Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien on Gun Control after Newtown, CT

I would be interested in feedback on this.  Hopefully, I was able to explain several of the issues related to gun free zones and assault weapons.  A transcript on part of the interview is available here.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

There was one correction that I wanted to make with my interview.  Germany did have 2 of the worst three attacks, but I accidentally repeated the word Germany twice and said 3 of the worst five public school shootings were in Germany when I meant to say that it was 3 of the worst 5 were in Europe.
The Left wing ThinkProgress has put up a copy of the video, but somehow they have managed to reduced it from 10:38 to 7:47.  Is it just compression or did they edit it?  If someone has time to figure out what they did, I would appreciate it.

Also of interest to me personally is Rep. Gohmert's discussion on Fox News Sunday.  My interview with O'Brien was pretty popular on RealClearPolitics.

UPDATE: Ironically, Soledad signed off her last show this way:

Despite her call for facts being important, I would wager that her discussion with me was relatively fact free.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for doing this, John. It's a shame she doesn't see the point: gun laws will do nothing to deter more school shootings. They will continue to happen whether you pass a gun law or not. So if they will continue to happen, why take rights away from responsible people.

12/17/2012 11:29 AM  
Blogger Crescendo said...

This reporter is foaming at the mouth. Why even bother to interview if she's just there to listen to herself talk?

12/17/2012 11:32 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Soledad tries to make the point that mas killers choose semi automatic firearms because it enables them to kill a large number of victims easily.
The reality, as backed by Mr. Lott's analysis, is that mass killers choose choose gun free zones because they know they are in no danger from disarmed victims.

12/17/2012 12:57 PM  
Blogger Chas said...

One cannot expect fairness on the gun issue from the leftist bent at the “Communist News Network” as I think of them (formerly owned by Jane “Hanoi Jane” Fonda's husband), or from an Obama idolater like Soledad O'Brien.
Banning guns is only a part of the political left's control agenda, but it is a vitally important part. Without disarmament of the private sector, they cannot much advance the rest of their control agenda. It's so deeply rooted in them as to be a matter of identity. They have to ban our guns, because once they've banned our guns they can then do whatever they please with us, and they are people who have absolutely no compunction whatsoever about doing whatever they feel like doing with us, accompanied by an enormous desire to do just that. Their self-righteousness is unbounded - they would manipulate us as their playthings to a much much greater extent than they already have.
It was amusing to see Soledad O'Brien struggling so hard, and yet still failing to be the objective journalist that she is not, and at politically self-righteous times like this does not want to be, while she was obviously ready to explode at any moment with the political correctness of her leftist gun ban beliefs.
The idea of an armed private citizen intervening to stop the massacre was outside of what Soledad was capable of considering. She seems to be so steeped in leftist gun control lore that she can only imagine more and more gun control. I suppose that it’s a cultural thing with her. In that interview that was more of a harangue, she was so biased that she stated that she was incapable of understanding how any rational person could possibly disagree with her. Perhaps she is the definition of closed-mindedness, or ignorance, or insanity.
Those children died because gun control laws required them to be unprotected - no adults there could legally have a gun, and in accordance with the law, none did. Everyone there who could have made a difference was prohibited by law from doing so. The leftist state absolutely does not want living, private citizen/heroes with a gun; they want victims dead because of guns, so they can advance their broad totalitarian agenda, including gun control. Gun control laws that disarm people so that they cannot defend themselves or others have that murderous effect, and that result is what a Soledad O'Brien and others like her have been bred to ignore while they push for even more gun control laws. Her head is in a leftist bubble, but at CNN it would likely cost her her job if she ever stuck her head out of that bubble.
It’s peculiar how the anti-rights people say that schools are such sensitive places that privately owned guns cannot be allowed, but they then leave such places defenseless against attacks. It fits their agenda to do it that way, doesn’t it? Gun bans and dead children only mean more gun bans for them. We need to break that cycle by restoring the freedom to protect ourselves and our children - we need our right to bear arms back, because we never should have let it slip as far away as it has. Just look at the result.

12/17/2012 2:51 PM  
Blogger Greg Laden said...

Your guns will make nice plow shears.


12/17/2012 4:22 PM  
Blogger The Football Nut said...

I can't help on the last point you raised but I will encourage you to do one thing and that is copy all of your videos and put them on vimeo. This will ensure that all you appearances are kept online. With youtube you never know when it will go away unless it is a video that has gone viral. For advocates of gun rights your videos are very important because you're an expert. The appearance you had on BBC for example was a great performance and exactly the type of video people should spread. So I hope you start making copies of these videos and post them on both your own youtube channel but also vimeo just in case. It is good marketing on your behalf as well. It would be great if you could become the Grover Norquist of the guns right issue. I don't mean that in the sense that Norquist is a political activist but in the sense that the media goes to him when they want somebody to debate the other side.

