Piers Morgan Stumbles Over Second Amendment; Hails 'Most Courageous' Bloomberg
Piers Morgan still can't basic details about the gun rights debate right, even after his protracted involvement in the controversy, as he revealed on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Morgan incorrectly claimed that the First Amendment – not the Second Amendment – protected the right to keep and bear arms: "I have no problem...with a family exercising their First Amendment (sic) right to defend their families with a handgun at home."
The CNN host also praised New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his prominent vocal and monetary support of gun control, and took President Obama to task for his apparent lack of action on the issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
PIERS MORGAN: Mayor Bloomberg, to me, is the single most courageous politician in America....President Obama, I think, has done his best, but he's achieved nothing. He went to Sandy Hook very publicly, and he promised those families he would get action. To date, he has delivered absolutely nothing.
Anchors Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose introduced the British TV host by playing a clip of a heated segment from Monday where he blasted the Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb as an "idiot", and wildly blamed his guest as "the reason that so many people get killed by guns in America". After a brief discussion about Morgan's new book, Rose raised the gun issue. The gun control supporter answered by again attacking Gottlieb:
MORGAN: Here's the thing about guns. I had a guy on last night – Adam Gottlieb from the Second Amendment Foundation. He wanted to have a campaign to turn the first anniversary of Sandy Hook into 'Guns Save Lives Day'. A more repulsive way of commemorating that day would be hard to imagine....I was reading a statement from the daughter of the principal of that school who was killed – her outrage at this idea of this campaign – he began to laugh in the middle of me reading the statement. And it showed to me the utter crassness of some of these pro-gun rights people, in just failing to understand the decimation that guns can cause to so many lives.
Morgan continued by spouting one of his favorite talking points – how his native country passed draconian gun control measures after the 1996 school massacre in Dunblane, Scotland. Surprisingly, O'Donnell, who once shamelessly regurgitated President Obama's pro-gun control talking points during an April 2013 segment with Senator Johnny Isakson, specifically cited the Second Amendment as a civil rights protection that the U.S. has. Despite this, the CNN host still made his gaffe:
NORAH O'DONNELL: But you were talking about banning guns. I mean, we have the Second Amendment here in America, and there are more than 100 million gun owners in this country. It is – it is a right that many Americans enjoy and use safely.
MORGAN: I have no problem, in a country with so many guns in circulation, with a family exercising their First Amendment (sic) right to defend their families with a handgun at home. But nobody can tell me that any civilian in America needs a military-style assault weapon; or a magazine which has thirty to a hundred bullets, as we saw at Aurora [Colorado] or at Sandy Hook.
And the idea that you can't even, in Congress, pass background checks; that you can't even get through a law that 90 percent of the American people support, which would mean that you could determine if somebody buying a gun was a criminal or mentally-insane – this is the stuff of madness.
Rose then brought up Bloomberg and Obama, which Morgan replied to with his compliment of the first and critique of the latter. He also cited former President Bill Clinton's analysis of the politics of the gun issue:
MORGAN: Bill Clinton...told me an interesting thing. He said, 'Look, the NRA marshals itself so well. They go after any politician in America – any stage, any level – and they drive them out of power with their well-funded resources, which come from the gun manufacturers'. He said, 'Until the American people – many of whom express outrage at these atrocities – until they go to the ballot box and vote with their feet and say – right, we are going to vote against people that support no assault weapons ban – nothing will change'. And he's right.
[Update, Tuesday, 1:40 pm Eastern: the full transcript of the Piers Morgan segment from Tuesday's CBS This Morning can be read at MRC.org.]