When Breitbart.com's Ben Shapiro used his pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution on the set of Piers Morgan Tonight, CNN's Piers Morgan asserted that he, like the NRA, was deviously trying to frame gun control as an assault on the Second Amendment.
"You come in. You brandish your little book as if I don't know what's in there," Morgan sneered. "My little book? That's the Constitution of the United States. Our founding document, Piers," Shapiro shot back. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Morgan took issue with Shapiro's interpretation of the Second Amendment as a defense against tyranny: "To protect against the possibility of eventual government tyranny. This was the purpose of the Second Amendment originally. It remains the purpose of the Second Amendment now," Shapiro stated.
"Do you genuinely believe your own government is going to turn on you in a way that you require an AR-15 to challenge them?" a skeptical Morgan challenged. "This is what you really believe that will happen in modern day America? Is that what you think?"
"Do you understand how absurd you sound when you say that?" Morgan had asked earlier, when Shapiro acknowledged the future possibility of an armed civilian resistance to a tyrannical U.S. government.
(h/t The Right Scoop)
A transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Tonight on January 10 at 9:36 p.m. EST, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: And the way that the NRA through the '80s and '90s and this last –
MORGAN: -- have deliberately tried to frame this as a left-wing attack on the American Constitution and the Second Amendment, exactly what you've tried to do. You come in. You brandish your little book as if I don't know –
BEN SHAPIRO: My little book? That's the Constitution of the United States. Our founding document, Piers.
MORGAN: I know what's in your Constitution.
SHAPIRO: Do you really?
MORGAN: I have been debating this for a very long time.
SHAPIRO: Then you should read the Second Amendment again.
MORGAN: I know the Second Amendment. What I haven't heard is one coherent reason why any civilian in America needs an AR-15 military style assault weapon. Tell me why you need one.
SHAPIRO: I told you why the general population of America, law abiding citizens, need an AR-15.
MORGAN: Why do they need those weapons?
SHAPIRO: They need them for the prospective possibility of resistance to tyranny, which is not a concern today. It may not be a concern tomorrow.
MORGAN: Where do you expect the tyranny to come from?
SHAPIRO: It could come from the United States, because governments have gone tyrannical before, Piers. And this is –
MORGAN: Do you understand how absurd you sound when you say that?
SHAPIRO: Here's where you go into the absurd and the bullying. "You're absurd! You're stupid!"
MORGAN: I'm not the one who came in here and accused you of standing on the graves of dead children.
SHAPIRO: Because you're the one who is doing that.
SHAPIRO: You know what I call it? Punching back twice as hard, in the words of President Obama.
MORGAN: That's what I call bullying.
SHAPIRO: This is astonishing.
MORGAN: What's astonishing about it?
SHAPIRO: What's astonishing about it is that for weeks now, you have been saying that anybody who disagrees with your position is absurd, idiotic, and doesn't care about the dead kids in Sandy Hook. And then when I say that that's a bully tactic, you turn around and say I'm bullying you for saying that. It's absurd. It's ridiculous.
MORGAN: Let me ask you again, what is the point of a civilian having an AR-15 assault weapon?
SHAPIRO: The point of a civilian having an AR-15 assault weapon -- many of them are ex-military. Right, I have military friends. I don't have a problem with Colin Powell owning an AR-15 assault weapon.
MORGAN: What is the point of a civilian owning them?
SHAPIRO: It depends on the civilian. If it's a criminal, they shouldn't own them.
MORGAN: Forget criminals, the mentally ill people.
MORGAN: An average civilian without a criminal record, or is mentally ill, why do they need one?
SHAPIRO: To protect against the possibility of eventual government tyranny. This was the purpose of the Second Amendment originally. It remains the purpose of the Second Amendment now. And pretending that governments have never gone usurpatious (sic) before, from a democratic position –
MORGAN: Do you genuinely believe your own government is going to turn on you in a way that you require an AR-15 to challenge them? This is what you really believe that will happen in modern day America? Is that what you think?
SHAPIRO: It may not turn on me. It may not turn on my children. But the fact is this, history is replete with democracies going tyrannical. It has happened – it happened in France in the 19th century. It happened in Spain in the last century. It happened in Germany. It happened in Italy. It has happened repeatedly throughout this – it happened in Japan.
MORGAN: The reason we cannot remove AR-15 assault weapons is because the threat of your own government turning on you in a tyrannical way?
SHAPIRO: It is be– yes.
MORGAN: That is your position?
SHAPIRO: It is because there are countervailing rights and responsibilities.
SHAPIRO: You just want to demagogue the issue.
MORGAN: You have made your point crystal clear. People aren't stupid. They can make up their own minds. Ben Shapiro, thank you.