Irish people are both horrified and fascinated by America's gun laws, or as it's generally put, 'America's love of guns.' Therefore, no Irish journalist who goes to America for any period of time can resist the lure of guns and those who own them.

Generally speaking all of what's known as 'red state America' has this effect on Irish journalists, but the guns are the most attractive.

Case in point: on Monday night Ireland's national television channel, RTE, aired the first part of a two part documentary chronicling their Washington correspondent's first year in DC. During the hour long program Charlie Bird had a number of discussions on guns, including a longish chat with a group of hunters in West Virginia.

These guys were right out of central casting for a program on second amendment devotees. They seemed like nice enough men, rural people with no interest in having the central government dictate to them how they should or could live their lives. Their interests are not mine, but I wasn't shocked by them. Bird (photo - right) looked and sounded incredulous as he spoke to them.

In some ways I can understand it. Irish people are very America-focused. American culture and news from America are a constant.

The gun laws here, however, are very tight, which makes of the lax laws in America of great interest. Very few Irish people own guns and those who do have to obey strict guidelines on where they can store and use their weapon. {Legal} Handguns are unheard of. Just adds to the sense of mystery, that America is a place everyone knows, but nobody understands.

Regardless Charlie Bird's program was good tv. Near the end of his chat with the hunters Bird asked them if they would use their guns to protect their families. The 'Yes' answers were predictable, but when one of the men stopped Bird to ask him if he would use a gun to protect his family Bird hesitated and looked a bit taken aback when he realized the answer was 'Yes.'

{I don't know if the program will play outside Ireland, but I doubt it. Here's the link if you want to try.}