CNN host Piers Morgan’s push for a ban on so-called “assault” weapons has led him to confront a host of gun-rights advocates on his program, including Republican Newt Gingrich and Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt, who Morgan actually blasted as “an unbelievably stupid man” for disagreeing with him.
Which makes the response of a pair of young women on Morgan’s program all the more noteworthy.
Aubrey Blankenship and Celia Bigelow are part of the leadership team of the national conservative organization American Majority Action and had recently written together a column in National Review online about why young women prefer the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with 30-round magazines for self-defense.
“In the wake of mass murders like Sandy Hook and the horrific rapes and murders of thousands of women each year,” the ladies explained in their column, “pepper spray, mace or five-round handheld pistols aren’t going to cut it.”
Morgan, however, challenged the women when they were guests on his show last week: “One of my arguments against guns is you don’t need assault weapons for self-defense. … Explain to me why you believe you need an AR-15 style assault rifle.”
“One, they’re lightweight,” the 22-year-old Bigelow responded. “They’re quite accurate. I can shoot them much more accurately than a handgun or a shotgun. And three … I want a gun that can hold a lot of ammo, because if I’m faced with an intruder or multiple intruders that come into my home, I want to make sure I have enough ammo to get the job done, especially if they’re armed. … I don’t have to take the time to reload.”
Bigelow also brought up an example: “We saw a situation in Georgia just a couple weeks ago where a mom was hiding in her attic with her two children when an intruder entered her home. She had a handgun that only had six rounds in it. She fired all six rounds, missed the intruder once, hit him five times in the face and in the neck. And he still lived.”
That’s when Morgan repeated a line of questioning he had used with other guests – including Gingrich – who for the most part had failed to present a significant answer.
“How many of the three million Americans that own AR-15s have ever used them to defend themselves at home?” Morgan asked.
“There are … many examples,” Bigelow countered, “but are the media willing to cover them?”
“Do you know one?” Morgan persisted.
Gingrich had botched that same question, suggesting he would do some research and get back to Morgan on it.
The ladies, however, were prepared.
“Yes, absolutely,” Bigelow responded. “In 2010, in Houston, Texas, there was a 15-year-old boy alone at home. And he was – he was home alone with his 12-year-old sister when two intruders tried to enter in the front door and in the back door of his house. He grabbed his AR-15 and shot at them and they ran away.”
Bigelow’s summary of the June 2010 news story in Houston was, in fact, accurate.
Video of the Morgan interview, compiled by the Media Research Council with news coverage from KHOU-TV in Houston, can be seen below:
Bigelow and Blankenship summed up their praise for the AR-15 in their National Review column: "The AR-15 is lightweight and practical. As light as five pounds, it produces low levels of recoil, and it's easy to shoot. It also looks intimidating, which is what you want when facing an assailant or intruder. … Accuracy? Check. Ease in handling? Check. Intimidation factor? Check. An AR-15 might be a woman's best friend."
Morgan's inflammatory voice in America's debate over gun-control legislation since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn., however, has produced a firestorm of controversy, including calls for the British host to be deported from the U.S.
Outrage over Morgan's pro-gun-control views began in December, when the host engaged in a heated debate with guest Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, on his "Piers Morgan Tonight" show.
"The argument I keep hearing is, 'Well if everybody else was armed, it wouldn't happen.' It's a load of total hogwash," Morgan told Pratt. "How many more kids have to die, before you guys say, 'We want less guns, not more?'"
But Morgan really raised eyebrows when, in the midst of a heated exchange, he turned on Pratt and said, "You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?"
Moments later he continued, "You don't give a d— about the gun murder rate in America, do you? You don't actually care."
Video of the exchange between Morgan and Pratt can be seen below:
The next day, Morgan ruffled feathers again by responding to a Twitter message accusing him of being "gleeful" that the Sandy Hook tragedy happened to help advance his gun-control cause with a tweet of his own reading, "Of course I am, you moron."