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ATF: Killer Purchased 33 Guns In The Last Year; Trump On Gun Control: "Not Talking About That Today"; Kellyanne Conway: "Obama's ATF Decided Not To Regulate Bump Stocks. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 5, 2017 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:33:10] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Federal authorities say the Las Vegas killer bought 33 weapons in the last year alone, but the repeated gun purchases did not sound any alarm bells.

CNN's Jessica Schneider takes a closer look at why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement sources say Stephen Paddock amassed 33 guns just in the past year.

Many of those 33 may have been stockpiled inside his Mandalay Bay hotel suite where he orchestrated a shooting massacre. The spray of bullets lasted nine to 11 minutes, killing 58 country music concertgoers. Inside the suite, investigators counted 23 weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is still being determined which firearms were used in the shooting.

SCHNEIDER: Twelve of the weapons inside Paddock's room were equipped with bump fire stocks, a device demonstrated in this YouTube video. It allows the weapon to fire in rapid succession simulating fully automatic fire. A bump fire stock is legal and easy to obtain.

SAM RABADI, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, ATF: Very easy. It can be purchased directly from the company or in different online sales from a number of vendors.

SCHNEIDER: Investigators have uncovered 47 firearms so far, 23 from inside Paddock's hotel room and another 24 from his homes in Mesquite and Verdi, Nevada.

Law enforcement sources say Paddock has been accumulating his collection of weapons for the past 20 years. The sales apparently never raised any red flags since Paddock had no criminal history. And out west, the possession of large quantities of firearms by hunters and collectors isn't uncommon.

RABADI: There are states in the country where there's a lot of hunting that goes on and outdoor activities. There are also areas where you have a higher population of collectors. So the purchase of that many firearms, in and of itself, would not necessarily be an indicator for us. SCHNEIDER: Rabadi estimates Paddock's arsenal cost tens of thousands of dollars, with some weapons costing two to four thousand dollars each.

[07:35:06] Paddock purchased his guns in four separate states -- Nevada, Utah, California, and Texas, according to the ATF, frequenting shops in Nevada. He bought several long guns at Cabela's in Verdi, according to a law enforcement source. In Las Vegas, he bought a shotgun and a rifle from the New Frontier gun shop, and two rifles and one handgun from Discount Firearms & Ammo in November and December of 2016.

In Mesquite, Paddock purchased a handgun and two rifles from Guns & Guitars within the past year. And the owner of Dixie GunWorx in St. George, Utah sold Paddock a shotgun.

CHRIS MICHAEL, OWNER, DIXIE GUNWORX: He passed all of our background checks here in the store. He passed every red flag that could have popped up. But it's still -- it's still there. It's still something that I'm still going what else could I have done better.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): There is no national registry of firearm ownership in the United States so even though Paddock acquired 33 guns in the span of one year, since they were from different locations and he presumably passed background checks, no red flags were ever raised, enabling Paddock to carry out his horrific attack.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: OK. Joining us now is retired ATF special agent Sam Rabadi. Mr. Rabadi, thanks so much for being here.

So obviously, we're getting this crash course in all of the things that feel like there's some sort of loophole in the law or that at least should be looked at.

The idea that this guy could buy 33 guns in the space of one year, do you think that that should have raised some red flag and that there should be some system in place to alert someone to purchases like that?

RABADI: So, there are a number of restrictions per federal law in terms of being able to maintain information about gun purchases, as was mentioned in just the previous piece here.

There is no federal or national registry of firearms purchases. The only thing that ATF is able to maintain is information about a purchaser when that gun is recovered in a crime.

In this particular case none of the guns, as far as I know, that were purchased by Paddock were recovered in any kind of crimes. There were no other indicators from these purchases that had come to ATF's attention --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

RABADI: -- that would sort of peak our interest to be able to take a closer look.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Would it help the ATF fight crime if there were a federal registry of gun purchases?

