Tom Brokaw on CNBC’s Squawk Box pushed for ban on semi-automatic rifles

Earlier this month in a stroke of genius, I did not report the story that news anchor Tom Brokaw was hosting an NBC Sports special showing his return to South Dakota for the opening of pheasant season.

This week, Brokaw appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to promote the show and spent a portion of the promotion pushing for more gun control. He specifically pushed for a ban on semi-automatic rifles, saying:

I’ve owned guns all my life. I’ve got a closet full of them in Montana and back here in the east as well. Hunting has been a terribly important part of my life growing up and it remains that.

At the same time, as an urban dweller and someone who…feels the same pain that a lot of others do when we have these mass shootings, we need to have a discussion in the middle. We just can’t be a polarized country when it comes to guns. We have the First Amendment as well as the Second Amendment.

The First Amendment says, however, that you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater (sic*). I think when it comes to a gun debate we’re now in a crowded theater. We need to have a way of talking to each other sensibly about it.

When I was growing up we didn’t have all the semi-automatics and the sniper rifles and the TAC-22s. And a lot of people that I know in the American West will say the same thing…we don’t need to have access to all that. There’s got to be a middle ground of some kind.”

*The First Amendment says no such thing regarding limitations on free speech. In fact, you certainly can yell “fire” in a crowded theater, but you may then be in trouble if there is no fire. If there is a fire, then you are in fact obligated to yell “fire.”

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