Gun Laws & Legislation

In England, Piers Morgan joked about shooting rivals, said homeowners who kill burglars should not be prosecuted

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CNN host and outspoken gun-control advocate Piers Morgan once joked about shooting professional enemies and separately wrote that he was a “rabid fascist” who wanted burglars tortured after a “decent period of cattle-prodding, testicle electrode treatment, and slow gentle skewering over hot coals.”

Morgan’s comments came in an interview with England’s Daily Mail newspaper. They concerned his dismissal as editor of the Daily Mirror, a rival British tabloid, after he was fired for publishing fake photos supposedly showing British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.

Morgan, wrote Daily Mail reporter Frances Hardy, “ruminate[d] merrily” about things he imagined doing to his professional enemies, including Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, writer A.A. Gill and editor Ian Hislop.

“So the real question is, if I had a gun with just two bullets, who would I shoot?” Morgan said during the May 2006 interview.

“In the end,” wrote Hardy, “he can’t choose between them, so he opts for a clean shot to take out Hislop and a ricocheting hit to mortally wound both Clarkson and Gill.”

In 2004 Morgan penned an op-ed for the Evening Standard headlined “I can’t be liberal on burglars,” in which he said he said a series of home invasions and robberies at his home made him wish for a gun. Britain, which had banned all guns, had seen a rash of break-in burglaries, one of which took the life of financier John Monckton.

If Monckton “had killed one of those burglars while defending himself … then he would now be facing a jail sentence for manslaughter or even murder,” Morgan wrote. “No part of my liberalism allows me to deem this fair.”

“I am now so liberal on most things that my army-officer brother likes to refer to me as a ‘wet, pinko, cheese-eating surrender monkey,'” Morgan wrote. “I’m antiwar, don’t like foxhunting, feel threatened by ID cards, and think cannabis should be decriminalised.”

“But when it comes to burglars I turn into a rabid fascist. I want them erased from life, all of them. Preferably after a decent period of cattle-prodding, testicle electrode treatment, and slow gentle skewering over hot coals.”

When he bought his first home in London, he explained, “it seemed the most exciting thing in the world. Then we got burgled three times in six months, and our lives became consumed by fear and fury.”

The thieves “nick [steal] everything, and always did it in a repulsive manner — trashing the house each time, crapping on the stairs, urinating on the beds. It wasn’t enough that they wanted out possessions, they wanted us to feel really violated as well. And we did,” he wrote. “Now we were confident, physically robust young men. But it really shook us up. Add a bit of violence to the mix and I think we’d have gone racing back to our mummies.”

Morgan added that he would have no compunction about killing a burglar who posed a threat to him or his family.

I wouldn’t shoot anyone because, like most people in this country, I’m not licensed to carry a gun,” he insisted. “But if I woke up to find a thug in my house at 2am, stealing my hard-earned things, and posing a clear and present threat to my wellbeing and perhaps that of my children, then I wouldn’t hesitate to grab the hardest thing I could find and defend myself.”

“And if I killed a burglar in that situation, I would expect the law to be on my side, not the despicable little toerag defiling my life.”

Morgan applauded Sir John Stevens, then the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, “for urging the law to better empower householders to defend themselves properly” because “for an elderly woman living on her own a burglary, violent or otherwise, must be a liferuining experience.”

Stevens “just wants to make sure that the next time a man like John Monckton gets attacked in his own home, he knows he has the full legal authority to use whatever force he has to in repelling the attackers.”

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt made a similar point on Morgan’s CNN show on Dec. 19, saying tighter controls on firearms would not end gun violence in the United States.

“The problem occurs in those areas precisely where we have said ‘no guns,'” Pratt  said. “Where the guns are allowed freely to be carried … we have very low murder rates. … We only have problems in our cities and, unhappily, in our schools, where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.”

Morgan called Pratt a “very stupid man” with “absolutely no coherent argument.”

“You don’t actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America,” he said, ending the interview by calling Pratt “a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense.”

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