CNN's Piers Morgan Goes on a Shooting Rampage in Texas

Piers Morgain Shooting in TexasImagine for a minute that a fierce anti-abortion person would visit a Planned Parenthood clinic and participate in an abortion to see what that experience is like. Would never happen, right? But fierce anti-gun advocate Piers Morgan marched into a Texas gun store and range yesterday and fired off a couple thousand dollars worth of ammunition faster than you can say, "Hands Up!" CNNs Piers Morgan visited Tactical Firearms in Katy, Texas yesterday and participated in firing many kinds of weapons according to owner Jeremy Alcede.  

Alcede said that after firing the weapons, including a fully automatic BMG M2 50 caliber machine gun, Morgan was grinning from ear to ear and said to Alcede, "That was a lot of fun." Morgan took a much more reserved position later on camera stating, in a stern faced comment, "To me, they just feel unbelievably powerful."

Alex Jones and Piers Morgan at Tactical Firearms Shooting RangePrior to the shooting range session, Morgan had a brief re-match with Alex Jones who probably doubled Morgans "Piers Morgan Tonight" show ratings whhen he previously interviewed Jones.

Morgan came to the Houston area to learn firsthand from Texans about the weapons he is attacking and the strong feelings of Texans about their Second Amendment Rights. With a studio set up in the gun store showroom, Morgan interviewed Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, State Senator Dan Patrick, and legendary guitarist and NRA board member Ted Nugent.

Gun Loving Protesters outside Texas shooting range - Piers Morgan

About 150 protesters came out including Alex Jones, to protest Morgans visit.

After the shooting range session where Morgan fired everything from .22 rifles and simple handguns up to the AR-15 rifles and finally the high-powered machine gun, I bribed Morgan into doing an interview with me by making a run through the nearly 150 protesters outside to get him some much needed coffee.

Morgan told me he enjoyed getting to know the people here in Texas and getting a better understanding of our perspective on the issue. When I asked him if anyone had changed his mind, he flatly stated, "No".  He went on to say, "Its very interesting to come to a place where there is a gun culture, and I had a guy tell me he gets in a helicopter with night goggles and goes hog hunting. Well, we dont even have hogs in Britain, we have something, tiny pigs by comparison. Its a very different place to come, and Ive found it very useful I think, to debate the issue with Texans, law-abiding gun owners here, about where theyre willing to compromise with what the president is trying to do with curbing gun violence."

Gun rights advocates believe that more emphasis should be placed on stronger prosecution of criminals who use guns in criminal activities.  Earlier in the day, when confronted by Radio Host Matt Patrick, Morgan admitted that New York City and Chicago were great examples of different policing techniques. In New York, law enforcement aggressively prosecutes gun crimes and violent gun crime has been reduced significantly.  In Chicago, where they just keep enacting more gun laws, violent crime is sky rocketing.

Dan Patrick and Piers Morgan at Texas Gun Range

State Senator Dan Patrick and Piers Morgan

When I asked Morgan if enforcement is not a better option than more gun laws against law abiding citizens, Morgan answered, "Well, I think it is a good way. I think there a a lot of ways you can tackle this."

Morgan strongly objects to your right as an individual to be able to sell your own personal property, a firearm, to another individual without first having run a background.  In other words, if you want to see your gun to your neighbor you have known for twenty years, you would have to go through the expense and bother of running a background check on your neighbor.  How ridiculous is that?

I asked Morgan about his experience shooting the guns.  Despite what he told Alcede, Morgan said, "To me, it just felt terrifying, to be honest with you. Its the power of it, the speed, the velocity that you can release these bullets."

Off camera, Morgan and I discussed the issue further. I explained what life is like for ranchers living in South Texas and Southern Arizona, who have to deal with heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers coming through their property. I told him about a ranchers wife who walked out into her yard to find her dog playing with the skull of an illegal alien who had been killed by his traffickers not yards from her front door. Attorney Gen. Abbott told Morgan that ranchers feared for their lives on this own ranches.  Morgan denied that ranchers had ever been shot by smugglers, so I informed him about Rob Krentz, the rancher in SE Arizona who was killed in 2010 by smugglers.

