It's no secret that the debate over gun rights has been a contentious one, and that was clearly on display during Wednesday night's edition of Fox News Channel's “Hannity” program.
Throughout the segment, the guests -- left-wing attorney Leo Terrell and conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow -- tried to talk over each other to get their points across, but before it was done, Terrell put his hands over his ears and stopped responding.
The discussion began when host Sean Hannity said the White Plains, New York-based Journal News regional newspaper, which created a national controvery by publishing an online map of registered gun owners in its circulation area, had once again brought attention to itself by hiring armed guards to protect its employees, an obvious case of hypocrisy given the publication’s virulently anti-gun editorial stance.
Several minutes into the debate, the fireworks started when Hannity asked Terrell a pointed question:
Those people that have weapons, now if somebody wanted to steal them, they've also been disclosed, and people without guns are probably sitting ducks if people want to know where to rob. Here's my question: Do you believe in the right of privacy 'cause liberals often lecture us about the right of privacy?
The guest responded angrily by asking the host if he'd forgotten what happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., “where there was a lunatic who shot up 20 kids?”
“This information will alert the neighborhood of people who are mentally ill,” he stated. “And this information was disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act. No Constitutional right was violated.”
“So we'll have people report on their neighbors and saying: 'I think that person is mentally ill; you'd better go take his gun,'” Hannity responded.
Terrell replied that taking such action “could have saved 26 lives at Sandy Hook.”
“There are certain people, Mister Hannity, that do not need a gun,” he continued. “They can register for a gun, they can acquire a gun, but they are mentally disturbed.”
Sekulow noted that background checks, including assessment of an applicant's mental health, are required by law in all 50 states.
“What you're doing here is putting individual citizens who are legally in possession of arms that are protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, you're putting them at risk,” he stated.
“You are endangering police officers, who are subject to retaliation since you've identified where they live,” the attorney added. “You don't want to acknowledge that, even though Connecticut has the toughest gun laws in the country.”
“The issue is not about police officers,” the civil rights attorney responded before turning his attention to Adam Lanza's mother, who “was legally allowed to have guns. Her son was mentally disturbed. Why don't you acknowledge the Freedom of Information Act?”
“Having the toughest gun laws doesn't solve the problem,” Sekulow replied.
At that point, Hannity:asked Terrell: “You were friends with O.J. Simpson. Did you know that he was going to be liable -- ?”
“Here we go with O.J. Simpson,” Terrell said before placing his hands over his ears and keeping his mouth closed.
When he heard no sound, Hannity asked: “What? Hello? Leo?” before laughing at the incident and thanking his guests for appearing on the program.
Of course, this wasn't the first time Terrell gave Hannity trouble during a discussion.
In early December, Terrell was a guest for another debate over gun control. The other guest, author and novelist Erik Rush, became so frustrated when he was unable to complete a sentence that he demanded Terrell “just please shut up!”
In addition, Simpson has apparently been a sore spot for Terrell for quite some time. Years ago, when Hannity asked him about the murder chargers that were once waged against the former athlete, Terrell walked off the set.
And during yet another interview, he gave Hannity the silent treatment.
However, Terrell received support from Stephen C. Webster, who stated that the radio host “figured out on Wednesday night an unusual way to shut down racially inflammatory content on the Fox News Channel: he simply covered his ears on live television.”