Transcript: George Stephanopoulos and Sen. Chris Dodd

[INSERT SEN THOMAS DODD]Guns are not play things. I say it's insane for our society to permit this situation to continue.

Stephanopoulos: Will you do the same thing now?

C. Dodd: Well, he was a pioneer in this area. In fact, he started earlier than that. It took the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy before he was able to pass something called the Omnibus Crime Bill and the Safe Streets Act.

And I've been a strong supporter of gun safety issues. And certainly, putting aside the tragedy at Virginia State -- Virginia Tech, excuse me -- this is an issue that should be something we're willing to talk about in this country.

But I think if we limit it to that, as everyone has asked a question about gun safety over the last week or so, I think that Jackie's just suggested, in answering your question as well, that there are issues of mental health, what's on our television and video things.

It isn't just about legislation or regulation. It's having a leader in the White House that's willing to talk about these issues and bring the country -- offer some sort of ability to start that conversation about a whole set of other issues that need to be addressed.

Stephanopoulos: You don't think the president did that this week?

C. Dodd: I think he did it this week. But you can't just wait for these events to happen.

This is -- this is, I'd say -- you don't need to have an event to provoke that conversation. It's going on every day. We've got a problem of the coarseness in this country that needs to be addressed.

Stephanopoulos: How about the issue of guns, though?

In the past, you've been a strong supporter of gun control. Democrats coming out of other tragedies like this have called for new laws.

It's not happening this time, and a lot of people say Democrats are pulling their punches because they believe it's cost them elections -- the last three elections. Is that why?

C. Dodd: I don't know.

I mean, I think, first of all, people are saying, "What's going on here? What about this event?" This wasn't apparently an assault weapon, I gather -- and I haven't read all of the stories on this, George, but apparently this was at least a legal purchase someone said to me the other day.

For laws on the books, whether or not there was a waiting period that should have been provoked because of the record of mental illness ...

Stephanopoulos: Yes, there's some question on whether or not the Virginia records should have been ...

C. Dodd: So it's a question of whether or not the law is being implemented.

So before someone suggests in the case -- and I don't remember the events in Texas, but I suspect that was before the passage in '68 of these other two bills I mentioned to you, that a lot of these things that are just wild going on in the country ...

Stephanopoulos: But that's not what you would lead with now.

C. Dodd: I don't -- I think there's a tendency when asked-- it's not an insignificant -- it's a relevant question, it's just not the only question.

Stephanopoulos: Let's talk about Iraq.

Your leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, is taking a lot of heat today ...

C. Dodd: Yeah.

Stephanopoulos: ... for telling the president the war is lost.

[INSERT REID]: Now I believe, myself, that the Secretary of State, Sect of Defense and you have to go make your own decisions about what the President know, this war is lost."

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