Fox News "Fox News Sunday" - Transcript


By:  Joe Lieberman
Date: Dec. 16, 2012
Location: Unknown

WALLACE: Friday's mass shooting is the worst in Connecticut history, the second worst ever in this country. Cold numbers only magnified by the fact so many of the victims were little children.

Joining is now is Joe Lieberman, who has represented Connecticut in the Senate for 24 years.

Senator, thanks for coming in on this difficult weekend.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: What do we do?

LIEBERMAN: You know, as Lynn said, there's no answer. I mean, this is evil. We have been through this before, too many times -- Columbine, Gabby Giffords, Aurora, the movie theater. Virginia Tech.

I think we need a national commission on mass violence. Not to be in place of anything else, the president or Congress or state governments might want to do. But, to make sure that the heart break and the anger that we feel now, is not dissipated over time, or lost in legislative gridlock.

I've got to tell you, this reminds me of the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks against us of 9/11. And, at one point, John McCain and I turned to each other and said, we can't let this just go. We've got to create a national commission to investigate exactly the questions we're asking about Newtown -- how could this have happened and is there anything we can do to try to prevent it from happening again?

WALLACE: But, you know, there were reforms after 9/11 and after the commission, and the way that the intelligence community and FBI shared information.


WALLACE: It wasn't just, let's wallow in our grief. Let me ask you a specific --

LIEBERMAN: No, but I want to say, quickly that that is exactly what I don't want to top. I don't want to us wallow in our grief. I want us to ask, what can we do as a society to make sure young men like Adam Lanza get mental help before they become shooters and killers? What's the role of violence in our entertainment culture today and stimulating a vulnerable kid like this and what can we do to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of --

\WALLACE: OK. Let me ask you about some of those specific questions. Back in the "90s, you supported the Brady Law which called for a five-day waiting period.


WALLACE: You supported the assault weapons ban.

Then, in 2000 you and Al Gore campaigned around the country and lost and a lot of people took as a lesson, part of it was states like Tennessee and West Virginia, the fact that you were pro-gun control. And, quite frankly, since, Democrats have been scared of touching that issue.

Is it time for Democrats to push for stricter gun control?

LIEBERMAN: It's time for Democrats, Republicans and independents to say -- acknowledge two things: one is the strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence. But, also, to acknowledge that the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence including mass violence that will happen in our society.

So, as a result of the Brady Law, and it still exists, if you go into a licensed federal firearms dealer to buy a gun, you have a background check and it's a thorough one. But, if you buy a gun from somebody who is not licensed, or at a gun show, you don't have to be checked at all. That's a loophole we ought to close.

Assault weapons, these were developed by the U.S. military, originally, as weapons of war. And, I think we ought to restore that assault weapons ban, because, not to take anybody's guns away from them, they have now. But, to stop the manufacture and sale of those weapons now because, look what Lanza did to these poor kids.

WALLACE: Now, let's talk about a couple of other things -- mental illness.


WALLACE: This is obviously a disturbed boy and many of these other cases.


WALLACE: Holmes in Aurora, disturbed. The entertainment industry, you know, there are some statistics about kids will have watched thousands of acts of violence on videos, on games and movies and TV, by the time, you know, they are 10.

Specifically, what kind of thing can we do about that?

LIEBERMAN: That's why I think we need a national commission, I spent enough time on this question of violence, and the entertainment culture, to reach this conclusion, that the violence in the entertainment culture, particularly with the extraordinary realism to video games and movies now, et cetera, does cause vulnerable young men, particularly, to be more violent. It doesn't make everybody more violent. But, it's a causative factor in some cases.

We've got to ask the entertainment industry, what are you going to do to try to tone that down --

WALLACE: Voluntary, or would you pass a law?

LIEBERMAN: In our society we try to do it voluntarily. But I think we've come to a point where we have to say, if not, maybe there are some things we can do to tone it down. There is a better ratings system now than used to be on video games and violent movies but they are still out there.

When it comes to the mental health system, I think we really have got to ask ourselves, first, off, this is like the slogan that we use in Homeland Security -- see something, say something.

We've got to ask parents, friends, school officials, if you see a child, a young person, that really looks like they are potentially -- real troublesome, get them mental health help and we have to ask ourselves, as a society, is there enough mental health help available for these kids?

There is no cure -- violence is as old as Cain killing his brother Abel. But God didn't accept that as a given, and said, if I may, to Cain, where's your brother? And Abel -- Cain says, am I my brother's keeper? And God says, yes, I hear your brother's blood crying out to me from the ground.

And I think we've got to continue to hear the screams of these children, and see their blood, until we do something to try to prevent this from happening again.

WALLACE: Senator Lieberman, thank you. Our sympathies go out with you as you head back home today --

LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: -- to your home state of Connecticut for the vigil tonight. Thank you, sir.

LIEBERMAN: I'll be there.

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