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Katy Tur Invites Analyst to Find GOP Senate 'Responsible for the Deaths'

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday afternoon, within a couple of hours of covering the school shooting in Santa Clarita, California, MSNBC journalists were predictably suggesting Republicans were to blame for the deaths as analysts and several Democratic guests pined for more gun control.

At one point, host Katy Tur invited MSNBC law enforcement analyst Jim Cavanaugh to blame Republican Senators for gun deaths because of their refusal to support more restrictions: "Would you go so far as to hold them responsible for the deaths that are continuing -- the lives that are continuing to be lost with gun violence?"

/Cavanaugh, who had already been ranting against Republicans for several minutes, declared, "Look, I clearly do," and then resumed his rant.

At about 1:28 p.m. Eastern, after MSNBC law enforcement analyst Clint Van Zandt finished giving analysis of how to spot possible school shooters, Tur turned to Cavanaugh and posed: "So Clint is talking about the remedies that might be available for individuals at risk. Jim, what are the remedies for the country's government? What needs to happen?"

Picking up on a derogatory slur sometimes hurled at conservative babyboomers by liberal millennials, Cavanaugh went after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and suggested Republicans are not concerned about the lives of children:

JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, you have to have Senators that would put the lives of America's children before their Senate seat. You know, I would stand with the children -- the kids -- the young people from Parkland -- the March for Our Lives group, you know. And I will say Mitch McConnell, "Okay Boomer, put the bills on the floor. Why are you afraid to let the bills be voted on and debated in the floor of the Senate?" That's the most un-American thing that I can think of.

Instead of acknowledging that most Republicans do not believe the kinds of gun laws Democrats are pushing would improve matters, and might even make things worse, Cavanaugh ranted about Republicans being unwilling to risk their seats to protect children from being killed:

They think the votes are there, and they won't risk their seat. Soldiers will risk their lives to save children. Policemen will -- firemen will. But Senators won't risk their seat to save children's lives. That's really disgraceful. And all they've got to do is put the bill on the floor and debate it and vote on it. … There will be no remedy. I don't think there will be any courage up there at all -- no courage because they're afraid for their seats. They're fearful -- they're more protective of their seats than the lives of your kids -- of America's children.

After the two fretted over the possibility that voters might not punish Republicans for opposing gun control, Tur cued up Cavanaugh to claim Republicans are "responsible" for many gun deaths:

TUR: Jim, you were just speaking about Senators not showing the courage to put their seats at risk to pass common sense gun reforms, background checks, etc. Would you go so far as to hold them responsible for the deaths that are continuing -- the lives that are continuing to be lost with gun violence?

Cavanaugh replied, "Look, I clearly do," and then resumed his rant against Republicans in which he also alluded to the discredited myth that 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, which would include sales by individuals who are not gun dealers:

All leaders have a responsibility to act responsibly to help the citizens. And it's not responsible to block a debate or to block a vote, and that's what's happening. It's not leadership. It shows no leadership or integrity. It's done to protect their seats. They don't want to have to vote on the bill because they're afraid in there state or district, their constituents won't like the way the vote may turn out. The vote may turn out, as you've pointed out, Katy, of 90 percent of Americans want background checks. It may turn out to pass the background checks. And they don't want to take the blowback they think they'll receive from their voters in their states.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, November 14, MSNBC Live with Katy Tur:

KATY TUR: So Clint (Van Zandt) is talking about the remedies that might be available for individuals at risk. Jim, what are the remedies for the country's government? What needs to happen?

JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, you have to have Senators that would put the lives of America's children before their Senate seat. You know, I would stand with the children -- the kids -- the young people from Parkland -- the March for Our Lives group, you know. And I will say Mitch McConnell, "Okay Boomer, put the bills on the floor. Why are you afraid to let the bills be voted on and debated in the floor of the Senate?" That's the most un-American thing that I can think of.

TUR: Do you think this is a Second Amendment issue?

CAVANAUGH: Oh, sure. They think the votes are there, and they won't risk their seat. Soldiers will risk their lives to save children. Policemen will -- firemen will. But Senators won't risk their seat to save children's lives. That's really disgraceful. And all they've got to do is put the bill on the floor and debate it and vote on it. … There will be no remedy. I don't think there will be any courage up there at all -- no courage because they're afraid for their seats. They're fearful -- they're more protective of their seats than the lives of your kids -- of America's children. And so what it will take is the voters. And once the voters vote them out, they'll have a change of heart because their seat is the most important thing to them, and then they want the seat back, and then they'll have to go with the voices of the voters.

TUR: And if voters do not, what does that say?

CAVANAUGH: Well, then we're going to be stuck. We're going to be stuck where we are in this malaise of, you know, people being slaughtered, as you just went through that litany, Katy, of the awful carnage in California alone, and we're stuck there because our minds are, you know, coopted by the gun lobby to believe that more and more guns and more in more places makes us safer. Look, we're living in the gun lobby's America for the past 25 years -- how's it working? It's not working that great. It needs to be brought back to center.

(…)

TUR: Jim, you were just speaking about Senators not showing the courage to put their seats at risk to pass common sense gun reforms, background checks, etc. Would you go so far as to hold them responsible for the deaths that are continuing -- the lives that are continuing to be lost with gun violence?

CAVANAUGH: Look, I clearly do. All leaders have a responsibility to act responsibly to help the citizens. And it's not responsible to block a debate or to block a vote, and that's what's happening. It's not leadership. It shows no leadership or integrity. It's done to protect their seats. They don't want to have to vote on the bill because they're afraid in there state or district, their constituents won't like the way the vote may turn out. The vote may turn out, as you've pointed out, Katy, of 90 percent of Americans want background checks. It may turn out to pass the background checks. And they don't want to take the blowback they think they'll receive from their voters in their states..

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