MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts Uses Boston Bombing to Prompt Guest Push for Gun Control

Leave it to Thomas Roberts to not let a tragedy go to waste.  Appearing on his daily MSNBC show on April 22, Roberts felt it appropriate to use last Monday's deadly terrorist bombing in Boston to push for federal gun control legislation. 

Speaking with Patricia Maisch, survivor of the Tucson shooting which critically wounded former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), Roberts noted that the brothers Tsarnaev, residents of Massachusetts, did NOT legally own the firearms they used in a shootout with police last Thursday.

Roberts followed this up by wildly speculating about the connection between this and new gun control legislation asking Ms. Maisch, “Do you think this terror attack would put a new heat on lawmakers for tighter gun laws?” Maisch responded as such:

I hope so. It's kind of -- the bombs are a reach from the gun legislation. But they did have guns. I don't know if they were illegal or legal. But we are not Pollyannas. We know that not every gun violent issue and incident will be stopped by a background check.

 According to the Reuters news wire, the Cambridge Police Department had not issued a gun license to either brother, with the report suggesting that, “neither brother appears to have been legally entitled to own or carry firearms where they lived, a fact that may add to the national debate over current gun laws.” 

Politico reports that, “During their rampage Thursday night and Friday morning, the two brothers had pistols, at least one rifle and several explosive devices.”  As of this posting, it appears that neither brother had a criminal record that would have prevented them from obtaining them, but never applied for a gun permit. 

Roberts’ attempts to tie the Boston bombing to the need for greater gun control are not surprising as MSNBC has been on a gun control tirade since Newtown.  However, Roberts’ connection is severely misguided, as no amount of gun control legislation proposed by Democrats would prevent a criminal or in this case a terrorist from illegally obtaining a firearm. 

It is unknown if the Tsarnaev brothers purchased their guns illegally, but even if they had, no gun control legislation would have stopped them from obtaining such weaponry.  Roberts’ failed attempts to use the Boston tragedy to lobby for gun control is just another misguided attempt by an MSNBC host to exploit a tragedy for political goals. 


See relevant transcript below.



April 22, 2013

11:46 p.m. EDT

THOMAS ROBERTS: Will gun legislation be all but dead? Well not by a long shot some say. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy tweeted this a short time ago. Boarding a plane to D.C. Not giving up on gun violence reform. Not now. Not ever. Hashtag Sandyhook. And Connecticut Congressman John Larson says he plans to introduce a plan similar to the Senate’s that he believes could pass. Joining me right now, Patricia Maisch, she’s a survivor of the Tucson mass shooting and is considered a hero for grabbing a third clip away from the shooter in that. Patricia, it’s good to see you this morning. And as we have all seen from last week, you chastised congress very publicly after the senate bill crashed. You yelled "shame on you" after the Vice President read the vote. Do you have anymore hope that gun control measures will be revived through other avenues?

PATRICIA MAISCH: I do hope they will be. And I think they will. We're not going to let this issue drop. The NRA can give up on thinking we're going to go away because we're not. We're going to be there fighting the fight until we win.

ROBERTS: When we look at what people are writing about this. Maureen Dowd, Patricia, wrote a piece in “The New York Times" really going after the president saying that he handled this incorrectly. Writing he doesn't know how to work the system. And it's clear now that he doesn't want to learn. It's unbelievable that with 90% of Americans on his side he could only get 54 votes. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him. When you hear that kind of criticism that’s coming out, do you think that the President could have invested more political capital in this?

MAISCH: You know, I'm not a politician. I don't know exactly how that works in D.C. I do know that there will be 18,000 people murdered before the next election in November. And so I appreciate President Obama's stand. I hope he will become stronger. I think it's not too late for him to put pressure on. And I don't think it's too late for the American public. I am recommending that the Senate has a special dictate in their legislation. They have more control and more power than the House of Representatives. So every person is every state is represented by my senators as well as their own. So I would suggest everybody take a postcard, address it to each one of the senators, get a group together and get a labeling matrix and printout labels and send shame on you to everyone that voted no and thank you to everyone that voted yes. We need to continue this fight.

ROBERTS: Patricia when it comes to the bombing in Boston, NBC News is now confirming with the Cambridge PD the following that there were no gun permits and petitions to carry a weapon for either of the brothers suspected of being the bombers here. By all accounts they were suspected of carrying these weapons illegally. Do you think this terror attack would put a new heat on lawmakers for tighter gun laws?

MAISCH: I hope so. It's kind of -- the bombs are a reach from the gun legislation. But they did have guns. I don't know if they were illegal or legal. But we are not Pollyannas. We know that not every gun violent issue and incident will be stopped by a background check. But it certainly will stop some and if you're the one that's going to get the call or prevent it from getting the call saying your 9-year-old daughter is at UMC and you need to get there right away because she's been murdered, you know, that is powerful. And I used to think the worst thing I could imagine was Roxanna and john green holding the lifeless body of their 9-year-old. But there's something worse and that’s not being able to hold the lifeless body of your child. And that's what the Newtown people had to experience. And I think our senators and our representatives need to take a serious look at how damaging gun violence is. In the body and in the mind. It's just unacceptable. We're a smart people, we should be able to do something about this.

ROBERTS: Tucson shooting survivor, gun reform advocate, Patricia Maisch. Patricia, great to see you. Thanks.

MAISCH: Thank you, Thomas.

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