There’s a routine procedure that the media follows when they “fact check” pro-gun claims. They look at the claim in question–usually that a proposed law will ban something–then try to find even a sliver of a way you can have that kind of gun, then label the claim as false. After all, they argue, if you can possibly have a gun, it’s not banned.
It doesn’t matter if you have to sacrifice your first-born child on an altar beneath the second full moon of the month first, if you can have one, in their mind, it’s not banned.
So what does it mean when USA Today took a gander at Rep. Hank Johnson’s bill and found that yep, it banned “assault weapons.”
The claim: The U.S. House of Representatives introduced an assault weapons ban bill
The Facebook page Military Arms Channel stated in a post in March that a bill introduced in the House of Representatives, if passed, would ban assault weapons.
The post called on its audience to contact their representatives in protest. It garnered 12,000 shares and more than 800 comments and attracted the attention of gun rights groups including the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association.
Many of these organizations exaggerated the extent of the legislation, falsely claiming the bill would allow the federal government to repeal the Second Amendment and seize guns possessed illegally without prior notice or the right to due process.
But the Facebook post on the Military Arms Channel is valid.
Our ruling: True
The claim on the pro-gun Facebook page that an assault weapons ban bill was introduced in the House is TRUE. If passed, H.R. 5717 would ban semiautomatic assault weapons.
Writing that had to be painful for someone.
Of course, not even the anti-gun mainstream media can cover for something as egregious as H.R. 5717. Not if they want to have a hope in hell of being taken seriously going forward.
Not that they should be, of course, not after the whole “chainsaw bayonet” thing, but on this one, they got it right.
Of course, they couldn’t skip on the chance to try and dunk on groups like the NRA by saying they literally believe the bill would repeal the Second Amendment. No, that’s hyperbole, but hyperbole based on the fact that if H.R. 5717 were to pass, it marks the end of the Second Amendment having any relevance. If the most popular firearm in the nation can be banned so easily despite the Second Amendment’s express wording that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is meaningless.
That won’t get mentioned. Not by USA Today or any other media outlet.
Then again, we shouldn’t expect it. Not at this point and not with our mainstream media. In fact, we should be quite happy that they admit that this would outright ban so-called “assault weapons.” That had to be beyond what they wanted to do, but they simply couldn’t figure out a way to spin it to claim it did no such thing.
Let’s take the victory where we can…at least until we can spike this bill into the ground so hard it strikes oil.
A previous version of this incorrectly identified Rep. Hank Johnson. We apologize for this mistake.