"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski broke from the panel discussion Tuesday and implored Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to close the state's so-called gun show loophole. The MSNBC panel was discussing lax gun show laws allowing persons to purchase semi-automatic guns with little or no background check performed on them.
Brzezinski, seemingly abandoning journalism in favor of advocacy, tersely asked Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on camera to close the state's gun show loophole. "Just close the loophole. Governor Bob McDonnell," Brzezinski pleaded, staring into the camera as she singled out the state's chief executive.
Virginia law presently allows private transactions at gun shows to be completed without paperwork. Federal law mandates licenced gun sellers to perform background checks on buyers; private sellers are not obliged by the state to do so.
The segment began with a report of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealing that undercover investigators, hired by the city, went to an Arizona gun show and bought semi-automatic pistols even while they claimed they probably wouldn't be able to pass a background check.
Mayor Bloomberg highlighted the investigation as evidence that tougher federal gun laws need to be passed. The MSNBC panel agreed with him and discussed the ramifications of gun show loopholes.
"It's easier to buy an AK-47 assault weapon than it is to buy an automobile in some states," lamented columnist Mike Barnicle. Mika Brzezinski touted her husband's investigative work, where he apparently filled the trunk of his car with guns at a Virginia gun show with no problem. "90 percent of Americans don't want this to continue," reported Joe Scarborough on gun transactions sans background checks.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 1 at 8:33 a.m. EST, is as follows:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Continuing his push for tougher federal gun laws, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says not much has changed after the tragic shooting in Tucson. Yesterday Bloomberg announced that sellers at an Arizona gun show allowed undercover investigators hired by New York City to buy semi-automatic pistols even after they said they probably couldn't pass a background check.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: By the way, um, when Pat Buchanan starts wondering why these gun show-shows are allowed to sell semi-automatic weapons without any background checks, and as Pat says, Mike, this is how the narcotics kingpins and the drug kingpins in Mexico – this is how they're arming themselves to kill innocent Mexicans and Americans. When Pat Buchanan starts raising questions, when I start raising questions, you've got to believe the vast majority of Americans think this makes no sense.
MIKE BARNICLE: It's easier to buy an AK-47 assault weapon than it is to buy an automobile in some states.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. What the Mayor's people did in Arizona is what my husband, who is an investigative reporter, did in Virginia at a gun show. Filled up a trunk of a car with guns.
SCARBOROUGH: And he got, to underline the point --
BRZEZINSKI: No questions asked. Nothing.
SCARBOROUGH: The underline the point, Jim Hoffer got a kid who was shot, the Virginia Tech shooting –
BRZEZINSKI: Five times.
SCARBOROUGH: The rampage. Five times to go into the gun show and had nothing but his photo ID from Virginia Tech, and was able to fill up a trunk with semi-automatic weapons. The killings in the New York and New Jersey and the Northeast are traced to those Virginia gun shows. Like I said, the drug wars are being armed, the most dangerous terrorists in our hemisphere, the drug kingpins, are being armed by Arizona gun show laws – c'mon. 90 percent of Americans don't want this to continue. 90 percent of Americans don't want to continue, it should not continue –
BRZEZINSKI: Just close the loophole. Governor Bob McDonnell.
SCARBOROUGH: You've got Dick Cheney, Pat Buchanan, other conservatives who are saying "C'mon, yeah, we support the right for Americans to keep and bear arms. But..." --
BARNICLE: A loophole was closed for a while –
BARNICLE: – and then re-opened when they let the law lapse a couple of weeks ago.
BRZEZINSKI: That's correct. That's correct.