A panel on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes argued that those on the government's terror watch list ought to be barred from legally purchasing firearms, despite admitted problems with the list, because the National Rifle Association opposes it.
Chris Hayes began the segment by asking Joe Rich of the New York Daily News whether the NRA and others were right in saying stripping the gun rights of people who haven't been charged with any crime would be a unconstitutional.
"Joining me now to discuss the NRA effort to block a bill to prevent people on the government's terror watch list from buying guns are Jim Rich, editor in chief of the New York Daily News, which is waging a kind of crusade on this, today they labeled Wayne Lapierre ‘jihadi Wayne,'" Hayes said. "Let me make the argument that the NRA makes and a lot of principled liberals and civil libertarians say, which is basically that this list is a nonsense train wreck of a constitutional disaster. There's a huge amount of people on it and we're not going to tell these people they can't enjoy other constitutionally protected rights, like you can't worship at the place you want to worship or speak or vote. So why should we take their guns away?"
Rich responded by saying the argument is correct but the NRA's support for the idea invalidates it.
"One-hundred percent legitimate argument if it were coming from anyone other than the NRA," he said. "It's convenient for the NRA to jump onto that as a defense of what is seemingly otherwise a ridiculous stance. 2,000 terror suspects, right, have allegedly purchased weapons over the past roughly ten years. If only 2 percent of those or so, let's say 1 percent, were actually legitimate terrorists and they had the intent to carry out an act like we saw in Paris, well, you're talking about 20 or so people, and that's more than enough."
After Hayes pushed Rich to clarify his support for the bill, Rich admitted the watchlist was flawed but that he believed it didn't matter.
"The argument for the bill because while we can agree that the terror watch list, how people are put onto it and who is put onto it is flawed, it's what we have right now," he said.
"So let's assume that okay, we're in a time of great turbulence here in the world. Right? I think we need to be taking every stride that we can to ensure as much safety as we can for the american people. This bill seems like it's a pretty easy step in that direction. Now, if you want to reconstruct how we go about creating this terror list, well, then let's do that but let's not frame it around the argument of gun control."
The panel then moved to arguing that guns are a greater threat to Americans than terrorism.
Joy Reid said the NRA would take a different position if mass shooters in America were Muslims instead of white males.
"And, you know, we look at the really deadly and horrific massacres we've seen in this country," she said. "If you then replace the characters who did them, who are white american males, with Muslims, you would have a whole different sort of category of fear that would happen in the country. I just think it's an interesting thought experiment that when you give the NRA the option between these maximalist positions on gun control or on not having gun control and the potential to exercise Islamophobia or nativism that they still come down on the side of these maximalist positions. You do wonder what would the scenario be where they would support gun control? Because in the past the NRA has supported gun control."
"But isn't that a strike in their favor?" Hayes responded. "Doesn't that say–what you just said, doesn't that say the NRA is an organization with tremendous integrity? That they're not going to pander?"
"Except there's nothing in the NRA's behavior that indicates they care about anything other than maximizing gun sales," Reid said. "They have not demonstrated in any way a sort of care about the individual liberties of muslim Americans that might be on the list."
"They just want to sell a lot of guns."