Ted Nugent ready to go with Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan and Ted Nugent

After interviewing Gen. Abbott and Sen. Patrick, Morgan was ready for the nights headliner as legendary rock guitarist and strong second amendment supporter Ted Nugent took to the hot seat with Morgan.  Most watching the interview would say that Nugent, once again, got the better of Morgan.  At one point telling Morgan, "Youre full of crap!".  But after the filming and when Nugent had left the gun store, Morgan seemed quite proud of stumping Nugent on what country had the second most guns per capita.  Until recently that country was Switzerland, but now it is Yeaman.  Morgan said Yeaman was anything but safe... a topic for a later debate...

At one point Nugent, frustrated with Morgan statements said, "Would you leave us the hell alone!"  He went on to call Morgan the "perfect posterboy to stand up for things that make no sense at all."

Bottom line - Morgan didnt come to Texas to have his mind changed on gun control and the Second Amendment.  But he did seem to learn a lot about the people in Texas and why we cherish our history and culture of guns as well as why we demand the right to defend ourselves with any weapon we feel is appropriate for our safety and our familys safety.

CNN Sr Producer Winnie Dunbar on set with Ted Nugent and Piers MorganI would like to thank Jeremy Alcede of Tactical Firearms in Katy and CNN Senior Producer Winnie Dunbar for their hospitality in allowing me to watch this debate from behind the scenes.  And I would like to thank Piers Morgan for taking a break from the television camera to speak to our readers at TexasGOPVote.  Our discussion was cordial as you can see, but I dont think anyones minds were changed. The great thing about our country is we can have a calm and rational discussion with someone we agree with.  Even if he is, as Nugent said, "full of crap!".  Cheers Piers.  Have a pint for me when you return to your country.  If they will let you in...

No doubt, the debate is not settled.  Nor will it be anytime soon.  But hopefully, Morgan knows just a little more about Texas and Texans.



TexasGOPVote Blogger Bob Price: Piers Morgan with CNN, thank you very much for giving us the time to talk to TexasGOPVote today, and youve been here in Texas now for a couple days traveling around the state, and Ive heard you talking on the radio and a few other places. Has anyone changed your mind on anything? 

CNN Host Piers Morgan: No, but its very interesting to come to a place where there is a gun culture, and I had a guy tell me he gets in a helicopter with night goggles and goes hog hunting. Well, we dont even have hogs in Britain, we have something, tiny pigs by comparison. Its a very different place to come, and Ive found it very useful I think, to debate the issue with Texans, law-abiding gun owners here, about where theyre willing to compromise with what the president is trying to do with curbing gun violence. 

Bob Price: Now I spent three years living in your country back in the late 70s and early 80s, and they have a completely different view of guns over there obviously, and even a different attitude about self-defense. There was a store owner that got robbed, and he defended himself with a club and was going to jail for assaulting the guy, so its a totally different mindset. One thing I heard you say earlier on the radio was the difference between Chicago and New York. In Chicago, they have some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, but in New York theyve actually managed to reduce gun violence by enforcing the laws against criminals. Why is that not a better way to move forward? 

Piers Morgan: Well, I think it is a good way. I think there are lots of ways you can tackle this. Im not just saying the assault weapons ban that Id like to see is just part of the puzzle, and I think its a very specific thing to stop the mass shootings by deranged young people who have easy access to AR-15s and military-style rifles, in my opinion, but youve got to invest more in mental health. I think there are a lot of mentally ill people in America that need to be spotted and red flagged earlier so they can be treated before they may or may not do something awful, given there are so many guns that are available. I think youve got to have the background checks made universal, its a no brainer to me. The idea that you can go to a gun show in Texas and do a personal trade with somebody and nobody has any idea who bought that weapon I think is crazy. I think its crazy. Sorry, but if you cant do that with a car. 

Bob Price: You dont have to do a background check on a car. 

