*During a Thursday visit to CNN’s “Larry King Live,” rapper T.I. opened up about his stint in jail on weapons possession charges, insisting it was rooted in a bout of depression after seeing his best friend killed in a gun battle in 2006.

The artist, born Clifford Harris Jr., was jailed last year after pleading guilty to the illegal possession of three machine guns and two silencers following a 2007 arrest. He has long claimed he acquired the guns because he feared assassination after his assistant Philant Johnson was gunned down in May 2006.

“My best friend died in my arms, and that kind of caused a state of depression; paranoia. And my judgment was jaded,” he told King. “At the time when I felt the need to have all of these things, I never took into consideration the legalities. I only took it into consideration the protection of my life and my family’s life and my home…

“I am not in any way trying to excuse my behavior because it’s unacceptable, and I do realize right now that that was very, very poor judgment on my behalf.”

T.I. says his time behind bars has helped clear his mind of negative thoughts and he no longer spends his days fearful of an attempt on his life.

“In having time to sit and reflect if you actually take the time and use it to your advantage, you see, well, even though all of these rounds of ammunition were fired at you that night, you didn’t have a firearm, you’re still here.

“All the things that you’ve managed to make it through, you didn’t have a firearm in every situation under every circumstance. Most of the times you had firearms, you didn’t even need to use them. So obviously the firearms aren’t what’s keeping you alive. So I had the time to take that into consideration and acknowledge that, and, you know, properly apply it to… the way I live my life.”

Watch the entire Larry King interview with T.I. below.