Déjà vu

Remember this story from Broward County?  The one where CBS Evening News basically did a hit piece on “assault weapons”, and claimed that AKs are flooding the streets.  Remember how the “confiscated guns” didn’t include a single AK-47?  Apparently, CNN felt left out, and had to do their own hit piece on assault weapons, this time from Palm Beach County instead of Broward County.

It’s almost the exact same article from a different location – the premise is that cops are “outgunned” by all these AK toting banditos, and thusly feel the need to issue assault rifles to the rank and file deputies.  I am actually a little appalled at CNN for trying this; especially since it really is the exact same story that CBS ran a little over a month ago.

As of about 9:30pm, this was the headline and CNN.com’s front page image.

It represents the worst sort of base appeal to emotions that the anti-gun side has to offer, and the article itself reads like a Brady Campaign press release.  I’ll debunk the factual inaccuracies here.

Across the country, at least 62 police officers have been gunned down this year — a record pace, said Robert Tessaro, the associate director for law enforcement relations for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  As a result, the Brady organization supports police officers arming themselves with high-powered weapons “to protect themselves and their communities,” he said.  “We’re having more than one officer shot and killed a week. It’s just outrageous that officers are being targeted,” he said. “It’s something I think all Americans should be outraged about.”

How many of those officers were killed with “assualt rifles”?  I’d be willing to wager that the answer to that question is single digits, or zero.  Remember, that an actual “assault rifle” is a real, definable thing.  By definition, it’s a full automatic or burst fire military weapon firing a cartridge of intermediate power.  Now, an “assault weapon”, is a made up term, which has been used to cover semi-automatic rifles which look like “assault rifles”.

Continuing the quote from above:

He lays the blame squarely on lawmakers who allowed the assault weapons ban to expire in 2004.

Designed to be fired from the hip, assault rifles such as the AK-47 can spray at a rate of up to 600 rounds a minute in full automatic mode. It is the weapon of choice for guerillas and gangsters.

There are several things wrong with the statement, and allowing to stand as such betrays the motives of the CNN piece.  First off, fully automatic weapons have been practically illegal since the mid 30’s, and were not banned by the Assault Weapons ban which expired in 2004.  No, that ban covered semi-automatic rifles, which are functionally no different than this hunting rifle.

What the article is trying to do is make people believe that fully automatic AK47s were banned by the AWB, which expired in 2004, when in fact, fully automatic AK47s have always been illegal.

The sentence about the capabilities of the AK could entail a blog post in an of itself.  The AK was not designed to be fired from the hip, especially on full auto.  CNN and the Brady’s would have us believe that these guns are intended to be fired “Rambo style”, spraying bullets in a swath of destruction.  The problem with that is that anyone who has ever fired even a .22 rifle understands that “spraying from the hip” is the worst way to fire a gun.  The second half of the sentence, about the AK being the “weapon of choice of guerrillas and gangsters” is nothing more than an appeal to emotion.  By equating this gun with people that we know are bad, we are making the gun seem bad by association.  Nevermind that the AK has also been the weapon of choice for freedom fighters and several of our allies.  Just because a weapon has been used by someone for something bad, doesn’t make it evil.  It’s an inanimate object, with no will of it’s own.

The article continues with a statement similar to the one CBS made about $200 AKs:

There’s no doubt that urban street warfare, aided by a proliferation of cheap automatic weapons, has come even to Palm Beach County, once high society’s vacation mecca and a retirement destination for northern snowbirds.

Where are all these cheap automatic weapons that are flooding the streets?

“The streets of South Florida are being flooded by AK-47s and assault weapons from old Soviet bloc countries. It’s driven the price down, making the availability greater,” said Chief Timoney.

So…Belarus and the Ukraine are flooding our streets with AKs now?  Or maybe he’s talking about semi-automatic AK47 lookalikes.

The statistics used to support the “flood” of “assault weapons” aren’t exactly reliable, because they don’t define what an “assault weapon” is – so if you’re looking to prove a point, it’s pretty easy to pad your stats.

Articles like this are frustrating – because CNN is a major media outlet, people will see this article and just believe it, sight unseen.  The problem is that just like CBS did back in October, and just like John Zarella did in the past for CNN, a major media outlet is spreading disinformation and doing everything they can to foster fear.

21 thoughts on “Déjà vu”

  1. Below is an email I sent to a local tv station that tried the same shit.

    Tues. 06/11/07

    You have just reported a wounding of a child by accidental gunfire precipitated by her twelve year old brother.

    No problem, except you lied. In the item report you said the child was shot with an assault weapon. However, you didn’t identify the firearm in question. There has to be a reason for that. I suspect the reason is that you know damn well the weapon wasn’t an assault weapon.

