GOP Congressman SCHOOLS CNN Host Poppy Harlow on AR-15, Gun Rights

Congressman Don Bacon (R.-Neb.), a former brigadier general in the Air Force, brought some much needed common sense to CNN Newsroom on Wednesday when he educated host Poppy Harlow on what exactly an AR-15 is and why law-abiding citizens do not need to justify to Harlow why they need one.

Don’t miss the CNN chyron during the segment suggesting banning weapons was “Gun Reform.” 

Harlow began by playing a clip from Tuesday’s show of former Aurora, Colorado Police Chief Daniel Oates declaring the AR-15, “a weapon of war. I think most police chiefs in this country would agree it doesn’t belong on the streets of America.” Harlow then asked Bacon “What do you think? Do we need another assault weapons ban?”

Bacon then illustrated why the assault weapons ban is a misnomer, “I surely would want to ban M-16s, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Actual weapons of war are not being used.”

After Harlow interrupted to express confusion, Bacon continued, “An AR-15’s not used by our military. And that’s misleading by many people in this debate.”

Harlow then tried to offer a distinction without a difference, “I’m asking you if you think an AR-15 is akin to a weapon of war or what was used here.”

Bacon again said no, “a weapon of war is an automatic weapon, it’s a machine gun. That’s what our army uses. Our Marines use. And an AR-15 is not. It’s a rifle. By the way, the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America.”

Still refusing to see the difference between semi-automatic and automatic, Harlow accused Bacon of semantic confusion. “with a magazine attached to it that can just keep firing and firing and firing. Is it semantics, congressman, that we’re talking about here?” Bacon repeated “It’s dishonest to say that the Army and Marines are using AR-15s.”

After some more circular discussion, with Harlow denying she was “mislabeling” the AR-15 as a weapon of war, she asked “What do they need them for?” Bacon replied such concerns irrelevant, “You know, we’re a country of free people. You are allowed to have things you want. If it’s legal.” 

Harlow wasn’t convinced and again interrupted: “For what? I’m asking.” To which, Bacon reiterated, “Poppy, should you be challenged on what you own and why? It’s your right.” 

She then went on to imply that the main reason to own an AR-15 is to murder people. “Yeah, if I owned an AR-15, I would want — you’d, of course, you could ask me why I owned it and for what. Especially when so many people are dying. I think it’s a legitimate question.” 

After Bacon said lawmakers should focus on criminals and not law-abiding citizens, Harlow implied Bacon doesn’t care about murder, “My job here, neither of these bills in the House, neither one would confiscate any weapons. I want to be very clear. But my job in this chair is to ask the people in power like you what you will do to protect people that are murdered, and to protect people who are terrified.”

Except Harlow wasn’t asking about the House bills. She was asking about “another assault weapons ban.”  

This segment was sponsored by Liberty Mutual.

Here is a transcript for the March 24 show:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:48 AM ET

POPPY HARLOW: What do you think? Do we need another assault weapons ban? 

DON BACON: I surely would want to ban M-16s, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Actual weapons of war are not being used…

HARLOW: What

BACON: … It’s really a pseudonym or — 

HARLOW: An AR-15 — 

BACON: An AR-15 is not used. An AR-15’s not used by our military. And that’s misleading by many people in this debate. 

HARLOW: I’m asking you if you think an AR-15 is akin to a weapon of war or what was used here. 

BACON: I do not, because a weapon of war — a weapon of war is an automatic weapon, it’s a machine gun. That’s what our army uses. Our Marines use. And an AR-15 is not. It’s a rifle. By the way, the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. 

HARLOW: With a magazine attached to it that they can just keep firing bullets with a magazine attached to it that can just keep firing and firing and firing. Is it semantics, congressman, that we’re talking about here? 

BACON: It’s dishonest to say that the Army and Marines are using AR-15. It’s not the — 

HARLOW: That’s not what I said. 

BACON: It’s mislabeling. 

HARLOW: I think the viewers know that is not the point I was making. It was the Aurora police chief who called this a weapon of war. 

BACON: We’re talking weapons of war, it’s not a weapon of war. What it is, is the most popular rifle in America. 99.9% of Americans that own them are law-abiding citizens. 

HARLOW: What do they need them for? What do they need them for? 

BACON: You know, we’re a country of free people. You are allowed to have things you want. If it’s legal. And this is — 

HARLOW: For what? For what? 

BACON: 99% are law abiding. 

HARLOW: For what? I’m asking — 

BACON: Should you be — Poppy, should you be challenged on what you own and why? It’s your right. 

HARLOW: Yeah, if I owned an AR-15, I would want — you’d, of course, you could ask me why I owned it and for what. Especially when so many people are dying. I think it’s a legitimate question. 

BACON: 99.9% of the people that own them are law-abiding people. I know principals who own them. I know so many people that, the most law abiding people you know, why should their rights be infringed. We should go after the criminals, not law abiding.

HARLOW: My job here, neither of these bills in the House, neither one would confiscate any weapons. I want to be very clear. But my job in this chair is to ask the people in power like you what you will do to protect people that are murdered, and to protect people who are terrified.

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