NBC and CBS Tee Up Hillary to Push Gun Control in Wake of Terror Attack

During interviews with Hillary Clinton on Monday, both NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning invited the presumptive Democratic nominee to use Sunday’s terrorist attack in Orlando to push her liberal gun control agenda. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie lobbed a softball: “After Newtown, after 20 first graders were killed, the President tried to pass universal background checks. Obviously that was not successful. Why do you feel you may be more successful if elected and in the next Congress?”

Guthrie even hoped for stronger anti-gun action: “In doing something as minimal as that or even, as I believe you’ve called for, getting assault weapons banned?” Clinton seized the opportunity: “Well, I could only hope that people who are responsible gun owners will join us in this cause. How many more of these mass tragedies do we have to live through?...Let's keep weapons of war off our streets like the one that was used in Orlando.”

In her follow-up question, Guthrie pleaded:

Why doesn't that translate into action if that's the case? I mean, continually you hear policymakers and the President say, “The American people are with us, they don't think that common sense gun reforms are a problem.” And yet, even after you have 20 first graders killed, you can't even get the bare minimum of gun legislation passed. Why is that? What needs to change?

Clinton ranted in reply: “Well, it's not complicated. The gun lobby scared the heck out of elected officials and makes it a voting issue. We need to make it a voting issue. It is no longer, you know, acceptable that elected officials at every level of government will not hear the cries, will not recognize the pain of the thousands, tens of thousands of people...”

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On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King teased an upcoming conversation with Clinton: “Hillary Clinton says that violent people like the Orlando gunman should not, should not be able to get guns. We'll ask the presumptive Democratic nominee why she believes tougher gun laws could have stopped this.”

During the later exchange, King implored: “You know, yesterday President Obama took to the airwaves again becoming consoler-in-chief. And people keep saying we have heard this, these words, we have been in this situation too many times before, and nothing seems to change. What in the world is it going to take?”

Like on Today, Clinton eagerly launched into gun control advocacy:

...it's also going take common sense gun safety laws. You know, we don't know all the details. But what we're hearing is that this gunman used a military-style weapon to shoot down all of these people. They are using guns as they did in San Bernardino, as the shooter did in Orlando. We've got to make it harder for them to do that. And we've got to keep weapons of war off our streets like the one used in Orlando...

On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos came close to actually challenging Clinton’s policy proposals. After Clinton called on Congress to “do something on common sense gun safety measures,” Stephanopoulos countered: “I think a lot of people are puzzled by the fact that this young man was interviewed at least three times by the FBI, yet able to buy the weapons because he hadn't done anything illegal. Is anything you’re proposing, would anything you’re proposing be able to prevent that?”

Clinton argued:

In this case, he was interviewed more than once because of what he was saying and yet he had no trouble walking in and buying the assault weapon, the military-style weapon that he bought and the ammunition that he bought and we have got to work together, federal state and local government to get better information into databases that can be used to try to prevent people who pose any kind of threat, whether it's because of mental health, domestic abuse or, in fact, terrorism from having access, easy access to these weapons.

Unfortunately, Stephanopoulos didn’t follow up on the issue.

All three morning shows also interviewed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and urged him to support gun control measures. Guthrie went so far as to recite Clinton’s own words to him: “Would you consider, among those other things you just mentioned, a ban on assault rifles? And here's the argument: They're a weapon of war....Why not ban assault weapons, as Hillary Clinton just called for recently on our show?”

Here are excerpts of the gun control exchanges on all three broadcasts:

Today
7:40 AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: This of course raises the issues of terrorism, of hate, and also gun policy in this country. After Newtown, after 20 first graders were killed, the President tried to pass universal background checks. Obviously that was not successful. Why do you feel you may be more successful if elected and in the next Congress? In doing something as minimal as that or even, as I believe you’ve called for, getting assault weapons banned?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I could only hope that people who are responsible gun owners will join us in this cause. How many more of these mass tragedies do we have to live through? This is the worst in American history. And, you know, Savannah, there are so many killings every day that no longer even break into our consciousness. We have got to take action and the majority of Americans, and indeed the majority of gun owners, agree with that. Let's keep weapons of war off our streets like the one that was used in Orlando.

GUTHRIE: Why doesn't that translate into action if that's the case? I mean, continually you hear policymakers and the President say, “The American people are with us, they don't think that common sense gun reforms are a problem.” And yet, even after you have 20 first graders killed, you can't even get the bare minimum of gun legislation passed. Why is that? What needs to change?

