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Piers Morgan brings gun-control crusade to Katy

CNN host faces off with Abbott, Patrick and Nugent
Cindy Georg, Houston Chronicle
Updated 11:54 am, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
  • Piers Morgan has been pushing gun control since the Sandy Hook shootings in December. Photo: Jae C. Hong, . / AP

    Piers Morgan has been pushing gun control since the Sandy Hook shootings in December.

    Photo: Jae C. Hong, .

 

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A Katy gun store and shooting range provided the setting for Monday's episode of CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," which featured Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, State Sen. Dan Patrick and rocker and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent.

Since December's Newtown, Conn., massacre in which the shooter killed 20 children, six school employees, his mother and himself, the cable program has been engaging in the debate over firearms with "Guns in America" shows.

The verbal sparring in Texas, which was described as "Gun Country," explored the question: Does anyone in America really need an AR-15 assault rifle?

The episode opened with Morgan wearing protective gear at Tactical Firearms as he tested several weapons, including an AR-15 and a gun that can unload 900 rounds per minute. The talk show host spoke with business owner Jeremy Alcede, who explained why the sales of firearms have surged as President Obama and congressional leaders consider tightening gun regulations.

"They want it because they are law-abiding citizens and they know it is legal to purchase now," Alcede said.

'Meet force with force'

Abbott said Texans need access to firearms to protect themselves against home intruders and violent gangs. He added that thousands of ranchers along the border need guns to guard against drug cartels.

"They deserve under the Second Amendment to meet force with force," the attorney general said.

Abbott and Patrick, both Republicans, do not support universal background checks, which the attorney general said "are not working."

Abbott added that tougher enforcement should focus on "ensuring that criminals and those who have mental issues do not get their hands on guns."

Morgan said his guests' opposition to more gun control, as proposed by the president, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others, was a "disturbing reaction to the murder of 20 young children." But his guests pushed back on what they interpreted as hyperbole and ignorance about firearms as well as American culture.

State Sen. Dan Patrick defended the AR-15 as a "personal defense weapon" and said that he owns one.

"It is a weapon you can fire multiple times to defend yourself," he said. "You don't know how many bullets you're going to need to defend your life and family."

Morgan, who has taken a position on the gun control issue, constantly interrupted Abbott, Patrick and conservative radio host Ben Ferguson, but let Nugent, the final guest, finish his points with consecutive sentences.

"You don't understand that it's a simple inanimate tool," the entertainer told Morgan.

'Bureaucracy gone mad'

Nugent also questioned Morgan's assertion that America has a gun problem.

"Leave us the hell alone," Nugent said, referring to law-abiding gun owners. "The government doesn't need to know who has what ... That's a bureaucracy gone mad."

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