CNN's Piers Morgan Battles with Ted Nugent on Guns, Says Second Amendment Almost Killed Gabby Giffords

CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight has been such a parade of celebrity interviews it’s almost made Larry King Live look like a hard-news show. But on Wednesday night, Morgan interviewed Ted Nugent and pounded him repeatedly and personally, especially insulting him as a “draft dodger.” He also suggested he was homophobic and not compassionate toward the poor.

Morgan naturally picked a big fight on the Second Amendment, which he declared “the reality is you end up with what happened to Gabby Giffords in Tucson.” Morgan insisted to Nugent, “Eighty people a day die in America from gunshots.” Nugent replied, “Kiss my ass...You are playing the idiot’s advocate.” The gun talk began when Morgan ran video of Nugent suggesting Obama should suck on his machine gun:

MORGAN: For a man who is a -- who is a patriot, who purports to love his country, that was quite shocking disrespect to your president.

NUGENT: Well, let me put it in official CNN Piers Morgan interview terms, shall I?...My limey friend...Anybody that wants to disarm me can drop dead. Anybody that wants to make me unarmed and helpless, people that want to literally create the proven places where more innocents are killed called gun-free zones, we're going to beat you. We're going to vote you out of office or suck on my machine gun. You can take it whichever you --

MORGAN: Much as I'd love to suck on your machine gun, the whole point -- the whole point of your defense is that a lot of people do drop dead precisely because you are armed to the teeth. And you'd like everybody else to be.

NUGENT: Not true at all. Not true at all.

MORGAN: Eighty people --

NUGENT: Piers, write this down --

MORGAN: You write this down. Eighty people a day die in America from gunshots.

NUGENT: And 75 of them to 78 of them -- statistics by the Uniform Crime Report by the FBI and the U.N. study on violent crime -- 78 of those 80 are let out of their cages by corrupt judges and prosecutors who know the recidivism is out of control, know that they'll commit the crimes again, and they let them walk through plea bargaining, early release, and programs.

Kiss my ass. Where you have the most armed citizens in America, you have the lowest violent crime rate. Where you have the worst gun control, you have the highest crime rate.

Piers, choose one. Do you want a lot of crime? We have it. Gun-free zones. You want less crime? We have that. More people with concealed weapons permit. Why do you guys resist that statistic?

MORGAN: Well, don't say you guys.

NUGENT: You guys. Well, unless you're playing the devil's advocate.

MORGAN: I can play any advocate I like. It's my show.

NUGENT: You're doing a good job. You're playing the idiot's advocate here. More guns equals less crime. Period.

MORGAN: Unless I'm wrong -- and I don't want to kiss your ass --

NUGENT: And I'll be sure to let you know.

MORGAN: -- at this point, if you don't mind. Unless I'm wrong with your argument -- well, you're basically saying that, you know, 90 percent of the gun crime comes from people that --

NUGENT: It's 96 percent but go ahead.

MORGAN: But they still have to get access to firearms. If you had your way, there would be 10 times as many firearms, right?

NUGENT: Not true at all.

MORGAN: You want everyone in America to own a gun?

NUGENT: Not at all. I've never said that. And I got to tell you --

MORGAN: What is your position?

NUGENT: -- and I hope you don't edit this out. Whenever I've done interviews with guys that are inclined to be anti-gun, they always go, well, Nugent, you want everyone to have a machine gun. Nugent wants all the deer dead.

MORGAN: What does Nugent want?

NUGENT: Not even close.

MORGAN: What do you want?

NUGENT: What I want is the Second Amendment. We the people, free individuals to have the right to keep and bear arms for self- defense. Find fault with that.

MORGAN: Well, I could find lots of fault with it.

NUGENT: Name one.

MORGAN: Well, the reality is you end up with what happened to Gabby Giffords in Tucson.

NUGENT: That guy had gone through the cracks of the mental health system. That guy had --

MORGAN: How could he be allowed to get a gun?

NUGENT: Because he fell through the cracks, and he didn't -- he didn't qualify to get a gun.

MORGAN: He fell through the cracks.

NUGENT: The cracks of the mental health system. Everybody knew -- all his friends, his family was afraid of this guy, but they didn't report it. Nobody -- nobody reacted to it.

MORGAN: When you see a guy like that get open access to firearms because the Constitution that you subscribe -- adhere to so much --

NUGENT: How would you fix that?

MORGAN: Well, I would certainly make it a lot harder for people like him to ever get near a firearm. And that's my argument with the gun lobbying is that it's always very, very aggressive. And even as you've just exploded with me, it's always a violent debate. And it's always like, [Yelling] "I want the right to shoot anyone that comes near me who threatens me!"

It's always about that. This guy was unstable but was able to go and get a firearm because they are freely available in this country. And that's where I have a problem with it.

NUGENT: Were you born in England?

MORGAN: I was born in England.

NUGENT: Are you familiar with Ireland?


NUGENT: Is Molotov cocktails and C4 explosives -- those legal in Belfast?

MORGAN: They're terrorists.

NUGENT: Are those -- is that -- are those items legal in Belfast?

MORGAN: Well, I don't live in Belfast.

NUGENT: Well, then I'll go ahead and educate you. They're banned in Belfast. They're forbidden in Belfast. Do you think anybody had a hard time getting them? If you want something -- how about in New York City it would take me 15 minutes for me to get a submachine gun in New York City from some paroled crack dealer.

