Piers Morgan: Obama has "done his best, achieved nothing" on guns

(CBS News) Piers Morgan, the host of "Piers Morgan Live" on CNN is never one to shy away from a heated conversation. For nearly two decades, Morgan made a name for himself first in Britain and now in the U.S. Recently, many of his heated conversations have centered around firearms in the U.S., and is now one of the subjects he takes on in his new book, "Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God and George Clooney," published by an imprint of Simon and Schuster, a division of CBS.

Morgan has called Congress "gutless" because they refuse to take action on guns. In a general criticism of Washington that Morgan extended on "CBS This Morning" to President Obama, the CNN host said the president has "done his best," but has "achieved nothing."

"(President Obama) went to Sandy Hook (the site of a mass shooting last December) very publicly, and he promised those families he would give action," Morgan said. "To date, he has delivered absolutely nothing."

Special section: Elementary school rampage

"Bill Clinton, who I interviewed a few weeks ago, told me an interesting thing, he said, 'Look, the NRA martials itself so well. They go after any politician in America at any stage, any level, and they drive them out of power with their well-funded resources which come from the gun manufacturers.' And he said, until the American people -- many of whom express outrage at these atrocities -- until they go to the ballot box and vote with their feet'...nothing will change and he's right," Morgan said.

Morgan's position has not made him popular with some gun rights advocates. A petition was even started to have him deported from the U.S. because of his position outspoken views on gun control.

However, his views remain unchanged on the issue. On "CBS This Morning," he referred to a recent interview on his broadcast: "Here's the thing about guns, I had a guy on last night, Alan Gottlieb from the Second Amendment Foundation. He wanted to have a campaign to turn the first anniversary of Sandy Hook into Guns Save Lives Day -- a more repulsive way of commemorating that day would be hard to imagine. So I had him on last night. I was reading a statement from the daughter of the principal of that school who was killed -- her outrage at the idea of this campaign. He began to laugh in the middle of me reading the statement," Morgan said. "And it showed to me the utter crassness of some of these pro-gun rights people. In just failing to understand the decimation that guns can cause to so many lives."

Morgan contrasted America's position on guns by turning to Britain's history with banning firearms.

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"In Britain, in the mid-nineties we had an outrage in Dunblane in Scotland, 16 young children, same age as Sandy Hook, were all murdered by a gunman," Morgan said. "And everyone came together. Politicians on the left and right. It was never partisan. The media collectively, the Daily Mirror, the editor in chief, campaigned very strongly on this. The public were united. And as a result, all assault weapons were banned. All handguns were banned.

"Now two things have happened since. The average murder rate from guns in Britain is 35 people a year -- that is the number of Americans that get killed every day from guns. But it's worse than that. In America, another 50 will die today from suicide from guns because of the ready availability of guns in homes. Add to that, 100,000 Americans a year get hit by gunfire. Now, you can look at places like Germany or Australia, wherever you bring in tough, sensible gun safety control measures, you have less death. That's what I'm about. I just want fewer Americans to be killed by guns."

"CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell noted, "But you were talking about banning (guns). We have the Second Amendment here in America. There are more than 100 million gun owners in this country. It is a right that many Americans enjoy and use safely."

Morgan replied, "I have no problem in a country with so many guns in circulation with a family exercising their (Second Amendment) right to defend their families with a handgun at home. But nobody can tell me that any civilian in America needs a military-style assault weapon or a magazine which has 30 to 100 bullets as we saw in Aurora or at Sandy Hook. And the idea that you can't even in Congress pass background checks. You can't even get through a law that 90 percent of the American people support, which would mean that you could determine somebody buying a gun with a criminal or mentally insane. This is the stuff of madness."

Turning to his tenure in the time slot legend Larry King once dominated -- and asked whether he plans to continue -- Morgan said: "Larry King did 25 years. My god, I've got admiration for that man. The only man with more longevity or stamina is the great Charlie Rose. I will be taken from CNN kicking and screaming. I absolutely love it. I think it's a fantastic network. It's a great news place to be. I wrote the book because, not just about guns, but it's a diary of my three years there -- the good, the bad, the ugly, the entertaining, the tragic and it's been a wonderful ride and long may it continue."

For more of Morgan's "CBS This Morning" appearance, watch his full interview above.