CNN Proudly Touting Piers Morgan’s Gun Control Rant

CNN has been doing its best to spotlight host Piers Morgan after he's clamored repeatedly for more gun laws. Morgan went on a liberal gun control rant during the 12 p.m. hour of Newsroom on Wednesday, and CNN replayed some of the rant again that afternoon.

Morgan called semi-automatic rifles "machine guns," preached that a "humane society" would ban such guns, and claimed the Second Amendment didn't protect ownership of such guns. In addition, he praised liberal politicians for pushing gun control measures.

"And every time one of these massacres happens, all I hear is the gun lobbies saying, don't touch our guns. Well, sorry, we're going to touch some of your guns because that's what a humane society does," Morgan ranted. "It says, these assault rifles are killing Americans. There's no reason for them. We're going to take them off the street."

In addition to his live interview, some of Morgan's rant aired again on CNN during the 1 p.m. hour of Newsroom.

"This is about removing machine guns from the streets of America and from civilian hands," he added, even though domestic transfer or possession of machine guns was banned in 1986, with exception for machine guns lawfully possessed prior to that date.

Morgan also praised liberal politicians for pushing an "assault rifles" ban: "And I applaud Michael Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo and President Obama and Joe Biden and the others for finally, I think, getting what most, I think, decent, civilized Americans want."

He also dared Congress to defy the NRA: "And these politicians have been cowed by the NRA and the gun lobby for too long, and it's time that they stood up and said 'enough.'"

A transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on January 9 at 12:10 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[12:10]

MICHAEL HOLMES: And Piers Morgan, of course, in the middle of this rather fierce gun control debate. His interview this week with radio host Alex Jones a hot topic on social media. Piers joins us on the phone. First, Piers, let's talk about Vice President Biden's meetings on gun violence. I mean what do you -- what do you hope to see come out of that?

PIERS MORGAN, CNN host, Piers Morgan Tonight (via telephone): Well, it's time that America's politicians just woke up to the reality of what is happening in their country. You know, the last four mass shootings in America all involved deranged young men using AR-15 military style assault rifles. And these are killing machines. They have no place on civilian streets or in civilian hands. And the politicians can hide behind all sorts of rhetoric about the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms and all of this, but no one can convince me – and nobody has convinced me – the founding fathers ever envisioned a situation where disturbed young men in America could go to a Wal-Mart, or the equivalent, and buy one of these machine guns and go to a movie theater or a school or a church or a temple or just down the street and gun down fellow Americans. That is not what the Second Amendment is supposed to protect. And these politicians have been cowed by the NRA and the gun lobby for too long, and it's time that they stood up and said "enough."

HOLMES: Of course, back when it was written, it took 10 minutes to load a gun as well. Let's talk a bit about that Alex Jones interview and the buzz it's creating. I mean – you're English. I'm Australian. We look at this from an outsider's perspective, and some people who do that are quite shocked by what they see in terms of the types of guns that are so readily available. You say Jones' rant about despots taking away guns backfired. One Twitter follower agrees with that. I think we've got a graphic we can show you. He says this: "I think he" – meaning you – "handled him perfectly. Sat back and let Alex make his own noose." Do you – I thought the same thing when you -- when I was watching the interview. Did you feel that it did backfire on him?

MORGAN: Yeah, I – honestly, I thought it was the best advertisement for gun control that I could possibly have put on air. Alex Jones represents a very extreme, but a very influential and very vocal part of the gun lobby in America. He rants like this every day to millions of Americans, most of whom believe what he says. This is a guy who believes that President Bush and his administration ordered the 9/11 disaster, for example. So you're talking with people who are scary in their thought process. And they believe that anyone who wants any form of gun control after any of these massacres is attacking the Second Amendment. And in my case, they want to deport me, which of course, would infringe my First Amendment rights, which is ridiculous.

Now you and I come from countries that both suffered in the mid '90s big massacres. In Australia it was actually Tasmania, just off the coast of Australia. In Britain, it was in Dunblane of Scotland. Thirty-five died in Tasmania. Sixteen in Dunblane. All school children. And in both countries, there was such national outrage and a unanimous view from the politicians of the countries, in your case a right-wing politician, John Howard. In Britain it was first John Major and then Tony Blair. So right and left. And really significant gun control was brought in, outlawing all forms of assault weapons and most hand guns. And, guess what, in Australia, you haven't had a mass shooting since 1996. And in Britain, we've had two much smaller mass shootings, but not a single shooting at a school and a gun murder rate of about 35 people a year, which I think is similar to Australia. In America 11,000 people are murdered with guns a year, 18,000 take their own life with guns a year, 100,000 Americans are hit by gun fire a year. And every time one of these massacres happens, all I hear is the gun lobbies saying, don't touch our guns.

Well, sorry, we're going to touch some of your guns because that's what a humane society does. It says, these assault rifles are killing Americans. There's no reason for them. We're going to take them off the street. And I applaud Michael Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo and President Obama and Joe Biden and the others for finally, I think, getting what most, I think, decent, civilized Americans want. It's not about taking away people's hand guns at home to defend their family. I get that. That is what I think the founding fathers intended by the Second Amendment. This is about removing machine guns from the streets of America and from civilian hands.

HOLMES: And very quickly, and finally, Piers, you know, I was reading online the Australian papers today and your encounter made the news down there, as it did in Great Britain, as well. Are you surprised by the ferocity of the debate and what it sparked? With your debate and what it sparked? Are you surprised at that?

MORGAN: Well, no, because I think the Sandy Hook massacre was one of the worst mass shootings in modern history anywhere in the world. It resonated all around the world. 20 school children, six to seven years old, murdered with between three and eleven bullets each by a deranged young man who, by the way, whose mother had six weapons at home knowing he was disturbed, and he took those weapons and committed an atrocity. If you can't do something about the gun madness in America after something of that magnitude, you're never going to. And I think it's good that Alex Jones has been trending on Twitter now for 36 hours, almost everywhere around the world. It's good that people see his rant. It's good that people see the very ugly side of the extreme elements of the gun lobby in America because they have had their way far too long.

This is not about taking away an American family or parent's right to have a gun at home to protect themselves or their family. That is what the Second Amendment's about. It's not about these killing machines and nor is it about magazines, as in the case of the shooter, Holmes, in Aurora, that can have a hundred bullets. That was why he was able to kill so many people.

And then there are other issues involving the reduced funding for mental health in most states in this country which have to be corrected and the absurdity of 40 percent of all gun sales in America basically having no trace, no background checks and no database. It's absolute lunacy this is allowed to happen. And, so, it is time the Congress stopped hiding in terror behind the political power they perceive the NRA to have and actually do what is right for the American people.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014