Thursday's CBS This Morning trumpeted Piers Morgan's "crusade against gun violence in America", and gave the CNN host four and half minutes to spout his pro-gun control views unopposed. Morgan endorsed implementing something akin to the "really draconian" firearms regulations that the U.K. passed after the 1996 Dunblane massacre.
Despite denying that he wanted to take guns away from Americans, the British anchor repeatedly called for complete bans on "assault weapons" and handguns, along with high-capacity magazines [audio available here; video below the jump]:
PIERS MORGAN: What [gun rights activists] try and do, is...frame anybody who wants more gun control as...attacking the Second Amendment, wanting to take all guns....That's not what this is about. I don't want to take an American's right away to defend him or herself in their home to defend their family. That's a sacred right to Americans, and I understand that and respect it. What I do want to do is...get these assault weapons off the streets....These are killing machines. These are the nearest thing to a M-16 machine gun that you can have, and you have civilians arming themselves...with 100-bullet magazines, capable of mass murder in a minute. It's senseless....
1996 – in Dunblane in Scotland – 15, 16 five-year-old children were murdered by a gunman in their classroom. It was an exact parallel with Sandy Hook. Britain rose up in horror. It wasn't a political issue at all. That's why I'm amazed that it is here. Left and right came together, the public came together, and really draconian gun laws were brought in: a complete national ban on handguns, assault rifles, assault weapons. They were removed from the streets. Since then....Britain has, on average, between 30 and 45 – 50 gun murders a year ever since. America, in the same period every year, 11 to 12,000 people are murdered; 18,000 take their lives with guns; and 100,000 Americans are hit by gunfire every year. This is like the Wild West...
Prior to the Morgan interview, anchor Charlie Rose filed a report spotlighting how the CNN personality "lit a firestorm over his call for tougher gun laws" in recent months, even before the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The PBS veteran used the "crusade" term during this segment, and played six clips of Morgan, including an infamous segment where the British host attacked Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America as an "unbelievably stupid man."
Rose, along with co-anchor Gayle King, tossed many softballs at Morgan during the interview. The closest that they got to a tough question was when Rose pointed out how the CNN anchor promised "that if, in fact, they [the U.S.] didn't change the gun laws, you might go, on your own, back" to the U.K.
King also wondered why Morgan would bring on a 9/11 conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones onto his program. But the open Obama supporter didn't raise any objections when her guest lumped in more mainstream gun rights supporters with Jones:
GAYLE KING: But some people would say that when you have someone that extreme on, that that just, sort of, diffuses the debate, that, really, it doesn't – because it got so out of control so quickly, I thought.
MORGAN: But what it did do, you see – it trended worldwide on Twitter for 48 hours-
KING: Yeah, I saw!
MORGAN: And that means it's had a lot of eyeballs. I think the YouTube clip has been seen by five million people now. I want people to see the likes of Alex Jones; of Larry Pratt, who I had on last night; of Wayne LaPierre. This debate must be heard loud and clear, so that the arguments against gun control are laid bare for what they are, which, in my view, is a dangerous farce.
The CBS morning show's kid glove treatment of Morgan shouldn't be surprising, as they have boosted gun control as an issue over the past weeks. On Tuesday, Rose bizarrely wondered about "normal kinds" of mass shootings, in comparison to the Sandy Hook massacre, and spotlighted pro-gun control demonstrations.
The full transcript of the Piers Morgan interview on Thursday's CBS This Morning, including the lead-in segment, is available at MRC.org.