MSNBC Republican: 'You're a Bad Parent If You Have a Gun in the House'

On Tuesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, frequent MSNBC Republican guest David Frum lamented over the trend towards loosening gun laws -- even after high-profile mass shootings -- and then predicted that it would be necessary to convince gun owners that "you're a bad parent if you have a gun in the house" to get the public to support more gun restrictions.

 

 

After Frum had spent time fretting that since the Newtown school shootings in 2012, there have been a loosening of gun laws in many states, host O'Donnell followed up by suggesting that most Americans agree with a push for more gun laws, reacting to fellow guest Nevada Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. Frum conceded that he found it "a painful thing to say," as he complained that "there is something very wrong with the American gun culture," citing reports that three percent of Americans own half of all guns.

Frum -- senior editor for The Atlantic -- went on to argue that Americans must be convinced that owning guns is a bad thing before they will support more gun laws:

Until you persuade people that it is just dangerous to themselves, to their children, you're not a good parent if you have a gun in the house, you're not protecting your family, you're a bad parent if you have a gun in the house, until you drill that idea into people's heads and persuade them to change the way we changed about cigarettes and seatbelts, these technical fixes aren't going to accomplish a lot. 

He ended up lamenting: "And pubic opinion -- you can make it look like it's on your side if you ask the poll question the right way, but operationally it's not."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, October 3, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:

10:21 p.m. ET

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: And, David Frum, part of the ritual in these aftermaths is the chorus of politicians -- usually on the Republican side -- saying now is not the time to talk about the things that the congresswoman has just talked about.

DAVID FRUM, THE ATLANTIC: Well, one of the things that we tell ourselves is that after these events -- these terrible atrocities -- is nothing changes, but, in fact, after Newtown, we have had five years of the most dramatic changes in American gun laws in a long time -- all of them aimed at making guns more available in more places. 

That we have seen -- and we detail this in The Atlantic today -- state after state says not only can you carry a weapon in a concealed way, you can carry it in an open way -- you can carry it into a bar -- you can carry it into a church -- you can carry it into a daycare center, of all places. In Georgia, you can carry it everywhere all the way up to the TSA outpost at the airport.

And in Nevada in 2015, they very seriously considering expanding their version of the stand your ground law to kill people they found trying to steal their car, motorbike or bicycle. That ultimately didn't go to the governor's signature, but it passed through the house of representatives in the state. 

So the question we ask is, "What small technical improvement should you make to make guns a little bit more restrictive?" flies in the face of what is actually happening -- which is, after a massacre, gun laws are loosened, not tightened.

(...)

O'DONNELL: The polling shows that most Americans agree with the congresswoman on this. 

FRUM: Well, I wish that were true, but I think when you face the reality, it just isn't. One of the things that we have seen over the past decade is a rising support among Americans for ever broader definitions of gun rights in exactly the way that Justice Burger warned us against. But that it where the country is.

And so it makes this -- and this is a really painful thing to say -- these technical fixes people look for, maybe if we had banned this implement or regulated that implement -- there is something very wrong with the American gun culture. Three percent of the people own 50 percent of the weapons in this country -- I mean, a tiny number of people and vast numbers of weapons.

Until you persuade people that it is just dangerous to themselves, to their children, you're not a good parent if you have a gun in the house, you're not protecting your family, you're a bad parent if you have a gun in the house, until you drill that idea into people's heads and persuade them to change the way we changed about cigarettes and seatbelts, these technical fixes aren't going to accomplish a lot. And pubic opinion -- you can make it look like it's on your side if you ask the poll question the right way, but operationally it's not.


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