MSNBC host Thomas Roberts grew angry after being explained basics on guns and gun-free zones by Larry Pratt, the executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America, in a tense exchange Monday.
Pratt laid out the difference between so-called military-style weapons and ones actually used by the public. He also argued that gun-free zones, such as at the scene of the terrorist attack in Orlando, were the cause of such high death tolls as no innocent person could respond to the terrorist by firing on them.
Roberts, one of many journalists on MSNBC and elsewhere who has openly pushed for gun control measures, asked if Americans should be able to purchase “the same style of weapons as our American military.”
“Well, actually, we make a distinction,” Pratt said. “The American military uses fully automatic firearms. The firearm that was used in Orlando was a semiautomatic that has been available for probably fifty years on the American market. So we’ve got to be careful that we don’t conflate things that are not the same at all.
“The American military uses a firearm that can be purchased in the United States, but it’s very difficult, it’s highly restricted. Some states ban them altogether and we’re not talking about those kinds of guns. We’re talking about what’s been on the market since the 1950s.”
“The AR-15, those style assault rifles, yes. the Sig Sauer MCX was only introduced in January of 2015. So, it’s pretty fresh to the marketplace,” Roberts said.
“But it’s not substantially different from the AR-15. It’s a semiautomatic,” Pratt said. “It accepts a large box magazine. Nothing revolutionary about that.”
“I just want to make sure that we’re getting all the details out there correctly about the type of weapon that was used so that there’s nothing conflated between the type of weapon that was used in Orlando,” Roberts said.
“The type of weapon is substantially irrelevant. What is relevant is it was another murder magnet. Another gun-free zone,” Pratt said. “That’s what we’ve got to put a stop to.”
Roberts looked and sounded irate as Pratt made his point.
“I would dare you to say that to the families who lost a loved one that the weapon used is irrelevant to why their loved one is dead,” Roberts said.
“I would be very happy to have a chance to explain to them that it was the politicians that set their families up for this,” Pratt said.