CNN’s Chris Cuomo Uses Fort Hood Shooting To Push Gun Control Agenda

For the second time in five years, Fort Hood was the site of a shooting by a rogue member of the military. While the shooting, which occurred during the afternoon of Wednesday April 2, had fewer victims than the one five years ago, CNN predictably used the tragedy to push for greater gun control in America.

After Piers Morgan's Twitter tirade on Wednesday night, CNN’s Chris Cuomo wondered despite the shooter having mental health issues, why he was “Still able to walk into a private store and get this semi-automatic handgun that he winds up using, not a military issued weapon, his own. Don't you think that's something that needs to be addressed in terms of who's abled to get these conceal carry permits and weapons?” [See video below.] 

Cuomo’s gun control questioning came during an interview with former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, who shared Cuomo’s gun control sentiments. After Cuomo initially mentioned the mental health aspects associated with the shooter, his guest immediately helped to launch the gun control discussion:

This is yet another story, a person with psychiatric problems walking into a gun shop and being able to obtain and weapon and ammunition and go shoot who he wants. I think that's nothing new. We've seen that in our society. That's not going to change. There's no indication of any political will to change that situation, so we'll just have to deal with it as it comes. 

The CNN host then used Fuentes’ comments to push the liberal gun control agenda by asking “As somebody in the business of stopping crime, when you see this pattern, is it something that is relevant to address in your opinion?”  

Unfortunately, Cuomo’s gun control comments were not the only ones to come from someone who has been associated with CNN. Former CNN host and gun control crusader Piers Morgan predictably sent out a tirade of tweets from his Twitter account on Wednesday night including the following:

Morgan has a disgusting history of using tragedies to push his liberal political agenda, including blaming a gun advocate for “allowing” more shooting deaths after Newtown and even used the final broadcast of his “Piers Morgan Live” program to call for the disarmament of U.S. citizens.

It’s disappointing that CNN’s hosts are unable to refrain from politicizing tragedies and feel it necessary to move away from simply covering the event to instead promoting their liberal gun control agenda.

 

See relevant transcript below.


CNN

New Day

April 3, 2014

7:01 a.m. Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And obviously on the military side, they did notice, they were treating him. He was under evaluation. So the picture is cloudy. That's why we're trying to pick our way through it. Joining us now from Washington is CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Mr. Tom Fuentes. Tom, good to have you. Let's start checking boxes here, what we know, what we don't know. The obvious concern because of what happened in 2009 that this is someone self-radicalized, that there is a terrorism element to this. So far I have no information on that. Do you have any? 

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Chris, good morning. No, there's no indication yet. You can't rule it out until they complete the investigation, but as of now, it does not appear to be terrorist motivated. 

CUOMO: The situation is a little confusing because early reports are it was soldier-on soldier as a beef gone bad, but that kind of cuts against him shooting multiple people in different places. Do you think the mental health issue is going to play into this? 

FUENTES: I think absolutely it will. You have the base commander saying he had mental and behavioral problems, receiving psychiatric treatment and medication while he was under evaluation to determine, had not been determined that he had post-traumatic stress syndrome. At least he had other problems that were well-known. 

But this is -- this is yet another story, a person with psychiatric problems walking into a gun shop and being able to obtain and weapon and ammunition and go shoot who he wants. I think that's nothing new. We've seen that in our society. That's not going to change. There's no indication of any political will to change that situation, so we'll just have to deal with it as it comes. 

Secondly, all this talk of base security, this is not a U.S. penitentiary. It's like a small city. You have 90,000 people that live and work there. They're not going to search every car, every trunk, pat down every person going through there. It's a city. It's a working city. And the -- and it's a place where people are trained and deployed as war fighters. So you have an extra percentage of the population that are trained to kill, if you will. So this is to be expected. We don't want it to happen and we say we're going to do everything from stop it from happening, but we're just fooling ourselves. It's not going to be completely eliminated. There's not everything you can do to completely stop this on military bases or in any other city for that matter. 

