CNN host and gun control advocate Piers Morgan kept smearing gun rights
advocates after President Obama announced his proposals on guns
Wednesday. CNN's Wolf Blitzer was interviewing a GOP Texas state
representative, who had proposed a bill that could make a felony any
enforcement of a federal ban on semi-automatic guns or magazines within
the state of Texas.
"Texas Republican congressman Steve Toth on CNN right now is everything that's wrong with America re guns. A stupid, dangerous man," Morgan ranted on Twitter. Blitzer interviewed Toth shortly after Obama's announcement and had tough questions for him, but didn't resort to name calling like Morgan did from his Twitter account.
"Unbelievable - this clown Steve Toth doesn't even want universal
background checks. And he's a state legislator in Texas! #CNN"
"I've been to Texas many times. Great state, full of kind, decent people. That idiot Steve Toth does not speak for them."
Toth acknowledged that his bill could defy a law passed by Congress: "We're going to do everything we can to call people back to the belief and the understanding that we're a constitutional republic and that our rights do not come from Congress. Our rights come from God and are enumerated in the Constitution."
He added later: "And if this government infringes on our Second Amendment right, which gives us the right not only to bear arms but tells the government, the federal government, not to create any laws that infringes on those rights, we will do everything we can to push back against that."
A transcript of Blitzer's interview with Toth, which aired on CNN Newsroom on January 16 at 12:28 p.m. EST, is as follows:
WOLF BLITZER: Joining us now from Austin, Texas, Republican state
representative Steve Toth. Representative, thanks very much for joining
us. We're intrigued because you proposed legislation that would make it
illegal in Texas for anyone to enforce a federal ban, shall we say, on
assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. Here's the question. If the
federal government, if the House and the Senate pass this legislation
that the President is asking for, he signs it into law, everyone in the
United States would have to obey the law. How would you avoid obeying
STEVE TOTH (R), Texas State House: In Texas, we're going to do everything we can, Wolf. And first off, thanks for having me on. We're going to do everything we can to call people back to the belief and the understanding that we're a constitutional republic and that our rights do not come from Congress. Our rights come from God and are enumerated in the Constitution. What they're proposing, and here's what I really want to stress, he said that we will be judged. Our generation will be judged based on how we deal with this. Cotton candy political solutions aren't going to fix this problem.
BLITZER: But the Congress, by the Constitution, is given the authority to pass legislation to create the laws, to make the laws. Once again, if they pass this legislation, I'm not sure they will pass the legislation, but let's say they do pass the legislation banning the military-type assault weapons, the high ammunition clips. Universal background checks for anyone buying a gun, whether at a gun show or online or from a private individual. If that is the law of the land, that's the Constitution, right? You've got to obey the law of the land.
TOTH: Let me ask you a quick question. If you -- he used the expression, weapons designed for the theater of war. What we're talking about here is not an M16 that's used over in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is not what we're talking about here. What we're talking about, what he's talking about banning are weapons that are used in less than one-tenth of one percent of all gun crimes. These are nothing more than semi-automatic hunting rifles that look like – look like – M16s. They are not M16s. Wolf, have you ever held one of these things in your hand and fired one?
BLITZER: Well, I understand what you're saying, but the question I'm asking, and I'm not getting a direct answer, Congressman, Representative, excuse me. The specific question, if it's passed by Congress, and once again, I don't know if the Congress will pass it, but if it's passed by Congress, every U.S. citizen has to obey the law. What you're proposing is the people in Texas –
BLITZER: But I just want to make sure your –
TOTH: We will do everything we can in the state of Texas to ensure that as Texas, we follow the United States Constitution. And if this government infringes on our Second Amendment right, which gives us the right not only to bear arms but tells the government, the federal government, not to create any laws that infringes on those rights, we will do everything we can to push back against that.
BLITZER: Does that mean – maybe I'm jumping too far, but does that mean seceding from the union? Is that what you're suggesting?
TOTH: No, that's not what we're talking about here. And you know, I'm pretty sure that that's not what this discussion is about.
BLITZER: I'm just – I just wanted to be precise. That's not what you were calling for? What you're saying is you will try to skirt around a federal law but within the law?
TOTH: Wolf, let me just share something with you real quick. I was born in New York. Upstate New York. 20 miles south of Webster, New York. Where a few weeks ago a mentally deranged man, a killer, a man that beat his mother to death with a hammer, he beat her to death with a hammer so badly that the coroner couldn't recognize her, the guy was found guilty of first-degree murder, sent to jail. And the state of New York allowed this animal back out on the streets again to kill again. He illegally got ahold of a gun, set his house on fire and when firemen arrived, he shot two of them dead. All of the situations that the President enumerated in his speech have nothing to do with even his legislation. If we want to get serious about limiting violent crime in America, we've got to look at mental health issues and we've got to look at punishing people that commit crimes, and when they commit violent crimes, they've got to go to jail and stay in jail. Let's get serious about this. Anything other than that is just a joke.
BLITZER: I don't think anyone disagrees with you on that last point.
BLITZER: I think everybody agrees if you commit a violent crime, you should go to jail and stay in jail. And the President, in one of his recommendations, he does –
TOTH: We don't agree on it, because if the President was really serious about it, he wouldn't have taken 90 percent of his time talking about military, quote/unquote, military style assault rifles, and he would have spent all of his time addressing the issue of the fact that these weapons account for less than one-half of one percent of crimes. Less than one-half of one percent. Let's deal with the real issues. The recidivism rate. People that get out of jail and go and kill again. The ability of people to get ahold of these weapons. Republicans have been calling for years for instant background checks. Instant background checks. And this government has done nothing to help us with that.
BLITZER: Do you want universal background checks on all gun transactions in the United States, as the President is proposing?
TOTH: No, I don't.
TOTH: No, I don't. At gun shows, online, we've got the technology online --
BLITZER: But what if some crazy guy that you just described in upstate New York wants to go to a gun show? He can go buy a gun.
TOTH: Wolf, that would be – first off, that hasn't happened. If you look at that guy in upstate New York, he stole his gun.
BLITZER: Technically, if there's no background check, if you have a criminal record, he can go to a gun show where he can buy a gun without a background check. Technically, that's obviously possible.
TOTH: Let's quit dealing with the hypothetical, though, and let's start dealing with reality, Wolf. That hasn't happened.
BLITZER: People can buy guns at gun shows –
BLITZER: Right now, you can be on the no-fly list, you're not allowed to board a plane, but you can go to a gun show and buy a gun. Is there a contradiction there?
TOTH: Wolf, show me one, one time one of these criminals has gone to a gun show and gone and committed a crime. I'm listening. I'm all ears. Let's deal with – let's deal with reality.
BLITZER: Representative Steve Toth, state representative from Texas. Thanks very much for coming in. You obviously have very, very strong views and I know you reflect a lot of people out there who have strong views on this as well.
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center