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It was a cross-table battle Wednesday morning as Whoopi Goldberg and guest co-host Tara Setmayer squared off on gun reform. As she's done for the past few days, Whoopi advocated for a ban on AR-15-style weapons, a move that Setmayer believes would be impossible to enforce. "It's not as easy when you have a country that has more guns than people," said the conservative commentator. You're not going to be able to just ban all the guns!"
The View's gun reform debate largely picked up where it left off on Tuesday, as the co-hosts discussed conservatives who are blaming the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas on everything other than guns. Though Setmayer was critical of Fox News and other right-wing outlets that are "exploit[ing] valid issues" in society, she insisted guns aren't the only problem. "There are a lot of societal factors that contribute to the behavioral problems that lead to these shooters doing what they're doing," she said. "There's a lot that we need to look at as a society about what's going on here that's leading them to that."
When Whoopi, who argued earlier that assault weapons are "made to kill and destroy bodies," said that "the first thing you've got to do is keep the guns out of" the hands of people, Setmayer pushed back, saying that "it's not as easy" as just banning AR-15s.
"It actually is easy!" replied Whoopi. "We've all met people who have had to deal with the death of a loved one at the hands of a gun. You can say, 'Well, I wish they had more mental health check-ins,' but people who don't see the need to remove one gun — one gun! — the people who don't see a need to remove that will never see a need to make sure people get help."
Setmayer began to argue that "even if you can remove the AR-15, they can use handguns," as the Virginia Tech shooter did, but Whoopi interrupted. "A handgun does not turn people to dust!" she said, earning a round of applause from the audience. "Start with the first thing that can eliminate a child."
After Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin chimed in with statistics to back up Whoopi's point, Setmayer quibbled over semantics. "It depends how you define 'mass shootings,'" she said. "You still have people shooting in the inner cities."
"We're saying take one gun out of the plethora of guns that are out there!" said Whoopi. "So then what happens to the guns on the black market, then?" replied Setmayer. "Say we ban the AR-15. AR-15s are the most popular weapon in this country!"
"Well, you know what, Tara? I'll tell you what happens," fired back Whoopi, her voice rising. "The same thing that is being threatened to women who decide I need to go talk to somebody about an abortion. We'll report them and put them in jail. That's what! You got an AR-15, we'll put your ass in jail!"
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.