CNN anchors on Wednesday night hit two Republican presidential candidates on the subject of gun control, wondering if Tuesday's horrific shooting in Roanoke, Virginia has prompted them to rethink their positions. Talking to Ben Carson, Don Lemon demanded, "After you watch a crime like this, does it make you question at all the role of guns in our society?"
Carson reminded, "The Second Amendment of that Constitution gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Therefore, anything that we're going to do has to be done with respect to the Second Amendment."
The Republican mentioned the opportunity to do harm with knives and bats. CNN Tonight's Lemon reiterated, "...Having a gun offers people a unique opportunity and advantage to kill multiple at a time, to do injury that may be far greater than any of those other instruments that you mentioned."
In 2012, the anchor went on an-anti Second Amendment tirade: "We need to get guns and bullets and automatic weapons off the streets. They should only be available to police officers and to hunt al-Qaeda and the Taliban and not hunt elementary school children."
Later in the show, Chris Cuomo seemed to dismiss candidate Jim Gilmore's contention that the focus should be on mental health:
CHRIS CUOMO: The person who wants the weapon, how they want to use it, how they get it. And then, you point to something mental illness. We don't know that it's present here by diagnosis. You can be evil. You can be bad and not be ill.
And as you know, the mentally ill are less likely to be violent than the rest of society. They are more likely to be victims than they are assailants. And yet, we have representative, Tim Murphy and who he has co-sponsors on a bill to help families get help for people who don't want to get it for themselves or can't handle their own treatment. And it's going nowhere in Congress.
A transcript of the first exchange is below:
LEMON: So, Dr. Carson, you know, we witnessed a terrible shooting today. As a neurosurgeon and someone who tries to prolong life and give life to people. After you watch a crime like this, does it make you question at all the role of guns in our society?
CARSON: Well, it makes me question, you know, what's happening to us as a people. You know, people are the problem, not so much guns. You know, people use knives, people use bats. People use hammers to bludgeon people to death. And I don't hear anybody taking about taking those things away. So, we need to –
LEMON: But, Dr. Carson, I have to ask you this because having a gun offers people a unique opportunity and advantage to kill multiple at a time, to do injury that may be far greater than any of those other instruments that you mentioned.
CARSON: Therefore, what would you suggest, that we take all the guns away?
LEMON: No, I'm asking you, you're running for president. So, I'm asking you a question. I mean, a baseball bat and, you know, a 9- millimeter, or a Glock as this young man used, those are two quite -- those are two different things.
CARSON: So, we have to recognize that we are a country of laws. And we have a supreme law called the United States Constitution. And the Second Amendment of that Constitution gives citizens the right to keep and bare arms. Therefore, anything that we're going to do has to be done with respect to the Second Amendment.