Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that AR-15 military-style rifles should not be banned and that it is just "lovely propaganda" to call them "assault weapons."

Following the introduction on Thursday of Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) bill to ban assault weapons, CNN host Piers Morgan reminded Gingrich that Aurora shooter James Holmes used an AR-15 that could fire 100 bullets in a minute and it was legal under current law.

"How many more bullets do you need to fire, Mr. Speaker, before that qualifies as a dangerous killing machine by your criteria?" Morgan wondered.

"Well, by my criteria, and this goes back to the question of what you respect, Piers," Gingrich asserted. "I think the Second Amendment really matters."

"I put it to you that an AR-15 military-style assault weapon was used in the last five mass shootings," Morgan pointed out.

"It's not a military-style assault weapon," Gingrich insisted. "Look, this is a lovely propaganda."

"What else do you call then?" Morgan pressed. "A machine that can fire 100 bullets in a minute. What else do you call it?"

"I would simply say to you that millions of people, by your own definition, own an AR-15," the Georgia Republican explained. "They're law-abiding. They think it is their right under our Constitution to own it, and don't kid the rest of us."

"[T]he reason you find so many of us, and by the way, it's a substantial majority -- I think the last time I saw, 63 percent of the American people agree that the Second Amendment is actually there to protect us from tyranny," Gingrich continued. "The reason you find so many of us very reluctant to go down this road is we believe each step down this road leads to the next step and the next step and the next step."

Watch this video from CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, broadcast Jan. 24, 2013.