CLINTON: Well, it's not complicated. The gun lobby scared the heck out of elected officials and makes it a voting issue. We need to make it a voting issue. It is no longer, you know, acceptable that elected officials at every level of government will not hear the cries, will not recognize the pain of the thousands, tens of thousands of people – think about it, 33,000 people a year are killed by guns. Many, many more thousands are injured by guns. And we have got to make it clear that we're going to stand up to that.

But look at this particular issue. The legislation Republicans blocked, the so-called “no-fly list,” would have prevented suspected terrorists from buying guns. It allows the Attorney General and the FBI to prevent a suspected terrorist from doing that. It would happen on a case-by-case basis. And we cannot fall into the trap set by the gun lobby that says if you can't stop every shooting and every incident, you should not try to stop any. That is not how laws work. It's not common sense.

And we need to get these weapons of war off the streets. We had an assault weapons ban. It expired. And we need to reinstate it. From San Bernardino, to Aurora, Colorado, to Sandy Hook, and now to Orlando, we have seen the devastation that these military-style weapons cause. And I believe that terrorists and dangerous individuals are using guns to kill Americans. It's just a fact. And we should make it a lot harder for them to do that.

So that's going to be my goal. I've spoken about it all through this campaign. I'm going to continue to speak about it. And I believe that more people are willing to listen. They're not so intimidated. And we're going to try to put a huge coalition together of all the groups, all the individuals who care about this issue, those who have been touched by it, and try to get common sense gun safety reform passed in order to protect the people of our country.

(...)


CBS This Morning
7:52 AM ET TEASE:

GAYLE KING: Hillary Clinton says that violent people like the Orlando gunman should not, should not be able to get guns. We'll ask the presumptive Democratic nominee why she believes tougher gun laws could have stopped this.

8:08 AM ET SEGMENT:

(...)

GAYLE KING: You know, the people, Secretary Clinton, who are gripped with pain, we saw some of them on the streets this morning. They don't really care whether it's a hate crime, a terrorist crime, a mental health issue. I’m wondering what your thoughts are for the people of Orlando today? You know, yesterday President Obama took to the airwaves again becoming consoler-in-chief. And people keep saying we have heard this, this words, we have been in this situation too many times before, and nothing seems to change. What in the world is it going to take?

CLINTON: Well I think it's going to take everything we were just discussing about upping our efforts and having an even more intense focus on terrorist threats. But it's also going take common sense gun safety laws. You know, we don't know all the details. But what we're hearing is that this gunman used a military-style weapon to shoot down all of these people. They are using guns as they did in San Bernardino, as the shooter did in Orlando. We've got to make it harder for them to do that. And we've got to keep weapons of war off our streets like the one used in Orlando, as well as blocking suspected terrorists from buying guns.

This man, you know, bought those guns legally. He was even a security officer it's reported who had access to guns. And you know, if, if you're too dangerous to fly in a plane, you're too dangerous to buy a gun, if you're brought to the attention of law enforcement because of your comments about supporting violence terrorism, you know, maybe that should also go in a database. We've got to look at all of this. This is not an ordinary time and we need to act with a great deal of urgency in order to protect the people who have every reason to wonder why, why is this happening, you know, why, why is this...

KING: Yes.

CLINTON: ...kind of hatred being put into action through these weapons. So we've got to have a very clear mission here that we address on both the terrorist side and the gun side.

(...)


GMA
8:24 AM ET

(...)

HILLARY CLINTON: So, while we are talking the fight to ISIS in Syria and Iraq, where we are determined to defeat them, we've got to really double down on our efforts here in this country and that means, you know, also getting the Congress do something on common sense gun safety measures, because that’s not a separate issue it is totally part of what we now see terrorists doing.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me ask you about that. Let me ask you about that. I mean, I think a lot of people are puzzled by the fact that this young man was interviewed at least three times by the FBI, yet able to buy the weapons because he hadn't done anything illegal. Is anything you’re proposing, would anything you’re proposing be able to prevent that?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I think all this could look obvious in hindsight. So, I'm not going to rush to judgment on the decisions by career laws enforcement officials who get up every day to defend our nation. We have to wait to see what the investigation shows us. But look, if there are things that we can and should do, we must. In this case, he was interviewed more than once because of what he was saying and yet he had no trouble walking in and buying the assault weapon, the military-style weapon that he bought and the ammunition that he bought and we have got to work together, federal state and local government to get better information into databases that can be used to try to prevent people who pose any kind of threat, whether it's because of mental health, domestic abuse or, in fact, terrorism from having access, easy access to these weapons.     

(...)


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