mentalities and we can’t trust them.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    February 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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