Despite Piers Morgan's consistent advocacy, CNN's own polls show support for certain gun laws down from a month ago. That didn't stop Morgan from targeting two female gun rights advocates on his Wednesday night show, asking absurd questions, constantly interrupting them, and throwing a juvenile hissy fit.
"Where does it say you can have an assault weapon that can fire 100 bullets in a minute in your Constitution?" Morgan posed to Tea Party News guest Scottie Hughes. " Do you want the right to have a tank?" he followed up.
Morgan sandwiched his badgering of the conservatives between soft interviews of Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and a liberal conversation with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Morgan punctuated his "interview" of the gun rights advocates, Scottie Hughes and Dana Loesch, with a flourish, crumpling up his desk paper a la Olbermann and tossing it on the table.
When Loesch answered Morgan's questions, he either dismissed her reply or exaggerated her opinion. For instance, he asked why the AR-15 was banned under the assault weapons ban and Loesch answered "Because people don't like scary-looking guns." Morgan scoffed, "Okay. You don't want to answer the question. Okay."
Loesch defended ownership of the AR-15, "as a woman, who also has self-defense – has – uses guns for self-defense and likes to know that I have that security, they're a lot easier to fire than other rifles simply because of the recoil." Morgan then exaggerated her reasoning.
"You think all women should all be armed with AR-15s?" he replied. "My goodness, now are you going to go off on a tangent every single time I say one thing?" Loesch fired back.
After Morgan's battle with the gun rights advocates, he turned to liberal columnist Nicholas Kristof. "No one has given me a reason why a civilian needs them [AR-15s], let alone adding 100 bullet magazine," even though Loesch provided him with an answer that he didn't refute.
A transcript of some of the exchange, which aired on Piers Morgan Tonight on January 16 at 9:11 a.m. EST, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: Where does it say you can have an assault weapon that can fire 100 bullets in a minute in your Constitution?
MORGAN: Do you want the right to have a tank? Do you believe the Second Amendment gives you, Scottie Hughes, the right to have a tank?
MORGAN: OK. Dana Loesch, do you think that Scottie is right? Do you feel you have the right to have a tank?
MORGAN: Dana Loesch, do you think that Scottie is right? Do you feel you have the right to have a tank?
DANA LOESCH, conservative radio talk show host, The Dana Show: That's an interesting question, Piers. I want to explain something just very briefly.
MORGAN: An interesting question! How can this be a sensible conversation?! Dana, you represent a lot of people who believe what you say and trust you. How can you possibly say you want the right to a tank?
LOESCH: I haven't even said anything yet. You've just presupposed what my answer is going to be.
LOESCH: Piers. Piers. Piers, with all due respect, I find it so interesting that you're trying to nail down this definition when you can't even accurately talk about what is or is not an assault rifle or assault weapon.
MORGAN: I will come to that. But here's why – here's why it's such an important question. Because it's precisely the definition and interpretation of the Second Amendment that has got America into this horrific mess, as I see it, in terms of –
LOESCH: We disagree on that.
MORGAN: In terms of the right to bear arms and what those arms are. I have no –
LOESCH: We disagree on that.
MORGAN: I know. But I have no problem with Americans who defend themselves in their homes with a handgun or a pistol or a shotgun. I have a major problem, as you know, with the more military-style assault weapons.
Now you say that the weapon used in Aurora and the weapon used at Sandy Hook was not an assault weapon. I ask you what is an assault weapon? If it's not a weapon that can kill 20 children in a few seconds or unload 100 bullets in a movie theater in 90 seconds, what do you term that kind of weapon if it's not an assault weapon? And the reason I put it to you is that the last time there was an assault weapon ban, that particular weapon was included in the ban. And people got rounded by modifying it. But it was included. So it was defined in 1994 as an assault weapon.
LOESCH: Actually, it was -- it also discussed the cosmetics that you could add on to such a weapon. First of all, let me address your initial question. There is no such thing as an assault weapon, no more than there is such a thing as an assault unicorn. And if there is one that exists, I would love to capture it. As for assault rifle, you like to use the term military-style assault rifle.
MORGAN: Any rifle that can unload 90 bullets or 100 bullets in 90 seconds has to be an assault weapon.
LOESCH: Well, again, assault – when you use the term military-style assault rifle, you do realize that you're trying to conflate the terms, and you're giving the impression that Adam Lanza and these other individuals actually owned military standard rifles. An assault rifle, if you want to use this term for the sake of argument. You're talking about either a weapon or a firearm that's capable of select fire, which I'm sure you know what that means.
MORGAN: I do, yes.
LOESCH: Being that you're discussing it. Or it's semiautomatic, automatic, or it's capable of select fire.
LOESCH: Let me tell you that a citizen cannot go out and purchase a fully automatic weapon. They are regulated to ban. So when you use this terminology, it is from this knowledge base that you are using to cast aspersions on to our second amendment rights.
MORGAN: You don't – you don't dispute – you don't dispute that the AR-15 was banned under the last assault weapons ban?
LOESCH: And Columbine happened, and Columbine happened after that.
MORGAN: No, no. That wasn't the question, Dana. Do you dispute that it was banned?
LOESCH: And Columbine happened after that.
MORGAN: Dana, you're having trouble tonight answering any of my questions.
LOESCH: No, I'm not. I'm answering all of your questions.
MORGAN: You say the AR-15 is not an assault weapon. Why was it banned then under the 1994 assault weapons ban?
LOESCH: Because people don't like scary-looking guns. Do you realize you can get a pellet gun that looks like a military-style assault weapon –
MORGAN: Okay. You don't want to answer the question. Okay.
MORGAN: Why would anybody need an AR-15 that has a magazine with 100 bullets in it, as with the shooter at Aurora? Why would anybody need that?
LOESCH: Well, first and foremost, if you've never fired an AR-15, as a woman, who also has self-defense – has – uses guns for self-defense and likes to know that I have that security, they're a lot easier to fire than other rifles simply because of the recoil.
MORGAN: You think all women should all be armed with AR-15s?
LOESCH: My goodness, now are you going to go off on a tangent every single time I say one thing? You just go off to make up another --
MORGAN: I'm trying to clarify what you actually believe.
LOESCH: Come on, now, Piers. Stay with me here. Stay here with me.
MORGAN: I'm trying to clarify what you believe.
LOESCH: Well, I'm trying to explain it to you, but you keep putting words in my mouth every time I try. So stop, let me finish, and we'll get somewhere with this. No, an AR-15 is -- honestly, it's just like any other rifle. I don't understand why some individuals can become so scared of this, because they think it's a scary-looking weapon. It's not. This is not like the military-style assault rifle that, you know, fully automatic or capable of select fire.