    Assault weapons are fully automatic. Fully automatic firearms are very strictly regulated, and have been since 1934. Furthermore, since 1986, no newly manufactured fully automatic firearms are eligible for possession by citizens even if they were willing to jump through the hoops established in 1934.

    Most assault weapons are submachine guns. The reason for the prefix “sub” is because they fire a handgun cartridge. Much less powerful than ordinary and traditional hunting cartridges. There are exceptions to this the M-16 and the AK 47 being two of them. They can qualify for assault weapon status. However, neither are available to the public, though police forces are allowed to arm themselves with the M-16 and variants.

    There are firearm platforms available to the public that mimic the appearance of both, however they are all semi-automatics, which means the trigger must be pulled for each discharge. Appearance does not an assault weapon make. Function does.

    If you didn’t know this before, you have no business in news. If you did, you lied.

    If you did not ask questions of the PIO of the law enforcement agency who released this false information to you, you are derelict in your duty to report the news and/or inform the public.

    You name the amount of the bet and I will cover it. I bet if and when the firearm involved in this tragic event is identified it will be revealed not to be a fully automatic firearm (assault weapon). You bet that it will.

    I suspect you will not take this bet. You know and I know that best case scenario is that incompetence caused this disinformation to be disseminated; worst case scenario you lied for a political agenda.

    I look forward to your explanation for this egregious departure from the truth.

    C. H. Sawders.

  2. The best way to hurt the networks and their affiliates that are broadcasting this garbage (I honestly believe that they’ve been bought off by the Brady campaign and some of the other usual suspects. McCarthy, Clinton, etc.) is to boycott their programming! I’m disappointed in both the N.R.A. and G.O.A. for not encouraging their membership to do so.

  3. Here are the top ten guns used per the ATF.

    1. Smith and Wesson .38 revolver
    2. Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic
    3. Lorcin Engineering .380 semiautomatic
    4. Raven Arms .25 semiautomatic
    5. Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun
    6. Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic
    7. Smith and Wesson .357 revolver
    8. Bryco Arms 9mm semiautomatic
    9. Bryco Arms .380 semiautomatic
    10. Davis Industries .380 semiautomatic

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,320383,00.html

  4. In the broad category of LEOs assaulted, guns are only used 4% of the time.

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2006/table71.html

    In the narrower category of LEO deaths, traffic accidents kill more cops than guns.

    http://www.nleomf.org/TheMemorial/Facts/causes.htm

    In the most narrow category of LEOs feloniously killed, handguns are used more often than rifles or shotguns.

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2006/table27.html

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2006/table33.html

  5. You’ve nailed it on the head Ahab. I’m so tired of the lies & propaganda spewed by CNN & CBS. They might as well start every broadcast with the following disclaimer: Warning – you are about to be assaulted by left wing liberal bias, propaganda, and outright lies carefully crafted to confuse & mislead. Viewer discretion is advised. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  6. Honestly, it’s a misconception all around with respect to “assault” weapons of any kind.

    People are blurring the line on purpose for political purposes on BOTH sides of this issue. An AR-15, as anyone with any gun knowledge knows, can be turned fully auto by a very simple procedure. My Dad (a former Marine counter-insurgency warfare instructor during Vietnam) can do it in a very short amount of time, and he’s not a gunsmith. An AK-47, on the other hand is fully auto capable just like an M-16 is.

    Liberal, Conservative…you all have axes to grind. Now, I’m not a toe-tag liberal, but I’m not even for a second going to believe Fox is any better than CNN when it comes to slanting issues to pander to their own viewer’s prejudices.

    Fact is, in my opinion, and this is the considered opinion of an ex-Army troop trained in the assault weapons prevalent in the 1980’s, any weapon you can rapid fire is an assault weapon. That can be anything from an standard 22 Automag pistol to a SAW in my frame of references.

    Home defense is a very serious issue, and there is NOTHING that requires a friggin assault weapon in your own house. You’re more of a danger to your family than you are to the crook. Anyone knows a pump shotgun is all you need. Only if you live on a farm would you need a rifle like that to defend your home. People in crowded apartment complexes and town houses are a threat to my safety if they have these weapons for “home defense”.

    The NRA is just as bad as the anti-gun lobby is when it comes to things like this.

  7. Josh, the ATF has rules in place to determine what is easily convertible and what is not. I believe their definition is that less than 8 hours of work constitutes “easily convertible”.

    Almost any gun can be converted to full-auto. Heck, John Browning’s initial foray into the area was converting a lever action gun to full-auto fire.

    Besides, M-16s and true AK-47s are “assault rifles”, not “assault weapons”. Stop blurring the lines. In a military context, I believe “assault weapon” only referred to breeching weapons (explosives such as Bangalore torpedoes or certain rocket systems).

