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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript - Guns

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CROWLEY (on-camera): With some of the parents of Sandy Hook looking on the Connecticut governor enacted some of the toughest gun laws in the country this week, that includes the addition of more than 100 weapons to the state assault weapons ban, including the bushmaster, one of the guns used at Sandy Hook. It bans the sales of magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition, requires a certificate to buy ammunition and bans armor-piercing bullets. Joining me now from Hartford, Connecticut is Governor Dan Malloy. Thank you so much for joining us. It was a big week for you, and you got some of what you wanted, maybe not as far as you wanted to go. I wanted to play for you the reaction of Wayne Lapierre who, as you know, is the head of the National Rifle Association and his critique of the bill that you passed in Connecticut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXEC. V.P./CEO, NRA: Well, I think the problem what Connecticut did, Megan, is the criminals, the drug dealers, the people that are going to do horror and terror, they aren't going to cooperate. I mean, all you're doing is making the law books thicker for the law-abiding people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Within the legislation that you signed into law, do you think it's tougher on law-abiding citizens or on the criminals who want to use those guns?

MALLOY: Well, it's probably a little tougher on everybody. I mean, you know, Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus. They get the most attention, and that's what he's paid to do. But the reality is is that the gun that was used to kill 26 people on December 14th was legally purchased in the state of Connecticut, even though, we had an assault weapons ban.

But, you know, there were loopholes in it that you could drive a truck through. I mean, this guy is so out of whack. It's unbelievable. Ninety-two percent of the American people want universal background checks. I can't get on a plane as the governor of the state of Connecticut without somebody running a background check on me.

Why should you be able to buy a gun or buy, you know, armor- piercing munitions? It doesn't make any sense. He doesn't make any sense, thus, my reference to the circus.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you, as you know, the NRA sponsored a plan that they put out this week. Asa Hutchinson put it out. It was a school safety shield press conference. And, a Newtown dad was there, Mark Mattioli whose six-year-old son, James, died in Newtown. And he was there in support, what Asa Hutchinson put together in terms of school safety. I just want to play you a little bit of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MATTIOLI, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: I think politics needs to sort of be set aside here. And I hope this doesn't, you know, lead to name calling but rather this is recommendations for solutions, real solutions that will make our kids safer. And that's what we need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: So, when you look at what the NRA or the NRA-funded report puts out, which is a long list of things including armed guards in some schools, a pilot program on school threats and mental health, coordination with the government, and online school safety assessment, are there things in there in which both sides could stop the name calling, as he pointed out, and maybe agree to?

MALLOY: Precious little. You know, we had the wild west where everyone carried a gun. And homicide rates are pretty big. Pretty high. And in fact, in the states that have the loosest laws, they have the largest suicide rates and the largest homicide rate. So, I mean, this idea that -- Candy, I don't want to tell you your business, but bring it back to reality.

Why are they against universal background checks when 92 percent of the American public is in favor of them? If they can't answer that question -- and they can't, Candy. Hang on a second. And they can't. What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible even if they're deranged, even if they're mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background, they don't care. They want to sell guns.

CROWLEY: And let me -- you brought that up. And I understand what you're saying here. And certainly that question has been posed to the NRA and to gun rights supporters about why they don't --

MALLOY: Yes, but you let them off the hook. You're asking me about whether everyone should carry a gun, and that's the road to safety --

CROWLEY: No, I'm asking you if --

MALLOY: -- when in fact it is not.

CROWLEY: Actually, I'm not, and I don't think that they recommended in this, that everyone should carry a gun. I'm asking you on school safety enhancements that either side could agree to.

MALLOY: Oh, sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, you shouldn't have doorway that people can shoot their way into. We proved that on December 14th or at least Adam did. Of course, there are things we can agree on. But they can't agree on anything that has anything to do with guns. That's the problem.

Tell me again, why I can't get on a plane without someone doing a background check, but I can walk into stores or to gun shows in the United States and no background check is done? It doesn't make any sense. That's why 92 percent of the American public wants to see legislation that requires universal background checks.

CROWLEY: The law you just signed has a limit on new sales of magazines to ten rounds in that magazine. It also requires registration of older clips that may carry more. What does that registration do? How does that make things safer?

MALLOY: Well, you know, I suppose it's a bit of a compromise. I would have preferred an all-out ban of magazines over ten. The legislature did not agree with me. The reason that that's important is Adam Lanza took ten 30-round magazines to a school to kill 26 people. And he would have killed a lot more if he had had the opportunity. But it's specific in that information is that he had ten-round magazines and he had 20-round magazines. He left those home.

There was a reason he brought 30-round magazines to that school. We shouldn't be selling them anymore. Quite frankly, under the law -- the federal law that expired in 2004, they weren't allowed to be sold in the United States nor were most of these weapons allowed to be sold in the United States. This is not ancient history. It's recent history, Candy.

CROWLEY: Sure. Specifically to -- I understand the limit in your argument for the limits on the magazines, but on the pre-existing magazines, those that have already been sold, how does having people register those in the state of Connecticut as required by this law, what are you attempting to do there? How does that cut down on violence?

MALLOY: So, that there are no new ones in our state. I mean, if you bring a magazine from another state that you purchased legally in another state after the date we signed this legislation into our state, we need to be able to tell the difference between the ones that pre-existed and those that are being purchased some place else, hence, the requirement for registration.

If you bring a magazine that you purchased in another state into our state, it's illegal. Period.

CROWLEY: OK. Let me ask you also about the mental health component. I know there are things in this bill to try to expand access to mental health. It seems to me that one of the giant missing pieces in what we now know about the investigation into Sandy Hook is motivation and background of this murderer.

What do we now know about Adam Lanza that can help us understand what led him to this horrific act?

MALLOY: Well, we can't ask Adam any questions, as you know. We can piece together his history. And that's being done. We know that he worked on this for a long period of time. That it was intentional that he killed his mother first, that he took highest powered weapons to the school in the car, that he took 30-round magazines and left 10s and 20s at home, that he clearly is someone who was suffering some form of mental illness.

I think we know enough. We know that he had weapons at his disposal that allowed him to get off 152 or 154 shots in less than four minutes.

CROWLEY: Have you found any evidence of any seeking of mental health help for him, anything along the way that you just look at and think, here, here, we might have been able to stop this?

MALLOY: Adam was from a family that mental health treatment was not denied to. They had the financial where with all to get whatever help they needed. And, I think we'll wait for the report to come out to go any further than that. But we're trying to do things in our state to make sure that families have access to mental health, that education professionals in schools where they're most likely to come into contact with young people who are disturbed will have the training to recognize that and will intervene.

CROWLEY: Quickly, because my time actually has run out, but I need to ask you, you have several gun makers and manufacturers in your state, other states are now courting them because of this new restrictive law. Some of them are going to make the kinds of weapons that you have banned. Do you want those companies to stay in your state?

MALLOY: You know, we've been clear. People are welcome to stay in our state as long as they're producing a product that can be sold in the United States legally. By the way, those companies have been courted over the years to move many, many times. We've been in discussions with some of those firms about their desire to move or not to move in the past.

But you know what, we've decided that the public's safety, that school children safety, that schoolteacher safety trumps all of that. I hope they stay and manufacture products that can legally be sold, but if they leave, you know, that will be a decision they make. We're not making them leave.

CROWLEY: Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut, thanks so much. After a busy week, we appreciate your time.

MALLOY: Thank you.

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