Anderson Cooper destroys GOP senator over expanded background checks (video)

Anderson Cooper recently interviewed GOP Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) about his opposition to expanding background checks on gun sales.  Risch is one of the fourteen Republican Senators who threatened to filibuster the proposed new gun background check law, and he’s the only one who had the courage to go on TV to talk about it.

Risch is a walking NRA talking point, which is typical for Republicans, but especially ones from Idaho. GOP politicians love their guns, especially in Idaho, unless you bring a gun to their workplace, legally, then they kinda sorta freak out.  Idaho Republicans are more likely to ban vaginas than to ban guns.

Anderson-Cooper-James-Risch

Anderson Cooper and GOP Senator James Risch (R-ID) talk about why Republicans hate gun background checks.

In spite of Risch’s grotesque repetition of the NRA talking points that guns should be kept out of the hands of criminals and crazy people, Cooper did a masterful job of turning that talking point around on him.  In essence saying, if you’re so intent on keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, then let’s have background checks to find them. Oh no, Risch said, we can’t have that.  If we expand background checks to, say, private ma and pa gun sellers who sell them to a friend or a relative, that will mean we’ll be doing background checks on innocent people!

Forget for a moment that innocent people go through background checks all the time when they buy guns.  But suddenly in this case it’s a horror of all horrors to have innocent people get a background check.  Cooper honed in on another point, which was, how do you know they’re innocent people if you refuse to subject them to a background check?

ANDERSON COOPER: Why not control a relative selling a gun to a relative, or a friend selling a gun to a friend? Why not have a background check?

GOP SENATOR RISCH (R-ID): The thing that really bothers me is, number one it doesn’t work, and number two it places the burden on law-abiding citizens.  The person who’s gonna use a gun for illegal purposes is not gonna go through the background check system.

Right, so they’ll use the loophole they’re building in to the new law instead, and buy the guy from a friend or relative.

Anderson tries again:

ANDERSON COOPER: But how do you know that somebody’s a law-abiding citizen, and who’s buying a gun from a relative, if they haven’t gone through a background check?

Logic, Anderson?

Oh but it gets better:

ANDERSON COOPER: From a logic standpoint, how do you know if they’re a criminal, or have a serious mental issue, if you’re not doing any kind of check, if their relative who is an idiot decides to sell them a weapon or their friend decides to sell them a weapon? If nobody’s checking, how do you know they’re a good guy or bad guy?

GOP SENATOR RISCH (R-ID): Well, there’s no question that by expanding the background check, you will pick up some more of those people.

Okay, then let’s do it, skippy!

The video is below, it’s about five minutes long.  Tommy Christopher over at Mediaite has a wonderful write-up of the exchange that’s worth a read. It’s funny as hell.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • lou7

    Anderson Cooper why do you feel an obligation to defend immigrants and not the ‘PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION MURDERS’ taking place in America? You want us to be sympathetic to GAY MARRIAGE and you don’t defend “defenseless” babies born alive and kicking and are MURDERED by the doctor who took an oath to protect ALL human life.

    YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED, your selfish behavior will come back to bite you. President Obama is in the same category, MURDERERS.

    The left haven’t any morals, wake up America, can you not see the road they are taking us on?

    Louise Markasovic
    Palos Heights, IL

  • mark_in_toronto

    If intelligence was outlawed, only criminals would be intelligent.
    You can have my common sense when you pry it from my cold dead hands.
    Stupidity doesn’t hurt people . . . people hurt people.
    A free people ought to be educated.
    The right to buy guns is the right for self destruction.
    Beware the man who only has one brain . . . he probably knows how to use it.

  • Jim Olson

    These are the same people who insist that they need their damn guns to protect themselves from the government, and at the same time, support such obscene spending on the US military. Do you honestly think that an individual or group of armed citizens has the power and resources to fight off government troops? Waco and Ruby Ridge. That is all.

  • Powkat

    How many gun shops are like the one that sold Nancy Lanza her weapons? They were just closed down for over 500 violations like selling without a background check. How many dozens or hundreds more are there because the NRA has tied the ATF’s hands? But the government will go after medical marijuana in a hearbeat.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    They always leave out the part about all the guns that aren’t sold (1) because the buyer failed the background check and (2) those who don’t buy a gun in the first place at a gun store because they know they’ll fail the check. (Hence, they all turn to the private sale and gun show loopholes…which is what needs closing.)

    Fair disclosure: My now deceased father used to be a federally licensed gun and arms dealer. He said there were plenty of instances where he didn’t sell someone a gun because the background check had a recorded felony or mental illness. I don’t have an exact number but it clearly happened more than a few times.

    True, I do think those who lie on the applications should be charged — but at least with the check, they didn’t get the gun they were trying to buy.

  • KingCranky

    Any legislator against background checks should extend that mindset to all such instances, which would lead to bans against employers conducting background checks on possible employees.

    Does Risch think that’s a smart move for the FBI, local law enforcement, CIA, any government agency or private-sector employers?

    Only way we’ll know the answer to that is to ask him.

    Oh, and if he has background checks conducted on those wishing to join his staff, how would Risch explain that logical inconsistency?

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    I wouldn’t say he destroyed him – the argument was very circular. He made him look like an idiot (not hard) but could have been way harsher.

  • pappyvet

    “What a nim cow poop…what a gulla bull…what a ultra maroon,” Bugs Bunny

  • Badgerite

    So that’s what they mean when they say stuff like, ‘the laws we have aren’t being enforced’. That they aren’t prosecuting all the people who lied on their background check for a gun purchase. But such a background check law is designed to keep guns out of the hands of known criminals and the mentally deranged. Not to put them in jail for lying. If the checks are being done and people with criminal records or known mental issues are kept from buying a gun, then the laws are being enforced and they are working.

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