RABADI: Well, certainly, if something like that existed it would aid all of law enforcement to be able to look at information about a purchaser, especially when there are multiple firearms that are being purchased --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

RABADI: -- and being recovered in crimes. But the way the law is right now there is a very strict prohibition against doing that.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the bump stocks. When you and I first spoke on Tuesday in the, you know, hours when people were still piecing together what had happened, that's when you first started basically explaining to so many of us who didn't know that these bumps stocks that can turn a semiautomatic rifle into an automatic weapon. That they are legal to buy and readily available and inexpensive.

As a law enforcement officer for so many years, as you were, do you think those devices should be illegal?

RABADI: So, even though this particular accessory is legal, I find -- my own personal opinion -- very, very few, if any, uses -- legitimate uses for this type of accessory.

It would never really be used during hunting. It's just the gun could be pretty inaccurate -- difficult to maintain control of because of the use of the accessory. It would not really be used for target practice.

The only legitimate use, as has been discussed the last couple of days, is more of the thrill of being able to shoot a machine gun-type of rifle. That's pretty much the only legitimate use I could see.

As a law enforcement officer, as I mentioned the last couple of days, you know, the last thing I would ever want to see is this kind of device attached to a long gun that a law enforcement officer has to go up against.

CAMEROTA: Right.

RABADI: It's pretty scary.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that is what we saw. That is what allowed this gunman to mow down 58 people and injure close to 500 in the space of 10 minutes. And the idea that he could do it inexpensively and easily online --

And I have other bad news for people. The sales of the bump stock have spiked, obviously, since Tuesday. RABADI: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Not surprising. Talking about it then heightened interest in it and so now, one of the manufacturers of it is sold out of the bump stocks.

[07:40:07] So, as a law enforcement officer -- I mean, again, you devoted your life for, I think, 26 years to this -- would you call on Congress to ban this device of the bump stock?

RABADI: Absolutely. Congress has the ability and obviously, the authority to make changes to the law that addresses these types of accessories.

I'm not surprised to hear that sales have been increased with this type of device. I would even argue prior to a couple of days ago the vast majority of America, to include a number of law enforcement officers, didn't even know that this type of accessory existed.

Congress not only has the ability but should go ahead and make adjustments and amendments to the law related to machine guns.

CAMEROTA: I'm just trying to figure out its history. Did the ATF -- the organization, of course, that you worked for -- did it approve the sale of these bump stocks a couple of years ago?

RABADI: It approved -- yes, it approved the use and the sale of these items, specifically because of the legal language within the law. This particular accessory because of the technical nature of the law, does not fit within the definition of a machine gun.

CAMEROTA: Right. But, I mean, wasn't that -- how did the ATF let that one slip by? I mean, why would the ATF approve the sale of something like this?

RABADI: Again, Alisyn, because when ATF is looking at these types of accessories or any other type of items that fall under the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act, we have to stick to the letter of the law. What's written in there, the technical language, the definitions, that's our guiding principle. We go exactly according to the law.

That's why I just mentioned that it's really up to Congress --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

RABADI: -- to provide the right common sense kind of language within these laws and allow agencies such as ATF to enforce those laws.

CAMEROTA: Look, so many people thought that after the tragedy in Newtown at Sandy Hook where so many little kids were killed, that there would be some common sense proposals. But, as you know, that got mired in all sorts of Congressional infighting and partisanship.

Do you think that what we saw this week, the tragedy in Las Vegas -- do you think that -- again, something incremental like what you're calling for -- the bump stock to be banned -- do you think that there will be some sort of action in Congress?

RABADI: Alisyn, I certainly hope so.

You know, I think if you polled any law enforcement officer, regardless of political affiliation, they would all tell you that we need to somewhere be within the middle ground. There are plenty of common sense actions that can be taken to not only, you know, have law enforcement feel safer doing their jobs and what we're up against on the street, but all of our citizens.