If you want to know how to rip the videos then please ask.

12/17/2012 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mate I'm an Australian who lives in Germany. You are the biggest joke on television! My mates and I love sitting around and just laughing at the crap that comes out your mouth. Were you even educated? I mean in any schooling at all? You know the only reason they put you on CNN is because you make the defence of gun ownership look bad ! You're a joke mate ! Keep it up !

12/17/2012 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,

You're a brave man to go on that sorry excuse for a "reporter"'s show!

Anyway, that video is intact. I listened to both in parallel and they just removed the first 1:37 and the last 1:09.
Not that they need to edit it when Soledad is ignoring everything you are saying and just spouting her "impartial" opinion to the world!

12/17/2012 5:03 PM  
Blogger Watson Designs said...

WHO IS DEEPAK CHOPRA TO COMMENT ON THE INTENTIONS OF THE US FOUNDING FATHERS. He has no framework of understanding to pull from; he was born in New Delhi and is a Physicist/Yogi/Alternative Medicine Author. WHERE IS THE CREDIBILITY THERE? I almost fell off my chair when I saw that CNN would go to him.

12/17/2012 5:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well I think we learned something important today; They don't teach economics or philosophy in journalism school.

A person who knows how to reason through an argument would know that you can't, as ms. O'Brien did, just assert the conclusion of your argument from the instance of mass shootings, and you have to actually address the position of your opponent. In a philosophy class, you'd learn words like "strawman" and "begging the question"

Mr. Lott's position, I assume, is not a blanket "we need fewer gun laws" or "we need more guns in schools", it's that specific regulations ought to be repealed, or that specific regulations ought not be put in place.

It's not that we need more guns in schools, it's that some people, whom the state has entrusted to carry firearms *everywhere else* should be allowed to carry firearms in schools.

12/17/2012 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, as I'm sure you know from having done lots of these types of interviews, the newscaster has already made a decision on how the story is going to be played.

Again and again she interrupted you, talked over you, ignored what you had to say and the points you made. Never once did she ask a pertenent question except to make a snide comment.

She said that the shooter had used a rifle to blow out the glass at the school. I'm reasonably sure a sledge hammer could have been used to do this. A shotgun would certainly do it, nearly any handgun would and probably a .22 could too. So the alligation that only an "Assault" rifle was the tool for this job is simply wrong and displays both ignorance and prejudice on her part.
Speaking of what weapon could inflict the most ammount of damage, clearly a shotgun does and the FBI stats show this a more preffered weapon to the standard rifle.

12/17/2012 6:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I had you briefly as a professor at Wharton. I think you undermine your research and position and frankly your credibility with comments that the Bushmaster is what would be used for hunting small game, such as squirrels. That was a grossly misleading comment, and for someone of your intellect, clearly an intentionally misleading comment meant to make the viewer think the Bushmaster is just another rifle. You clearly know that the .223 round has been the preferred bullet by the U.S. military for killing enemy combatants since the 1960s. As one of the supposed intellects making the case for more guns, you only strengthen opinion that the gun lobby's position is based on conveniently manufactured facts, and not reality

12/17/2012 6:41 PM  
Blogger cinkster said...

I watched the videos and found that you were able to get your main points across fairly clearly. After re-reading the chapter on media attitudes toward things like defensive gun uses and multiple shooting incidents in your book "The Bias Against Guns" and watching Ms. O'Brien's behaviour towards you makes her attitude even more so disturbing. No wonder why there is such a growing mistrust of the elite media in Canada and the United States when someone like her demonstrates the closed union view shared by so many of her ilk.

12/17/2012 7:50 PM  
Blogger JR said...

I thought you were cogent and forcefully rational in your arguments as always unlike OBrien who was,as usual,emotionally erratic. There is nothing wrong in being emotional in a time like this but in discussing an issue like gun control you have to evaluate evidence in a non emotional way. It seems that what Piers and Co at CNN really mean by having a "national conversation" about gun control is really lecturing at folks like John Lott rather than a two way street. The media is not concerned with a dialogue, they have made up their minds.

OBrien crawls under my skin in a really bad way. I dont know how you do it John Lott but your a better man than most folks for putting up. But you do it for a good principle. Keep up the good work sir.

12/17/2012 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One element missing here is that this is not reportage but harangues by people with a point of view. Piers Morgan who is a yellow journalist from the UK treated you like the boogie man.

In dealing with a hostile press I like to make them own their opinionated questions. O'Brian made repeated assumptions about the validity of your position without having to defend her own assumptions. I'd turn the tables whenever a reporter/journalist starts impersonating an authority figure. (or an educated person for that matter.)

