HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher' blames religion and guns for Orlando gay nightclub shooting

Host Bill Maher of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" program has asserted that the mass shooting in Orlando was brought about by guns and religion.

Screenshot of Bill Maher from "Real Time With Bill Maher: Who Needs Guns? - June 17, 2016 (HBO)" | YouTube/Real Time With Bill Maher/HBO

"Any time somebody shoots at a gay nightclub, and the question is not 'was religion involved,' it's 'what religion was involved,?'" Maher said.

Conservative panelist Emily Miller, senior political correspondent with One America News and author of "Emily Gets Her Gun," said that there's only one religion involved in bombing and terrorism, to which Maher agreed, saying, "Yes, the 'god hates fags' people show up with placards and posters, and they're despicable, but they don't show up with guns and bombs. That's just the world as it is today."

Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, said that there should be gun control, and that high powered guns should not be allowed to be in the hands of people except law enforcement.

"If anybody is directly responsible for Orlando, it's the Republican Party for stymying all manner of gun control," he said, adding that guns are not the reason for the attacks but guns are part of the problem.

In a discussion about the Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, Maher first read a statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that their government believes and respects different faiths, but they also expect those faiths to support the British way of life. The host then asked the panelists for their views, saying that while it's wrong for Muslim Americans to be treated differently, "it's not the same as people getting shot." He said things ought to be put in perspective.

"It's not just Muslims that shoot people," said Wilkerson.

"Of course, it's not," the host replied. However, he said, "How many terrorist attacks, Muslim-inspired terrorist attacks have there been in the last 20, 30 years? And how many Christian-inspired? ... They are trying to get a nuclear weapon. I don't think there are any Christian groups trying to get a nuclear weapon."

Wilkerson said that Mateen was a lone wolf, and lone wolves are people that the FBI know nothing about. But Miller disagreed and said that Mateen claimed affiliation to the Islamic State terror group.

Ravi Patel, however, said that such lone wolves use things like ISIS because they're lonely and powerless, and they feel that "that is an easy source of power." And since they are not rejected, they feel validated. 

Maher tried to go back to the point that most these things have happened "in the name of this religion," although he said that not all Muslims are like that.