We're not asking for major, massive revisions to some of the laws, but just some of the common sense stuff that you and I can both look at and come to an agreement and say you know what, something like this will definitely allow us to do our jobs better and make us safer.

CAMEROTA: Sam Rabadi, thanks. We appreciate your expertise and experience in this field. Thanks so much.

RABADI: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Let's get to Chris in Washington.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. President Trump says now is not the time to talk about gun control. When is the time to talk about it, if ever?

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway is going to join us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:47:27] CUOMO: President Trump traveled to Las Vegas yesterday. He was in Puerto Rico just before. And in Vegas, he was consoling the survivors and he wanted to call out the heroism and the consideration that was shown by first responders and ordinary people who became victims because of a murderer.

When asked about gun control, however, the president told reporters we're not going to talk about that today.

So, when do we talk about it? Should we talk about it at all?

Let's take this on and some other big topics of the day with Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump. Always a pleasure to have you on the show.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Good morning, Christopher.

CUOMO: It was interesting to me hearing the president reach out to people and recognize what they had done for one another.

It does raise a question. Why don't we owe the victims of this the same consideration they showed one another to take on something that's hard, that's even dangerous, in the effort to stop this from happening to everybody else. Talk about gun control, mental illness, what works and what doesn't.

Why not take this challenge on right now?

CONWAY: Christopher, what the president was saying yesterday is that he was there for the people in need who were injured and recovering in hospitals, for the families whose lives are shattered and will never feel quite the same, who are about to give their final goodbyes to their loved ones.

He was incredibly candid and sympathetic yesterday. The man who has great compassion and capacity for empathy that we see here every single day who, many times throughout his life and his career, had been asked to help people, whether it's through an opportunity, lend a hand, certainly a donation, and that is what he was focused on yesterday.

Now, you see that there are Republican senators who are talking about the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is a bedrock principle of our constitution, just like the First Amendment that allows you and I to have this conversation at the moment. That should be protected.

We are hearing from so many legislators and so many individuals in this country, and you read it publicly, too, Chris, they never even heard of a bump stock before.

And so, I did know -- I did know, and it's in "The New York Times" today, as well, that it was President Obama's ATF -- the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms --

CUOMO: Two thousand ten.

CONWAY: -- in 2010, that decided not to regulate this device. That was -- that should be part of the conversation and part of the facts --

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: -- that they put before our viewers.

CUOMO: Yes, absolutely. I said it last night in the town hall.

CONWAY: Yes, I do -- I want to say something else.

CUOMO: It's good to have it out there now.

CONWAY: Yes.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: I want to say something else.

We did a quick search and so if you go and you do a comparable search you will see that this conversation isn't being had, until tragedies like this strike, by those who try to be the loudest voices.

[07:50:10] You see Hillary Clinton is out on a book tour talking about herself, not talking about this.

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: You see her rushing to judgment on Twitter the other day while people are still looking through the rubble, searching through the hospitals --

CUOMO: Right, right.

CONWAY: -- for their missing loved ones --

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: -- trying to politicize it.

She's tweeted about guns exactly one time this year.

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: Bernie Sanders, zero times. Elizabeth Warren, zero times.

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: They have tweeted about Russia over 30 times, Sanders and Warren.

And then, approximate CNN's own coverage. Your obsession with Russia has been to the exclusion of this conversation.

So I know the high-horse cavalry loves to run in beating and thumping their chests after the tragedies, but let's step back and have a thoughtful conversation about everything --

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: -- that is at play here.

The more information all of us can learn about what happened in Las Vegas, the better.

CUOMO: Kellyanne, I'm tired so I apologize in advance, but I have to tell you a lot of this just doesn't wash. All you need to know about the bump stock --

CONWAY: What is that?

CUOMO: -- is that it was legal and that's what allowed him to lay down that field of fire. That's all you need to know about it. There's no thoughtful conversation to have --

CONWAY: And so, it wasn't --

CUOMO: -- about it.

