It’s a rare occasion to see CNN host Piers Morgan sit silently for nearly two minutes. It’s also a rare occasion for him to allow a guest to praise the NRA uninterrupted on his program.
However, that’s exactly what happened when Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss spouted his theory about guns and gun ownership.
It was near the end of a lengthy interview, covering a wide range of topics like the actor’s new, non-profit Dreyfuss Initiative to teach civics and his struggles from being bi-polar, when the CNN host brought up his pet peeve: “The power of the NRA and the apparent intransigence of Washington to do anything about that.”
Dreyfuss, a perceived liberal, seemed to surprise Morgan when he suggested that the NRA — and not the U.S. government — should decide who can own guns and which guns should be in the hands of the American people.
Dreyfuss, who talked openly about impeaching President Bush in 2008, and in the past has almost exclusively given money to Democrat candidates, calls himself a “libo-conservo-middle-of-the-roado.” But, the actor doesn’t think the NRA is as awful as some make it out to be.
“First of all, I don’t think the NRA is a villain,” he said. “And I don’t think that the people against the NRA are villains. I believe that’s a problem with the press that started with an ‘us – them’ problem.”
After explaining his thoughts on the ambiguity of the Second Amendment, Dreyfuss offered a plan based on his understanding of the “original mandate of the NRA” — “to train responsible gun ownership.”
Dreyfus proposed, “They (the NRA) should train excellence in gun ownership. They should create the short list of the guns that are allowed at home. And every other gun they say is legal like – people killers and nuclear-tipped semi-automatics should be held in armories owned and controlled by the NRA, not the government.”
As Morgan remained silent, Dreyfuss offered a supporting analogy.
“Remember that this is a gun culture. It’s also a car culture,” he said. “And no one with any brains would let someone untrained get behind the wheel of a car.”
The actor wrapped up his proposition with a statement that is likely to raise eyebrows from many on the political left, declaring, “The NRA should be thought of, or think of themselves as heroes and take care of this problem.”
Morgan finally commented, “Pretty large stretch for some of us to look at people like Wayne LaPierre as heroes, but an interesting argument you put forward there.”
Dreyfus responded by letting Morgan know that it was not just some wild theory, but an idea he had already pitched to a former NRA president and after he asked her what she thought of his plan, she (probably Marion Hammer or Sandra Froman – the NRA’s two female presidents) reportedly told him, “What did I think? I did back flips, and I’m calling people.”