Nets Wail Over GOP ‘Wall of Opposition’ to Biden Gun Restrictions

On Wednesday, all three network morning shows whined that President Biden’s gun-grabbing plans would face a “wall of opposition” from Republicans in Congress. The broadcasts were so desperate for gun restrictions of any kind that hosts and correspondents clung to the hope that Biden would curb gun rights through executive action.

“Call to action. In the wake of that shooting and the tragedy in Georgia, President Biden presses Congress to tighten gun laws,” co-host Hoda Kotb announced at the top of NBC’s Today show. After a soundbite ran of Biden demanding supposed “common sense steps” against gun ownership, Kotb lamented that he was “already facing push-back from top Republicans” and fretted: “In a sharply divided Washington, can anything get done?”

 

 

Introducing the report minutes later, fellow co-host Craig Melvin touted: “President Biden is pushing Congress to tighten gun control laws. And he hinted if that does not happen, the President may take executive action.” Chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented:

…[Biden] is pushing for what he calls “common sense steps” to save lives in the future. The types of stricter gun laws that polls show Americans widely support. But as Mr. Biden knows well, the proposals face a wall of opposition, almost entirely among Republicans in Congress….At a hearing on gun violence, Republican resistance was clear.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, fill-in co-host T.J. Holmes lectured:

And here we are now, mass shootings, Colorado and Atlanta, a week apart. And unfortunately it’s become routine for us. After mass shootings, we see a new call for gun control. President Biden calling for immediate action now, saying now is the time for Congress to act to pass new gun control legislation.

In the report that followed, correspondent Rachel Scott warned: “Look, the reality here is Democrats just do not have enough votes to get this through Congress. The White House is going to face an uphill challenge with this one….bottom line, they just do not have the numbers.” She added: “So now we know the White House is eyeing ways to address gun violence through executive action, saying all options are on the table.”

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King worried: “President Biden wants to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but he faces a steep uphill battle in the Senate.” She then promoted his plans to force through the restrictions anyway: “CBS News has learned the Biden administration is now exploring options to bypass Congress on gun reform if lawmakers do not act.”

Correspondent Nancy Cordes told viewers: “President Biden is calling for a return to ’90s-era gun restrictions.” Though she acknowledged: “It’s a tall order for a deadlocked Congress that has struggled even to strengthen background checks, something most Americans support.” Offering a note of optimism for the left, she concluded: “One big change – Democrats now control the Senate and the agenda.”

During a exclusive softball interview with Vice President Kamala Harris, Democratic Party donor King and fellow co-host Anthony Mason repeatedly urged the administration to take unilateral action on guns immediately.

That should come as no surprise, since King scolded the entire nation over the topic on Tuesday, asking: “What is wrong with you, United States of America?”

In addition to talking to Harris, the CBS morning show also brought on local liberal politicians from Colorado to push the anti-gun rights agenda. In the 7:00 a.m. ET hour, co-host Tony Dokoupil asked Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver: “Yesterday, President Biden called on a federal national ban on assault-style rifles. Is that something you think could have helped in this case?” Weaver promptly agreed: “I totally support that, and I think it could have helped, absolutely.”

Later, in the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, Dokoupil pressed gun bans again while interviewing state representative Tom Sullivan:

Mayor Weaver there of Boulder told us earlier he thought a national assault weapons ban would have helped. I presume you agree. But when you talk to Republican lawmakers in your state there in Colorado, what kind of response do you get when you bring up what some consider common sense gun-control legislation?

Sullivan slammed his GOP colleagues: “Well, they’re spreading fear. This is their thing is to spread fear….No one’s coming and getting them [people’s guns]. But that’s what they tell people, and you know, the floodgates are opening once again to go and buy more firearms because someone is coming to get you.”    

Dokoupil was equally aghast that law-abiding citizens would purchase firearms: “Well, that is an unfortunate echo in the aftermath of events like this. There is a tragedy, there’s a conversation about reform efforts, and then there is a rush to go out and buy more firearms.”