CONWAY: And so, in 2010 -- CUOMO: Of course, it was 2010. Of course, it was the Obama administration. I'm saying don't cheapen what happened in Las Vegas --

CONWAY: Oh, no, no, no. Don't go there to get a sound-bite.

CUOMO: The people who would -- Oh, I'm going to go there, my friend, and here's why.

CONWAY: Yes.

CUOMO: When Bob Patterson came out last night with his daughter -- his 16-year-old daughter. They lost their mother, he lost his wife. You know what he wants to know? The same thing that people say time and time again.

CONWAY: And I said let's have a conversation.

CUOMO: Why was this able to -- no, but then the president says not now and then it never happens. You make the point yourself, whether you want to put it Sanders or any other Democrat.

CONWAY: That's not true and that's not fair.

CUOMO: You say they don't talk about it except when these happen. Yes, that's right, because when it happens there's acute need and there's focus.

And when you say well, we don't want to talk it about now --

CONWAY: I didn't say that.

CUOMO: -- you're ignoring the urgency --

CONWAY: I didn't say that, and the president was --

CUOMO: -- and you're hoping it goes away.

CONWAY: -- focused on the tragedy and the victims. You are putting words in his mouth and mine and I'm not going to allow you to do it --

CUOMO: No, that's exactly what he said.

CONWAY: -- to cheapen this moment. No --

CUOMO: You're the one spinning it.

CONWAY: No, no, no. You want him --

CUOMO: I'm trying to de-spin it.

CONWAY: You want him to pit -- you want him after spending the day --

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: -- visiting bedside with people who, thank God, look like they're --

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: -- on their way to recovery --

CUOMO: Hope so.

CONWAY: -- and dozens of others are not.

CUOMO: Hope so.

CONWAY: You want him to turn around and talk about -- talk about, as he's boarding Air Force One, as he's leading the day -- yesterday he was focused on those in need and he will continue to be.

The day before he was in Puerto Rico, not that you give him fair and full coverage, helping other people in need. He's been spending the last month on the ground in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas now, helping those in need who --

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: -- have suffered at the hand of natural disasters and, as he says, in Las Vegas, a pure act of evil -- nothing else to call it.

So those conversations will continue. You see a number of Republican senators have said that they're going to take a look at this. And all the while, them saying that they are for the Second Amendment, many of them are gun owners and sportsmen, themselves. But --

CUOMO: The president's first instinct when this happened in Las Vegas was he said yes, we are going to have to talk about guns at some point. And then all of a sudden, something happened and he said no, we're not going to talk about that right now.

CONWAY: No, that's not fair, Chris. You want --

CUOMO: It is. It's you need to seize on the urgency --

CONWAY: No. He's supposed to be on your time line.

CUOMO: -- of this or it will never happen.

CONWAY: Chris --

CUOMO: If you don't seize on the urgency it will never happen. And if you care about the victims, you care about why they got killed. And if you think --

CONWAY: You know -- you know he cares about the victims.

CUOMO: -- that what this man had isn't part of that conversation, then you talk about why they died and you talk about what made it possible.

CONWAY: You know -- you know darn well -- CUOMO: You do it.

CONWAY: -- he cares about those victims --

CUOMO: That's not insensitive, it's sensitive.

CONWAY: -- and you shouldn't say otherwise, and you know it. I'm not going to allow you to do that.

CUOMO: I never said otherwise.

CONWAY: So, if there's an urgency --

CUOMO: Kellyanne, it's so obvious when you run away from a point and try to blame the questioner.

CONWAY: I'm not running. I'm like the last person to ever leave anything.

CUOMO: I never said he doesn't care.

CONWAY: Here I am.

CUOMO: I'm hoping -- I hope he cares. We're all banking on him caring.

Puerto Rico, we wanted him to care. We wanted him to care about it when he wasn't talking about it -- when he was talking about the NFL.

