Twelve minutes long but worth watching in full, partly because Gingrich is in fine form and partly because it’s a nice demonstration of how futile and bad-faith the “debate” over guns is. Morgan’s point is straightforward: If gun-rights fans think it’s okay to ban machine guns because rapid-fire weapons are too dangerous for the public to own, why not ban assault rifles? Granted, automatics fire much more rapidly than semiautomatics, but you can still get off an awful lot of shots quickly with an AR-15 if you’re pulling the trigger fast enough. Gingrich comes at that logic from the other direction: If semiautomatic rifles are banworthy because you can fire rapidly in volume with them, why aren’t semiautomatic pistols also banworthy?
The answer, if you talk to an honest gun-control advocate, is that they are. They’d love to ban all semiautomatics. It’s wildly illogical to focus only on one type if you’re worried about rapid-fire weapons, to the point where Morgan is left arguing here that we need to get rid of rifles but not pistols because, um, well, that’s the sort of weapon that lunatics like James Holmes and Adam Lanza seem to prefer — as if they wouldn’t resort to pistols if rifles were off the market. (Holmes and Lanza both had semiautomatic pistols on them during the shootings, in fact. My hunch is that the reason spree killers prefer “assault rifles” to pistols has little to do with lethality and everything to do with image. They’re on an insane power trip, and a bigger gun that resembles a machine gun adds to the thrill.) But Morgan knows that banning all semiautomatics won’t fly politically, at least right now, because most Americans believe in the right to own a gun and semiautomatic pistols are by far the most common type of gun that they own. So he’s forced to push this phony distinction between rifles and pistols to keep up the “reasonable regulations” facade and reassure fencesitters that he only wants to eliminate a few really dangerous guns, not the sort of guns found in many American homes that are … almost precisely as dangerous as the “really dangerous” ones he wants to ban.
Hence Gingrich’s point about the gun-control slippery slope. You can’t trust Morgan et al. to ban one class of weapons but no other; the logic of their position ultimately won’t allow it. And the failure of their polices will only be used as an argument that they haven’t gone far enough. That’s why he’s emphasizing Chicago. But never mind all that. Per WaPo, it sounds like Obama might have some of the Sandy Hook families in attendance at the SOTU, so unless you want to be a hateful bastard who doesn’t care that children were murdered, it’s time to stand aside.