The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) today called on ABC News anchor Peter Jennings and correspondent Bill Redeker to admit the network distorted fact during a report on the end of the so-called “assault weapons” ban that aired Wednesday evening, Sept. 8.
During that segment, video footage from the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout in March 1997 showed the robbers firing full-automatic weapons, suggesting that this type of firearm will be legal when the ban expires at midnight Sept. 13. These guns had been illegally modified, yet ABC News left the impression that such rifles will be available to the general public.
“Such firearms were illegal prior to the ban, and will be illegal after it sunsets, and ABC knows it,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “ABC’s research on this story was either incredibly poor or deliberately distorted. There is no other explanation. It’s the same distorted reporting we saw in 1994, prior to the ban, in which the press faked footage in an attempt to portray ammunition from these guns as explosively lethal.
Reporter Redeker made an issue out of certain cosmetic features that were affected by the ban, specifically folding stocks and flash suppressors. He lamented that folding stocks make these rifles more “concealable” and the flash suppressor makes it harder to spot a shooter at night.
“These cosmetic features have nothing to do with how a particular firearm functions,” Gottlieb stressed, “or how lethal it might be. That is why the 1994 ban – which only affected the appearance of these guns, not their operation – was nonsense to begin with.
“Rather than explain the law, or note federal studies that have determined this ban, as well as other gun control laws, were ineffective in reducing crime, ABC News sensationalized, and as a result fictionalized, what this ban did and what will result from the law’s sunset,” Gottlieb concluded. “That’s not simply irresponsible reporting. It’s journalistic fraud, and ABC News, Jennings and Redeker should apologize for it.”