We went down there to show the need. It's not fake to show --

CONWAY: Christopher, do you know --

CUOMO: -- need. That's not fake.

CONWAY: Oh, there you go. Somebody hit --

CUOMO: It's not fake.

CONWAY: Somebody hit a nerve. So, I didn't say they were fake.

CUOMO: Sure he does when he maligns an entire crisis by saying it's fake. When saying it's not that bad because it's not like Katrina, it's offensive. Hits a nerve.

CONWAY: Let me know when you have a (INAUDIBLE) if you want your guest to speak this morning.

CUOMO: Please, go ahead.

CONWAY: Let me know if your guest gets to speak.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: OK. Well, I don't hear a question. In fact --

CUOMO: Well, I ask them. You have a tendency not to answer the specific question I ask.

CONWAY: But let me -- let me say -- let me say a couple of things about Puerto Rico.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: This president has directed an entire federal government and an administration. We have, at one count, 15,000 people on the ground helping them. We have volunteers helping them.

The electricity is going to take a long time to be restored. People have gotten millions of meals and liters of water. And we're doing what we can on an island 1,100 miles away from land, trying to help those in need.

And when people take a shot at the president and try to even question -- try to put a piece of tissue paper between him and his commitment to those people -- and those people -- you should think twice about that. That's number two.

[07:55:08] Number one, and most importantly, this president -- you're talking about the urgency to have a conversation. You and your network have felt an urgency about Russia and some phony baloney collusion. This entire calendar year -- do you know how much --

CUOMO: Nobody says it's phony baloney.

CONWAY: No, I'm sorry, excuse me.

CUOMO: Nobody who's investigating it says it's phony baloney, by the way.

CONWAY: OK, well the president does.

CUOMO: Republicans included. OK.

CONWAY: Do you know the airtime that you have spent? Do you know the graphics -- do you have any graphics on bump stocks? No, you don't.

You have graphics on Russia, you have graphics on palace intrigue, you have graphics on impeachment. You have people -- you have panels, seven versus one, against the president and you call yourself the most trusted name in news --

CUOMO: It's the first time we've seen it used.

CONWAY: -- which hasn't been true in years.

CUOMO: It's the first time we've seen it used in a mass murder. What are you talking about?

CONWAY: There was a --

CUOMO: It is the first time a bump stock has been relevant in the discussion.

CONWAY: But it's not the first time -- is it the first time that there's been a mass shooting in this country?

CUOMO: Of course not --

CONWAY: Most of -- OK --

CUOMO: -- and every time we have one I ask you and people who are in power is it time to discuss why it happens and they say not now, be respectful, as if not discussing --

CONWAY: That's not fair.

CUOMO: -- why these died is being -- that's not being respectful? That's what they want.

CONWAY: So why have -- so why have -- why has somebody like --

CUOMO: That's what the victims' families want.

CONWAY: So why have Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren not talked about -- not bump stocks but this issue this entire year? Why the obsession with Russia? There are approximately --

CUOMO: They probably didn't know what they were. They were never relevant in a story before.

CONWAY: They're probably watching CNN.

CUOMO: Is that your bar for success?

CONWAY: No, it's not.

CUOMO: Do you want to be like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders?

CONWAY: I want you to know.

CUOMO: Is that your measure of good leadership? Is that why you name them?

CONWAY: I want the high-horse cavalry -- I want the high-horse cavalry here to have some introspection and show some respect for these people.

CUOMO: I thought you wanted to be sensitive to the victims?

CONWAY: You have to have a conversation when we're --

CUOMO: So you want to be sensitive and respectful but you don't want to talk about how they died? You don't want to talk about that but you want to be respectful.

CONWAY: Of course, I do want to talk about how they died. Here's how they died. Innocent people enjoying themselves at a concert in the greatest country on earth --

CUOMO: Yes. CONWAY: -- where we are free to come and go --

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: -- who were victims by a madman who perpetrated pure evil.

