Ari Melber hosted a second live hour of his show, The Beat, late on Saturday night following the history-making "March For Our Lives". Rick Tyler, GOP strategist, was booked to talk about guns and gun control and he came armed with NRA talking points and little else. He tried to hold his own, but came up short on almost every turn, as Ari (politely) cut him off at every pass. It was glorious.
Melber: Why shouldn't there be a federal ban on these assault-style weapons that most experts say are primarily offensive weapons, meaning they are constructed in a way and draw on the history of war that are designed in a way to do what we see them do - kill large numbers of people on offense, not defensive weapons for the home or hunting.
Tyler: Guns are unsafe. They are dangerous if not used properly if they are not used in a way that is responsible. I learned to shoot when I was 9 years old at the YMCA...
Melber: Do you know what I wish you would focus on?
Tyler: On your questions.
Melber: On the question. The first thing you just is the first thing that makes so many people frustrated about this debate. If your position is defensible, defend it. The AR-15 assault rifle weapon - speak to those.
BOOM. That is how you do it, folks. Don't even let them get you down a rabbit hole. Cut them off, make them answer your questions. Defend the guns, don't talk nonsense and talking points.
He argued that an AR-15 is not different than a regular rifle. Wrong. He also argues that an AR-15 is for hunting or target practice. Wrong. Policy, trigger mechanisms, etc. Ari was having none of it. He called him out for "flipping the frame" around the 3:40 mark - that was stellar journalism, in real time.
Overall, it was a solid interview with Melber making many good points and doing a great job keeping Tyler on track. A point of contention I have is allowing Tyler to blatantly lie about Australia's gun violence stats - they had a mandatory buyback/turn in program following the horrific 1996 Port Arthur Massacre. Tyler stated that he cannot point to one place in the world where gun control laws have reduced the murder rate. He even said that Australia has 3 times as many homicides as we do. FALSE.
Just remember this fun fact:
Half of all the guns in the country are owned by just 3% of Americans. No really, this is a fact. Why does 97% of the country have to bow down to the wishes of the 3%?