Rather than properly examine legitimate Republican objections to Democratic gun restriction efforts, the broadcast networks instead just bitterly complain that the GOP is standing in the way of Biden’s left-wing agenda. The coverage devolves into a political strategy session about how Democrats can dismiss critics and still find a way to get what they want.
                                            
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Here is a full transcript of the March 24 coverage on NBC’s Today show:

7:07 AM ET
                                    
CRAIG MELVIN: Facing the second mass shooting in just six days, President Biden is pushing Congress to tighten gun control laws. And he hinted if that does not happen, the President may take executive action. NBC’s chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander has that part of the story. Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Craig, good morning to you. President Biden says that he and the First Lady were devastated by the killings of those ten people this week in Boulder, and he is pushing for what he calls “common sense steps” to save lives in the future. The types of stricter gun laws that polls show Americans widely support. But as Mr. Biden knows well, the proposals face a wall of opposition, almost entirely among Republicans in Congress.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Renewed Calls for Gun Legislation; Boulder Shooting Brings Debate Back to Capitol Hill]

After another mass shooting, President Biden now calling to tighten gun laws.

JOE BIDEN: I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future.

PETER ALEXANDER: The President urging the evenly divided Senate to back two bills that would expand background checks. The proposals have already been passed by the Democratic-led House.

BIDEN: This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue.

ALEXANDER: For those bills to have a chance, Democrats need the support of at least ten
Senate Republicans. But Republicans have mostly been reluctant to make any change, they say, would infringe on Second Amendment rights. Within hours of the bloodshed in Boulder –

SEN. DICK DURBIN [D-IL]: What are we doing, other than reflecting and praying?

ALEXANDER: At a hearing on gun violence, Republican resistance was clear.

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater. Where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders.

ALEXANDER: As a candidate, Mr. Biden pledged to introduce new gun control legislation on his first day in office, which he did not do. But on Tuesday, he pushed Congress to reenact an assaults weapon ban, like the one he helped pass as a senator. Colorado has an assault weapons ban, but a judge ruled that Boulder could not enforce it, ten days before the shooting.

For more than a decade, it’s been a familiar script after mass shootings: The public demands action and Congress has done little. Even after the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Nicole Hockley’s son, Dylan, was one of 20 children killed in Newtown.

NICOLE HOCKLEY: I need people to stand up and say, “We’re not taking this anymore.” We’ve done wonderful work in curbing pandemic, let’s curb this epidemic as well before it kills more people.

ALEXANDER: And Nicole Hockley tells me what worries her most is the return to school after a year were so many people have been so isolated and not received the mental health help they need. She warned that’s like a time bomb ready to go off unless Congress takes action on these issues. For now, a senior official here at the White House tells NBC News that President Biden is exploring executive actions to combat gun violence. But of course the power of the President acting alone is far less than if Congress does something. Craig?

CRAIG MELVIN: Our chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander for us. Peter, thank you.

Here is a full transcript of the coverage on ABC’s GMA:

7:10 AM ET

T.J. HOLMES: And here we are now, mass shootings, Colorado and Atlanta, a week apart. And unfortunately it’s become routine for us. After mass shootings, we see a new call for gun control. President Biden calling for immediate action now, saying now is the time for Congress to act to pass new gun control legislation. Listen.

JOE BIDEN: I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save the lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.

HOLMES: Our Rachel Scott is in D.C. with the very latest for us. Rachel, good morning.  

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Demanding Action; President Biden Calls on Congress to Pass Gun Control Measures]

RACHEL SCOTT: T.J., good morning. Look, the reality here is Democrats just do not have enough votes to get this through Congress. The White House is going to face an uphill challenge with this one. The House has already passed two gun reform bills that would expand background checks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he’s committed to bringing those to the Senate floor. Saying this time, this Senate will be different. But bottom line, they just do not have the numbers. Democrats would need the support of at least ten Republicans in order to get it passed. So now we know the White House is eyeing ways to address gun violence through executive action, saying all options are on the table. But any significant gun reform is going to require lawmakers to get on the same page and they have been at odds over this issue for the last 25 years, Amy?

ROBACH: Alright, Rachel Scott, thank you very much. We know you’ll keep us updated.

Here is a full transcript of the coverage on CBS This Morning:

(…)

7:12 AM ET

TONY DOKOUPIL: Boulder is a city with a local ban, or it had a local ban on assault-style rifles like the one used in that supermarket yesterday. Not sure it would have made a whole lot of difference, though, because statewide they’re still available. Yesterday, President Biden called on a federal national ban on assault-style rifles. Is that something you think could have helped in this case?

SAM WEAVER [BOULDER, COLORADO MAYOR]: I totally support that, and I think it could have helped, absolutely. I mean, one half of the problem that led to the events of March 22nd is that the availability of assault-style weapons is too high. The other half is, of course, identifying and helping people with mental health challenges. But I think the weapon availability is what sets the U.S. apart from other countries.

