MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell went fishing for a better angle Friday when she asked a former classmate of Chattanooga mass murderer Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez whether he enjoyed "hunting" and other "small-town Tennessee activity."
"Were guns a big part of activities—social or other activities?" Mitchell asked her interviewee abruptly.
"What?" her interviewee responded.
"Did he hunt, did he shoot?" Mitchell prodded. "Was that just part of small-town Tennessee activity?"
"Um, he actually wasn’t one of the guys I heard about going hunting," Abdulazeez’s classmate responded. "He wasn’t really that kind of guy."
Mitchell is a vocal opponent of the widespread availability of firearms.
When covering the shooting in Newtown in 2012, Mitchell immediately spoke out for gun control before any details about the shooting were released, according to ‘The Blaze.'
"When we talk about gun violence in this country, we’re not talking about Second Amendment rights. We’re talking about…reasonable background checks, reasonable controls, automatic weaponry and ammo, the multiple rounds that cause the greatest amount of violence. … Gun violence has been epidemic in this country going back decades. And we go through temporary periods…where we have an assault weapon ban, and then it is permitted to expire, David," she said.
Another reporter, David Gregory, attempted to calm the impact of her claim. "We know the contours of this debate, and it will get heated after an appropriate period of mourning and absorbing this tragedy. But it is worth adding all sides of the debate," he said. "We don’t know what the motive is here. We don’t know more about the shooter. We don’t know about the weapon involved. What we know is this is another horrible case of gun violence."
"Even if the starting point is we have an epidemic of gun violence…how do we address this that doesn’t just automatically go to the place of gun control. Again, in this situation we have no idea, what the access to weapons here, what any of those factors were, and we won’t speculate on that," Gregory said.