MSNBC contributor and recurring Morning Joe guest Donny Deutsch exemplifies the worst characteristics of the pro-gun control left: uninformed, emotionally driven, and angry. On Friday, Deutsch’s irrationality was on full display when he lost his temper and started yelling at pro-Second Amendment Congressman Steve Stivers during a debate on firearm legislation.
The Congressman’s appearance went smoothly at first. He agreed with host Joe Scarborough and the other panelists that President Trump’s new tariff proposal was economically unsound, and he cogently defended his party’s chances in the 2018 midterms. As the subject shifted to gun control, however, Scarborough and Deutsch leaned in and began grilling Stivers.
“Are you a dad? You have kids?” Deutsch asked. “I have a five-year old and an eight-year old,” the Congressman confirmed.
Seeing an opening, Deutsch insisted that “as a dad,” Stivers could not possibly believe that “assault weapons, that military attack weapons” should be sold. “You can’t,” he repeated. “You can’t believe that’s right.”
Stivers took the opportunity to educate the panel on the difference between semiautomatic and automatic fire. “An AR-15 is a semiautomatic weapon,” he explained. “It’s not a military weapon; it’s meant to look like it.”
Deutsch shot back, “I’m not talking about logistics of a gun, I’m talking about we all have children.”
Like so many other media personalities who advocate for an assault weapons ban, Deutsch was either unable or unwilling to grasp that the semiautomatic AR-15 is more mechanically similar to a pistol than it is to the fully automatic military-grade weapons that it resembles cosmetically. Scarborough recognized Deutsch’s reliance on emotion rather than facts as a losing strategy. He quickly jumped in to accuse the Congressman of “saying that the AR-15s don’t resemble military-style weapons.”
“I said they resemble them in cosmetic features,” Stivers clarified. “Which is true. That’s the way they resemble them.”
Scarborough countered by citing a Pentagon study, in which he alleged “experts” and “a lot of other people” had determined that the AR-15 was actually more lethal than the weapons used during the Vietnam war. He referenced this paper several more times until Stivers cut in:
I’ve not seen that study, Joe. Frankly, an M-16 is far more lethal than an AR-15, far more lethal because of the rate of fire. They use similar calibers, but an M-16, which we used in Vietnam, is a far more lethal weapon because of the rate of fire.
Having exhausted his main point, Scarborough threw the ball to MSNBC journalist Willie Geist, who complained the Congressman was making a “semantic argument.” He pointed out that an AR-15 had been “enough to kill 17 high school kids.” But by the same token, the Virginia Tech shooter proved that two pistols were enough to kill 32 people. At no point did any of the panelists offer an explanation for why they felt semiautomatic rifles ought to be banned, while other semiautomatic weapons should not be.
As Congressman Stivers circled back to talk about school safety, Deutsch reached the end of his rope. Cutting the Congressman off mid-sentence, he yelled, “You need to get rid of the assault weapons! You know what you need to do!”
“All right, all right,” Scarborough chided soothingly, “Okay, okay, okay. Let’s be respectful.” He thanked Stivers for coming and promptly ended the segment before Deutsch could muster another embarassing outburst.