CNN’s Alisyn Camerota left critics baffled on Wednesday when she suggested gun shop owners should attempt to diagnose the mental health of customers before allowing them to purchase a firearm, as some viewers didn’t think she was taking mental illness seriously and others thought her comments were “stupid, ignorant and elitist.”
The “New Day” anchor was discussing how to prevent mass shootings like the Boulder, Colorado, massacre when she pondered why the shooter was allowed to purchase a gun.
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota left critics baffled on Wednesday when she suggested gun shop owners should attempt to diagnose the mental health of customers before allowing them to purchase a firearm. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
“Why don’t we go to gun shop owners and say, ‘Do you think that this 21-year-old who comes in and wants an AR-15 style weapon, do you think he looks like he’s going hunting with this weapon?’ Did you ask him, ‘By the way, do you think people are chasing you? Do you ever hear voices saying that people are coming for you?’ Do they ever ask questions like that? Because this guy, it sounds like … would have answered yes,” Camerota said.
Conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch, a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, said Camerota’s comments are part of the reason why many people with mental illness don’t seek necessary treatment.
“We have a dangerous misconception about what mental illness is in this country and the danger and the purposeful ignorance that people have towards it is endangering lives. It’s endangering lives because there are people who don’t want to be crucified with this stigma of being mentally ill, because it’s assumed by people in the press like Alisyn Camerota that everyone who has a mental illness is a danger to themselves or others, which simply isn’t true,” Loesch told Fox News.
“It is a really broad-brush assumption of people who deal with mental illness,” she added. “We are preventing people from going and seeking the treatment they really need to rehabilitate and get better, get back to living life, because of ignorant remarks and ignorant assumptions like the ones demonstrated by uninformed talking heads on cable news networks. It’s really infuriating.”
Loesch also felt Camerota needed to educate herself on gun ownership before making outlandish suggestions.
“Not everyone is a psychologist and not everyone is trained to deal with mental health,” Loesch said. “You require some training for that … gun shop owners already have the right to refuse service to individuals if they think they’re shady, regardless of if they pass a background check. If [Camerota] would have ever purchased a gun, she would know this. Maybe she should go through that process of purchasing a gun or even just learning anything about firearms before opining on the issue.”
“The View” co-host Meghan McCain called Camerota’s comments “the most wildly stupid, ignorant and elitist take” she’s ever heard on television when it comes to gun control.
“People who have never purchased guns don’t know how seriously dealers take purchasers and their mental health. This is the LAST thing sellers want,” McCain wrote. “This is hands down the most wildly stupid, ignorant and elitist take I’ve ever seen on tv on this issue.”
Loesch and McCain were hardly alone, as Camerota’s comments were quickly roasted on social media.