DOKOUPIL: Yeah, the mental health challenges, that is a big component of this, no doubt about it. As far as that local ban goes, a judge in the state overturned it, said it wasn’t constitutional under state law. What are your next steps, and what is your message to your community this morning about how you intend to do your best to keep them safe?

WEAVER: So our next step is to keep pushing on this problem from as many fronts as we can. One of those fronts is I think we’re likely to appeal the ruling of that district court judge in Colorado to the Colorado Supreme Court, basically the issue at hand is whether a home-rule city in Colorado can make a rule about assault weapons in light of the state preemption. The state preemption tell us we cannot. So we’ll push on that. We’re also pushing our state legislators to put an assault weapons ban in place statewide, which is like the federal one that was in place in the ’90s.

(…)

7:14 AM ET

GAYLE KING: President Biden wants to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but he faces a steep uphill battle in the Senate. CBS News has learned the Biden administration is now exploring options to bypass Congress on gun reform if lawmakers do not act. Chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes joins us more – joins us now with more on that.     

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pres. Biden Urges New Gun Laws; Exploring Options to Bypass Congress on Gun Restrictions]

(…)

NANCY CORDES: President Biden is calling for a return to ’90s-era gun restrictions.

JOE BIDEN: We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.

CORDES: It’s a tall order for a deadlocked Congress that has struggled even to strengthen background checks, something most Americans support.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL [D-CT]: Inaction by this Congress makes us complicit.

CORDES: A hearing Tuesday showed that fault lines haven’t changed.

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens.

CORDES: One big change – Democrats now control the Senate and the agenda. Then-candidate Biden promised early action on guns –  

BIDEN: My first day of office, I’m going to send a bill to the Congress repealing the liability protection for gun manufacturers.

CORDES: But the issue has taken a back seat to other major priorities, like infrastructure, immigration, and COVID relief.

SHANNON WATTS [MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOUNDER]: This administration could be doing executive action.

CORDES: Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action. She says the White House has the power on its own to close a loophole that allows unlicensed gun sellers to skip a background check.

WATTS: There isn’t a corner of the Biden administration or the Justice Department that couldn’t be doing something right now to address the gun violence crisis in this country.

CORDES: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed yesterday to put two recently House-passed gun reform bills up for a vote in the Senate soon. But it isn’t clear that there are 60 votes there to pass it. One Democrat, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, said yesterday that he doesn’t support it. Still, it will force senators to go on the record, up or down, on this issue. Which they haven’t had to do, Anthony, in a long time.

ANTHONY MASON: Yeah, still a steep climb, as you said, Nancy. Thank you.

(…)

8:09 AM ET

TONY DOKOUPIL: Representative Sullivan, I’d like to talk a bit about the possible legislative response to this. Mayor Weaver there of Boulder told us earlier he thought a national assault weapons ban would have helped. I presume you agree. But when you talk to Republican lawmakers in your state there in Colorado, what kind of response do you get when you bring up what some consider common sense gun-control legislation?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Grieving Another Mass Shooting; Colorado Rep. & Aurora Shooting Victim’s Father on Gun Control Push]

TOM SULLIVAN [D-COLORADO STATE REPRESENTATIVE]: Well, they’re spreading fear. This is their thing is to spread fear. They had record-setting number of firearm transfers here in the state of Colorado last year. We had over 500,000 of them, you know, transfer. Yesterday we had a hearing on reporting of lost and stolen firearms, of which 60% of them already do it. And when we brought that up, their first thing was to say this was the beginning of registration. They were comparing us to Nazis for doing something like this. And quite frankly, 60% of them are doing it already, and no one’s confiscating their firearms. No one’s coming and getting them. But that’s what they tell people, and you know, the floodgates are opening once again to go and buy more firearms because someone is coming to get you.

DOKOUPIL: Well, that is an unfortunate echo in the aftermath of events like this. There is a tragedy, there’s a conversation about reform efforts, and then there is a rush to go out and buy more firearms. We heard an argument from Senator Ted Cruz yesterday that these proposed changes to gun legislation wouldn’t, in fact, stop tragedies like the one we saw on Monday. What’s your response to that?

SULLIVAN: All of these – collectively, all of these types of things, what they do is they save lives. And that’s what I’m in the business of from the day my son was murdered until the day I’m not here any longer. I’m doing everything I can to save lives.

GAYLE KING: Yeah.

SULLIVAN: And it’s – there’s no perfect answer. There’s no – you know, there’s no pill that’s gonna stop this. There’s not one law that will stop this. But each one will help us save lives.

(…)

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