CUOMO: So you're checking an important box. You look at military bases in general since 1995, you've had several, maybe five shootings. So by percentage it's not like they're hot spots for violence. But coming off of 2009, there were supposed to be changing made. Many were made. And you're saying the issue of whether or not Fort Hood knows how to secure the fighting men and women is not an issue, to be clear, yes? 

FUENTES: I didn't say it wasn't an issue. I just said, what are you going to do? We can pontificate that they're going to do some exotic security measure that's going to keep 90,000 people safe and everybody that comes and goes from that base checked, but that's not going to happen. It's not a practical solution for that to happen. 

CUOMO: Sure. 

FUENTES: As I said, you're training war fighters. So what's to stop someone on the firing line with a live weapon exercise from just turning on the instructors and fellow people that are undergoing firearm training? 

CUOMO: That's a hypothetical. That's not what happened here. I want to take one step back to something you mentioned earlier before we quit on it, is he is undergoing mental health treatment and evaluation. He is yet still able to walk into a private store and get this semi-automatic handgun that he winds up using, not a military issued weapon, his own. Don't you think that's something that needs to be addressed in terms of who's abled to get these conceal carry permits and weapons? 

FUENTES: That scenario has happened over and over, and our country has shown it has no political will to change that situation. So if a massacre of children doesn't change situations like that, this certainly won't.

CUOMO: But, as somebody in the business of stopping crime, when you see this pattern, is it something that is relevant to address in your opinion? 

FUENTES: In my opinion, yes, it's relevant to address. But in my opinion also, it won't be. 

CUOMO: Why not? 

FUENTES: That's a political question. That's a political question, Chris. Law enforcement executives across the country have asked our leaders to do something about the situation of people with mental problems being able to obtain a weapon and the lack of background checks and on and on. And, you know, we've seen where that's gone over the last how many years. That's not going to change, I don't think. 

CUOMO: You're right. It's a discussion for a different day, but obviously a factor here, because, again, if you want to talk about Fort Hood security, this is not a military-issued weapon, it's his own weapon. How he got it on base is a legitimate issue, but as you say, if you use a magnetometer on everybody who comes through, it's going to stop all business in what is basically its own city. 

Another question on the military side is you're the one treating him, you're the one evaluating him -- should there have been a red flag on this guy that he should get extra attention security-wise. What do you think of that? 

FUENTES: That's a question for the military. On the outside it's easy for us to say yes, that should be, but we don't know all of their procedures internally right now. And I think that is yet to be evaluated. 

I will say this, that there have been enough of these, not just the major incidents you've described. But there's been enough frequency during the last 13 years of the U.S. army war for the United States that the army and FBI execute a memorandum of understanding where the army said, you know, this happens a lot, we'll do this, because normally the FBI would have primary jurisdiction of a capital crime on a U.S. military base. But the Army has had enough experience with this, they said, you know what, please support us and provide forensic assistance, investigative assistance. But we'll go ahead, the army's criminal investigation division will go ahead and take the lead on these cases. And that was based on how often these things have been happening for more than a decade. 

CUOMO: What does it mean to you that after shooting multiple randoms he winds up taking his own life when confronted by the brave female MP who came at him? 

FUENTES: We've seen that before as well where individuals at the end of the shooting spree go ahead and take their life whether it was the shooter at Virginia tech or others. Hasan didn't do that and was wounded and neutralized, but many individuals like that go ahead and take their own life. 

CUOMO: When you look at the situation, the most important question is the hardest to answer. How do you stop it the next time? It's not an easy solution is what you're saying? 

FUENTES: No, it's not. 

CUOMO: It's basically just fighting human nature and a predilection for violence.

FUENTES: That's part it, but there's a lot of issues like that. And again, as I said, making Fort Hood or any other military base the equivalent of a U.S. penitentiary is not going to happen. 

CUOMO: Understood. Tom Fuentes, thank you very much for the perspective. We're going to keep you up to date on what we learned about the shooter at Fort Hood. A lot of other news as well. Let's get right to Christine for that. 

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