Amidst Fading Support for Gun Control, Piers Morgan Says It's 'The NRA Versus the People'

When CNN's Piers Morgan accused the NRA of fighting the American people on his Thursday show, GOP strategist Kelly Conway retorted that public favor for gun control has waned despite the best efforts of President Obama (and Piers Morgan).

"You're making this about the NRA versus the people," Conway told Morgan, who affirmed "That's what it is." She then slapped down his claim that the NRA is defying the wishes of the American people on guns:

"President Obama has made this his cause d'être for three and a half months now, and the trend lines and the polling, including CNN's polls, are going in the opposite direction. There's less support now for stronger gun control measures, and I think in part because people start to realize that what is being proposed in most places would not have stopped most of these killers."

CNN's own poll from last month revealed that support for either "major restrictions" on guns or an outright civilian gun ban fell from 52 percent in December to 43 percent in March. Support for either no gun restrictions or minor restrictions grew from 46 percent to 55 percent. CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser wrote that "support for many gun control policies remains high" but still "dropped significantly" since the Sandy Hook shootings.  

During that time of waning public interest in stricter gun control, Piers Morgan has pushed incessantly for stronger gun regulations. He's silenced and demonized gun rights advocates, slandered the NRA, and boosted "really draconian" gun measures.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Live on April 4 at 9:41 p.m. EDT:

[9:41]

PIERS MORGAN: Let's turn to guns. I talked to Newt Gingrich earlier about this. It is a very volatile debate, but it's a very disheartening one for those who want to see something happen to try and reduce the volume of guns in America, and the answer appears to be it's not going to happen. Only today, we heard about James Holmes, the Aurora shooter. New information coming out about him, including this devastating fact that his therapist, Dr. Lynn Fenton, reported him to University of Colorado police on June 12th, 2012, saying that he was, quote, "A danger to the public due to homicidal statements." He sent her threatening text messages the same day she reported him to campus police.

The shooting happened on July the 20th. So just over five weeks later. By then, he threatened his therapist, access to the university was cut off, but after that, he ordered 10 different deliveries of weapons via FedEx. The guy was able to do this perfectly legally. And yet still, people like Newt Gingrich, a man I greatly respect as a politician, telling me no, no, there's nothing we can do to stop this kind of thing. Of course there damn well is.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Of course – there's the warning sign.

CONWAY: He could have been stopped.

MORGAN: Kellyanne?

CONWAY: He -- Piers, he could have been stopped.

MORGAN: How would you stop him?

CONWAY: James Holmes could have been stopped had the police listened to his therapist who had actual knowledge that he was a clear and present danger but that's different than the discussion you had with Newt earlier. This particular shooter could have been stopped. It has nothing to do with extra laws on gun control. He could have been stopped before --

MORGAN: Let me ask you, Kellyanne. Kellyanne. Let me ask you.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Put aside the fact that he was flagged up by the therapist. Of course they should have done something about it and could have stopped it. But how did he get 6,000 rounds of ammunition? How did he get all this fire power, all these guns and everything else perfectly legitimately in a civilized society? How are you going to stop that, Kellyanne? How are you going to stop the next crazy shooter getting such easy access to this armory because I don't hear anything from most Republicans about how you stop these people getting these weapons.

(Crosstalk)

BALDWIN: This is like when Zacarias Moussaoui took flying lessons and didn't want to learn how to -- for the plane to take off or the plane to land.

CONWAY: And nobody said anything.

BALDWIN: And that was reported to law enforcement officials and it didn't go through the chain of command. This was preventable, this should not have happened and there should be regulations, laws on the books to try to prevent this from happening.

MORGAN: Kellyanne, tell me, how are you going to stop these people getting their hands on these weapons? Because at the moment, the NRA are winning the war. They don't want to have any background checks, any assault weapons ban, any high capacity magazine ban. Nothing. Zilch. Don't do anything. Until the next one.

CONWAY: You're making this about the NRA versus the people, when actually Barack Obama --

MORGAN: That's what it is!

CONWAY: Well, hold on. President Obama has made this his cause d'être for three and a half months now, and the trend lines and the polling, including CNN's polls, are going in the opposite direction. There's less support now for stronger gun control measures, and I think in part because people start to realize that what is being proposed in most places would not have stopped most of these killers. However, listening to the therapist who reported he had homicidal tendencies and she cut off his access, listening to her would have saved the lives of 12 people and the injuries of 58.

MORGAN: Well, yeah okay. But Penn Jillette, so would stopping him getting such easy access. He had a 100-bullet magazine in that movie theater. And an assault rifle, and 6,000 rounds of ammo. How much more does somebody have to do before America goes no, we're going to stop these people getting such easy access to this kind of fire power?

JILLETTE: The vast majority of people who have mental illness problems never hurt anybody. The vast majority don't even hurt themselves. The vast majority of people who have guns never hurt anybody. The problem is you're dealing with such tiny numbers of people and I'm not -- I don't in any way dismiss, one death is too many, anything we can do to stop that's important.  

(...)

MORGAN: A lot of tweets coming in to me @piersmorgan, saying let Penn Jillette finish what he's saying.

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