The Surprising Admission About The AR-15 From ABC News

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

ABC News has launched a new series called “Rethinking Gun Violence,” and while I can’t and won’t vouch for the whole series, I have to say I was surprised to see the network actually debunk some of the talking points of anti-gun activists in a segment on the AR-15. The gun control lobby and anti-gun zealots like Joe Biden commonly declare that, until we ban those evil “assault weapons” we don’t have a chance of ever getting a handle on violence, but as ABC News acknowledged, these guns simply aren’t used in many crimes.

While semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 are a major flashpoint in the gun control debate and are often the focus of attention following mass shootings, there are only about 20 million assault rifles in the United States, a fraction of the estimated 400 million guns in the country. Instead, according to ABC News contributor and former FBI agent Brad Garrett, handguns account for the most gun murders in the U.S.

Now, besides the cringe-inducing use of the phrase “assault rifle”, I will say I got a chuckle when I saw ABC’s assertion that there were “only” 20-million modern sporting rifles in the United States. To put that into some perspective, there are about 16-million Ford F-Series trucks on the road today, and I don’t believe that anyone would declare them to be uncommon or unusual.

But ABC News doesn’t dwell on the lies that are told about the AR-15 and other modern sporting rifles. Instead, once the network’s established that handguns are the most commonly-used weapon in homicides they pivot to promoting things like universal background checks.

Of the 10,258 gun murders in the U.S. in 2019, handguns were used in 6,368 of them, according to FBI data. But these numbers may not be exact due to a lack of gun violence research, said Daniel Flannery, a professor at Case Western Reserve University and the director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education.

The “sheer availability” of handguns is behind their popularity, Flannery said.

… The 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates said that 90% of the prisoners who had a gun during their crime didn’t get it from a retail source.

“It’s way easier to get a handgun than it is to do just about anything else in this country,” Flannery said. “Our background check is woefully inadequate.”

If you’re willing to break the law, it’s easy to get lots of things in this country. Heck, we’re watching retail stores shut down because of the wave of shoplifting in cities like San Francisco. And given the fact that there were more than 93,000 fatal drug overdose deaths last year, I’d say it might even be easier to get ahold of heroin and fentanyl than it is to get a handgun, either legally or through black market sales, straw purchases, and theft.

If the professor thinks that our current background check system isn’t good enough, perhaps he’d care to explain why, exactly, he believes that a universal background check law would or even could be effective at policing and preventing private transfers of firearms, as opposed to providing a criminal charge after such a transfer has been discovered. Violent crime has done nothing but increase since Colorado put it’s universal background check law in place in 2014, while there’s no evidence that prosecutors in New Mexico have charged a single person with violating the state’s background check law since it took effect in 2019.

I didn’t exactly have high hopes when I heard that ABC News was going to be doing a series on “gun violence,” and I’m sad to say that the network has met my low expectations with their reporting. Yes, it’s good that they acknowledged that modern sporting rifles aren’t used in many crimes, though they failed to report the fact that, according to the FBI, more homicides are committed with fists and feet than with a rifle of any kind. They also never bothered to find a talking head who could offer a counterpoint to the pro-gun control arguments made by people like Flannery, which means that rather than exposing their audience to both sides of the gun control debate, they were “treated” to another round of anti-gun talking points. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking about that kind of reporting, unfortunately. No, it’s exactly what most of us have come to expect when the media decides to take an interest in the issue.

Nov 29, 2021 4:30 PM ET