After yet another school shooting, even some Fox News hosts are acknowledging that easy access to guns in the U.S. is a real problem.
Martha MacCallum and Geraldo Rivera clashed Tuesday with their colleague Brian Kilmeade on “The Story” during a discussion of Monday’s mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.
Three 9-year-olds and three adults were killed in the shooting. According to police, the shooter was under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed emotional disorder and had legally purchased seven firearms in the years leading up to the attack.
“We have a serious problem going on in this country,” MacCallum said.
“And it has many layers to it, but if your child or your family member … is upstairs building a bomb in their bedroom … ,” she added.
According to Kilmeade, who interrupted her mid-sentence, there’s “nothing you can do about it.”
“The parents have to do something about it,” he said. “We can’t stop these people. I can’t get into millions of houses.”
MacCallum noted that the police, better mental health resources and limiting access to firearms could all have played a role in preventing this kind of attack.
“We need to have places where families can turn to when they have no more control over their young person in their family,” she said. “And, yes, we need to raise serious questions about whether this person should be able to purchase these guns.”
“You don’t think that this person, if you’re … an emotionally disturbed person, you should be able to go buy these guns?” she asked.
Kilmeade turned the argument to how he couldn’t personally effect change.
“I can’t stop it. I mean, you can’t ask legal gun owners to stop it,” he said, adding that red flags that might prevent someone from legally buying a gun are sometimes missed by therapists and aren’t marked down on background checks.
“So who needs to be responsible then?” MacCallum fired back.
Rivera suggested that more responsibility be placed on gun stores and salespeople.
“These are not cartons of milk you’re selling, these are weapons of destruction, mass destruction,” he said.
Kilmeade then pivoted again, arguing it’s not fair to say “the problem is the gun.”
“Nobody’s saying that, Brian,” MacCallum snapped. “We’re saying it’s a number of factors here, but you can’t leave the gun out of the picture either.”
“We’re doing something wrong. We’re doing something majorly, majorly wrong,” she added.
The suspect in Monday’s shooting, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, purchased guns from five gun stores in Nashville and hid them from their parents, according to Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake. Hale’s parents told investigators they had previously voiced concerns about Hale owning firearms due to an emotional disorder.
Tennessee does not have a “red flag” law, which would have created an avenue for the parents to ask a court to temporarily restrict Hale’s ability to purchase or own a gun due to concerns about the safety of Hale or others.
MacCallum’s impassioned argument was a departure from the norm on Fox News, where hosts and guests routinely deflect blame to other issues in the wake of shootings while ignoring or decrying attempts at gun law reform.
On Monday, for example, a guest on the conservative network suggested that unlocked side doors were the “common pattern” in school shootings that needed to be addressed. (Hale blasted through a locked door with one of the three guns in order to enter the school.)
The “door control” idea is on a long list of bizarre solutions floated on the network after past shootings, including providing bulletproof armor for children and having “a little bit more faith.”