Actor Jeff Daniels: Second Amendment Was From 'A Different Time,' Wants More Background Checks

On Tuesday's Piers Morgan Live, actor Jeff Daniels pushed for universal background checks because the Second Amendment was written during a "different time."

"I'm one of the guys that goes back to the Second Amendment and just goes, 'you know what, it was a different time and now we're into the Sandy Hooks and the – you know, all of that and whatever happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin that night, only they know'," Daniels told host Piers Morgan.

"One of them had a gun, and they're real easy to get and I'm one of the guys that would go, let's – 90 percent of America said background checks, let's do a better job of policing it, and I know the gun lobby – the gun enthusiasts get all bent out of shape about that, but it's a different world now," he continued.

Morgan agreed, lamenting that "nothing changed" despite the Newtown massacre (and his best efforts to promote gun control in its wake):

"You see it's interesting to me because I thought what would it take for something to change in America, and I was absolutely convinced it was going to be Sandy Hook. When I saw that happen, I thought this will be the tipping point, and then within six months, it turned out it wasn't at all. Nothing changed."

Morgan had hosted Daniels and talked about his lead role in HBO's liberal drama The Newsroom. The liberal CNN host groveled at the fictional cable news host's feet, telling him "you're just too damn convincing. People do want you to do this for real. You have to come and stand in for me one night. And that would be good TV."

Morgan plugged the show: "I've seen the first episode, it is brilliant. He [Daniels] is unnervingly good. Please do not come into my business."

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Live on July 9 at 9:44 p.m. EDT:

PIERS MORGAN: What about self-defense, guns, the right of an American to carry one in the first place in that situation and to use it, and potentially he may well walk away a free man?

JEFF DANIELS: Yeah, well, I'm one of the guys that goes back to the Second Amendment and just goes, you know what, it was a different time and now we're into the Sandy Hooks and the – you know, all of that and whatever happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin that night, only they know.

One of them had a gun, and they're real easy to get and I'm one of the guys that would go, let's – 90 percent of America said background checks, let's do a better job of policing it, and I know the gun lobby – the gun enthusiasts get all bent out of shape about that, but it's a different world now.

MORGAN: You see it's interesting to me because I thought what would it take for something to change in America, and I was absolutely convinced it was going to be Sandy Hook. When I saw that happen, I thought this will be the tipping point, and then within six months, it turned out it wasn't at all. Nothing changed.

DANIELS: But it goes back to we're so divided, we're so divided as a country. And it goes back to what Aaron Sorkin wrote in the first episode of the first season when Will McAvoy goes on this rant about we're not the greatest country in the world. And oh, man, I mean, you'd think we, you know, declared communism or something. You know? It was just – but that's part of what even a Sandy Hook can't bridge the chasm of the divide that this country is in right now.

MORGAN: So what is the answer? How does America come through this and be better?

DANIELS: I -- well, I think it's at the voting booth. I think that America sits in the middle. They're – on some issues they're to the right, on some issues to the left. They're the people – I love when the politicians go, you know, you know, the American people say, you don't know what the American people say. You're saying what your lobbyists and your special interests are saying, so knock it off.

The people are sitting in the middle going, where is Tip O'Neil? Where is Ron Reagan? Get in a room, don't come out until you have a deal. Obama, Boehner, don't come out until you have a deal. Lock the door, don't send them any food, no water, nothing. Do that. That's what you used to do. That's what they've been doing for, you know, several hundred – you know, a couple hundred years and we don't do that anymore. And that would be a start, and if not, then see it – see you at the voting booth.

(...)

MORGAN: The trouble is, you're just too damn convincing. People do want you to do this for real. You have to come and stand in for me one night. And that would be good TV.

DANIELS: That would be fun.

MORGAN: The second season of "The Newsroom" premieres this Sunday on HBO. I've seen the first episode, it is brilliant. He is unnervingly good. Please do not come into my business.
 

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