John Ratzenberger played one of America's most beloved sitcom characters, Cliff the Mailman, on "Cheers" for 11 years. Since then, he has become one of the most-employed voices in Pixar movies, with a role in the latest, "Finding Dory."
But he's also a longtime Republican activist who will be appearing in four panels at Politicon starting Saturday and running through the weekend in Pasadena, California.
LifeZette talked to the actor, 69, about his opinions on the issues involved in two of his four panels at the weekend gathering -- his passion for the Second Amendment ("Tons of Guns") and his support for Donald Trump ("The Trump Panel").
Question: Does the Orlando massacre have any impact on making you think that there might be some reasonable restrictions on guns?
Answer: It's interesting to me that every mass killing so far has taken place in a gun-free zone -- and I don't think that's a mistake because these guys want to do the maximum amount of damage with the minimum risk to themselves. Florida's a gun-carry state, where you can carry a concealed weapon. And if you're allowed to do it [in the Pulse nightclub], all it takes is one person and the tragedy would stop before it could even start.
Question: But what are the odds that people will take guns while they're out dancing, or that kids won't touch guns if they're present at schools?
Answer: I have a friend who went to school in one of the Western states and he said half the teachers in his high school carried a gun and everybody felt safer because of it. All the students knew it. They didn't wave the guns around, but he told me once when the teachers went to write on the chalkboard, you could see the jacket move and see the gun on the teachers' hip and nobody cared. It's a matter of what you're used to.
In the cities now, yeah, we've become afraid of such things, but a gun is like a hammer. It's a tool, and it's the person who uses the tool. I was a carpenter before I was an actor, so I always use tools as an analogy. A gun is a hunk of metal and it doesn't commit the crime.
Question: The family of the AR-15 inventor has said their father never intended for it to be used beyond the military.
Answer: These discussions certainly carry on without us, but how can you disagree? I don't own an AR-15, but I can certainly defend myself with what I do have. It's a good point, a great point.
Question: You're an avid Trump supporter. But his comments in the last couple of weeks have reignited concerns among the GOP and some supporters that he is heading for trouble. Are you still OK with him?
Answer: Everything's not fine. We're at war. It goes to the same point. We're in a war. The world of Islam has been trying to conquer Western civilization for the last 1,400 years. Look up the Battle of Vienna in 1863. This is nothing new. Don't forget it was a Muslim who shot Bobby Kennedy -- so this has been going on a long, long time. The people on the left -- I swear, they must go to work on a unicorn every day, acting like we're not at war.
The thing about Trump -- when someone jumped on stage to attack him, did you see what he did? As a man, you either freeze through fear, curl up and run away, or you turn and face the threat and go for it. He didn't have time to think, he acted instantly and he charged back. He met the threat. The Secret Service stopped him from getting at the guy and the guy getting at him. He didn't run away, he wasn't squeamish and that's the man I want to see in charge of us. Hillary brought us here into the war and that's why I gotta go with Trump.
The way you measure another man -- and this is Shakespearean, for God's sake -- is look at how they raise their kids. He's raised five great kids, and they could have gone in any direction with all they have access to. If you want someone to babysit your kids for the weekend, do you drop them off at Trump's house or the Clintons'? Who do you want watching your kids? The president is responsible for the well-being of your children.