Not that I was expecting anything different. The cable network takes a consistently hostile tone to the right to keep and bear arms in its programming, even as its ratings slide into public access territory. According to the Washington Examiner‘s Becket Adams, CNN averaged 487,000 total viewers last month, a 65% drop compared to October of 2020. In the all-important 25-54 demo, the news was even more grim, with only about 101,000 viewers in that age group tuning in to the network.
You’d think with numbers like that CNN would be willing to rethink its editorial position on any number of issues, including gun control, but for the moment the network is still creaking along and putting out anti-gun nonsense, like their recent attack on Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
With a 50-50 US Senate, a paper-thin margin in the House, and Biden focused on other priorities, advocates on both sides acknowledge that sweeping measures to address gun violence appear unlikely.
But that hasn’t stopped gun-rights groups and politicians across the country from ginning up fears that Biden wants to, as Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz put it, “erase the Second Amendment,” and come to people’s homes and take away their guns.
Biden campaigned on banning modern sporting rifles, including those that are currently in the legal possession of tens of millions of American citizens. He’s currently promulgating ATF rules that would redefine several million lawfully purchased AR-style pistols as short barreled rifles that must be registered with the federal government under the National Firearms Act if owners don’t want to be charged with a federal felony offense punishable by ten years in prison. Discussing what Biden’s actual plans are isn’t “ginning up fears”, it’s acknowledging reality… something that CNN has a problem with when it comes to reporting on gun control and 2A issues.
I agree that it’s unlikely that Joe Biden will be able to get his gun ban through Congress, and after the shellacking that Democrats received on Tuesday, I’m hopeful (but by no means confident) that the Left will back off its push to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. But that doesn’t mean that states and localities adopting Second Amendment Sanctuary language is a bad idea. I’d rather have those laws on the books before they’re necessary instead of trying to rush to approve legislation after a bad bill has become an awful law.
CNN, however, tries its best to show that not only are the laws not needed, but they’re causing harm.
GOP lawmakers in at least 17 states have introduced bills this year taking aim at possible federal gun restrictions, a CNN review has found. Nine of those states signed new laws that take a page from the immigration sanctuary movement (which limited state and local police from helping with federal immigration enforcement), by barring local and state police agencies from helping enforce any new federal gun laws. And two states, Missouri and Arizona, enacted measures that conflict with existing federal gun laws in ways that prosecutors tell CNN already are making it harder, or risk making it harder, to investigate gun crimes.
The inflammatory rhetoric surrounding these new laws, critics says, is similar and even connected to claims of 2020 election fraud and pushback against Covid-19 vaccine or mask mandates in that they rely on a denial of reality.
“They are part of an ideological system, [and believe] that the other side — in this case, the Democrats — are devious and intent on taking political rights away and imposing a socialistic tyranny,” said Alexandra Filindra, a political science professor at University of Illinois, Chicago, who studies gun politics, disinformation and social media.
“Information that conflicts with this narrative is dismissed,” she said. “Saying Biden is a Democrat and coming for your guns is a great way to motivate anger and get people to vote in the midterm, especially.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d say that those pretending Democrats didn’t nominate a guy who wants to ban the possession of lawfully purchased AR-15s and “large capacity” magazines are the ones actually denying reality. But Filindra, who’s previously declared that racial prejudice drives opposition to gun control, fits comfortably in the false narrative surrounding 2A Sanctuaries created by CNN.
States can’t simply claim to nullify federal firearms laws that go farther than state laws, said Jonathan Lowy, chief legal counsel of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. If they think a law is unconstitutional, they can challenge it in court, he said. “That’s the way you do it: You challenge laws. You don’t say, ‘I’m not going to follow federal law.’”
A strong Second Amendment Sanctuary law doesn’t try to nullify federal law, which as Lowy correctly points out, isn’t likely to survive a court challenge. But Lowy is completely wrong when he says the courts are the only option for states and localities when it comes to federal gun control laws. The Supreme Court made it clear decades ago that the federal government cannot compel or force states or localities to enforce federal law, and by and large these Second Amendment Sanctuary laws simply use the decision in Printz v. U.S. as the basis for their prohibition on cooperating with federal officials in enforcing any new federal gun control restrictions.
CNN eventually acknowledges that many Second Amendment Sanctuaries are going to pass legal scrutiny, but the network refuses to take the concerns of gun owners seriously.
The new laws seeking to stave off gun restrictions echo gun-advocacy efforts under President Barack Obama that led to seven states adopting similar measures between 2010 and 2016.
Even modest efforts to address gun safety often are painted by opponents as apocalyptic threats. Groups such as Gun Owners of America characterized Biden’s recent call to restrict stabilizing gun braces, for example, as “disarming the American people.”
To CNN reporter Bob Ortega, maybe this is a “modest effort.” But if you’re one of the millions of Americans who owns a pistol with a stabilizing brace attached, the ATF’s proposed rule is a BFD. CNN doesn’t even tell its viewers that the administration is trying to impose an actual rule that could reclassify millions of privately-owned arms as restricted items, describing it instead as “Biden’s recent call” as if he was merely making a statement and not trying to change federal regulations.
The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is worth covering. It’s too bad that CNN instead chose to deliver anti-gun agitprop to its declining audience rather than simply report the facts.