Tennis balls and oranges are more dangerous than guns because expensive firearms are less likely to be thrown - just fired, a Republican commentator told Piers Morgan on Tuesday.
Ann Coulter, a political commentator who is a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, said lightbulbs and tennis balls “can do damage”, making an attack by such household objects “much more likely to happen”.
Coulter was being interviewed by Morgan and Susanna Reid following the Republican National Convention, which began on Monday.
Guns are allowed within the 1.7-mile perimeter of the convention centre in Cleveland, Ohio, where protesters were gathered, but lightbulbs, tennis balls, water guns and a can of soup are banned from the area, Morgan said.
Morgan asked Coulter why the items are considered “more dangerous in America than an assault rifle?”.
The political commentator replied: “Lightbulbs, oranges, tennis balls, those can be thrown. You’re not throwing an expensive AR (automatic rifle) gun.
“And in order to have a gun, I mean, yeah, they can be stolen, gun stores can be broken into, you can even have straw purchasers, but if you’re a legal purchaser of a gun you do have to pass a lot of background checks.
“And you do have to have your waiting period and all of that.”
Morgan said: “You wouldn’t be throwing the gun, you’d be firing it. You’d be shooting the gun.”
Coulter replied: “Right, so it’s much less likely to happen.”
The US constitution allows citizens to own a firearm, but the availability of guns has long divided opinion in the states.
Morgan has been a vocal opponent of America’s gun ownership laws and regularly speaks out against the country’s relationship with firearms whenever there is a mass shooting.
Morgan told Coulter: “I know you think that we’re a bit weird over here in Britain but we sort of find it slightly odd that firing a rapid fire, semi-automatic effective machine gun might just possibly be slightly more dangerous than hurling a lightbulb at somebody.”
Coulter replied: “No but the point that it is easier to hurl a lightbulb or a tennis bulb or an orange, which can do damage, is that it makes it much more likely to happen.
“No-one is going to throw the gun. Yeah, they’d fire it,” adding: “Criminals can get them but criminals can do a lot of things, they can come at you with an axe and boy don’t you wish there were a few serviceman on that German train.”
Her comments come after an axe-wielding teenager attacked passengers on a train in Bavaria on Monday night.
Morgan told Coulter that: “I suspect if he had an assault rifle you would have had a lot of people dead so I guess that would be the difference.”
Coulter responded: “Not if someone else had an assault rifle.”
Republican leaders bypassed the call.
Melania Trump was also in the limelight last night as she was accused of plagiarising passages from Michelle Obama’s speech.
The issue of guns being allowed during the protests at the Convention, which is being held in Cleveland all week, has been questioned even by gun rights advocates.
The full list of items that are banned at the Republican convention:
- Lumber larger than 2” in width and ¼” thick, including supports for signs
- Metal, plastic, or other hard material larger than ¾” thick and 1/8” in wall thickness including pipe and tubing
- Any air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, blasting caps, switchblade or automatic knife, knife having a blade two and one-half (2-1/2) inches in length or longer, cestus, billy, blackjack, sword, saber, hatchet, axe, slingshot, BB gun, pellet gun, wrist shot, blackjack, metal knuckles, nun chucks, mace, iron buckle, axe handle, shovel, or other instrumentality used to cause property or personal damage
- Any dangerous ordinance, weapon, or firearm that is prohibited by the laws of the State of Ohio
- Any explosives, explosive device, or incendiary device
- Fireworks and rockets
- Sound Amplification Equipment
- Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
- Containers of bodily fluids
- Aerosol cans
- Mace, Pepper Spray or other chemical irritant;
- Umbrellas with metal tips
- Any projectile launchers, such as water guns and water cannons;
- Rope, chain, cable, strapping, wire, string, line, tape, or any similar material, in lengths greater than 6’
- Glass bottles, ornaments, light bulbs, ceramic vessels, and any other frangible container, regardless of whether the container holds any substance
- Locks including, without limitation, padlocks, bicycle locking devices, chain locks or similar devices, but not including: (i) an integral component of a conveyance or structure; (ii) locks when utilized by the owner of private real property to secure permanent or temporary fencing; or (iii) locks attached to a bicycle
- Any gas mask or similar device designed to filter all air breathed by the wearer in an attempt to protect the respiratory tract and/or face against irritating or noxious gasses or other materials. This prohibition on gas masks shall not apply to any person wearing a medical oxygen mask that fits over the nose and mouth of the person and provides oxygen from an oxygen tank to the person
- Tents and other shelters, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, mattresses, cots, hammocks, bivy sacks, or stoves
- Coolers or ice chests
- Backpacks and bags exceeding the size of 18” x 13” x 7”
- Non-plastic containers, bottles, cans, or thermoses;
- Grappling hooks, sledgehammers, hammers, and crowbars;
- Canned goods
- Tennis balls
- Any other item determined by the Chief or Director to be a clear and present danger to the safety of others.
Ohio is among the states that allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons in public, and gun rights activists, particularly in Texas, have taken to expressing that right often in large-scale events.
Bill Morris, a 50-year-old police officer and Trump supporter from Alliance, Ohio, said he normally supports the open carry law but thinks it would be unwise to flaunt weapons in a year in which violence has broken out at campaign rallies.
“As a police officer I am very much in favor of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms, but in a situation like this I don’t see what good it does to open carry,” Morris told Reuters.
“You don’t go walking around Washington, D.C., with a rifle, and I don’t see why you should do it here.”
Across town at a rally convened by liberals opposed to Trump, Tijuana Morris, a 61-year-old retired police officer from Detroit, sounded a similar note.
“I have a right to carry. And I don’t have my weapon here today because we don’t need any more violence,” she said.
“There is so much anger there and all you need is one person pulls their gun and makes a mistake.”