All-Star Panel: The future of gun control under Obama administration

All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 14, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as president and where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it.

LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: We don't think there is much likelihood that the Congress will move on making gun control laws worse than they are.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Vice President Biden coming out with recommendations from his task force tomorrow, this as, obviously, gun shows are seeing a big uptick across the country. In December of 2012, in fact, it was the highest month on record for background checks spiking nearly 2.8 million, up 50 percent over the previous December. We're back with our panel. Jonah, judging by the tone of some of the answers from the president, it seemed like he was scaling back. He did say he supported an assault weapons ban, he did say he supported things through legislation, but it seemed just by how he was talking about it, maybe it's just how you read it, that maybe it's a bit scaled back after these recommendations.

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Yeah, (INAUDIBLE) and he actually touched on part of the problem that he has. When he says that – when he was asked why are people buying all these guns, he says that there is a way – that the pro- gun people get ginned up. And he's right. And nothing would gin them up more than some really sweeping, ambitious legislation that says we're gonna get the guns or something like that. And it would fail. And it would galvanize the very opposition that he wants to get calmed down. And so my guess is there will be a little rhetoric, that's a little outsized but the actual proposals will actually be much more small bore for partly that reason.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Yeah, well, I talked to somebody who has been involved in some of these talks, and that was the general feeling about it, but mostly because the gun control groups are more interested in a universal background check than they are in an assault weapons ban. That they feel that if you're going to look at the two things that are the most talked about, getting rid of this, you know, gun show loophole is probably their highest priority, so that an individual can't sell to an individual without a background check, and there's 32 states where you currently can do that. So and that's -- those eventually get into the hands of criminals.

And I think the people are realistic too, about preventing these mass shootings. It's probably going to be very difficult. But you can do things to try to stop the sort of day-to-day shootings if you open up the metro section.  And that that's what they are more focused on.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think what we're going to get is the appearance of motion. People want to have a sense that they are doing something. But of all the social issue on the planet to prevent these crazy and very rare massacres is something that is almost impossible. And I think everybody knows it. Even if you were to implement these measures, it wouldn't have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting.

I think what they will probably get, and I think there was a misreading by the administration and the media of the mood of the country after Sandy Hook. I think they had the sense there was a whole sea change in public opinion. The majority consensus in the country remains that we believe in the Second Amendment. And I think there is also a realization that you can make changes around the edges but it's not going to have a significant effect. And I think there will be the stuff around the edges, the background checks. There will be more studies of what are the causes of violence. And you might get other smaller measures, you might even get more spending on mental health.

But I think if there is a realization that if the problem is the sporadic and unusual shootings it's not going to make a difference. And the other interesting fact is that since 1980 when the homicide rate in the country has been cut in half. So we are obviously doing a lot of good things. But we can't explain or understand the causes of the mass shootings. And that's something that we're not going to get a good handle on, I think, ever.

BAIER: New York is stepping up its gun control measures and Chicago today. Listen to mayor of Chicago.


RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO MAYOR: I've ordered all the Chicago pension funds to check any of their investments. And if they have it, we're going to divest any investments they have in any gun manufacturer. We seize in the city of Chicago more guns than any other city, more that L.A., more than New York.


BAIER: But it's a violent place.

GOLDBERG: It has a lots and lots of gun control laws. Which is sort of the whole point of this.

BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for local news in one part of the country going a bit overboard with one particular story.

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