Piers Morgan: You have to insure it. You have to register it. People have to know whos driving a car unless you want to break the law. So if people happily do that in Texas, why would they object to having some kind of database that says who is buying and owning guns in America? To me, it is a crazy situation that you have 40% of all gun trade appeared to be done anonymously. But there are debates about how that could work. To me, the two most important things are limiting the magazine size. I dont see, having fired a few 30-round magazines… 

Bob Price: You were making a lot of noise back there today. 

Piers Morgan: To me, it just felt terrifying, to be honest with you. Its the power of it, the speed, the velocity that you can release these bullets. I dont really know why anybody really needs a 30-bullet magazine, let alone a 100-bullet one. And the only real answer Ive had here is two-fold. One, is to hunt hogs, to me, isnt a good enough reason when you consider the other people using it to hunt down schoolchildren and kill them. So its life for life, youve got to make a choice. Maybe for hog hunting, you use something else. Its a contentious issue in Texas. These are things that need to be debated. So that and the assault weapons to me should all be a part of the equation to reduce the violence. 

Bob Price: As Attorney General Abbott said to you earlier, try to make criminals follow laws creates more laws against law-abiding citizens. Basically, it just takes more and more laws away from the law-abiding citizen and does very little, if anything, to curb future crime. 

Piers Morgan: When there was nearly a 7% reduction in crimes involving assault weapons in the last assault weapon ban. Thats not bad. That isnt a 7% increase. If it saves one life, why wouldnt you at least consider it? This thing about the rights to a citizen, the rights to a child, as one of the Sandy Hook fathers said, should supersede any other rights. Im sorry, but as a parent to four kids, I believe that, you know. Im protected by your Constitution. Im a legal resident, and its a magnificent document, but theres a reason there were so many amendments, and to me, you could, I think, look at the Second Amendment. The problem is that you, me, three other people here could all interpret the wording of that amendment differently. Thats not a very well-worded amendment when its so ambiguous, and I think thats part of the problem. 

Bob Price: I think the Founding Fathers gave us a lot of flexibility so that we could work through the issues without having to change the Constitution. 

Piers Morgan: Well, the important way to do it is the way were doing it with sensible dialogue. There are some people earlier getting upset and they were out there protesting. Thats fine. I dont mind that, but it doesnt really help. There are extremities on both side. The rhetoric we use has to all calm down and weve got to work out sensible compromises and see if they work, but in the end we all want the same thing. No American wants to have more Americans killed by guns. 


Bob Price: Or anything else. 

Piers Morgan: Or anything else. One hundred thousand Americans get hit by gunfire every year. To me thats way too many, so how do you bring it down? 

Bob Price: Well fortunately, in this country, the First Amendment and Second Amendment are very much intertwined. 

Piers Morgan: Absolutely right. 

Bob Price: We get to have a very healthy debate about the issue and hopefully well come to the right conclusion. Safety is certainly a paramount issue, and we need to take care of that. What do you think about the state of mental health treatment in this country and how thats impacted most of these shootings? 

Piers Morgan: I think its very poor. like in many countries including Britain. I dont think enough has been done into researching this, providing help to those who need it, red flagging young disturbed people who may be having big problems and then they get obsessed with violent video games and imagery and all of that. Look, Britain has the same violent video games, same violent Hollywood movies, same mental health issues, but we have 30-50 gun murders per year. America has 12,000, so Im doing the math here, and it doesnt work in the sense that that must be what the problem is. The gun rights lobbyists would have you believe that its all about mental health. Of course, a lot of crazy people do a lot of crazy things with guns, but a lot of very sane people, criminals, do bad things with guns, and theyre not mentally ill, theyre criminals. Theyve got to be dealt with too.

Bob Price: Well the debate will certainly go on, and I know youve got a tight time schedule here. Thank you very much for talking with TexasGOPVote, and I hope we can get together again sometime. 

Piers Morgan: Very nice to meet you. Thanks. By the way, great guy to bail you out if you ever need a coffee. 

Bob Price: Cheers. 

Piers Morgan: Cheers.




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