comScore Crossfire Debate Over Navy Yard Shooting, Background Checks

Background Checks vs. More Guns: Crossfire Guests Engage in Vicious Navy Yard Shooting Debate

After taking the day off Monday in deference to the developing news about the Navy Yard mass shooting, CNN’s Crossfire was back with a vengeance Tuesday. Hosts Stephanie Cutter and Newt Gingrich hosted a fiery debate between Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard and Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt over what can be done to prevent these types of massacres from happening again.

Goddard, who now works for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, began by cautioning against basing policy on the most recent mass shooting. “We failed those people, those people are already dead,” he said. While it turns out that gunman Aaron Alexis passed his background check in the state of Virginia, Goddard argued that we should be making background checks universal across state lines as well as at gun shows.

On the other side, Pratt said that what could have prevented Monday’s shooting was if it had been legal for the “good guys” at the Washington Navy Yard to carry guns of their own. “Your solution is more guns,” Cutter said to Pratt, who replied, “Sure.” And that even applied to kindergarten classrooms, where Pratt said he would “strongly encourage” teachers to arm themselves.

Cutter went on to explain that the Navy Yard is only a “gun-free zone” in the same way that an airport is a “gun-free zone.” There are still trained officials who are armed and can keep people safe. “Giving people more guns is not going to prevent gun violence,” she said, before later asking Pratt, “Why not keep guns out of the bad guys hands?”

“Because you’re only going to keep them out of my hands,” Pratt replied, a point she flatly denied. This led to a discussion about guns purchased “on the street” versus guns purchased legally, a distinction that Goddard thought missed the point.

“There is no illegal gun manufacturing somewhere that’s producing guns onto the street,” Goddard said. “All illegal guns began their life as a legal gun.” He argued that strengthening the background checks on legal gun purchases will help prevent them from turning into illegal guns.

Pratt shot back that this would just lead to the national registry of gun purchases that many on the pro-gun side of the argument are so afraid of. He invoked the recent activity by the NSA to say that anyone who thinks the registry wouldn’t happen is just “whistling past the graveyard.”

Watch video below, via CNN:

[photo via screengrab]

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