Sean Hannity accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of “dodging and flipping” on a question about the personal ownership of firearms.
In an often heated interview with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate on Wednesday’s “Hannity,” the Fox News host tried several times to get a straight answer on whether a person has the right to own a firearm if mental health examinations and background checks are passed.
(Video: Fox News)
But de Blasio would not oblige with a direct response.
The Fox News host prefaced his question by reminding the Democrat that as mayor, he is afforded armed protection by police officers and security, noting that even Hollywood stars enjoy armed security.
“Should every New Yorker, should every American, have the ability – God forbid, the criminal element invades their home, invades their property – to have a gun in their home to protect themselves like you do?” Hannity asked.
“You’re in the safest big city in America.. with the finest police force in America,” de Blasio replied.
“We keep people safe. Crime’s gone down for the last six years on my watch,” he added. “I believe right now what’s wrong in this country is not that people have rights around guns, it’s that there are no gun safety measures like background checks – ”
Hannity interjected to note that he had a background check in order to obtain his gun permit in New York. The mayor clarified that the processes in place are not “sufficient.”
“Ask the NYPD and they’ll tell you they believe in strong gun laws to keep officers and civilians safe,” he added.
“My question is simple: Does every New Yorker, if they’re mentally stable, if they have the background check and they don’t have a criminal background or a mental illness problem – average people, should they have the same safety you have?” Hannity asked. “And if somebody breaks into their house, would you respect their right to have a firearm in their house?”
“Everyone deserves to be safe. The answer is not for everyone to have a firearm — any more than it is for every teacher to have a firearm,” de Blasio responded as Hannity pressed, “the answer’s no.”
“I believe people have rights but I also believe we should have background checks. We need an assault weapon ban -” the 2020 hopeful said as Hannity pushed again for a direct answer to whether every New Yorker who qualifies can own a gun.
“You’re dodging,” he said.
“I’m not dodging,” de Blasio pushed back. “All the guns that are out there, that are threatening our officers and our civilians alike… ”
“Should every New Yorker have the same protection you have?” Hannity asked directly.
“I believe people have rights,” de Blasio said. “I believe we need new gun safety laws. And we have a police department … that is making it safer all the time.”
The two continued to go at it, with the Fox News host repeatedly trying to get an answer on the issue.
“Does every New Yorker, if somebody breaks into their house, they’re good people, law-abiding people, pay their taxes, obey the rules, pass the background check, should they have a right to a gun in their house!?” Hannity finally asked again. “Yes or no!?”
“I ain’t buying what you’re selling,” de Blasio shot back.
“The answer is no, but you’re afraid to say it,” Hannity concluded.
“My answer is my answer,” the mayor said.
“Can they have a gun is the simple question?” Hannity exclaimed.
“You are trying to set up a reality where you get to paint a picture on your own terms. It doesn’t work that way,” de Blasio said.
Hannity ended the interview, which had seen a battle earlier over immigration, by thanking the police officers who were protecting de Blasio.
“You deserve to be protected. You’re the mayor of the biggest city…” he said before de Blasio interrupted to say “everyone deserves to be protected.”
“That’s what we’re doing here,” he said.
“But they can’t have a gun, can they?” Hannity asked in his parting shot.
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