CNN Anchor Asks 'When,' Not 'If' Americans Will Back Gun Control

Are stronger gun laws in the U.S. inevitable? CNN's Brooke Baldwin seemed to think so on Wednesday, asking "when" a majority of the country will back stricter gun control and not "if" they will.

"[I]f you talk about intensifying [gun] laws, I guess this is my final question, and to both of you. When do you ever think – let's say 10 years, 50 years – that the majority of the country will be on the side of Marc Lamont Hill?" Baldwin asked her guests. The liberal Lamont Hill had pushed for "intensifying" existing gun laws.

10 years, 50 years -- it's only a matter of time before America follows suit, according to Baldwin.

This isn't the first time Baldwin's played to the liberals in the gun debate. After last summer's Aurora shooting, she pressured two Democrats from the left on guns. "So why hasn't your party, the Democratic party done more to legislate guns?" she asked Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

During Wednesday's segment on guns, Baldwin cited Australia's gun control measures as "successes" and wondered if the U.S. should enact similar laws:

"What about the fact – when I think about Australia, and you think about guns, you think about the sweeping gun reforms there, assault weapons bans, background checks, this all came out I feel like in discussion because of Newtown, because we remember – some people remember that mass shooting in the state of Tasmania, that was 1996. And so since then there has not been a single mass shooting ever since that horrible day. And so do you think that the United States – and legally speaking nothing's really changed since Newtown, but should we be looking at how those successes in countries like Australia, as far as how we make policy here?"

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on August 21 at 2:18 p.m. EDT:

BROOKE BALDWIN: The senseless killing of Christopher Lane, the Australian college baseball player police say was gunned down by three teenagers in Duncan, Oklahoma.

(...)

BALDWIN: These teens now charged in the killing. 15, 16, 17 years of age. The two youngest charged as adults with first-degree murder. And then this. This is a video posted on the social media site Vine. It shows the youngest man here laughing, and you see the rifle? Showing it off. Prosecutors call them thugs who went hunting for someone to kill out of boredom. But on the other side of the world in Australia, the U.S. gun debate that people have watched from afar just got very personal.

(Video Clip)

TIM FISCHER, former Australia deputy prime minister: You are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA per million people than here in Australia. And people should factor that in. They should think twice in the circumstances, but it's (Unintelligible) along by the senseless killing, the shooting in the back of an outstanding young Australian on a scholarship in the USA, which has caused, quite properly, deep-seated anger right across Australia.

(End Video Clip)

BALDWIN: What do you think of this? I want to bring in Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator, and Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Columbia University and host at HuffPost Live. Gentlemen, good to see you. That was the interview this morning with the former deputy prime minister of Australia, and he actually came out yesterday and asked for Australian tourists to consider boycotting travel to the U.S., essentially to send a message to Congress. Ben Ferguson, do you think our gun culture impacts tourism?

(...)

BALDWIN: What about the fact – when I think about Australia, and you think about guns, you think about the sweeping gun reforms there, assault weapons bans, background checks, this all came out I feel like in discussion because of Newtown, because we remember – some people remember that mass shooting in the state of Tasmania, that was 1996. And so since then there has not been a single mass shooting ever since that horrible day. And so do you think that the United States – and legally speaking nothing's really changed since Newtown, but should we be looking at how those successes in countries like Australia, as far as how we make policy here?

(...)

MARC LAMONT HILL: My answer is we impose laws that prevent people from making straw purchases. We impose laws that prevent large numbers of guns into urban centers so when they fall off the back of someone's pickup truck – and I don't mean that in a racial sense, I mean pickup truck in the sense that they really don't fall off – when that happens, young teenagers don't have such easy access to them.

FERGUSON: We already have those laws. You just quote that we currently have. You just quoted laws that are already on the books. So I'm asking you what new law would you pass?

LAMONT HILL: I said intensifying them and enforcing them. You know you can't legislate against individual responsibility, or you can't force individual responsibility, but you can make it harder for irresponsible people to have weapons of mass destruction.  

BALDWIN: Okay. Hang on. Let me jump in. Because if you talk about, Marc, if you talk about intensifying laws, I guess this is my final question, and to both of you. When do you ever think – let's say ten years, fifty years – that the majority of the country will be on the side of Marc Lamont Hill? Ben?

LAMONT HILL: They already are, Brooke. They love me. They agree with me. The problem is that the NRA is so powerful, the gun lobby is so powerful that a disgruntled minority rules the majority.

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