Let's face it. You win by bringing your book to public attention and she wins by validating acting out her role as liberal heroin.

In the present case I'd mention that autoloading weapons have been with us for over a century. I'd get her and her ilk to have to admit that they don't very much about firearms or ballistics. Yet, they have very hysterical reactions to situations requiring some such knowledge to be helpful.

If what someone's second amendment rights are contingent, why aren't her first amendment rights also contingent on need and for very specific purposes?

Finally, in situations such as this I always ask, "If the only rights I have are those not yet abused by madmen, what rights do I have?" "What rights do any of us have?"

12/17/2012 8:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

John, thanks for going on these shows and trying to relate the facts. You're doing a great job in an hostile environment.

12/17/2012 9:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I saw this video on TV. I am not going to comment on Soledad's behavior, because that isn't productive. I will say this was a horrible tragedy that could have been prevented if one of those brave teachers that gave their life to protect the children would have been allowed to carry a gun at school. Of course after proper training and permitting. Ask some teachers if they would be willing to get training and carry a firearm to protect their children. I bet some would. And I as a parent would like my children's teacher to be armed.

12/17/2012 9:50 PM  
Blogger Mike Noll said...

John, you are a brave soul to take on the media again and again. You must know you will never get fair treatment. I was surprised to see you on Pierce Morgan again. Ugh!

Nevertheless, Soledad kept making the point that you advocate eliminating ALL gun laws, and are therefore a nut. She stated it over and over, and to a degree it was effective. I know this is not the case, however.

Next time make the point stronger that the only gun law you advocate removing is the prohibition for concealed carry; and separate this issue from assault weapons and their legitimate use/place, high capacity magazines, gun show loophole, semi-autos for hunting, etc.

Make it separate arguments. "You want to ban assault weapons? Fine; let's have that discussion."

"You want to change the second amendment? Fine, let's have that discussion.

You want to ban high capacity magazine? Fine, let's.."

"But none of that will help reduce mass public shootings. That's the discussion we need to have! That's the discussion this country needs to have! And that's why I agreed to come on your program; to begin that discussion and end these terrible tragedies. Ms. O'Brien, can we stay on point and have that discussion please?"

"Removing the 'gun-free' designation is the simplest, easiest and quickest remedy. We can literally do it tomorrow."

" And further, I want to make the point that no one needs to actually carry a concealed firearm to gain the benefit. It's all about placing doubt in the mind of the potential shooter of facing confrontation. Like the Security Sign in the front yard; no one knows for sure if it's armed. But the deterrence is accomplished."


Mike Noll
San Antonio, TX

12/18/2012 3:17 PM  
Blogger Julien Couvreur said...

Some feedback from my watching this interview. Your calm demeanor and emphasis on facts helped the discussion, but the structure of your argument was flawed, in my opinion. Like the reporter, I think your first data point (mass shootings occur in gun-free zones) is not the most relevant. I could understand part of her frustration to your answer.

On the other hand, data on gun bans and controls in various countries and states is relevant to the implicit question (why not ban or control certain guns in the whole country/state/...?).
You did address this question with the example of Germany, but only briefly and with one limited data point.

12/18/2012 7:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Lott, thank you so much for your time, effort, and research. I've studied your statistic compilations and used them many times over in my own argumentation. You are a true intellectual, a real dying breed; again, thank you and I look forward to seeing more of your research and opinions

12/18/2012 9:54 PM  
Blogger Bill Snipes said...

To the "Unknown" commenter above who claims to have had Lott as a professor:

You're the one who lost their credibility by claiming the .223 FMJ rounds are any more lethal than other cartridges in common usage. Those rounds are designed to wound and not to kill.

The only reason this wasn't the case in the recent shooting was because the shooter shot the kids multiple times at point blank range.

Attempting to ban the AR-15 won't solve anything if the shooter can do the same thing with the pistols he had. Look at VA Tech.

And it only takes a second to reload a ten-round magazine, so I don't see what difference that would make banning mags that hold 10+ rounds either.

12/19/2012 1:29 PM  
Blogger Bill Snipes said...

To the "unknown" commenter above:

You seriously need to have a chat with those in the military who have been stuck with the .223 FMJ rounds before displaying ignorance of what it's capable of compared to other rounds.

In the recent situation that took place, the shooter would have been just as effective with the pistols he had shooting the kids dead at point-blank range.

12/19/2012 3:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

You made of lott of sense in that CNN lion's den of ferocious inanity. Thank you for countering their "fuzzy math" Mr. Lott. With wisdom and aplomb you managed somehow to get your message through despite the lack of courtesy and time you were accorded by that British bloviator, Piers Morgan.

Thank you tremendously John Lott.

12/20/2012 1:16 PM  

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