MSNBC’s Chris Matthews today tackled the topic of weaponry that has begun to show up at health care events featuring not just Democratic congressmen, but President Barack Obama.
Speaking on behalf of gun-toters was U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta). On the opposing side was U.S Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville).
We couldn’t find an isolated clip from MSNBC, but here’s a YouTube version from Talking Points Memo, a liberal Web site:
Here’s a rough transcript:
Matthews: What’s connection between the Second Amendment and health care? I mean, this happened again today. This isn’t something cooked up by us. These are people bringing guns to public meetings. Why?
Gingrey: Chris, they may have every right to do that. These may be off-duty police officers
Matthews: We know that.
Gingrey: You don’t know, but if they’ve got a permit to carry, then absolutely they can show that and prove that they have the right.
Matthews: But why would you bring a gun to where the president is speaking? I know it’s a right, but why would you do it? Under what conditions would you choose to use it? You don’t bring a gun somewhere you don’t ever intend to ever use it. So why would you bring a gun into a situation like a public meeting? I’ve never seen this in my life before. People coming armed to public debates about health care?
Gingrey: Chris, it just so happens these very people would take that same weapon anywhere they go — anywhere they’re permitted to carry a concealed weapon. They have the right to do that….
Matthews: They’re not concealed. We’re looking at them….Gentleman, I have an advantage on you. I’m looking at gentlemen here that have guns on them, on their holsters. They’re not concealed, they’re basically displaying their weaponry. Armed weaponry at these public meetings. I’m just asking, why is it going on? What do you think?
Gingrey: If they have the right to do that, I have no fear of it. And I’ve had already five town hall meetings, I have six more planned. I don’t plan on wearing a bulletproof vest, in fact, I usually get standing ovations ….
Matthews: Would you discourage Americans, regardless of race, color, creed or political identification, not to come armed to public meetings?
Cooper: My answer is yes.
Gingrey: No, I would not.
Matthews: Congressman Cooper says he’s is a moderate. By today’s terminology, a moderate is someone who says please don’t come armed to public meetings. Mr. Gingrey, your opportunity.
Gingrey: I would think that they should exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.
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