Gun Laws & Legislation

TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: Piers Morgan says he is an expert on guns because his brother is an expert on guns

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Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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Piers Morgan wants to you to know that he is an expert on guns — or at least his British Army officer brother is an expert on guns, so therefore he must be one by extension.

Morgan, whose CNN show “Piers Morgan Tonight” has become a nightly hour-long screed ridiculing anyone who doesn’t precisely agree with the host on gun control, regularly mentions his brother’s biography in what appear to be lame but sincere attempts to buttress his own moral authority on various topics.

This motif emerged at the show’s birth. While interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during just his third broadcast, Morgan brought up his brother’s service  in order to claim greater credibility in criticizing the phrase “war on terror.”

“And I suppose my point to you would be that a war on terror suggests if you declare war as an administration normally there’s an end game,” he lectured Rice on January 19, 2011.

“You know, there’s a moment when you declare victory. And actually psychologically with your people, it’s important there’s an end game. And if there isn’t, it gets messy. And for that reason I — I thought it was an odd choice of phrase because — and my brother is an Army colonel in the British Army, and has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s — it’s hard for the troops to know what they’re fighting if it’s called ‘war on terror.'”

Oh, your brother is an officer in the British military, Piers? Well, in that case, argument won.

Morgan would go on to sprinkle references to his brother’s service into his show during the next two years, including in a debate over WikiLeaks with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

“I can perhaps answer for my brother, who’s a British Army colonel,” he said, trying to counter the former Navy SEAL and renowned conspiracy theorist.

But Morgan’s references to his brother have increased astronomically since the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Since then, in his one-man campaign to shame Congress into supporting an assault weapons ban, he has become increasingly fond of bringing up his fighting brother in the apparent hope of stealing some of his moral authority.

Three days after the Newtown, Conn. massacre, Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League was a guest on Morgan’s show. When Van Cleave sought to clarify that the gun used in the Newtown massacre was not a machine gun, Morgan lashed out, dropping his brother’s name and background to enhance his own credibility.

“No, I understand very carefully,” Morgan said. “My brother is a British Army colonel. OK? I know what weapons are.”

Two days later, on Dec. 19, Morgan trotted out his brother’s background in a conversation with Tom Ridge, the former secretary of homeland security. Ridge legitimately used his own military background and personal experience to make a point on gun control, which just happened to support Morgan’s own view. But Morgan jumped in so he could tie himself to his brother’s expertise again.

“Well, I can probably jump in,” Morgan said. “My brother’s a British Army colonel. He’s used these weapons. And what he said tallied with what a surgeon told me in Los Angeles, who’s a friend of mine, who has operated on tens of thousands of people who’ve been injured in the gang wars down in the south of Los Angeles. Let us make no mistake, though, about what these guns do. … They shatter the bone, the tissue. They lead to multiple amputations, if you’re lucky enough to survive.”

The next day, Morgan again invoked his brother to help boost his gun-issue credibility on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“[M]y brother is a British Army colonel, I know a bit about guns,” he told Blitzer. “An AR-15 is not a harmless hunting rifle as some of these gun guys want to put it.”

Morgan returned refreshed after the holidays, all ready to continue pretending his brother’s expertise made him an expert on guns and gun control policy.

“I want to get these assault weapons off the streets,” he said in an appearance in a Jan. 10, 2013 appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

“My brother is a British Army colonel. These are killing machines.”

Six days later, in a debate on his show with conservative commentator Dana Loesch, his brother again made a rhetorical appearance.

“My brother is a British — my brother is a British Army colonel and he says from his testing,” he told Loesch on Jan. 16, before she cut him off, asking, “so you’re an expert?”

“Well, my brother is, yes. He’s fought alongside American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Morgan retorted after being called out for the first time.

But Morgan doesn’t just drop his brother’s name on TV to try to steal his expertise as his own — he also does it on Twitter.

When @Disco_Danny asked Morgan on Twitter in December, “what does your brother do in the army?,” he retorted:  “A colonel – two tours of Iraq, one Afghanistan. I know about guns.”

When @e2greene tweeted to Morgan, “You don’t know what an assault rifle actually is,” Morgan latched on to his military brother again.

“Got an idea, my brother uses one in British army every day,” he tweeted in December.

In an op-ed he penned for The Daily Mail on Dec. 29, Morgan made it explicitly clear that he sincerely believes his family’s military history alone makes him a gun expert, even though he himself has no military background.

“Well, I do know a bit about guns, actually,” he wrote. “My brother’s a lieutenant colonel in the British Army and has served tours of duty in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. My sister married a colonel who trained Princes William and Harry at Sandhurst. My uncle was a major in the Green Howards.”

Morgan admitted in the essay, however, that he “fired guns only once in my life.”

But his use of his family’s military history to lend credence to his own cockamamie views predates his invasion of America. Defending his opposition to the Iraq war while still living in Britain, Morgan stood on his family’s seemingly honorable military history to lend authority to his conspiracy theories.

“[T]he real purpose of us invading that country was so President George W. Bush could grab its giant oil reserves and claim an easy revenge scalp for 9/11,” he wrote in The Daily mail in 2008 after he listed all the members of his family who served in the British military.

“It is as simple, and scandalous, as that.”

Despite Morgan’s appeals to his brother’s skills and experience, it is unclear what law of familial transference makes him a gun expert as well. It also remains unclear what his brother’s actual position on gun control is, since he has never, as far as The Daily Caller can tell, publicly spoken about it.

This, of course, is not to say you have to be a gun expert to have a position on gun control.

But it does seem odd, and perhaps even slimy, to use your sibling’s expertise to suggest that you, too, are an expert.

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