  8. Josh – I agree that media outlets on both sides of the issue have a bias to their respective audiences. Even the famous “No Spin Zone” is not exactly impartial. But you say that “…any weapon you can rapid fire is an assault weapon. That can be anything from an standard 22 Automag pistol to a SAW in my frame of references.” and then “…there is NOTHING that requires a friggin assault weapon in your own house.” How then can you be anything but a gun-grabbing liberal? With what shall we defend our homes and loved ones? If my Beretta Neos .22 plinker fills you with dread, perhaps I could trade it for a T/C Contender in .30-30? Or a Serbu BFG-50?

    “Fact is”, we can count the lies in the CNN and CBS stories. We can count the lies in the Brady Campaign and VPC reports. So what if reading a study by John Lott is not unbiased? At least it’s true.

  9. A couple of things, Josh. I never said Fox wasn’t biased.

    As I said repeatedly above, full auto AKs are and have been illegal since before you or I were born. The assault weapons ban never applied to full auto guns of any type. It banned guns that are cosmetically similar in appearance to full auto guns.

    And if anything that can be rapid fired is an “assault weapon”, than you had better confiscate all my revolvers, lever action rifles, and semi-auto shotguns, because I can rapid fire all of those.

  10. “An AR-15, as anyone with any gun knowledge knows, can be turned fully auto by a very simple procedure.”

    How?

    It’s far from simple and requires actually milling out part of the lower receiver. But, you know, you can turn a Ruger 10/22 into a machine gun with a shoestring.

  11. Josh:

    “Fact is, in my opinion, and this is the considered opinion of an ex-Army troop trained in the assault weapons prevalent in the 1980’s, any weapon you can rapid fire is an assault weapon.”

    Before you continue, perhaps you would like to explore the difference between “fact” and “opinion”. They are two entirely different things.

    Just like a .22 pistol and a real “assault rifle”.

  12. Josh – I know you are just a liberal trying to push your views on everyone but this statement:

    “An AR-15, as anyone with any gun knowledge knows, can be turned fully auto by a very simple procedure. My Dad (a former Marine counter-insurgency warfare instructor during Vietnam) can do it in a very short amount of time, and he’s not a gunsmith.”

    could possibly get your dad in real trouble with the ATF.

    Your wording seems to say that he has converted AR-15’s
    ,a civilian rifle and not in Vietnam, to full auto. Thats the way it reads to me. If he did this while in service and under orders then you need to say so.

  13. Josh:
    Home defense is a very serious issue, and there is NOTHING that requires a friggin assault weapon in your own house. You’re more of a danger to your family than you are to the crook. Anyone knows a pump shotgun is all you need.

    You and your father may have claim to have vast reserves of experience with guns, but unfortunately, you are making stuff up. There are plenty of good and reasonable alternatives to a pump-action shotgun for home defense.

    If you actually researched around for a little more than your predetermined opinions, you would find that the rounds from AR-15 tend to disintegrate in drywall, making them less of a danger to your other family members and your neighbors. On the other hand, buckshot from your pump-action shotgun, as well as many pistol calibers can exit your house and injure bystanders outside.

    So don’t presume to tell other people how they can and cannot defend themselves in their own homes, particularly when you don’t know much about it yourself.

  14. Josh sez:
    Fact is, in my opinion, and this is the considered opinion of an ex-Army troop trained in the assault weapons prevalent in the 1980’s, any weapon you can rapid fire is an assault weapon.

    Actually Josh any ‘thing’ you assault someone with becomes an ‘assault weapon.’
    Rapid fire or not. Though a baseball bat can, I guess, be considered rapid fire if you can swing fast enough.

  15. So don’t presume to tell other people how they can and cannot defend themselves in their own homes, particularly when you don’t know much about it yourself.

    Unless I horribly miss my guess, the implication was the intimidation factor. The characteristic sound of a pump-action firearm has tremendous cultural penetration, giving it tremendous value as a psychological tool.

  16. Yeah, I’m not actually a big fan of keeping a shotgun with an empty chamber, just so I can rack it for effect. I’d much rather have one up with the safety on and not take any chances with a home invasion.

  17. Josh,

    Please don’t patronize me with your superior attitude. While I am not former or active military I am well versed in the use of firearms. If I chose to use my P229 .40 as my home defense gun, that is my choice and you and the Gov’t are not going to tell me otherwise.

    Danger to neighbors? Well gosh golly, maybe only the police and folks like you with the experience and training should be allowed to have guns, not us ignorant citizens. Condesention drips from your post, and it is unbecoming of a military man, and a true American.

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