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In the Crossfire

Gun control: Are Democrats playing with fire?

(CNN) -- National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre takes aim at liberal critics such as "Crossfire" host James Carville in his new book, "Shooting Straight: Telling the Truth About Guns in America," co-written with James Jay Baker.

Carville responds to the criticism as LaPierre joins the show with host Tucker Carlson.

CARVILLE: Let's see what you had to say about me. ... "James Carville, the raging Cajun, defender of Bill Clinton, said, 'I don't think there's a Second Amendment right to own a gun, but I think it's a loser political issue.' "

Actually, I had a little bit more to say. I said, what I said after that last line, "But I think it's a loser political issue. I think the issue has not been good for us. On top of that, I like guns," which you conveniently neglected to put in your book called "Shooting Straight."

LAPIERRE: Well, you're like most Americans that you like guns.

CARVILLE: But you kind of missed. OK, now let's go to the question of the Second Amendment right to own a gun.

LAPIERRE: You got it.

CARVILLE: This is I what I keep under my bed.

CARLSON: That's not all he keeps under his bed.

CARVILLE: I don't have the gun because I can't have it in the District of Columbia.

LAPIERRE: The D.C. gun ban -- isn't that unbelievable?

CARVILLE: But, but I don't have -- you had a First Amendment right that I would defend to the endth degree to call federal law enforcement officials jack-booted thugs. And you have the right to say that anywhere. Why don't I have -- if I have a Second Amendment right to own a gun -- why can't I have my gun in here?

LAPIERRE: You know, because your gun control law in Washington, D.C., prevents honest people from having guns in this town while criminals run out there every single night that ought to be in jail, and yet they have all the guns they need. ...

CARVILLE: You don't have to convince me. ... I own a gun. I own more than one gun.

LAPIERRE: But that's why you ...

CARVILLE: I want -- the question is -- I don't believe I have a Second Amendment right to own a gun. I believe you have a First Amendment right to call law enforcement jack-booted thugs. I don't believe I have a Second Amendment right to own this.

LAPIERRE: Well, I mean you and Rosie O'Donnell, but the fact is you're against history. I mean every word from our Founding Fathers said that it's an individual right. If you look at the Bill of Rights. ...

CARLSON: You mentioned Rosie O'Donnell. There was a fascinating quote. ... I'm sure you saw it from Russ Feingold, liberal Democrat of Wisconsin. He said this. He was talking about why gun control is bad for the Democratic Party: "The worst thing is the Rosie O'Donnells of the world who say, 'I'm sorry, but we have to take away everybody's guns.' "

I know it's hard for lobbies -- and I support your lobby, the NRA -- to admit that they're winning, but when Russ Feingold says that you're winning, aren't you?

LAPIERRE: Yes, I mean what happened -- Bill Gore, Bill Clinton and Al Gore ...

CARLSON: I like that.

LAPIERRE: ... did everything they could [on] the gun issue. They said there was no Second Amendment right to own guns. They said, remember Janet Reno's federal tests before you could buy a gun they wanted to impose? They tried to sue the gun manufacturers out of business. And it was a miserable failure.

The polls show that among labor union households, gun ownership runs from 50 percent to 90 percent. And half of those labor union members voted for President Bush as opposed to Al Gore based on the gun issue. And there's the election.

CARLSON: Well, then let me ask you ...

CARVILLE: I want to ...

CARLSON: Wait James, hold on, slow down. This reminded me -- now James keeps, as he said, weapons, and as I said, other things underneath his bed. The line that liberals always use is the statistic a gun in the home is more likely to kill the person who owns it than anyone else. Is that a true statistic?

LAPIERRE: No, it's not. I mean, that's a fudged figure, and it's made up ...

CARLSON: What does it mean and why do they say it and how is it made up? I don't know ...

LAPIERRE: They take every case of a firearm and turn -- whether it's self-defense or anything else, whether it -- you name it and they just distort the figures. Two million times a year honest people use firearms to defend themselves in this country from criminals that ought to be in jail.

The governor of Louisiana just went on TV in Baton Rouge and reminded women where there's that serial rapist killer lose, that they have an option of buying a gun to defend themselves. ...

CARVILLE: What I want to get back to here is that I believe it's a loser political issue for us. I went and supported John Dingell [a Michigan Democratic congressman] in a primary, which I rarely do, who is, I believe, a member of your board.

LAPIERRE: He is. He is a member of our board. That is correct. [He] used to be.

CARVILLE: What I don't -- I think in the Shenandoah Valley, where I live, everybody has a gun. They hunt and enjoy [themselves], and they all [are] decent God-fearing, tax-paying patriotic Americans. But what I do think is that if an individual community decides that it wants to ban guns, i.e., Washington, D.C., that they have a constitutional right to do that.

LAPIERRE: Well, I disagree with you. I think we have a constitutional freedom that applies across the board to people in this country. And I think we're headed toward a Supreme Court case, and Jim, when I think they decide it, I think they will clearly come down on this being an individual right.

I mean, you can't say in the Bill of Rights that when they use the word people to peacefully assemble, people to petition the government, people to be free in their home from search and seizure -- that all means the individual, and only when you talk about the Second Amendment, does the word people mean the government.

CARLSON: ... Why in the world would the Bush administration come out against allowing pilots who want to carry guns in the cockpit the right to do so?

LAPIERRE: You know, I think that was decided at the lower levels, in the bureaucrats in the Transportation Department. I think it is being kicked up to higher levels now. [A bill allowing airline pilots to carry guns in the cockpit] passed the House overwhelmingly. It's going to the Senate. I think it will win in the Senate because the American public is behind it.

But most of all, because the men and women fly in those planes, all five major pilots' unions, representing 114,000 commercial pilots, believe that they ought to have the right to have a gun in the cockpit to deter a hijacker if he comes through that door, to give him one last chance to save the plane and save everyone on board.

CARVILLE: We'll take my oilcloth and say this is the yellow flag of surrender.




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