Fox News’ Tucker Carlson sparred with a Florida lawmaker on Thursday over the issue of gun control.
The Daily Caller founder criticized Democratic state Sen. Gary Farmer for his proposed gun registry and for his unwillingness to describe the government as having “failed” to protect students at last week’s shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Carlson argued that the legislation would punish law-abiding firearm owners by forcing them to provide their personal gun ownership information to the government.
“I would have to, under the bill you supported, the gun registry bill. I would have to register guns in my house, despite the fact I’ve committed no crime, done nothing untoward with that gun, and I have to register it with you and other government officials, who just failed to keep us…”
“What’s wrong with that Tucker?” Farmer shot back. “Why does law enforcement? Why are they unable to have the tools available to them?”
The Fox News host responded that he believed various government entities had collectively failed to prevent the murder of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I don’t know, they were unable to stop the guy who just killed 17 people,” Carlson said.
After Farmer asked why conservatives are “afraid” of a gun registry, Carlson answered:
“We’re afraid that demagogues like you will misuse that information and after talking to you for a few minutes that is a legitimate fear.”
“How so?” the Democratic lawmaker pushed back. “Continue the narrative, please.”
“Here’s the narrative. The government, as I said at every level, and this is factual, not my opinion, failed to protect those students. You will not concede that and instead turn the blame back on blameless American citizens.”
“The FBI, whatever. Thirty-nine times to his house, whatever. Giving people like you power is frightening. That’s the bottom line. I’m out, because I can’t get a straight answer from you,” he concluded, before ending the discussion.
While much of the national discussion related to the Stoneman Douglas shooting has centered on firearm access, many observers have focused on alleged failures among law enforcement and government entities.
According to the Sun Sentinel, police who arrived at the school searched for suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz on campus after he had already left because authorities didn’t immediately realize that security monitors were displaying a recording–not real-time footage.
Since 2010, Broward Sheriff’s deputies were called 39 times to the home of Cruz–who was expelled from Stoneman Douglas and prohibited from stepping on campus with a backpack–for domestic disturbance and other issues.
Last year, the FBI received a tip about a Youtube user named “Nikolas Cruz” who wrote “I am going to be a professional school shooter.”
The Bureau quickly dropped the case after it was initially unable to identify the user.
On Thursday, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said that an armed officer was on campus while the shooting was taking place, and could hear gunfire coming from inside, but did not go in.
Cruz is being held without bond, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.