I hate to say this about a show that I watch on a regular basis, but when the talk on Morning Joe today turned to Hillary Clinton’s new calls for gun restrictions in the wake of the Oregon shooting spree, things went from the dissemination of misinformation to the downright strange. This, my friends, is how the dumbing down of America is propagated. Mike Barnicle joined in with Joe and Mika to discuss the fact that the long rifles belonging to the family of the shooter were “controversial” and things went downhill from there. You can watch the video here since they don’t seem to like other sites embedding their clips without tons of commercials and autoplay.

In the first minute of the segment they play a clip of Hillary Clinton telling a group of supporters that a failure to “act” in response to the recent Oregon shooting is unacceptable when we could be doing so much more.

“No. That’s an admission of defeat and surrender to a problem that is killing 33,000 Americans.”

We already solved this bit of deception on Sunday, since the number is much close to 800 than 33K. But I’m not going to dwell on that again here. On to the video goodness.

Mike Barnicle: The woman.. the mother of the shooter, Mrs. Harper – Mercer… among the fourteen weapons that family had an AK-47 and an AR 15. You were talking about Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s what those weapons are. They’re military assault weapons and there’s no good reason why legitimate gun owners and legitimate hunters would have AK-47s and AR 15s in their arsenal. They ought to be banned from civilian use and it would take courage on the part of lawmakers to keep hammering it. I just have a sense that among legitimate hunters it’s a winner.

Mika: And she wrote about her own use of firearms. She owned many and knew very well about her son’s purchasing of these guns. That he helped her understand the gun laws. It’s kind of… it’s extremely disturbing.

Joe: I don’t understand, we actually have… I mean the same thing happened at Sandy Hook. And I will say, there is a huge responsibility. We talk about parental responsibility but there’s a parental responsibility. You can go all the way back to Columbine, when your children are acting the way that they’re acting under your own roof…

(Cut to 10:20)

Mika: I don’t understand why we need these weapons… Can’t the government say that it’s inappropriate to have these massively powerful weapons? I mean, I would like to have an elephant in my house. I don’t think I’d be allowed. Would I? Would I be allowed to go to Africa and get a giraffe and bring it? There are rules against these things. I know it sounds ridiculous. But there are things we’re not allowed to have. Why are we allowed to have these weapons that blow up… literally blow up animals if you were hunting with them?

This is all simply depressing. As much as I find many of their discussions enlightening I fail to understand how, when they know they’re going to be talking about gun related issues, they can’t manage to arrange to have somebody on the panel who actually knows something about weapons. They could invite Bob Owens on, particularly since he volunteered while the show was in progress.

For what it’s worth, neither the AK-47 or the Ar-15 are ever going to “blow up” an animal. You can read a comparison of the two weapons here. The extemely popular AR 15 as sold for civilian use in the United States is not a “weapon of war” in any sense of the word. It’s a long rifle with some extra bits stuck on it. And not only won’t it blow up an animal, it’s actually a very weak, center fire cartridge gun. The standard model will take a .223 cartridge.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of arguments against the AR 15 as a hunting rifle, but not for the reasons the Morning Joe panel claims. I did a lot of deer hunting with my dad growing up and he never would have touched one for it. (Before you start yelling, I’m not saying you couldn’t hunt deer with an AR… just that it’s not ideal.) My dad used a .30-06 and brought down plenty of them, but that’s a much more powerful rifle. And neither of them is ever going to “blow up an animal.” In fact, you need to place a pretty good shot with either to avoid a long day of tracking a blood trail.

(Perhaps mildly amusing side note: my dad did once shoot a woodchuck in our back yard with the .30-06 at fairly close range. And yes… it sort of “blew up” but woodchucks are about the size of a cat.)

The AK-47 as sold in America is, granted, a somewhat more powerful weapon than the AR. It uses a 7.62 x 39 round which is often misidentified as a .30 caliber. Actually, the bullet has a .311 diameter. That’s slightly larger than the .30-06 which comes in at .308, but the AK-47 round generally has a smaller powder charge so it still packs a bit less “ooomph” than the .30-06. I’ve only fired one once (at a demo on a range in Florida) and I didn’t much care for it, but to each their own.

And yes, you can buy an AK-47 in the United States. Heck, you can order one online here. But before the liberals reading this begin hyperventilating, no… you can’t just order one on the internet and get it shipped to you. They have to send it to someone with an authorized FFL Gun Dealers license and, yes… you will have to pass a background check.

Bottom line here is that nothing being said on the panel this morning about the two weapons from Oregon under discussion was either fair or accurate. These models as sold here are not automatic weapons. They are not weapons of war. If you see someone selling an automatic weapon you should report them because it’s already against the law. (Gee… maybe we should enforce those, huh?) They don’t “blow up” deer. And our media should really stop spreading misinformation.

The original article identified the AR 15 cartridge as a .233 because the author still can’t touch type numbers very well. It’s a .223. Corrected.