Piers Morgan Renews Gun Debate With Twitter Foe On His Show

When CNN's Piers Morgan ranted about gun control on Twitter the other day, business strategist Carol Roth educated him about the Second Amendment in an exchange that made headlines. Roth then appeared on Morgan's Wednesday night show for more gun debate.

"I think what it boils down to is the ability to protect yourself, Piers," she told Morgan. "As a gun owner, you want to be able to protect yourself." For his part, Morgan continued his push for gun control and pointed to Great Britain, Australia, Germany and Japan as successful examples.

"This debate will rage again, because there will be more gun outrages. And my position will get more entrenched when they happen," he insisted. Watch video of the exchange below [Audio here]:



A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 6 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:02 p.m. EST, is as follows:

PIERS MORGAN: Let's start with Carol Roth, because you've been giving me some hammer on Twitter about all this. And you're a big gun fan. Explain to me why Bob Costas is wrong.

CAROL ROTH, business strategist, New York Times best-selling author: I think what it boils down to is the ability to protect yourself, Piers. If you look at what is happening right now in Syria with the threat of chemical weapons, the only reason why they're not going to use it is because somebody else has a credible threat, such as the U.S., of using a similar weapon.

As a gun owner, you want to be able to protect yourself. If you are somebody who is so damaged, who is at a point where you don't care about life enough that you are willing to take somebody else's life, then what that comes down to is that that person is not going to obey the gun laws. It's as simple as that. They're going to find a way to find a gun or to find another weapon.

MORGAN: I've heard some stretches in my time –

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, lawyer: That is so ridiculous.

MORGAN: – but stretching from Jovan Belcher and a shooting to Syria and chemical weapons seems a bit of a stretch. Alan Dershowitz?

DERSHOWITZ: (Laughter) Well, you know, the implications of that is that every American should have access to chemical weapons, to nuclear weapons. It is just so absurd. It will result in an escalation of weapon ownership. Look at Europe, look at Japan, look at the rest of the world. We are way, way out there. We have the highest murder rate in the world. It hasn't protected us. It has resulted in arguments that should have a consequence of maybe a slap in the face resulting in a bullet through the heart. In results in a double murder in this case. A murder-suicide. Guns just don't protect.

ROTH: No, no, no. This is about personal responsibility.

DERSHOWITZ: They cause suicide. Yeah, it's about personal responsibility.


MORGAN: I can promise you I'll be back to you, Carol. But, Abby, here's what they say to me. Because I always say, look – I've had a big row on Twitter today – then join in today if you want to take part, @PiersMorgan. Let me know your views. Good, bad, and ugly, I've had it all. But try to keep a debate going because I've been on air now nearly two years on CNN. In that time there've been a series of gun outrages. And each time it's the same debate and nothing gets done about it.

Meanwhile, you now have 300 million guns in circulation in America, and you have between 11 and 12,000 murders from guns a year. By comparison, Britain has about 35 to put into some kind of context, as does Germany, as does Australia. Japan has about one or two. So countries that have strict gun control have very little gun murder. What do you say then to America as you say, it makes me feel safe?

ABBY HUNTSMAN, host, HuffPost Live: I think Carol had it exactly right when we just interrupted what she said. It's all about personal responsibility. I think that's the most important part of this whole conversation. And it's a difficult one. Obviously as we're seeing on Twitter no matter what people say, people are going to have an opinion about it.

I think what's so important, though, is to make sure that we don't disrespect our Constitution. Our Second Amendment right, which was put in place because of -- as I said on Twitter, the crazy Brits like you, Piers Morgan, that they were – wanted the American people to feel protected from the British at the time.

Times have changed since then. I don't think the founding fathers intended for assault weapons. For AK-47s to be walking around the streets. I don't think people should be able to go online and be able to buy guns. There should absolutely be rules in place, background checks, background checks absolutely. But I think it's so important that we make sure we respect our Constitution. Because our country is founded on these freedoms.

MORGAN: Well, yeah, let me – people think that I'm somehow anti-American because I want less Americans to be killed by guns. I'm not. And I totally respect the Constitution, by the way. Absolutely. What I don't respect is – what I don't respect is the interpretation of the letter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which I think is being misused now to basically endorse everyone in America having an assault rifle. Alan Dershowitz?

DERSHOWITZ: Absolutely. Absolutely. The Constitution talks about a well-regulated militia. It was talking about the power of the government not to take away guns from a well-regulated militia. Yes, personal responsibility. And every American should exercise personal responsibility by refusing to have a gun in their home. By not putting their children at risk of suicide and murder. That's what kind of personal responsibility we should have. Yes, people should be punished for their criminal conduct, but we shouldn't encourage criminal conduct by having guns available at flea markets to criminals and felons, and anybody who wants to owns a gun. If this football player Belcher hadn't had a gun there'd be two people alive today who are now dead. That's the reality.

ROTH: That is – that is completely not true. If he is somebody who wanted to kill somebody, there are plenty of weapons including his fist, including a car, including a brick, including a bomb that can do it. If you take away the gun --

DERSHOWITZ: I'd rather be hit by a fist than by a gun.

ROTH: – that intention is still there.


MORGAN: No. Carol, we're going to talk about something completely different, actually. Because we are moving on. We've got a lot to cover here. This debate will rage again, because there will be more gun outrages. And my position will get more entrenched when they happen.         

(h/t Mediaite)

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014