CNN national security analyst: “The data shows us ... that if you make gun owning harder, you will limit gun violence”

Juliette Kayyem: “And so red flag laws, gun control laws, all of them work ... People who just sort of throw out that they don't work, it's just a lie.”

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Citation From the March 29, 2023, edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom

JESSICA DEAN (CO-HOST): We just heard [congressional correspondent Manu Raju] walking us through, talking to those lawmakers about banning AR-15s, which are used in so many of these school shootings. They are weapons of war, and the fact is they simply destroy bodies a lot faster than other types of guns. Do you think an assault weapons ban or a ban on those types of guns would make a difference going forward?

JULIETTE KAYYEM (CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST): Oh, absolutely, and decades of legislation and people who study crime and gun control prove it. And, I think, just to your point quickly. Six people –– three children and three adults –– died at the school. No one made it to a hospital. In other words, these are meant to kill. There's no recovering from this kind of weaponry. So, what the data shows us is, first, that if you make gun owning harder, you will limit gun violence. And we've seen it in this country during our assault rifle ban, but you've seen it in New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, and other countries. So, the numbers are there. So people, legislators, who say it doesn't work, that is just defying the numbers and facts.

The second is just crime generally. We know from decades of study of crime that all crime are crimes of opportunity. You allow someone, you make it permissive for them to do something, and they will do it. So, that's why we fortify banks. And that's why we, you know, put locks on our doors. And so, if you can, the more guns there are, the more violence there is. And so you take away that opportunity; I'm not saying ban everything. I'm just saying you make it harder, more regulations.

And then the third piece, and this is important to remember because everyone's going to get legalistic and focus on mental health. None of these are a total cure. But a society can either make gun ownership permissive or less permissive. And we have essentially made it like chewing gum at this stage. It is too permissive. And you heard the mayor from Nashville say, you know, maybe we just need to make a statement, right? Make this stuff less permissive. And then people will, you know, have less opportunity, there'll be fewer guns on the street, and then it works. And the data –– I just want to make clear –– the data is clear. The nihilism you hear from these legislators just defies decades of data.

JIM SCUITTO (CO-HOST): The other piece of this is the feasibility of red flag laws. So, there's not one in Tennessee and there were warnings about, even her family had warned about her state of mental health, and apparently, she had sold one gun but still managed to buy seven others legally here. So, does this show that red flag laws at least have a function? Right? Not to say that they would catch everyone because you're in effect, putting the onus on everyone out there to warn about everybody else, but that they have a function and the potential to work.

KAYYEM: Yes. And the data also from localities that do have red flag laws, if they're enforced, because if they're on the books and no one's doing it, it doesn't work, actually work. And why is that? Once again, get to opportunity. What you essentially want to do is someone who's having bad thoughts, someone who may do a crime –– you want to create barriers for them to commit the kind of crimes that we saw at the Nashville school, and we see every day now in this country. And so the red flag laws take away the ability of them to easily purchase guns, and they also engage the community in this common effort. I want to be clear. I'm not naive. Laws alone will not change conduct, but they are part of an overall package of looking at mental health issues, of fortifying schools, and protecting our students when they are at schools. All of them are necessary. But to simply say, "well, you know, we don't need laws, we need to just focus on mental health." That denies any acknowledgment that the common thread we see in all these cases is basically the use mass –– of wartime weaponry in our classrooms against our kids.

SCUITTO: And by the way, those reflexive comments and criticisms, they're not true because there is data, as you know, that banning some sort of weapons and instituting red flag laws have an impact. They don't ban everyone, nor does any law ban, you know, robbing a bank. You know, it doesn't stop every –– but they do have an impact.

KAYYEM: Yes. That's exactly right. So, I mean, we call it in regular security, you just call it layered defenses. You just want a bunch of different things in play that will stop this person from doing this horrific thing. And so red flag laws, gun control laws, all of them work, and as you said, the data is clear. People who just sort of throw out that they don't work, it's just a lie. I mean, the data is clear that gun control laws work.