In Wake of Conn. School Shooting, GMA Pushes for Greater Gun Control

The Monday after Friday's horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Good Morning America opted to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control, even entertaining the notion of banning future production of some guns.

Speaking on Monday morning, GMA co-host Josh Elliott introduced the segment by insisting there were "big questions about whether stricter laws can stop more mass shootings."  Reporter Pierre Thomas then went into a long diatribe in order to illustrate the supposed “particular relationship with guns” that Americans have  [See video below page break.  MP3 audio here.]:

Here’s some facts that might surprise you.  There are more registered gun dealers and stores than major supermarkets.  More gun sellers than McDonald's restaurants. The overwhelming majority of gun users are law-abiding citizens.  But authorities tell ABC News, the millions of guns already in circulation guarantee that disturbed people will often be able to obtain them, even in quiet communities like Newtown. 

The segment then featured comments from a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent in Newtown, Conn., as well a former FBI agent who warned that, “In America, unless you have a felony conviction or you're adjudicated by the court to be mentally incompetent, you have ready access to firearms.” Of course, seeing as it's a constitutionally-protected right, it's perfectly fine for civilians to have access to guns absent those two major disqualifications. But questions of constitutionality and individual liberty were shoved completely to the side, with Thomas focusing on the fact that "there are an estimated 200 million-plus guns already in circulation" leaving "no easy answers."

To that statistic, co-anchor Elliott hinted banning gun production could be a possible solution to shooting spree murders like Newtown, but that it would take a while for the existing guns to become unusable:

To make the point, then, if we stopped gun production in this country today, we would still be years and years away from a solution on that path.

Thomas agreed, lamenting, “As we’ve been saying, guns are not bio-degradable. They're not going away.  So, the country is going to have to figure out how to deal with the mental health issues and the guns that are already on the street.”

 

See relevant transcript below.


ABC

Good Morning America

December 17, 2012

8:33 a.m. EST 

JOSH ELLIOTT: Lara, this horrifying attack has now reignited a debate over gun control. Big questions now about whether stricter laws can stop more mass shootings.  And ABC’s Pierre Thomas now joins us with more on our nation's particular relationship with guns, Pierre?   

PIERRE THOMAS: Josh, as we attempt to deal with this tragic event. We found some eye-popping numbers that show solving this problem is going to be complicated. The statistics are staggering. On Black Friday, U.S. shoppers were not just buying toys and electronics, they were also buying guns. In record numbers. On that single day, the FBI did computerized background checks on more than 154,000 purchases of firearms.  And in November alone, Americans tried to buy a whopping 2 million guns.  Here’s some facts that might surprise you.  There are more registered gun dealers and stores than major supermarkets.  More gun sellers than McDonald's restaurants. The overwhelming majority of gun users are law-abiding citizens.  But authorities tell ABC News, the millions of guns already in circulation guarantee that disturbed people will often be able to obtain them, even in quiet communities like Newtown. We spoke to the ATF on-scene commander.  And roughly how many gun dealers are in this area?   

GENE MARQUEZ: There are about 400 gun dealers in a four-county area.  Just within ten miles of the incident, there are 36 gun dealers.

THOMAS: Police believe the guns Adam Lanza used on his killing spree were bought legally.   

BRAD GARRETT: In America, unless you have a felony conviction or you're adjudicated by the court to be mentally incompetent, you have ready access to firearms.   

THOMAS: Lanza now joins the ranks of other mass shooters.  And this morning, the nation is left with a perplexing question. How do you keep weapons from men like these, when there are an estimated 200 million-plus guns already in circulation? No easy answers, Josh. No easy answers.

ELLIOTT: To make the point, then, if we stopped gun production in this country today, we would still be years and years away from a solution on that path.

THOMAS: As we’ve been saying, guns are not bio-degradable. They're not going away.  So, the country is going to have to figure out how to deal with the mental health issues and the guns that are already on the street.

ELLIOTT: Staggering numbers to be sure. Thank you for that, Pierre.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.