CUOMO: We don't know that he was a madman. He could have just been really evil. We don't know that he was sick.

CONWAY: I think that --

CUOMO: We just know that legally he could amass an arsenal and attach something to his weapons that allowed them rain down fire, which he never would have been able to do if he didn't use something that was legal and easy to get.

CONWAY: Legal in 2010. The Obama administration's Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau said they wouldn't regulate that device. That should be part of this conversation.

CUOMO: So you admit it was a mistake in 2010. Why don't you fix it right now?

CONWAY: No, I'd like -- I'd like everybody to be involved in the conversation here because that was seven years ago for a different president. Donald Trump was busy being a successful businessman in New York --

CUOMO: Nobody's blaming the president --

CONWAY: -- while that --

Yes, you are.

CUOMO: -- about what happened. No, we're really not and it kind of matters because --

CONWAY: You're blaming him for saying --

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: -- that -- you're blaming him today because you want your anti-Trump viewers to hear you blame you and then you want to have anti-Trump panels --

CUOMO: Oh, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: -- to bolster the point later. You are blaming him for turning around --

CUOMO: Kellyanne, don't cheapen this conversation. Don't do it.

CONWAY: -- and saying that we're not having that conversation today, meaning yesterday, when he spent the day truly, and deeply, and emotionally moved to be in the company of those injured and suffering in hospitals. To meet Mr. Viber (ph). To meet with first responders, the true heroes.

CUOMO: If you're moved by what happened to the victims, then you act on what happened to them. That's all I'm saying.

CONWAY: Yesterday, the --

CUOMO: And now is the time --

CONWAY: OK.

CUOMO: Now is the time to say that you care.

No, you do both.

CONWAY: Yes, we all care.

CUOMO: You go and you comfort, you show moral agency, and then you take action, as a leader, to try to make it --

CONWAY: He showed all of that.

CUOMO: -- better the next time.

CONWAY: He showed all of that yesterday. That's who he is.

CUOMO: I'm not saying what he showed or he didn't show.

CONWAY: People are so grateful that he's our leader right now --

CUOMO: I'm saying that he --

CONWAY: -- at these terrible times in our nation.

CUOMO: Then, fine. Then take on the issue. Do what they did at that concert ground.

Go against something that was dangerous and reach out to others because it was the right thing to do, even if it puts you at risk.

CONWAY: All yesterday.

CUOMO: That's what the people who survived did and some who did not. Our leaders --

CONWAY: Right.

CUOMO: -- should do the same, shouldn't they?

CONWAY: Christopher, everything should be done. The more information learned about what happened in Las Vegas, the better everyone is. We all want answers.

We all feel frustrated and deeply saddened this week. We grieve with all of those who lost loved ones, all of those who are recovering.

And that's why the president, the first lady, the vice president, the cabinet -- that's why the president has thrown himself shoulder-to- shoulder with those in need, truly moved.

And he paid his respects yesterday and just stood eye-to-eye with those who showed great acts of heroism. People standing in line for hours at blood banks -- the greatest part of America.

I mean, you can't -- the media constantly -- the president should unify, should unify. So he takes a moment to do that and you don't like the way he's doing it.

He's not on your time line. He's not doing it according to what you think should be done on a certain date. That's just not acceptable. That's not acceptable. Why can't you have the conversation?

Why can't you admit, too, that at CNN you and your colleagues have been talking about other things to the exclusion of these issues? You act like this is the first mass shooting.

CUOMO: First of all, they are relevant when they occur. That's like saying --

CONWAY: Oh, OK.

CUOMO: -- that you guys never talked about Puerto Rico's hurricane problems before the hurricane.

Yes, that's how it works. You have a crisis and you deal with it in the moment.

But let's leave that conversation to the side.

CONWAY: I have a meeting in a minute.

CUOMO: Let me ask you about something else.

CONWAY: Very quickly.

CUOMO: Good. Let me ask you one more thing.