New CNN Host Pushes Stronger Gun Laws, Mental Health Database

The host of a new CNN series Inside Man wants stricter gun laws. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock aired his opinions on Monday night's Piers Morgan Live after discussing his upcoming show which will document his time working at a Virginia gun shop. The series debuts June 23.

Spurlock wants to see "universal background checks," a limit on magazines, and a database for the mentally ill so they can't purchase guns. "People aren't tracked. There's no way to kind of know who those people are and really keep the firearms out of their hands," Spurlock told Piers Morgan.

Spurlock also touted poll numbers that CNN hammered during the gun control debate:

"[O]ne of the things we talk about in the show is 90 percent of Americans, when there was a vote about to come up about having background checks and expanding background checks to any type of a gun sale, 90 percent of Americans approved of that. And 90 percent of Americans don't approve of anything or agree on anything."

"The only thing that people approved on or agreed on more than universal background checks was ice cream," he added. "[T]here are a vast amount of people that want change. There's a tremendous amount of people that want things to be different."

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Live on June 17 at 9:21 p.m. EDT:

PIERS MORGAN: And I want to bring in Morgan Spurlock. He's the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind "Super Size Me." But now he's getting a firsthand look at just how easy it is to buy guns in his new CNN show, Inside Man. He goes to work at a gun shop.

(...)

MORGAN: What did you discover in your show?

MORGAN SPURLOCK, filmmaker: What you start to see is, these types of folks, they aren't in a database. People aren't tracked. There's no way to kind of know who those people are and really keep the firearms out of their hands. The shop that I worked in did an incredible job of running background checks on people from a legal standpoint. Did they break the law, did they have outstanding warrants? I mean, they ran all the specs that they had to –  

MORGAN: It was in Virginia.

SPURLOCK: It was in Virginia. Fredericksburg, and I mean, they did everything to the letter of the law. More than probably most other shops. They were great. But this part of the puzzle is one that is very much missing from doing background checks on people.

MORGAN: I mean, how lax is it in reality?

SPURLOCK: I mean, in terms of somebody like that who has mental problems, it's very lax because none of that is reported. None of that goes into a database that ultimately is managed by or controlled by the states.

MORGAN: And there is a hypocrisy, isn't there, between those who campaign for the Second Amendment and say, look, the reason we don't want universal background checks is we don't want this information getting into the wrong hands with the government. And at the same time, they're saying, we're quite happy for the NSA to be tapping everyone's phones, e-mails and so on.

SPURLOCK: Yeah. It's very ironic, and one of the things we talk about in the show is 90 percent of Americans, when there was a vote about to come up about having background checks and expanding background checks to any type of a gun sale, 90 percent of Americans approved of that. And 90 percent of Americans don't approve of anything or agree on anything.

MORGAN: No, never!

SPURLOCK: The only thing that people approved on or agreed on more than universal background checks was ice cream.

(Laughter)

SPURLOCK: 93 percent of Americans like ice cream more than universal background checks. But not baseball, not apple pie, all those were much less than even universal background checks.

MORGAN: What does it say about America's relationship with guns?

SPURLOCK: I mean, it's very much – there's a part of this that is very embedded into our culture. What you see in the show and what you realize over the course – what I realized over the course of us making this is there are a vast amount of people that want change. There's a tremendous amount of people that want things to be different.

MORGAN: But their voice tends to get drowned out.

SPURLOCK: Well, it gets drowned out by both sides. It gets drowned out by the people who are saying, we have to get rid of these for good. We have to have massive reform that gets rid of all the firearms. And then there's people on the other side that are saying, oh no, Second Amendment, we have to have it stand by our rights. That is what our country's founded on. These people in the middle get lost in the conversation.

MORGAN: What is the sensible compromise, from what you went through with your show, could actually make a difference in reducing the gun violence toll?

SPURLOCK: I mean, I feel like if you do universal background checks, is a great start. If you create a database where people with mental problems don't have access to firearms, that's a great place to start. If you limit the amount of high-capacity magazines, that's a great place to start. I mean, I don't think you'll get a – you won't get a AR-15. You won't get a weapons ban.

MORGAN: But when you see that kind of weapon –

SPURLOCK: Yes.

MORGAN: -- and you think about the type of people who have had it in their hands committing atrocities,  Why would any civilian really need one of those outside of hawk hunting?

SPURLOCK: Well, sure. I mean, it's like – I shot one. They are fun to shoot. That's the thing. For somebody who's a sport hunter, somebody who just wants to have them for sport to go shoot – it's a fun –  

MORGAN: Is that enough? They're fun?

SPURLOCK: Just to have fun. I mean, sure, why not? Ultimately, if there's a way that you can have them and you can keep them for people who want to have them because they're fun, just like I love driving a Ferrari because it's fun. Or I love doing these things that are outside of the realm of other people's understanding. I don't own a Ferrari. Hopefully one day that'll happen.

(Laughter)

SPURLOCK: But you know, then we could drive around in our Ferraris and with our AR-15s. It would be a magical day in America.

MORGAN: Maybe it would, but I'm not sure I agree with that.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014