MORGAN: Let me spin the argument. Would you agree drugs then to be freely available?

NUGENT: Not at all.

MORGAN: What's the difference in the argument?

NUGENT: Because drugs are 100 percent about reducing your level of responsibility, getting high, disconnecting, and I'm a cop. I've been a cop for 35 years. I conduct federal raids with the heroes of law enforcement in Texas. In every instance where there is violence, somebody's high on something, but they're not always in possession of a firearm. They do it with Buicks and bricks and fire and chainsaws and --

MORGAN: The guy who shot Gabby Giffords wasn't high. That wasn't a factor.

NUGENT: No, but he was mentally deranged.

MORGAN: My point about the threat of your argument is you're saying -- there's a difference, isn't there, between -- you're saying guns should be made freely available, right?

NUGENT: No, no, there should be restrictions.

MORGAN: Because if you -- let me ask -- let me put something to you. Do you think this is wrong, tell me. They should be made available with some restrictions, but not many, from the gun lobby arguments I've read --

NUGENT: Which --

MORGAN: -- and then actually the reason is if you made them illegal, they would all be freely available anyway. But with drugs, you say do not make them freely available, make them illegal. Even though you know and I know that drives them underground and probably more people get --

NUGENT: Piers, Piers, I don't know why you guys either don't study the information or you just resist it. I think you're resisting it. In America, where you have more citizens with guns on their person, you have a dramatic reduction in violent crime.

In those areas called gun-free zones, you have a outrageous increase in the loss of innocent lives. That's the choice. Which one would you make? And in America, legally owned guns are used millions of times a year to save innocent lives. You certainly don't believe in calling 911 to stop evil in your home, do you?

In case you were interested in the non-gun arguments, here’s a bit of the welfare argument:

MORGAN: My issue about you and the welfare thing is it showed -- to me it showed no sense of compassion for people who have genuine problems. Who genuinely need it.

NUGENT: Well, you see --

MORGAN: Your judgment, if you don't mind me saying, is all encompassing. All sweeping. You think they're all on the fiddle. [On the fiddle???]

NUGENT: No, I don't.

MORGAN: They're all --

NUGENT: No, I don't. But I don't think, I know, and the statistics support -- once again my sharing with you the statistics, that the abuse, the corruption in that system, is not about helping someone who through no fault of their own fell on hard times, but widespread abuse.

Here’s a bit of the draft-dodger talk:

MORGAN: Well, you're very -- you're very, very pro the troops. I get that. But you yourself, I mean, you dodged the draft.

NUGENT: No. Now, see, I'm glad we're here on the Piers Morgan show to set that straight for the 10 million --


MORGAN: Set the record straight.

NUGENT: No, did I not dodge the draft. I was 17, and I was a clueless idiot, which most 17s qualify. I bet you were --


MORGAN: I was quite suave.

NUGENT: Being that as it may, no, I was enrolled in Oakland Community College. And I had a one-wide deferment. Did I register -- I registered. Did I volunteer? No. Should I have? Yes.

MORGAN: Do you regret that?

NUGENT: You know, I do regret it on one level. On the most important, fundamental level, is that I have a duty to earn this experiments in we the people self-government. And I've spent my time and I've intentionally put myself in harm's way going over to Iraq and Afghanistan, right into hell zones of unnamed trenches in Afghanistan danger zones, I do --

MORGAN: Is part of that a guilt thing on your part?

NUGENT: No, not a guilt thing. It was just the right thing to do. At some point, you know, let's pretend I was a heroin addict when I was 17. Would you bring that up if I'd been clean and sober for 50 years?

MORGAN: Probably, yes.

NUGENT: You're such a bastard. (LAUGHTER)

Finally, the “homophobia” segment:

MORGAN: Kobe Bryant was fined 100,000 dollars for using a gay slur during a Lakers' game. And Ted, you wrote a piece after and I'm going to read what you said here. You said that homosexuals are the most protected class of people in America. And you said, and I quote, "The NBA should hold homosexual night during halftime and homosexuals could come down on the court, hold hands, prance around the court to music by The Village People." You also said that homosexuality was morally wrong.

NUGENT: Do you have a problem with that?


NUGENT: That's like Clapton trap. No, let's put it this way. If you're gay, have a nice day. I could give a rat's ass. I don't --

MORGAN: Are you homophobic?

NUGENT: Not at all, no.

MORGAN: Would you be happy if one of your --

NUGENT: I'm heterophiliac.

MORGAN: What's a heterophiliac?

NUGENT: It means I'm hopelessly addicted to women -- woman.

MORGAN: Right. If one of your children came up and say, Dad, I'm gay. How would you react to that?

NUGENT: I'd say, get the gun, let's go kill a deer. Inconsequential.

MORGAN: You wouldn't mind morally?

NUGENT: Not at all. I am repulsed at the concept of man-on-man sex. I think it's against nature. I think it's strange as hell. But if that's what you are, I love you.

MORGAN: But do you believe it's morally wrong? You have suggested that before.

NUGENT: You know, I'm not going to judge another's morals.

MORGAN: You judge people all the time.

NUGENT: Yes, sometimes you have to. I have to judge my bass player, and that's why I've got the greatest bass player in the world. No. I say live and let live. Like I said, gay? Go nuts. Martians? Cool. I really don't care.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis