“The View” returned to ABC for another season Tuesday morning, resuming a narrative that has carried over from the past two: Meghan McCain, the talk show’s most prominent conservative voice, sparring with her liberal co-hosts over the latest hot-button issue, often igniting the public’s fury as well.

Up first for Season 23? Assault weapons.

Whoopi Goldberg began by pointing out that the gunman who killed seven people and injured 23 others in West Texas over the weekend acquired the military-style rifle he used through some sort of loophole. (Authorities said Monday that the man, who did not go through a background check to obtain the rifle, should not have had the gun at all.) Joy Behar claimed that, despite a large majority of Americans favoring universal background checks for gun purchases, Republican lawmakers would not act to close such loopholes because “there’s too much lobbying” from the National Rifle Association.

Abby Huntsman, a former Fox News host who joined “The View” last season and considers McCain a close friend, noted that such acts of violence have “become the new normal.”

“After the Sandy Hook shooting, when 20 children, amongst others, were killed,” she continued, “I thought, ‘If nothing’s going to happen after that, I’m not sure what it’s going to take.’ ”

The conversation continued this way for a bit, until McCain spoke up as the self-proclaimed “chick on the panel that spent most of her break shooting.” After suggesting that the news media assign more journalists to cover guns specifically, she admitted that, as a lifetime member of the NRA, even she has issues with how the organization chooses to spend money. (This criticism, however, was assigned to chief executive Wayne LaPierre’s wife using donor money to travel with her hair and makeup team.)

It took Behar saying that voting for the Republican Party guarantees a lack of assault weapon legislation for McCain to make the most incendiary comment of the discussion.

“The AR-15 is by far the most popular gun in America, by far,” she said, citing a widely referenced statistic on sporting rifles. “I was just in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming. If you’re talking about going and taking people’s guns away from them, there’s going to be a lot of violence.”

After Behar interjected to say that they “lived without them for many years” after President Bill Clinton signed a federal assault weapons ban in 1994, McCain exclaimed, “I’m not living without guns.” When Sunny Hostin clarified that they meant “the assault weapons that are killing our children,” McCain responded sarcastically: “I love being virtue-signaled 20 minutes into the show.”

McCain’s seemingly perpetual discomfort with her co-hosts’s differing opinions led to rumors in July that she was contemplating leaving “The View” before this season. The Daily Beast reported that people close to the 34-year-old said she felt “so exhausted and defeated” and like “a caged animal.” A senior ABC employee talking to CNN described McCain as “miserable.”

ABC denied rumors of McCain leaving by stating that the “co-hosts and ‘The View’ have had an incredible season and we expect them all back for an epic year ahead.”

On Tuesday, after Huntsman remarked that she would like to live in a world where she doesn’t fear getting killed in a shopping mall, McCain set the tone for the season to come.

“Well, none of you feel safe! Again, I feel safe that I can protect myself, and I have guns at my house,” she said, rolling her eyes. “All right, all right. Welcome back.”

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