Brand new MSNBC host and Second Amendment critic Alex Wagner devoted a segment of her November 15 Now with Alex Wagner program to express her exasperation at the fact that she's far left of the American public on the issue of gun control. Wagner prefaced a panel discussion with footage of an ABC News interview with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically injured in a January shooting.
"Support for handguns, or rather support for a handgun ban has gone down," Wagner noted as she opened her panel discussion, entitled onscreen "Out of Control?". "In October of 2011, it was at 26 percent. In 1959, it was at 60 percent."
"Gun violence increases and yet people still believe handgun bans are bad. What's the logic there?" the liberal Center for American Progress alumna demanded [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]:
After Newsmax's Jedediah Bila -- the panel's token conservative -- noted that gun control disarms law abiding citizens and held up Washington, D.C.'s stringent gun laws as evidence thereof, Wagner turned to colleague Martin Bashir to help her out:
WAGNER: Martin, you're from the more intelligent side of the Earth --
[laughter from MARTIN BASHIR]
WAGNER: Where they have different gun control laws and I wonder what you make of America's cultural sort of fixation on --
BASHIR: You shouldn't be asking me, because the attacks that are going to come on Twitter and Facebook are going to be overwhelming.
WAGNER: Oh, come on, that's the whole point of this show!
Bashir went on to praise how his native country, the United Kingdom, has been swift to enact stringent gun control laws following school shootings.
"I feel like the dialogue around gun control is very much dominated by the NRA and the pro-gun lobby," Wagner griped to retired U.S. Army Captain Wes Moore. For his part, Moore blamed "money" and the "size of membership" of the National Rifle Association.
Wagner replied that it "can't just be money" but that gun ownership is "too embedded in the American cultural psyche" but complained that "it's hugely puzzling to me" that "the New York Times" can report on convicted felons who've regained their gun rights and yet there's "no broader conversation" about "who gets to own a gun."
For his part, panelist John Heilemann theorized that a drop in violent crime has made "gun violence" largely "theoretical" to most Americans.
"The urgency around it is leached out because of the fact that there's actually, in a paradoxical way, a very big good news story that's happened with respect to crime in America," Heilemann added, failing to grasp that widespread civilian gun ownership and liberalized concealed carry laws have contributed to a drop in crime.