NBC Guest Uses Charleston Shooting to Launch Anti-Gun Rant

While being interviewed by Today co-host Savannah Guthrie on Thursday, Charleston pastor John Paul Brown used the horrific shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. church to condemn America’s gun culture: “America has this great love affair with guns and anybody can get them, whether they're mentally disturbed, whether they're crazy, whether they’re part of a hate group. Just give them a gun, everybody has a gun and nobody wants to police it or rein it in.”

Brown added: “And so when you look at this country and the direction it's going in, it's just a lot of violence everywhere. It's almost nonstop.”

Guthrie failed to challenge Brown’s assertions. The interview was taped before the show aired, so NBC had complete control over whether to include his anti-gun statement or simply play sounbites of Brown’s general comments on the tragedy.

Here is a transcript of the June 18 exchange:

7:08 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Earlier this morning I had a chance to talk to Reverend John Hall [sic] [Paul] Brown, he’s the pastor of the nearby Mount Zion A.M.E. Church and a close friend of Pastor Pinckney, who passed away. I began by asking him how he and the community are doing this morning.

JOHN PAUL BROWN: Terrible. Terrible. But very supportive of the mayor and the police department, but most of all, Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, bishop of the 7th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, you know, continues to lead us and have us to respond in kind that we lean on one another to help the community get through this terrible situation.

GUTHRIE: It is shocking in every sense, and already authorities are calling it a hate crime. How do you feel about what has happened here? I mean, is there anything that would ever have made you think this could happen in your community?

BROWN: Yeah, for me as far as – it's a shock. But when you look at America, America has this great love affair with guns and anybody can get them, whether they're mentally disturbed, whether they're crazy, whether they’re part of a hate group. Just give them a gun, everybody has a gun and nobody wants to police it or reign it in. And when you have things like this, it would be absurd to think that every church that has a service or a meeting would lock their doors and lock people out. You just can't do that. And so when you look at this country and the direction it's going in, it's just a lot of violence everywhere. It's almost nonstop.

(...)

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