In light of Monday's deadly school shooting in Ohio, both CNN host
Piers Morgan and liberal comedian Bill Maher embarked on a lengthy
liberal screed against the current gun laws in America. Maher went so
far as to castigate gun owners for making their ownership a "theology,"
on Monday night's Piers Morgan Tonight.
"And Rick Santorum likes to talk about theology. This is a theology in this country. Guns are a religion. They're next to godliness for a lot of people," he ranted. Host Piers Morgan found America's gun laws "incomprehensible" and balked at the "ideological dream" of the right to bear arms.
"What is it about this ideological dream of the right to bear arms that
overrides any other rights, I mean the rights to not have your children
killed at school?" he asked incredulously.
And of course, Maher mocked conservatives and their interpretation of the Second Amendment. "There's a lot of the right-wingers in this country who think the Constitution consists of the Second Amendment and then, blah blah, blah, yatta, yatta, whatever," he quipped.
[Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
Both liberals also expressed their disappointment that President Obama
has not done "something more concrete about guns." While neither Morgan
nor Maher wanted to ban all guns, they took aim at laws allowing
widespread ownership even among the "mentally ill," and at the legality
of gun shows.
"We need someone to stand up to the gun lobby," Maher declared.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 27 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:05 p.m. EST, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: Awful story to start with. Another school shooting. What
is your take about it? There was an incident a couple of weeks ago,
another boy went to school with a rucksack, a gun went off, and he had a
gun in the bag and stuff. You know, coming from Britain as I do, I find
a lot of the gun laws in this country incomprehensible.
BILL MAHER, comedian: This is a gun culture. We love guns. I mean I would love somebody just to make a speech and say, okay, we're never going to get rid of all the guns. But do we have to adore them? Do we have to love them so much? I look at guns like antibiotics. You know, maybe sometimes you need them, but I don't kiss my antibiotics, I don't polish them, I don't worship my amoxicillin. If I need it, it's there. You know? But this country just has a very bad relationship with guns.
MORGAN: What is it about this ideological dream of the right to bear arms that overrides any other rights, I mean the rights to not have your children killed at school? Yeah, I mean, it seems to me it's all a little warped here, you know. Ever since I've been in America doing this show from Gabby Giffords onwards there have been regular incidents involving guns where you can't really work out how the perpetrators have got hold of these weapons in any sensible legal manner.
MAHER: We need someone to stand up to the gun lobby. But we don't have that in this country.
MORGAN: I find it so strange that there can't be at least some kind of positive debate about removing some of the 300 million guns that are apparently in circulation in America.
MAHER: It's religion.
MORGAN: Three hundred million firearms. I mean it's no surprise to me that there are so many of these crazy incidents because the access, the ease with which you can get these weapons, is just there. It's – anyone can get a gun.
MAHER: Obviously. And Rick Santorum likes to talk about theology. This is a theology in this country. Guns are a religion. They're next to godliness for a lot of people. And you wonder what they're doing with them. I know they love to blow the brains out of innocent animals for fun, I guess that's one thing. But they also have this fantasy in their head, if you talk to a lot of right-wingers, that somehow they read the Second Amendment as necessary because we might have a tyranny in this country.
MAHER: Well, of course, it's in the Constitution but where does that end? The Constitution could not foresee assault weapons -- or bazookas. Should we be able to have those? What about a tank? What about a nuclear weapon if you could afford it? I mean it's ridiculous. No one – and by the way, no one is saying that we were – that we're attempting to create a gun-free society. We know that's impossible. Just reasonable limits.
Make sure that the mentally ill people don't get them. Make sure you can't get them at these gun shows, these loopholes. I know people say, well, if we just enforce the gun laws, well, apparently we're not doing that either. So as you say, it's so easy for any nut to get ahold of a gun and then to modify it, like the guy did in Tucson, to the point where you can really do incredible damage in a short amount of time.
MORGAN: Yeah, but we don't know the circumstances of this shooting today, but the fact a 17-year-old boy can arm himself I think very easily, still in this country, in many parts of America, any 17-year- old kid could get a firearm. That's my problem. You know I'm not – I'm not trying to rewrite the Constitution or tell people they can't defend themselves in their own home. I get that argument. But I don't get the ease of access to people who should not be allowed anywhere near weapons.
MAHER: And by the way, there's nothing wrong with saying we could rewrite the Constitution. The Constitution itself was rewritten. After all it is the Second Amendment. Amendment means oh, we had – we had a second thought about this and we needed to amend it. But people, of course, they don't really read the Constitution, not really sure what's in it. There's a lot of the right-wingers in this country who think the Constitution consists of the Second Amendment and then, blah blah, blah, yatta, yatta, whatever.
MORGAN: Are you disappointed that Obama hasn't done something more concrete about guns?
MAHER: Of course. Very disappointing.
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center